Just about any deer camp you spend time at has a meat pole as a centerpiece. This pole is where the chores begin after a successful harvest and recovery. But more than that it is a place where stories are told, hunts are relived and the next generation is trained on how to care for their venison. That spot is the first place a lot of people get to see meat that doesn’t come with a bar code label on it. It can be an eye opening to some but as I sit here, with a house filled with the scent of a deer roast in a slow cooker, I am thankful for that experience.
When I get the opportunity to fill up my Orion cooler with meat that I hunted, took fairly and processed with my own hands I feel a sense of accomplishment. Letting that meat age to perfection and then packing it up for future use is like a gift that keeps on giving. I know that in time cubed steak in brown gravy, backstrap wrapped in bacon and copious amounts of deer jerky will be the reward for my effort. The bonds made and lessons taught around that meat pole have stuck with me through a lifetime of hunting. It has been an honor to pass those lessons to my son and I hope to be around when he passes them on as well.
Sure it is easier to buy meat at the store, and truth be told it is probably cheaper when you factor all the costs of hunting. Leases, travel, bows and guns, all those need to be added as an expense if we are counting pennies. Easier and cheaper isn’t always better though. I am thankful for the ability to stock a freezer with meat. I am thankful for the experience as well. Whether it be a pile of deer, hog, turkey, quail or fish fillets, I am proud of the way I feed my crew and blessed because of it. Who knew that a simple pole, in the middle of a deer camp, could have such a big impact on a person?
~ Chris Funk