My fiance took his only son hunting this past weekend, and I was invited (by his son, how cute) but I didn’t want to ruin a “man date” and interfere with the boy’s first season as a hunter. I mean, my fiance and his son have been sighting in the 270 for the past few weekends, and getting prepared for the big elk hunt they were out to venture on, and with his 12 year old all tagged up with a tag for elk, deer, and wild birds (sage grouse? I don’t know…) I was as excited as they were to have them go out on their big planned hunt in Palisades (wherever that’s at- Idaho/Wyoming border I guess) to get his son his first big kill. But did I want to interfere with a testosterone-ridden father/son hunting trip? No freakin way in hell. I’d already worn a hat saturated in elk piss on other scouting trips- I was all hunted out, but super excited to see the never-ending grin on this boy’s face as he packed all his gear for the trip. I was thrilled that they were so excited- my fiance was bouncing of the walls like a kid at Christmas and his son was no better. They camped on the living room floor like school girls at a slumber party giggling about getting a deer or elk all night long.
The only problem was, I promised my fiance’s son that I would eagerly try anything he killed, not thinking he would actually get anything. He promised me he’d shoot me a sage grouse, since I could likely handle bird meat (he figured) and I bid them good luck and went about my business during the day. About 8 o’clock Friday night, I received a picture on my phone, and there my fiance’s son was, with a manly look on his face, holding his shotgun behind a deer’s head. My goodness- he got a doe, and I got a phone call a few seconds later from an excited boy with a detailed account of how he shot his first deer and made his dad carry it up the canyon to the campsite. So excited for him I began to cry, he quickly handed the phone off to his dad, who was just as excited as his boy and warned me they’d be stringing it up our tree while I was gone with my family the next day, and I better be ready to try some venison steak when I got home.
Oh, shit. I promised I would try anything the boy killed. I’m a vegetarian, and have been for 14 years, and I was completely terrified of trying a piece of venison. I came home Saturday night and my entire driveway smelled like the milky smell of cut meat, and my dog was going nuts eating scraps. Oh, boy. I walked in the door and my fiance was frying something up in the skillet, and smelling Worcestershire sauce I knew it could only be one thing- deer meat. His son pounced on me instantly, dragging me to the truck to show me the cooler full of meat, and when I walked back in the door my fiance was shoving my nose in raw back straps they had cut, telling me how it was such a young kill there was no game smell to it.
He was right- no smell at all, just bright red, good-looking meat, I suppose, but that didn’t make me want to shove it in my mouth. I listened patiently as the two guys shouted their hunting trip at me, my fiance so proud of his son for his kill (his son chose a doe because he prefers the meat to a buck and doesn’t want to become a “trophy hunter”) and his son so freakin excited to show me pictures of the spread open carcass that they took about a hundred of on his cell phone. Meanwhile, the venison sizzled away in the skillet.
When it came time to finally eat, the 2 guys were piling their plates with gusto. I, on the other hand, was staring at the meat like it was still breathing and was dubiously looking for the tiniest possible piece to put in my mouth. I asked my fiance to cut me a teeny tiny piece since I didn’t want to touch it, and had him put the meat in my mouth with my eyes closed, his son staring at me with his eyes popping out of his head. With the meat resting on my tongue, I immediately gagged, which I felt terrible for. Then I threw up- right in the sink, and at first my soon-to-be-stepson looked shocked, and then he began to laugh uproariously. I was mortified. I made up some lame excuse about it being the Worcestershire sauce and promised I would try the birds he promised he’d get me. He said he was just happy I tried it. And then he reminded me he got 3 birds, one just for me, and made sure he plucked out all the feathers so I could give his sage grouse or whatever a try.
Oh, lucky me. Luckily the venison went with my fiance to the oil rig so he could jerky it up with his smoker, so I won’t be eating any more deer steaks anytime soon. But now I have a damned bird with my name on it in the freezer, and I promised to give the venison another try once it’s all jerkied up. The kids swear it’s awesome, so we have a dinner date next weekend with grouse on the menu, and jerky for dessert, with our mighty hunter at the head of the table. Oh man, the things we do for love…