Vegetables to Venison

By Sandi Dunn
Wyoming, DIY, Private Land

Sandi Dunn - Vegetables to VenisonFebruary/March 2014 EHJ (Issue 141) - If anyone had told me back in 1998 I would be writing a story for Eastmans’ about a mule deer hunt, I would have laughed. I was 33 when I came to Wyoming from Wisconsin with a family member for a dude ranch vacation. It was there that I met my husband, Wes Dunn. He was a wrangler at the Box R Ranch in Cora, Wyoming.

I grew up in Wisconsin in a family of hunters. As a child, it was a normal thing to have a deer hanging in our garage and there are many pictures of us kids sitting on the back of one of my dad’s deer. As I grew to adulthood, I became very sensitive to animals and soon became a vegetarian and anti-hunter.

I was a staunch vegetarian up until one fateful day where we had very little money for groceries and Wes informed me it was time to start eating meat. We had to hunt for our food and our first harvest was a complete shock to me. Wes told me it was no time to be a girl.

At the age of 37 I took my first animal, a very old deer that held still enough for me to get a good shot. Much to my surprise, I was hooked! Since that day I have hunted and taken mule deer, whitetail, antelope and elk, but I will say, deer hunting is my favorite. Last winter, I decided to put in for a limited tag in the area where we live. It is hard for me to get away from work for long, so a local tag is what I wanted. Well before I ever put in for the tag we secured permission to hunt on a friend’s ranch and I drew the tag. We knew there were good deer on the property and I was excited to get a chance to try and take one.

It wasn’t until the beginning of September that I had a chance to scout the ranch. We set up and glassed for a few hours and saw some small bucks with does and fawns. As dark approached and we were leaving in the twilight, I spotted a group of deer in the willows. My husband didn’t want to stop and look, but I made him. That’s when we saw him. He was a giant! Never before had I seen a deer on the hoof so big. His velvet made him look even larger.

We got one fuzzy picture of him before we left and I knew he was the buck for me. Luckily, our friend gave me permission to take that particular buck, which was a good thing, because I was in love.

Sandi Dunn - Vegetables to Venison

For a full account of Sandi's adventure, go to page 42 in the February/March 2014 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.