Fallow Deer Hunting with Precision
With the growing emphasis on precision hunting, be it long or medium range, hunters are upgrading their gear to newer and higher technology standards to enable the hunter to take that one clean precise shot. A common goal of the modern precision hunter is putting venison in the freezer. Venison is a lean high protein red meat and if hunted can be relatively cheap, especially when compared to the rising costs of red meat at the supermarket.
Fallow Deer are the most widely distributed deer in Australia and despite being one of the smaller species targeted by hunters, it still regularly yields in excess of 30kg of meat per animal if no damage is done to the meat, this makes precision hunting a financially attractive and ethical option for putting meat on the table. A common fallow hunting technique is precision hunting in a nutshell, pick a vantage point over regularly browsed marginal country, glass the countryside, select the animal to be harvested, calculate and take the shot.
Historically deer hunters and even the governing organisations have focused on the vital organs of the chest being targeted. With group sizes shrinking and ethical hunting for a sustainable supply of red meat becoming the primary concern, the brain and brain stem have become modern points of aim for putting food on the table. With these target areas, even at shorter sub 500m ranges a precise range and ballistic solution is required.
A standout solution provider for the Australian market has been the Kestrel 5700 Elite with its inbuilt ballistics calculator. Kestrel environment meters are now a mainstay of the precision and long range shooting world and are deployed by hunters globally for precision hunting. Coupling the Kestrel 5700 Elite to the Bushnell Elite CONX rangefinder speeds up the process and provides real time firing solutions at the press of a button, perfect when hunting as the targets are rarely stationary for long.
Precision Hunting in Action
While the Kestrel 5700 Elite and Bushnell Elite CONX cost appears high, they deliver dramatic improvements in the precision achievable in the field and with meat pushing beyond $13/kg a single fallow deer can be worth over $400 in terms of meat alone, 6 ethically harvested fallow deer (less if larger species are found in your local area) = 1 CONX and Kestrel Elite package. Without the communication between Kestrel and Rangefinder, range cards must be employed or multiple screens looked at, in many situations this can take too long. Even undisturbed Fallow deer have a habit of changing location and if the goal is maximising return from your efforts then the Kestrel Elite and CONX bundle can be well worth the investment.
The bundle is in action during the following video and shows an undisturbed, unaware of the hunters, wild deer being harvested for meat, so viewer discretion is advised. But the Bundle is used to provide real time fine adjustments to the shooter to ensure a perfect shot despite the short shot window and the deer’s erratic movements at times. Precision Hunting, the ethical and cost effective way of putting red meat back on the menu:
For the successful Precision Hunter
Venison Backstrap with Chilli Gravy:
Ingredients with campsite measurements
- 1′ or 30cm of filletted backstrap
- 1 mounded soup spoon of plain white flour
- A bit of butter
- A dash of olive oil
- Some chilli powder
- Smoked paprika
- Finely chopped basil leaves/dried and crushed basil leaves
- 2 proper mugs of vegetable stock
- Get the oven hot (200 degrees fan forced equivalent)
- Place a pan on some hot coals, medium high heat sort and put the dash of olive oil in, then melt the butter in the oil.
- Paper towel the backstrap to remove excess moisture
- Place the whole backstrap in a plastic bag with flour, chilli powder, paprika and herbs
- Make sure there is some air in the bag so it mixes well and shake vigorously until the backstrap has a nice even coating
- Squish the bag around some more with the air out, really rub the flour mix into the venison
- Shake off the meat and put it in the pan, browning off all sides. About 3 minutes each side for rare/medium rare
- Once nicely sealed, place the whole strap in the oven for 8 minutes for rare, 12 for medium rare.
- While it is roasting, add some more oil and butter to the pan, as soon as the butter has melted use a fork to really mix the oils together then add all the flour mix left over in the plastic bag to the pan, mix thoroughly
- As soon as its combined with the flour pour in the Veg stock and use the fork to mix it well so no lumps form. Mix like crazy. Move the pan to a hotter bed of coals or a higher heat and do not stop mixing with the fork. Don’t take any chances constantly mix for the full amount of time the venison is in the oven, the more overcooked you like the venison, the longer you have to stir the gravy.
- Decant the gravy to the mugs or other pouring/dipping devices
- Remove the venison from the oven and serve on a cutting board leaving it to rest while you quickly wipe down the oven and especially the pan. Sticks like gravy if you don;t clean it straight away…
- Carve, coat with gravy, devour with stout, shiraz or something hearty