By Chris Eberhart

The day before the opener in Michigan I received a great offer.  A local elderly farm lady offered to teach me how to can venison.  Learning to can venison is something I have been considering for some time, but despite my best intentions it is something that has been on the list that I just haven’t gotten around to.  There was, however, a catch. My elderly friend was just a few days from leaving to spend the winter in Florida.  Attempting to make an appointment for our canning session, I realized that considering time to hang the deer and butcher, I would have to kill a deer within two days.  Shouldn’t be a problem, right?

With a couple of doe tags in my pocket I headed to one of my best doe spots, ten acres of sandy ground oaks where I have never even seen a two year old buck.  The chances of shooting a mature buck there were very low. Opening morning six does and fawns passed, unscathed, A couple came as close as ten yards, but didn’t offer a shot, since they were sprinting around having seemingly a good time.  Opening evening was more of the same.  This time seven does strolled by, and munched acorns under some oaks nearby, within range but not where I could shoot.  The second day proceeded just like the first. I saw a dozen more does and fawns, but was unable to get a shot.  How hard can it be to shoot a doe?  I was beginning to think I wouldn’t get the job done. The third morning rolled around, and it was basically my last opportunity to get some venison to can, and make the appointment, before my generous friend flew south for the winter.  I decided that no matter what, any deer that walked close enough at that point would have to suffice.

Just after daybreak a single deer was suddenly about fifteen yards away moving down the main runway feeding my tree.  The deer was in cover and I couldn’t tell whether it was a doe or a buck. It was however relatively small so I assumed it was a doe. I drew as the deer was still behind a final wall of leaves.  It took two steps into my shooting lane, and I dropped my pin onto its chest. At that instant I noticed the glint of white between its ears. A buck! What to do?  I have not filled a buck tag in Michigan in several years, and haven’t killed a yearling buck in over seventeen years, even though I don’t particularly practice QDM. I normally hunt for mature bucks and shoot does when I need meat… I want to learn how to can! This is an opportunity I can’t pass up!  This is an extraordinary situation. Who knows when I will get another chance to can with this woman.  I pulled the trigger.

The spike turned and bolted, and crashed fifty yards away.  It was the right decision.  Sometimes brown is down fits the circumstances. I’m still having a hard time with not being able to kill a doe though.  More about the canning session in my next post. In the end it is all about the food.

- Chris Eberhart, BowhuntingWildFood.com

If you want more great whitetail hunting information like this, check out Chris’ latest book, Bowhunting Whitetails The  Eberhart Way