Meat Harvest

MORNING FROST COATING PUMPKINS AND LEAVES turning yellow, gold and red, the air filled with the melodious honk of Canada Geese headed south for the winter and the staccato burst of rifles signaling the climax of a hunter’s pursuit of his ungulate quarry, all of these signal the advent of fall. The guns of autumn also mean it’s time to harvest meat for Koani.

I confess that I don’t care for this wolf wrangling duty. And so far, in the eleven and a half year history of Wild Sentry, only one person has ever volunteered to help with this chore, Andy Fischer (bless him).

Come along for a meat harvest. First, gather plastic crates and buckets, rubber gloves, overalls, knives, cutting board, plastic garbage bags, and clothing appropriate to the weather, which given the time of year is usually brisk to cold. Park behind the butcher shop and enquire about the availability of scrap meat. (The butcher carts scrap meat and bones to the rendering plant where it is transformed into goo that becomes an ingredient for things such as perfume.)

If meat is available, one of the many butchers engaged in processing stacks of deer and elk, drag out trash cans filled with scrap and blood-shot meat, bones, offal, and fat. Don overalls and rubber gloves and dive into the trashcans. Separate bone and fat from meat. Blood shot meat is muscle material transformed into a gelatinous mass by the impact of a bullet and colored scarlet purple. Blood shot meat often contains sharp bone fragments that we consider unsafe for Koani. Sort meat and transfer it to the plastic crates and buckets. Buckets hold two and a half to five gallons of meat and crates hold 15-20 gallons.

When people walk by with a look of disgust on their face, fight the urge to justify your behavior-just smile and carry on with the task at hand, or mutter, “Man, are we gonna eat good tonight.” Lug buckets and crates to back of Subaru. Drive the meat to a place that it can be further processed, usually the work shed. Cut meat and bag it in plastic bags in one gallon increments. Place in freezer. Repeat process at least three more times during the hunting season and voila, 900 pounds of meat stashed for Koani’s dining pleasure for the following year. – by Bruce Weide

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