- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 21, 2001

WATERFORD, Va. — It's lunch hour at the barn. The first morning of the Virginia deer hunting season has passed, and it is time to reminisce while the aroma of smoked rabbit, potatoes, turnip greens and ham permeates the air.
The farm manager, Jim Riley, oversees the proper execution of various culinary delights. He will not tolerate miscreants who might interfere with the fixing of what he calls real food. That leaves McDonald's, Wendy's and Bob's Big Boy in a vacuum. "How can anybody eat that stuff," Riley wonders aloud.
Then he warns, "Don't lift that lid. I'll take care of it. You'll eat when I say it's ready."
As an afterthought, in an imitation of a Louisiana Cajun, he says, "Didn't I told you?"
Nobody argues with the silver-haired Riley who knows as much about deer hunting as he does farming and cooking which is a lot.
Barrett Everhart shot a buck this morning probably an 8-pointer. We couldn't tell for sure because one side of the well-fed deer's rack was gone. The side that was still there showed four points. "Wonder what happened?" asked Barrett. "Could he have lost it in a fight? Maybe he got hung up in a fence and broke it off getting free. Hmm. I guess we'll never know."
One of the wags in the barn whispered out of earshot of Barrett, of course "The missing antler might have been shot off by an errant aim and the squeeze of a trigger. How many times did Barrett shoot anyway?" The suggestion got a laugh from the other hunters.
Riley has a pal who loves to eat venison any kind of venison so the farmer made sure that a huge doe was available for his friend to take to a butcher's processing shop not far from here.
Shots were heard all over the foothills of the Blue Ridge. Loudoun County is one of the major deer counties in all of Virginia. Thousands of whitetails are taken there each year, but soon much of the hunting will have to slow down because of the exceptionally strong local building boom that sees more and more of Loudoun's farm and woodlands turned into home sites for the well-to-do. What a shame.
Finally, the food was ready. Riley passed around plastic plates and forks. The rabbits that Everhart brought were tender and flavorful.
Greg Torian's wife made a batch of deviled eggs for us, and they disappeared quickly. But it was Riley's greens and potatoes generous chunks of ham floating in the juices amid the vegetables that were a hit. The man is a wizard at the stove. (Yes, it's a wood-burner what else?)
During the afternoon, more deer were "collected," with Riley already planning to serve many a roast in weeks to come. Others took their "meat" home. As day turns into night, I'm still in my backyard, a skinning knife working overtime and wrapping paper running low. I need to buy more of that stuff.
Life is good.

Potomac smallmouth club meets
The Potomac River Smallmouth Club will hold its monthly meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 28, at 7:30 p.m. at the Vienna Fire Station in Northern Virginia. Although there will be no special guest speaker this month, a raffle of merchandise provided by local sporting goods establishments and club members will be held. Refreshments will be served. The public is invited.

Want to join a bass club?
Virginia fisherman Bobby Lewis sent a note recently to tell of a new fishing club, the Hookey Bass Club. "Our goal," he said, "is to provide a club that is more for fun and good fishing than competition. Sure, the competition will be there, but it will be more for pride than money."
Lewis says the Hookey Bass Club will have fewer rules, a low dues structure, flexible team events, few meetings, fishing in various locations, and a $5 fine for anybody who whines. Their next contest will be held at Lake Anna, west of Fredericksburg.
Interested in joining? Call Rick Meadows, 540/972-7304, or Lewis, 540/854-4163.

Don't forget Maryland deer season
Maryland's two-week deer hunting season for users of modern firearms starts Saturday and ends Dec. 8. Please be sure you have written permission from the landowner whenever you hunt on private property and on public lands be kind to newcomers and strangers. Hunters will be watched not only by animal rights groups who want to outlaw the sport but also by nonparticipants who have nothing whatsoever against hunting. All of us must be willing to be hunting's good-will ambassadors.


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