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St. Antler’s Day

Sometimes hunting has nothing to do with guns

by Published: Nov 14, 2012

I love the taste of veni­son, but the prob­lem I have with hunt­ing isn’t sac­ri­fic­ing a deer for the greater good of culi­nary del­i­ca­cies; it deals with my own slovenly attitude.

I don’t want to wake up at 4:30 in the morn­ing, sit in a blind until half-past one in the after­noon and then fold up my chair and walk a mile back home. You see, I’m that bum who sits around the house and waits for some­one to bring the veni­son to me.

I’m lazy; I admit it. I could go on for the rest of this page and jus­tify my sloth, but in return I’m a damned good cook, and what would camp be with­out pasties?

Every year the 15th of November marks the begin­ning of St. Antler’s Day in Michigan. For you flat­landers*, that means it’s the begin­ning of Rifle Season in Michigan. Growing up, we always had this day off of school. They mis­tak­enly called it “Safety Day” due to the copi­ous calls par­ents would put in say­ing they’d heard gun­shots near the pickup point for a bus full of kids in a rural area.

Nov. 15 for me marks the begin­ning of pasty* sea­son, one of the most deli­cious culi­nary mas­ter­pieces Michigan has to offer. Pasties could quite pos­si­bly be their own food group and will eas­ily sus­tain a per­son for an entire day, if done properly.

I also like watch­ing the movie Escanaba in Da Moonlight, which chron­i­cles Jeff Daniels (he’s Harry Dunne in Dumb and Dumber) and his Yooper* fam­ily in a deer camp in Escanaba, Michigan. Rueben (Daniels) has to bag a buck before he turns 42 or else he’ll be the old­est in his fam­ily to never do so.

They make fun of fudge-suckers,* make friends with the DNR ranger* and find out what the true mean­ing of St. Antler’s Day really is. I won’t spoil it for you; rent it or buy it, you won’t be disappointed.

I think I love the tra­di­tions of hunt­ing more than I’ve ever liked the hunt­ing itself. I’ve been hunt­ing only three times in my life and I’m still buck­less*. I might go hunt­ing some­time again, but hon­estly, I’m quite happy with sit­ting back at home and tak­ing in all the tra­di­tions that make rifle sea­son in Northern Michigan.