Shooting for Sausage


Our goal is simple: 100 pounds of venison and 100 pounds of wild pork to become 200 pounds of sausage. We are now two steps closer to fulfilling our sausage ingredient requirements and this is how it happened.

The hunt began around 10 am. Starting with a series of short stalks through creek bottom land proved uneventful. We did find a bald eagle nest,prehistoric and amazing in its size and bulk. Leaves were dry and the woods seemed devoid of life.

A strong north wind was blowing in our face, and we kept the sun to our backs. Entering a new pasture, we spotted a fine buck about 150 yards away. We were there to shoot doe and pigs, but Clayton might take the right buck if he offered himself up. At my folks place where I have hunted the last two years, you don’t see many bucks with an antler spread greater than 13 inches, which is what is considered legal in our county. So when I do, they look large. At my buddy’s ranch, the deer population is much larger and so he’s much more difficult to impress than I am. This was a legal buck, but it wasn’t clear if he was in the 4-5 year range they like to shoot. A big 6 or possibly 8 point. The buck stepped behind a fallen tree and we closed the distance quickly. He must have reentered the woods because we never saw him again. Soon after, Clayton said,

“There’s a doe.”

I quickly lifted my rifle, but I rushed my shot. Big boom, but no evidence suggesting any sort of hit. We walked over, looked for blood but after 10 minutes it was clear I missed. This missing phenomena has got to go.

We made our way back to the truck and headed to a stretch of creek Clayton thought we could push up some pigs. On our way, a small pond to my right proved to be covered with wood ducks and pintails. I’ve shot quite a few woodies, but never have feathered a pintail.

A decent hunting partner will share your general philosophy towards the sport. Some are strictly after a certain trophy or they stay committed to the species at hand. Me, I’m pretty quick to change gears if the situation allows and I like the meat. Seeing all those ducks, we decided to return to the truck for the shotgun. I did, and we planned the stalk. I crept below the pond, but being unfamiliar with this tank, I came up over the dam in poor position and only one duck gave me a clear shot. I managed a single wood duck, which inexplicably disappeared from the back of my truck during our evening hunt. Hawk?

For the evening stand, we split up. I was left in an area with an overpopulation of doe and Clayton went to an area where pig activity was abundant. I take out my range finder, binoculars and pour myself a cup of joe from my thermos. The wind was howling in my face, and the sun was setting at my back. About a mile over my left shoulder I could hear semis shifting gears as they sped down the farm to market road. I’d barely had a sip when this funky looking buck came strolling by.


After ten minutes or so, he caught wind of me and left in a hurry. About an hour later, another buck appeared to my right. He was a nice buck, an 8 or ten point, and beautiful with his neck dark brown and swollen. He casually walked out of sight.

Soon after, at the far end of the meadow, two deer appeared. Roughly the same size, I looked at them with my binoculars to ensure they were doe. No antlers, I then produced my range finder and pegged them at 150 yards.

I steadied my gun, exhaled, and shot. I lost sight of the doe through my camera and they both ran and stopped about 100 yards away. I had missed.

I quickly cycled my bolt action, placed the cross-hairs and shot again. Again, no apparent hit. She remained standing, and I shot again. This time I clearly hit my target, though she didn’t fall, and the other doe raced across the field and into the forested creek bottom. The doe was standing, swaying and I could see red at the crease of her shoulder. I reloaded and watched her through the scope, waiting to see if she’d turn broad side and if I would need to shoot again. She eventually laid down.

My phone vibrated, Clayton texted me:

“Three shots. First sounded like a hit….something better be dead”

I called him and lamented my poor shooting, but confirmed we had a doe. I told him to keep hunting, I was going to wait and see if any pigs would come out.

After ten minutes, up stands the doe and begins to hobble away. I quickly shot again and missed and shot again. This time she fell hard. I’ve got to say that I’m a bit frustrated now, questioning my gun’s zero, wondering if I jerked rather than squeezed the trigger. I wait another ten minutes, then decide she’s down for good and start working my way to her walking along the edge of the forest.


As I’m walking to the downed deer, I discover a second blood trail leading into the creek bottom. Apparently, I’d shot two deer. I followed the trail a short ways into a wild rose hedge, and discovered a yearling buck. A single button barely broke the skin and he was the same size as the doe. Of course, I had not intended to shoot a button buck or to shoot two deer.

Clayton said the first shot sounded good, so what must have happened is when I shot the next two times, I followed up on the wrong deer. I’m really not sure what happened.  I may have hit with my first shot, and then shot the wrong one the next, or the next.  I still don’t know.

Conflicting feelings created turmoil as I prepared to field dress the doe and thought about my friends reaction to me shooting two deer. These fears proved to be unfounded, and he dismissed my apologies. It’s a risk you take in harvesting does, and well, I just proved my own fallibility by shooting two on accident.

We weighed each deer, took the lower jaw for aging purposes. Clayton has a fine set up for butchering and we quartered them and were on our way shortly thereafter. I like cleaning deer with different people because I seem to learn a new trick each time. Clayton is an advocate of hanging the deer overnight, to make the final butcher the next day less bloody and safer because of the dryer nature of the meat. He’s right. It was much neater and my hands weren’t cold, slippery and wet. tailgateGetting after itskinning

However, I hadn’t prepared to hang the deer, so I had to get a little creative with my hanging technique.

hanging meat

We figure 2-3 more pigs and we will be ready for some charcuterie.



  1. In my opinion, shooting two deer was a good “whoops!”. Are you turning the entire deer into sausage, or will you butcher out some steaks as well as sausage meat?

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