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Hard to fall in love with the idea of winter

By Shirley Grenoble

sports@altoonamirror.com

I truly have a love-hate relationship with snow.

I love the atmosphere it occasionally brings to my life but I hate shoveling it and driving in it.

When the land lies covered with snow, it gives birth to a special sort of silence. It’s a heavy quiet, a noticeable absence of sound that we are not privileged to experience often. If you are on a deer watch in a freshly fallen snow, deep in the woods, every nerve stretched with the anticipation of a buck’s appearing, the silence is eerie and wonderful.

When you do see the forms of deer ghosting through the snowy woods, your heart pounds and hands tremble as you strain to see whether any of the deer do or do not have antlers. Once your quarry is down, snow makes tracking, if that be necessary, easier.

Certainly, sliding a deer out of the woods on snow is a breeze as compared to the same chore done over dry ground.

Find turkeys in a fresh snow and you have a hunter’s dream situation. You can follow their tracks until you come upon them. Snow definitely makes it easier for a hunter to spot game in the woods. Many hunters do some profitable scouting right after a fresh snow, looking for the travel lanes of deer, clearly defined in the snow and for shed antlers.

Snow in the city, however, is seldom more than a nuisance: something you shovel, fall in, dig out of, skid on and cancel plans because of … snow in the city. These are the reasons why I am really not a lover of snow. If all I had to do was sit by a fireplace in a cabin in the woods and enjoy the beauty of it, I’d say the more snow the better. But since I have to live in it day after day, I say the less the better. I am aware that snow adds nutrients to the soil so we do need some.

Once, years ago, I did spend several days in a cabin on top of a mountain, alone, a fire blazing in the fireplace. I pulled a chair over to the picture window and watched the snow covered mountains. I didn’t have to go anywhere or do anything except to sit there and enjoy.

The snow enveloped the big pine trees outside the window and it twinkled and sparkled in the cabin light and I was nearly hypnotized by it.

One morning, I went out walking in it, taking pictures of what seemed to be a world of white velvet. I was as if I were walking about in a real-life Christmas card. Except Christmas card snow scenes always have the red cardinal perched on a snow covered evergreen tree I said to myself. In moments, a cardinal actually flew in and landed on a snowy branch. If felt like a modern Alice in Wonderland scenario for awhile.

Snow is one thing, ice is quite another. Ice transforms the woods and fields into treacherous footing for hunters and wildlife alike.

You need to know

If you found the antlerless deer you bagged during season was actually a button buck, and you lamented that here would be one less buck for next season, here is a tidbit for you. The tagged-deer study that was done a few years back revealed a fascinating fact.

The button bucks we harvested last deer season would not have been in that area come next deer season, in all probability. The study has revealed that those button bucks were the fawns of the last year still running with their mother, when the rut will come in this fall, they are the ones that will be run off quickly and will have to relocate. Many of the tagged button bucks were harvested as legal bucks many miles away from their original location. This was a surprising fact to me.

All wildlife is resilient and equipped by nature to endure severe weather. What we can do to wile away these unhappy times that we have to shovel snow? Try this unique recipe for a great venison meal.

Venison Stir Fry is an easy, delectable dish. It’s a great way to use venison from the freezer and vegetables from the garden. Talk about healthy! This venison recipe uses “Myron’s 20 Gauge Game Sauce,” which is one of our newest finds. We came across Chef Myron at an outdoor sports show a couple of years ago and we really enjoy it. They are fun and versatile and open new doors for cooking both game and domestic meats.

Venison Stir Fry

Yield: 4 Servings

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

Ready In: 30 minutes

Ingredients

n 1 lb. venison loin

n Olive oil

n half cup Myron’s 20 Gauge Sauce

n 1 and one-half cup broccoli florets

n 1 cup diced carrots

n 1 and one-half cup green or red peppers

n half cup red onion sliced

n half cup celery, sliced

Instructions

Slice venison thin in one-inch pieces. Marinate in Myron’s 20 Gauge Sauce for 12-24 hours. In electric skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add broccoli and carrots. Cook 2 minutes. Add onions and peppers, cook 1-2 minutes. Push vegetables aside and add venison. Cook about 2 minutes. Stir together and serve over rice or noodles if desired.

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