Editor’s note: In my travels to Amish settlements from Maine to Montana over the past 25 years, I have seen varying views about hunting. As pacifists, the Amish generally shun guns for self-defense but, in a broader sense, guns used for hunting are generally accepted in Amish churches. Of course, views vary from church to church, but hunting is seen as a way to maintain self-sufficiency. — Kevin Williams
Deer hunting season has arrived!
Several weeks ago my husband promised our daughter, Julia, age 4, that he’ll take her along bow hunting sometime. She was all excited as I got her ready to go. It was a beautiful fall day, perfect for her to go with Daddy.
Deer hunting is a necessity here. Deer is our main meat supply in this community. Each year we are blessed with a bountiful supply of venison. Deer hunting varies from one Amish community to the next. I’m guessing at least several deer hunters could be found in most Amish settlements. In our area we have an exceptional amount of deer, so we rely on venison as our main source of meat. Most of the men, boys, as well as some girls, do quite a bit of hunting.
When Julia accompanied Daniel on the hunt, he located a spot on a friend’s property beside a pond where they stood side by side. The trees and underbrush around them served as excellent cover for any deer that might pass by.
It wasn’t very long before Julia was informing Daniel that she was ready to go home. Her boredom promptly ended when they spotted several deer. Unfortunately none of them came close enough for Daniel to get a shot at them. Even though they did not get a deer, it gave them a chance to spend some quality time together.
When Daniel returns home from hunting, the children and I enjoy greeting him at the door to see whether he has had a successful hunt. In spite of him going multiple times this year, he hasn’t been as successful as he has been in recent years. Last week one morning, he sat on his deer stand, waiting on the deer that just wouldn’t come. He then came to a realization about how hard he had tried to do all the right things for a chance to bag his deer. So he simply told God: “It’s up to you Lord. If you want me to shoot a deer, you are going to have to bring them to me.”
He had prayed about it many times before but this time committed to God in a new way. After returning home that forenoon, he told me about his inspiration of just trusting God.
That evening, when Daniel returned to the woods once more, Julia and I had a special time of prayer for him. We asked God to bless him with a deer if it is not against His will.
When Daniel didn’t return home as early as he generally does, I started wondering if perhaps he had been successful. Finally the headlights of our tractor shone into the driveway.
“It’s Daddy!” I told the children and excitement reigned.
We’re always glad to have Daddy home and were eager to see if God perhaps had blessed him with a deer.
Opening the door, we quizzed him. “Did you get anything?”
“Come and see,” he responded with a smile.
We followed Daniel to the trailer which was hitched to the tractor.
My eyes widened. I felt like I was seeing things. Yes, God had certainly answered our prayers: Daniel had come home with a nine-point buck.
We cheered for Daniel. It was interesting to hear how he had bagged the buck just several minutes before dark which was about the same time Julia suggested we say a prayer again. I was amazed at Daniel’s strength, hearing about how he dragged the whopper of a buck to the tractor by himself. Later, when he weighed the deer after it had been field dressed, it weighed in at 205 pounds. No wonder he had to work so hard to get it loaded and was hungry as a bear when we sat down to eat supper together.
On opening morning of shotgun season, I plan to take my turn to head into the woods with Daniel. No, I won’t be shooting but we have a family tradition of the wives joining their husbands out in the woods on the first day of shotgun season.
Apple venison rings are an old faithful favorite of ours. I like using a blend of sausage and venison.
APPLE VENISON RINGS
2 pounds venison or sausage
½ cup chopped onions
1 cup grated apples
½ cup crushed crackers
1/3 cup barbecue sauce
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
Line a ring mold with plastic wrap.
Combine all ingredients and press firmly into mold. Chill several hours. Unmold onto a greased baking sheet with rimmed edges. Remove plastic wrap. Bake at 350 for one hour. Transfer onto lettuce-lined serving platter and fill with scrambled eggs if desired. Tasty and attractive.
Readers with culinary or cultural questions or stories can write to Gloria Yoder, 10568 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427-2019. To see more on the Amish, go to www.amish365.com.