Tod's Blog

Adventures with family & friends and other things I'm passionate about…

Anti-oxidant Venison

Posted by todblog on November 2, 2012

November 2, 2012

Each fall Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife offers a number of limited Columbian black-tailed deer doe hunts. These doe hunts are generally scheduled towards the end of the Western Oregon rifle buck season. The doe seasons help address deer damage on private lands. In the Douglas District, there are two doe hunts in the Melrose Wildlife Management Unit. The Melrose is a low elevation unit located on the Umpqua Valley floor, is highly agricultural made up of 90% private land, and there is an abundance of deer. This becomes apparent each fall as deer-vehicle collisions increase. Some of it has to do with dry summer conditions where deer are heading to/from water and food sources and another reason is bucks chasing does as they enter the mating season. Whatever the reason, deer darting across roads during low light hours and limited visibility by drivers results in very busy auto body shops and a shameful waste of protein lying in the ditch.

I live in the Melrose Unit and enjoy living in the country surrounded by great neighbors that farm tasty things to eat. One of those neighbors is Ed Richardson who owns a small U-pick blueberry farm. Blueberries have gotten a lot of interest from scientists for their high anti-oxidant levels which have been said to fight cancer, heart disease and aging. Besides all that science stuff, they’re darn yummy. However, we’re not the only ones who like ’em. The springy blueberry branches make great practice for buck deer preparing to fight other bucks as they thrash and rub their antlers against the shredding bark. Tender new growth is also received well by browsing deer as they go down the rows. When their bellies are full what better place for a deer to take a snooze than in between the rows of blueberries. With all the anti-oxidant benefits from blueberries, these deer must be super healthy and fighting-off old age well.

Ed told me he saw several unwelcome visitors browsing on his blueberries and he inquired about his options. I told him he should take advantage of the soon-to-be-over deer season. I further explained that I had a doe tag that was about to expire in a few days and would be happy to help him remove an anti-oxidant eater… He replied, “Please c’mon over!” I stopped by to see what was going on and to see if there were any visitors on the property. I walked along the outside edge of the rows and peered down each row. To my amazement, I saw a nice 3 point buck bedded down and looking at me from 25 yards away. I did a 180 and went back to my truck. I was pretty excited but, realized that I did not have a buck tag. Hmmmm…. who could I call that had a buck tag and would quickly get over here? A couple of phone calls later, I got in touch with Ben Cate who was more than happy to help remove the blueberry buck.

Ben showed up 30 minutes later and filled his buck tag. Two days later I filled my doe tag in that same blueberry patch. Those deer were certainly eating well and very healthy specimens. Thank you Ed for the opportunity to help. The deer will provide many fine meals with or without blueberry sauce.

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