If a hunter wants to eat good venison, he is happy with a two-year-old doe, or a young buck. If I kill an old buck, I am going to have to grind up most of it, mixing it with some pork which will indeed make good chili all winter long… and good summer sausage and jerky perhaps.
Last year I acquired fifty acres way back in the middle of nowhere with a small cabin looking down upon a good-sized creek. It is mostly something to leave to my daughters and grandsons some day, paid for by my wife's father who had to live his whole life in a gosh-awful crowded city suburb, investing and saving and wishing he could live in the woods like we did.
There is no TV, no computer and no phone in that little cabin, and it is heated by a woodstove that you can open up so you can sit in front of the crackling flame. A big spring just outside the cabin provides the sweetest, purest water I have ever tasted. You have to drive in through a locked gate and through the woods to get to it, and when you are there you would swear the whole world is a million miles a way.
I do some writing there on the big porch that looks out across the creek. I use a pen and notebook like I did when I first started trying to become an outdoor writer. Deer live all around that cabin. There are buck rubs 20 yards from the door, and a big scrape about 60 yards away. An eight-point buck crossed the creek just the other day and walked past the porch, completely oblivious to me, only 10 yards away. So last week I went there and put up a couple of tree stands back in the woods where anyone who wants to hunt deer would have to be a complete greenhorn to not kill a deer before noon. Now I am asking myself, since I do not intend to shoot a big buck, and since I only want a couple of young deer to eat, why am I going to get up before daylight, and go climb up in that tree stand and shoot one when I could do the same thing sitting on that porch and drinking coffee?
From that back porch, I often watch a redheaded woodpecker there along the creek, and two chipmunks that scurry around only a few feet from me. Flights of woodducks come in and settle in the eddy below me on occasion, and raccoons and bobcats and foxes travel the creek in the very first light of day. By muzzleloader season, the woodies might be replaced by mallards and gadwalls. I think I may wait and hunt then.
If I lived in those counties of north Missouri where chronic wasting disease is spreading, I wouldn't eat any deer meat. We do not know that it isn't here in the Ozarks already, because the pen-raised deer operations are found in this region just as they are in north Missouri, and the disease originated in one or two of those 'deer farms' and spread into the wild deer herd.
It could be happening here too, unbeknownst to all of us. If you intend to eat a deer, DO NOT SHOOT IT IN THE HEAD OR NECK OR SPINE. As a precaution, do not cut the spinal cord of any deer you intend to eat. Leave it whole and discard it. The MDC thinks they are going to get hunters to bury the head and spine. Can't you just see that happening? Everyone going out on some rocky hilltop with a shovel on a cold morning digging a two-foot deep hole in frozen ground to bury deer remains! I think Jefferson City might be on a different planet than country folks live on.
This Sunday on my radio program I will talk to a Joplin man who says his brother died from the mad deer disease we know as Chronic Wasting. He says his brother killed a buck that wasn't acting right, and died the next year with protein prions in his spine and brain. That will air at 8:06 a.m. on KWTO 560 AM. I have no idea if he is correct about this, but you can listen and make up your own mind.

My website is larrydablemontoutdoors, and the email address is lightninridge@windstream.net. Write to me at Box 22, Bolivar, Mo. 65613