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Deer Meat, a Celebrated Menu

I have never gone hunting for deer nor peccary (wild pig), but I have many friends who do, and from what they tell me, it is a fun-filled yet difficult trek. Jose Gonzalez and don Gaby Perez have been San Pedro’s most skilled hunters and have now been joined by Sammy Gonzalez.

The most popular hunting grounds are found in the area of Basil Jones up Northern Ambergris Caye. A hunter penetrates three or four miles from the beach into the bush. He either finds an existing path, or cuts a trail with a machete.

Once near a “savanna” (flat marshland with grass) he sits motionless for some time hoping to see some animals feeding, and have an early daylight shot. If he is not lucky, he must stay until night time when he uses another strategy. Now he turns on his flashlight which he carries on his forehead and spots the beam of light in all directions. When the light hits the eye of a deer, the eyes glow in the dark, and the hunter aims. He does not know if he will hit the head or the body, but he aims his 12 gauge or 16 gauge shotgun and fires. When he pulls the trigger, he also does not know if it is a tiger or crocodile or even his own companion, if he went hunting with one.

Fortunately a companion can shout or signal for you not to shoot. A deer remains entranced at the light and becomes an easy target. Some hunters take along a trained dog which will locate the deer after the shot.

If the deer is not too large, the hunter can choose to carry it on shoulder to the beach. If it is a large one, he can process the catch by cutting the legs, arms, ribs and other edible parts.

Today deer hunting is a hobby done mostly for the sport of it. Twenty five years ago it was done to provide prime meat to a village that was bored of eating fish and needed an exciting change in their menu. Venison steaks, stew or soup was a most welcome and celebrated dish twenty five years ago.

– by Angel Nuñez, Columnist

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