Wm. Hovey Smith, author of Backyard Deer Hunting: Converting Deer to Dinner for Pennies per Pound
Hunting has been my passion since early childhood. I remember very well the excitement of finding my first BB gun under the Christmas tree. Unfortunately I lost my father at an early age, and we never had the opportunity to hunt together. As a result I became a solo, and largely self-taught, hunter who read everything that I could find on the subject. My early pickings were few in Sandersville, Georgia. Only when I got to college in the late 1950s did I discover more gun, hunting and shooting magazines than I had ever imagined.
I started writing outdoor materials in the 1970s for the NRA publications and made some sales elswhere including to the Gun Digest, where I am now a Corresponding Editor covering black-powder guns and hunting. My military service and life as a Professional Geologist took me to Alaska and all around North America. I lived serious amounts of time in Alaska, Arizona, Montana and Minnesota. In the early 1980s I returned home to Georgia, started writing full time, experienced some human relations and married. A series of books were produced including childrens' stories, and other topics as diverse as architecture and geology. More and more I became interested in the not-too-often-written-about subjects relating to hunting and fishing. Increasingly, almost all of my gun hunting was done with black-powder guns, my archery hunting with crossbows and my fishing with bows. These interest resulted in many magazine articles and my outdoor books Practical Bowfishing (Stoeger, 2004) and Crossbow Hunting (Stackpole, 2006). I have two written, but unpublished, books on black-powder hunting and even a new Christmas story, "A Visit from Auntie Thresa Clause," that I will perform this winter.
Life reversals, which included the death of my wife of 10 years to pancreatic cancer, economic stresses and watching a plunging economy, gave me both the experiences and inspiration to think about the need for a book stressing low-cost hunting methods as early as four years ago. The need for such a book grew as the economy weakened. The result was Backyard Deer Hunting: Converting Deer to Dinner for Pennies per Pound. I had felt the pain, had the life experiences and now was the time to write the book.
About the book
Backyard Deer Hunting is about providing information on how to find, kill and ultimately eat deer and other game animals that live near your home. My objective is to explain how to put meat on your family's table as inexpensively as possible. I used deer in the book's title because whitetails are the most frequently seen big-game animals in North America. The information is also applicable to wild hogs, bears and other big-game species.
Although outdoor writing may appear to be a glamorous profession; it is more often an obsession, rather than a vocation. Writers are paid little, late, have their work as often rejected as accepted and may spend hundreds of hours producing materials that never see print. I have often fed my family on deer and other game shot a few hundred yards from my house. I have drawn on my experiences in feeding a family when my income was sharply reduced. You can do the same. This book is designed to take someone who has never hunted through every step required to kill, clean, process and cook big game.
I have done everything that is described in this book. I have salvaged thrown-away hunting clothes from a Dumpster, drug road-killed deer off the roadside and safely consumed them. I have used nearly every knife, gun and crossbow that I have described. Where expedient items can be used or adapted, I have recommended them. Although in some categories it is impossible, most of the products that I have recommended are American made. I have concentrated on the least-expensive really workable items of their types that are available.
This book is not about looking good, owning fancy gear, impressing anyone or putting trophy heads on the wall. This book is about killing deer, wild hogs, bears and other meats-on-the-hoof and eating them. Although born in Georgia, I have spent significant parts of my life in Arizona, Alaska and Minnesota and have commonly hunted elsewhere. These experiences have been used to provide much of the information in this book.