St. Antler’s Day

Sometimes hunting has nothing to do with guns

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.