The harvest will be over in seconds but memories of your deer hunt should last a lifetime.
Here are ten tips for memorializing that day in the woods.
1. Document the Day in Images
Showcasing the entire hunt in images, not just the animal itself, will make for a great scrapbook of memories. Capture the excitement as you huddle around the breakfast table in the early morning light – eager to head out into the woods.
How about a shot smearing camo makeup on your face? Or pictures of you waiting patiently in a blind or working a rattle sequence with antlers in hand?
Your hunt is about the experience – and a day’s worth at that. Capture it all for the memory bank.
2. Start a Journal
Buy yourself a leather-bound journal this season and begin documenting your hunt in words. Write about what you did that big day, the excitement you felt, the emotions when that deer dropped.
A journal is a wonderful keepsake that can be passed down from one generation to the next. It’s never too late to start.
3. Smear Some Blood on Your Face
A way of paying respect to your harvested deer, or a rite of passage for a first kill, is to smear fresh blood on your forehead and cheeks. Hunters do this for a number of reasons and our ancestors abided by this strict custom.
It certainly is a wonderful way to memorialize your deer hunt and a traditional one at that.
4. Butcher Your Own Meat
Getting your hands dirty and butchering your own kill is an excellent way to memorialize your deer hunt. Why pay someone else to do it?
This is another way of paying respect to the animal and will give you an instant connection. If it’s your first time doing it, the memories will always be remembered.
5. Get a Mount
There are many styles of mounts available to the hunter. Each comes with a different price point.
Having that mount as a constant reminder of that day in the woods, however? Priceless.
6. Keep the Antlers
If a mount isn’t in the budget, keeping the antlers – either separately or with the skull cap – is a great keepsake to have.
Antlers themselves can be used in a multitude of ways, by making a table lamp or an elaborate chandelier (the latter after you harvest quite a few whitetail!)
A single antler, set on your favourite desk, also has a simple charm about it.
7. Deer Foot Gun Rack
Another great way to memorialize your kill is by making a deer foot gun rack.
Quite simple in construction, one of these on the wall is certain to become a conservation piece.
8. Have a Family Feast
Make your deer harvest a celebration. Whip up a big friends-and-family feast to share in the joy you’ve been blessed with.
Making memories is key here. There’s no better way than making them around the dining room table.
9. Donate Some Meat
There are many less fortunate in our own cities and towns. Make it a goal to donate some of your harvested deer to a food bank or elderly person who lives on your street.
The reward of giving – much like the deer did to you – is a special something to share.
10. The Perfect Shot
You are only given one chance to get a perfect shot of yourself and your harvested deer. Make it count.
Stay away from guts, gore, and a hanging-out tongue. Clean up any blood, position the animal in a natural pose, and sit or kneel beside it.
Whether you smile or cry is up to you – the emotions one experiences is often unpredictable.
Get your image enlarged and nicely framed. You’ll have a perfect memory on the wall of that successful day you went deer hunting.