Long overdue post - Hiking Buddy at Deer Camp

Dec 19, 2009
Life has been a little hectic since deer camp between work, home life and prepping for the arrival of a new baby here in early summer but I finally got a chance to put my Hiking Buddy to work at deer camp last Fall.

Fair warning before I get too far along, if you don't like the seeing a picture of a deer heart, or deer heart being turned into fajitas don't scroll down too far! I also tend to be long winded so there is that as well.

OK back to the hunt. In typical fashion, I bring more knives on a hunt that one guy needs but hey, is there such as thing as too much cutlery? Each morning I go out I grab a different knife and take it to the field with me and should I get luckily enough to harvest a deer, that is the knife that gets field dressing duties. Opening day I saw a lot of smaller does, spikes and yearlings - I was covered up in deer most of the day but I didn't want to take a smaller deer early in the season so I held out, we had some nice bucks on camera so I rolled the dice.

IMG_5252 by Matt Westendorf, on Flickr

IMG_5281 by Matt Westendorf, on Flickr

The second morning of late season I was sitting in a stand we call the "Ridge Stand", which overlooks a deep draw with a small creek running at the bottom of it. Shortly after the sun was up, I caught some movement down in the bottom of the draw, a nice coyote was headed my way. He was on the move and I knew if he didn't decide to come up the ridge, I would never have a good shot at him. As luck would have it, he got almost parallel with my stand and turned on a 90 and headed right up the hill towards me. I settled the cross hairs on an opening about 12 yards from my stand and dropped him as soon as he was in the crosshairs. I've hunted deer for about 19 years now and this was only the second opportunity at a coyote (season open year around) that I have ever had. I blew the first one with a clean miss - I made up for it this time.

That morning I had happened to grab my new JX-6 Chris Tanner/Bark River collaboration knife so it pulled skinning duty on the 'yote

IMG_5274 by Matt Westendorf, on Flickr

IMG_5275 by Matt Westendorf, on Flickr

IMG_5278 by Matt Westendorf, on Flickr

I hunted the rest of the morning, saw a few more small does and had a spike buck under my stand for a goo 6-8 minutes before he moved on but didn't have an other opportunities. Day 3 of the opener was more of the same - smaller deer so I passed.

Second season got off to a quick start and guess what I had in my pocket? Yep that is right, the Hiking Buddy. I was back in the Ridge Stand and once again I caught movement heading my way, this time I could tell it was a pair of does. They worked their way towards me, milled around in the creek and then the larger of the two headed up the hill in almost the same place the coyote did a couple weeks earlier. I had hope she would cross broadside in front of me like the coyote did but she was on a beeline straight towards the stand. As she closed the distance, I made a decision to take a headshot before she got in too tight that I couldn't get a shot off. The shot hit home and she crumpled and tumbled down the ravine - I now had my work cut out for me, getting her back up to the top.

IMG_5469 by Matt Westendorf, on Flickr

IMG_5453 by Matt Westendorf, on Flickr

IMG_5448 by Matt Westendorf, on Flickr

IMG_5462 by Matt Westendorf, on Flickr

Recovered from the creek, the good side - shot entered her eye socket, traveled down her neck and took out a lung.

IMG_5427 by Matt Westendorf, on Flickr

Resting part way up the ravine - she made me work for it

IMG_5429 by Matt Westendorf, on Flickr

Made it to the top, time to get to field dressing

IMG_5432 by Matt Westendorf, on Flickr

Every since trying venison heart for the first time a couple years back, I am always grateful when one survives the shot. This one was perfect and was destined for fajitas.

IMG_5434 by Matt Westendorf, on Flickr

For me the Hiking Buddy is a fantastic little knife for field dressing duties. For whitetail sized game, it's in my preferred size range - not too big - not too small. Plenty of handle to get a good grip but compact enough to work inside the body cavity easily. It ride great on a belt, in a pocket or in your pack. It's everything you need in a smaller sized field knife and nothing you don't - just the way I like it. The Hiking Buddy has earned a spot in my permanent deer knife rotation along with all the EDC belt time it gets.

Above I mentioned fajitas so let's get onto the pictures of the cook - homemade corn tortillas, homemade fajita seasoning over strips of venison heart cooked on my new plow disc cooker. These things were incredible.

First up - the tortillas.

Deer Heart Fajitas by Matt Westendorf, on Flickr

Disc coming up to temp

Deer Heart Fajitas by Matt Westendorf, on Flickr

Deer Heart Fajitas by Matt Westendorf, on Flickr

The heart, ready to be prepped

Deer Heart Fajitas by Matt Westendorf, on Flickr

Everybody in the pop getting happy

Deer Heart Fajitas by Matt Westendorf, on Flickr

Finally, the reward
Deer Heart Fajitas by Matt Westendorf, on Flickr

If you made it this far, thanks for hanging in there with me. Hope you enjoyed the thread...
Thank you! Great storytelling, excellent pictures, nice looking knives and a beautiful area all followed by that delicious ending.

Pardon me now while I go rustle up a snack. :thumbsup:
Love it! Thank you for sharing. Makes me wish it was September already! I'm going to have quite a choice to make on which knife I'll be taking for my first archery elk hunt. We're backpacking in so I'm only taking one! Haha. Maybe I'll find that one at Blade Show this year.

Those fajitas look amazing! I'm intrigued by this plow disc cooker...
cool narration, pics, Hiking Buddy & discada!

much respect on the homemade tortillas. I received some mix & a press from my secret santa on here last year .....what a disaster......imma hafta keep buying them.
Odaon - Santa brough me this discada at Christmas, pretty sure he picked it up from www.southwestdisk.com. He has a few different sizes, this is the 22" with the Trinity oval handle design. I have done a lot of fajitas, stir fry's and even cooked some soft-shell blue crab on it over the weekend. I really am loving cooking on it.

Phillip & Andy - thank you!
W _Westy_

If you want, I would love to post this to the Fiddleback Forge website as a blog post. More than happy to do it and give you credit in the article as well as link back to the original Blade Forums post.

Let me know. I think this is great!

- Robert