Into The Outdoors - Keepsakes


Well, as I told you last week, the COVID-19 put the royal whammy to my deer season.  I never got out even once, so I have no adventures to report.  Therefore, this week’s column will focus on a few other things which I hope will be of interest.

It is always nice to have some sort of keepsake from a successful outing.  A head mount is costly, and takes up a lot of space on the wall.  Fortunately, antler mounting kits are readily available at a reasonable price. Just be sure to leave enough of the skull when you saw off the antlers. Then, just follow the directions that come with the mounting kit.

If you don’t mind cutting up the antlers, there are a number of neat things you can do.  It can be as simple as a key fob.  Just drill a hole in a piece of antler, put a ring in it, and you are all set. My old friend, the late Bill Rensel, did scrimshaw on pieces of antler.  His primary focus was on jewelry.  His pieces were lovely.  I still have some of them.

Another old friend came up with something truly unique.  When cutting up a deer he shot, he found the intact, mushroomed bullet that had done the job.  He meticulously cleaned off all of the meat fragments, then drilled a hole in it and made a key fob.  I think that was neat.

Today, I saw what is referred to as a European style head mount.  It was a skull with the antlers still attached.   A number of companies and taxidermists provide this service.  Often, it involves allowing dermestid  beetles to clean off all of the meat, then bleaching the skull.  I have a boar head I had done with this method a number of years ago, and it still looks good.  When it comes to deer, I suspect that it would a lot cheaper than a full shoulder mount.  

Although I have never done it, I am aware that there are kits on the market for making a gun rack from deer hooves.  That sounds like a rather interesting craft experiment.

Getting a deer also means that some truly delightful eating is headed your way.  As much as I love deer steak, I don’t think that there is anything better than the back strap.  In fact, I might even prefer it to beef tenderloin, and that’s really saying something.  I have my own homemade rub for it.  It includes equal parts of Old Bay Seasoning, Uncle Glen’s Blend from Con Yeager, Mrs. Dash Original Formula and dried onions.  Rub this on the back strap and break out the slow cooker.  Put the meat into the slow cooker, along with some beef broth.  Add your favorite veggies.  In my slow cooker, it takes about eight hours on the low setting to reach perfection.  Different slow cookers require different times, so check the meat often.

I am also quite fond of venison heart.  I know, I know.  Organ meat is bad for you.  It is so delicious, though, and I can’t help but think that eating it once a year is not going to kill you.  I like it simmered for several hours along with onions and celery.  I once used it with my corned beef recipe, and it was great.  It’s a lot of work, though.

Back next week, by popular demand, will be “The Mauser Story.”

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