Author Archives: Mark Stopha

Deer Man

Lt Lance from the Salvation Army emailed yesterday.  He and his wife Dana are transferring to Fairbanks soon. Did I want to take over being the one the authorities called if a deer is hit by a car so it gets taken care of right away and the meat gets to the food bank?  Sure I say. First thing this morning, it’s Lance.  Deer down on N. Douglas.  Can you help?  On my way, I say.  I drive home, put on my coveralls, and head to the location.  I pass the 7000 block and don’t see it.  I call Lance for the house number again and turn around.  There it is.  Blood still fresh mixing with the water in the ditch.  I pull the young buck up, grab front legs in one hand and back legs in the other, and swing him into the truck. Lance meets me at the house.  We carry the buck up into the woods behind the house, remove the innards, drain the body cavity, then carry it to the garage and hang it up on the lines that are through a pulley from the ceiling just for this purpose.  We decide to hang it by the head since the rear leg was where he was hit and might not hold if we hang it from the hind legs.   I rip from under the hide up to the chin and immediately notice the hair flying.  Lance comments about shedding and I realize – the deer are shedding this time of year and I’ve never skinned a deer at this time.  Try as we might, there’s hair everywhere until we can get it turned under as we work our way from the neck to the hind quarters.  The two of us skin the deer and I start to cut off the quarters, then the tenderloins, then the back strap.  I then cut through the neck and put the ribs and neck on the table.  I take the cordless reciprocating saw and cut off one rack of ribs, then the other, and then the neck roast.   Lance takes each piece and rinses it with the hose, and I notice the hair seems to rinse off alot easier than it does in the fall.   Lance fills clean buckets with the meat.  That’s all the processing we need to do.  He has elders salivating, he said, for the deer and all he has to do is deliver it as it.   That’s my kind of butchering. I take off my overalls and notice a spot of blood snuck on my shirt.  I put some water and soap on it, and put on a new shirt.  I’m back to work shortly after 10.  It’s a good day already.

9 mi hike

Sam’s WEEBLOS scoutmaster sent out an email plea. He’d inadvertently scheduled the big end of season overnight hike the same evening as his son’s school play. Could someone take the kids out and in and he’d be in later? When I didn’t see anyone respond – shoot, I’m guessing all the parents had already made plans… Continue Reading

Early Forage

This was definitely the earliest in the year I’ve picked fiddleheads.  It’s maybe a 1/4 mile from the road to my spot.  As I clamored across the tundra and down the hill to cross the creek, I noticed the devils club had no buds – not a single bud out yet.  I’d never picked fiddleheads… Continue Reading