This past Sunday, the venerable New York Times published a piece called “Winter in Tennessee” on the back page of the Magazine. It was by a writer named Kevin Wilson who, with his wife, recently moved into their first house, a pond-side cabin in the woods. Since I have some experience moving to a pond-side cabin in the woods with a guy named Kevin, I thought I might find a kindred spirit. I didn’t.
His essay was about the morning he woke up to find a dead deer in the pond. He told his wife about it, and she asked, “What do you want to do?” As far as I am concerned, there is only one possible answer when your spouse asks you what you want to do with the dead deer in the pond: “I want to eat it.”
Now, it may be that the deer can’t be eaten. If it just floated up from the depths, bloated and rotted, eating it is out of the question. But this deer had clearly been shot (they found the bullet hole), and apparently ran into the pond during the night, when temperatures were cold enough to freeze the surface of the water. Under those circumstances, that animal is edible.
Even if the circumstances are iffy, though, there’s no excuse not to ask the question. If you don’t know what to do with a carcass, call a butcher. If you’re a vegetarian, call a carnivore. If you’re just squeamish, call me. I’m squeamish too, but not so squeamish that I would let a majestic animal die for nothing.
(Note: This is a slightly edited version of the original post. I removed an unfortunate construction that an astute reader brought to my attention in the comments.)