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Flood of New Hunters Expected


Millions of unemployed in the age of Paul Presley, shown here with his first muzzleloaded deer, will be joining hunters in the woods this fall, and present hunters will be hunting more special seasons than ever before.
Millions of unemployed in the age of Paul Presley, shown here with his first muzzleloaded deer, will be joining hunters in the woods this fall, and present hunters will be hunting more special seasons than ever before.

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A predictable result of the current economic downturn is that millions of unemployed will be seeking to kill deer and other game during the 2009-2010 hunting season to feed their families. This may be the largest influx of new adult hunters into the woods since the return of veterans after World War II.

 An unknown number of these hunters will have infrequently or perhaps never hunted before. Their first impact will be on the states’ Hunter Safety Courses. This is doubly unfortunate since all agencies in almost all states are facing budget cuts, and fish and wildlife agencies are amoung the first to feel these reductions in funding.

 Hunter safety instruction is typically done by volunteers, but even so some funding is necessary as well as the likely need for more courses. Some of these hunters will have been so long removed from hunting that they might not even know that such hunter safety training is required to say nothing of the many changes in laws and rulls that have been enacted since they  last hunted as many as 30- years ago.

 Two immediate things are necessary. The first is to look for and initially seek to measure this probable impact of new hunters on  the states’ hunter safety programs. The second is to do primers outlining what steps are necessary for a person to legally hunt deer, and other game, in each state. These need to be published in newspapers and aired on radio and TV outdoor programs.

 With my book Backyard Deer Hunting: Converting deer to dinner for pennies per pound, I am doing a part, but there is much that also needs to be done by state agencies, hunting organizations and shooting associations to help these new hunters hunt safely, legally and ethically. 

 I recently sent a letter to the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, informing them of this probability. I have also spoken to members of the National Shooting Sports Association. The NSSA tracks trends in the hunting industry and confirmed that last year there were more hunters in the field when this downturn started, which was partly attributed to unemployed workers going into the woods after food.

 There is no doubt that a percentage of those who are now unemployed will hunt this fall. If their entry into the woods is made difficult, cumbersome, or inconvenient they will become poachers instead of the ethical hunters that we all wish to be in the woods with us.  Education is a much less expensive tool to employ than law enforcement. These educational programs need be started immediately.
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Sheet-Iron Cookery – A Guift

  Cooking outdoors on a sheet of iron is a technique that is likely as old as the bronze age, when the material used was the copper-tin

The most inexpensive and environmentally green outdoor cooking surface available.
The most inexpensive and environmentally green outdoor cooking surface available.

alloy, rather than iron. This process consist of placing a flat sheet of iron on top of  rocks, or salvaged concrete blocks, and cooking on it. With a little work, a commerically saleable product can be made that will not only provide an easy way to cook outdoors, but make you some money too. Entire companies have been founded on thinner concepts.

 To fabricate the cooking surface cut out a rectangular piece from 1/4-in. thick  cold rolled steel  about 2-feet wide by 2ft. 8in.  On one side of this either cut a D-shaped hole for a handle or weld on a half-moon of 3/8-ths in. rebar. To make the product more user friendly, take off the sharp edges with a grinder and round the corners.

To use, place on two used concrete blocks. Build a fire under it withE-mail Ham steak and egg on the iron sticks picked up in the yard or any other salvaged wood. After the fire starts burning, dress the cooking surface with lard, animal fat, or cooking oil. Now you can cook anything on this that can be cooked on a Waffle House grill – steaks, eggs, hash browns, etc.

With a little more trouble you can cut a well, a circular hole, in a corner that will fit whatever cast-iron pot that you might own. This now provides a place where food, like deer stews, may be boiled or deer burgers may be cooked in a frying pan with  the water that is needed to keep them moist. Now the utility of the cooking surface has been considerably enhanced. The same well with a Dutch oven can be used for baking.

The advantages of this system is that it is inexpensive to make, convenient to carry, does not require the bringing of external fuel, stores as one flat sheet of metal and it can cook fried, boiled and baked products. It is as environmentally “green” as you can get.

With the publication of this document, this product is now in the public domain. It is non-patentable, and anyone with a minimum of welding and metal-working skill can make it. The maker can fabricate and sell it in any numbers with any individual modifications that he/she would like.

If you are unemployed and have some metal-fabrication skills you can make this product, sell it and garner some income for youself and your family. Because this product is heavy, it is best that it be made locally, rather than shipped for long distances.

I hearby give the rights for anyone to make and sell this product. After you have made it for a month, send me a dollar for each one you sell. This is not an enforceable contract. If you cannot pay me now, do so when you can; or not at all. That is strictly up to you.

What I would request that you do is to direct people to this site and to my book Backyard Deer Hunting for recipes. When there is interest I will have a continuous series of postings on this product and new recipes.

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Placing deer stands


Selection of optimum tree stand sites is the key to deer hunting success.
Selection of optimum tree stand sites is the key to deer hunting success.

The optimum time to put up deer stands is well before season so that the deer can get use to them, and you can also start trimming out shooting lanes without leaving recent signs of disturbance and changing the ambient scents in the area.

  If there is a truism, it is that in deer hunting nothing works all of the time. Locating deer stands should seek to maximize your possibilities of seeing deer by being located near where a deer can find food, water and social interactions.  If there is a persimmon tree near a waterhole next to a cedar tree that generations of deer have scarred, that would be an ideal place.

 I think you get the idea. Try to locate where at least two of the three things that are listed above are happening. If you are inventive, you can even make an artificial branch that the deer can hook and play with even if there was not one there before. If this is located near a travel path he will hook and thrash the branch to scent-mark it and make a scrape beneath. If  nature does not provide some things a deer need in the way of food and water,  you can – even to cutting a clear path through some thick stuff that was not there before.

  Always put up several stands so that you have the option of rotating between them and also to take advantage of prevailing winds that might favor one stand over another. When time comes to hunt take a seat cushion with you (if your stand does not have one) so that you can sit for six hours or more at the time.

  Very often the reason hunters do not kill deer is because they were not on stand when the deer came. If you are not there you cannot kill deer, regardless of how well the stand was positioned.

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Blackberry time

Rather than being about the increasingly common communication devise, this post is really about blackberries – the kind that grow on thorny vines. Each year I look forward to having at least one meal of blackberry-Bourbon pancakes, and the hound dogs and I go a’picking.

Many people don’t appreciate that a dog’s diet normally includes some greens and fruits along the meat and bones that they love so much. My dogs go berry picking with me. There are sometimes snakes among the vines too.  Snakes don’t eat the berries, but they do eat the small rodents that come to feed on the dropped and low-lying fruit.

Once the dogs see me pick, they do too, pulling the berries off the vines with their teeth. One of my dogs found that it was much easier to just graze out of my bucket, instead of risking being pricked by the thorns. I was more amused than mad. He got mildly scolded, and we all resumed our gathering and eating.

If you want to put blackberries in your own pancakes, add about half-a-cup to your mix and mash them fairly well. About a teaspoon of Bourbon is appropriate – just enough to flavor. These pancakes will still be a little soft even when they are done, and might tend to stick a little more, so use a little butter in the bottom of the pan.

Blackberries freeze very well. There is no need to do anything except wash them, put them into plastic bags and freeze them. They also make a fine cobbler, or if you really have lots, even a wine as well as the blackberry pies that will tempt almost anyone.

In the deep South we have been largely deprived of blackberries for the past several years because of a prolonged drought, but this year’s rains have been  more abundant, and these will bring us plenty of blackberries throughout the Southeast. Happy munching.

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Road kill is certainly under the $10 mark

This deer was struck and died in a front yard. After seeking permission, I removed and ate it.
This deer was struck and died in a front yard. After seeking permission, I removed and ate it.

The first comment about Backyard Deer Hunting  was submitted by Jilie and  posted on the blog “Fresh Basil” on May 7. She ran into my recipe for Road Kill Deer Stew which I submitted to  National Public Radio (NPR)  in response to their request for meals that would feed a family of four for under $10.  This is what Julie had to say:

“NPR is asking for readers to submit meals that will feed four that come in under $10. There are over 300 recipes submitted so far! (This radio event is now over, and no more recipes are wanted.)

“Many of the recipes contain rice and beans — the cheap pantry staples — but some are so creative and fun. Sweet potato kale quesadillas, brined pork with strawbetty chutney, Moroccan chicken tagine, and on and on.

“An entry from William Hovey Smith takes us way beyond rice and beans with a recipe for Road Kill Deer Stew. Luckily for us, William (I go by Hovey) has a book coming out soon: Backyard Deer Hunting: Converting deer to dinner for pennies per pound! I think I speak for everyone, William: Thank you for this amazing gift to literature.”


Thank you Julie,

I am not so sure about the book’s value as a piece of literature, but it certainly will be valuable to those who are out of work and need good, inexpensive food. It is also a fun read, or so my editors and book designers tell me. They are working with it now and are the only ones who have had a chance to see the entire manuscript.  I am told by mid-July you should be able to judge for yourself.

I am eating Road Kill Deer Stew for my Sunday dinner today. The meat came from the same animal I show being butchered in the book.  

Good eating,