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Time to make most of sporting harvest

ost of us have spent the last few months hunting at every chance we got. The major seasons are over, and most of us have enough meat to last a year.

If you happen to be one of the unfortunate individuals that do not have a freezer full, spring is only a few months away. Spring is a good time to start practicing for next fall's hunt. The only reason a person could have for not gathering the winter's supply of food is poor aim. Most game animals are as bountiful as I have ever seen them in my hunting career.

Now is the time to start enjoying the wonderful flavors of the outdoors. I will provide two or three recipes each month or so, interspersed with regular columns to break up the monotony for people who do not enjoy reading recipes. Readers may feel free to use, republish and save these recipes. It is not necessary to credit me as I more than likely borrowed liberally from some else's recipe and do not remember the source to give them credit.

Deer Tenderloin

Unless a hunter is very careful, deer tenderloins will disappear without warning. They are the first part of a deer to be eaten, and have even been known to vanish right in deer camp. I have not personally been party to such a foul deed as taking another person's tenderloin, but the best eating I ever had was the loin of a deer I did not shoot.

Step 1: Turn on the gas grill or the broiler in the oven. High temperature is good.

Step 2: Find a tenderloin, from your deer or someone else's and slice it into steaks about three quarters of an in thick.

Step 3: Sprinkle your steaks with a little garlic salt or something like Kansas City Steak Seasoning.

Step 4: Grill or broil for three or four minutes on each side. Do not over-cook as the meat is very lean and will get dry.

Step 5: Enjoy and never tell the person who was short a deer loin or two how good they tasted. They may become suspicious about where yours were acquired.

Pepperoni Deer Jerky

Some of the best food known to mankind is jerky and can be made from almost any meat. The lean ground meat from a deer makes the best jerky of all. I have experimented with all types and flavors of store-bought jerky seasonings and I would rate most of them from not bad to delicious.

The most important thing to remember is to measure and weigh accurately. I have also started making my own jerky recipes by experimenting with seasoning, but still using the precisely-measured ratio of meat to curing salt. Contrary to popular opinion around deer camp, I am not doing this because I am cheap, I am a gourmet. I might be a little on the frugal side, but not cheap. A whole lot of jerky can be made for a whole lot less money with bulk purchased spices than a pre-mixed package.

2 lbs. ground deer meat

3 ½ teaspoons Tender Quick curing salt

1 teaspoon liquid smoke

1 teaspoon mustard seed

1 teaspoon fennel seed (crushed, a hammer works well)

3 teaspoons Frank's Hot Sauce (or less if so desired)

½ teaspoon anise (crushed, see hammer above)

½ teaspoon garlic powder

1 ½ teaspoons fine ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients together and put in refrigerator overnight. Run through a jerky gun or roll out flat and cut into strips. Dry in a food dehydrator or in an oven on low until desired dryness is reached. I like mine crunchy. If you take this jerky to work, you will not make it all the way from the back to the front. Even people who swear they will not eat deer meat, love pepperoni jerky.

Now is the time to make the most of what we have so enjoyed hunting. If someone has an especially good wild game recipe, feel free to drop me an email at Good eating to all.

Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Bloomfield, Iowa.