Deer head in my climbing tree, 10.12.15

Dear Molly, Your dad hunted. Not unusual at all for central Pennsylvania. He hunted deer and birds – quail, pheasants. One season he took two deer. He would dress them in the field and then bring them home. He would take them to a butcher. Sometimes he would give the butcher the head and sometimes he would bring the heads home with the meat. You remember helping him bleach a skull when you were very young. But this is about the two he got that particular season. He brought home the heads and hung them from a low limb in your and your sister’s climbing trees. You had a whole campsite under your tree. You had a large tomato can that you would build a small fire in and then cook a can of soup in there with the fire – can within a can. The deer head was a quarter turn around the tree trunk from the campsite. The idea was that birds and bugs would clean the flesh off the skull but it just ended up hanging there with the skin still hanging there in shreds. Pastor Gene took note of the heads one afternoon over coffee and asked why dad hadn’t just left them on an ant hill. A veteran moose hunter, he knew how to take the flesh off bones.

Published by Molly Cairney

Making stuff since 1982.

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