December - The Deer Stalkers Almanac

Meeting the demand for Venison in the lead up to Christmas can prove testing. 

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“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” I am humming to myself as I write, and I have no doubt that the remaining few short weeks will be gone in a flash!

Like most, every year I assure myself of the cliché that I will prepare in plenty of time, however the reality is that with the challenge of Christmas shopping and the commitments made to friends and families I will end up in a rush, because what is also inevitable is that I will simultaneously be inundated with requests for venison.

As most deer stalkers know Venison is lower in calories and cholesterol than almost any other cut of red meat, added to this it is rich in B12, B6 & B3. Despite this throughout most of the year it is undeniably a hugely undervalued meat. However as Christmas dinner approaches the incentive to provide an alternative to the traditional Turkey is high on most people’s agenda, and so aided by its perceived seasonality (you can find a picture of a deer on countless Christmas cards) venison is in demand. 

Personally in addition to meeting the requirements of my local butcher, I have also set myself the unfortunate and unenviable precedent of trying to drop off a haunch or shoulder of venison to the local land owners to whom I am indebted. Whatever your needs the month of December can be a busy time for deer stalkers.

Heightened desire is all very well for Turkey farmers who, in the absence of Avian Flu (let’s all keep our fingers crossed) can prepare well in advance. However for the recreational stalker of wild deer it can be frustratingly difficult trying to match supply with demand. For this reason it is possible to put oneself under pressure to deliver, and as anyone who has stalked deer will know, pressure and deer stalking are not good bed fellows!

So where will you find your best opportunities? Well by December with the trees and shrubs now virtually devoid of leaf, sight lines will start opening up. This will allow the stalker better opportunities to spot and stalk. In colder climes around the UK this can sometimes be best achieved from the comfort of the 4x4. Let’s be clear, I am not advocating shooting from a vehicle, however if you are fortunate enough to have sufficient land that is criss-crossed by vehicular access, it is possible to glass prey in the distance and plan ones approach. A word of warning, it is a personal rule that I never shoot from, or anywhere near my vehicle. If you do so you will only serve to make life considerably harder for yourself in the long run, as deer make off for the next county at the first sign or sound of a vehicle.

On to one further note worthy feature of December; ‘tush’....no not at the Christmas office party, I am instead referring to the ‘anal tush’ associated with the Roe Doe. Now that most Roe Buck have cast their antlers, an ability to identify this tell tale trait is a fundamental necessity of Roe stalking at this time of year. Failure to do so may result in the accidental shooting a Buck out of season.  

At any rate whatever your tactic during December “Keep Calm and Carry On – its only Christmas”

To read more about the health benefits of Venison click on the following link: venison

Editorpic150IN Season in England & Wales:  Roe Does, Fallow Does & Fallow Buck, Sika Stags & Sika Hinds, Red Stags & Red Hinds, CWD Bucks & CWD Does, Muntjac Buck & Muntjac Does.

OFF Season in England & Wales:  Roe Buck.

In Season in Scotland:  Fallow Buck, Fallow Does, Roe Does, Sika Hinds, Red Hinds.

Off Season in Scotland: Red Stags, Sika Stags & Roe Buck 

Peter Jones - Editor

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