A Pound of Flesh


Bryzcek positioned with her doe and gun. (Courtesy of G. Bryczek)

Alex Landman

She was sitting next to her father in their blind on a cool evening.  She noticed something moving in the trees, and positioned her gun to take a shot.  If the shot was accurate, that would mean a freezer full of venison.  She looked through the scope and put her hand on the trigger, ready to fire.

Bryczek with her second kill of the season. (Courtesy of G. Bryczek)
Bryczek with one of her does, which later became dinner.  (Courtesy of G. Bryczek)

For sophomore Gwen Bryczek, hunting was not considered a blood sport, it was a sport that was in her blood.  It’s a passion she shares with her father and the two of them travel to Wisconsin to a hunting club they belong to multiple times throughout the season.

“Ever since I could safely hold a firearm, I’ve been out in the woods,” said Bryczek.  “It’s a huge part of my life and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

Bryczek, who was covered in Realtree camouflage with a bright orange hat and vest, huddled in her blind and positioned her Remington 7 Millimeter in the window frame.  She saw a doe peer its head from behind a tree and aimed the gun at its heart.

She pulled the trigger.

It was picture perfect.  The doe stood there for an instant, and then collapsed to the floor.  Bryczek put the safety on her gun and climbed down from her stand, which was 15 feet high in the tree.

“I felt respect for the doe, but I also very excited because it was my first kill of the season,” said Bryczek.

Now that Bryczek had her doe, it was time to retrieve it, remove the organs, and get it ready for eating.  Hunters normally take it to the butcher to have the meat retrieved, but Bryczek and her father were seasoned pros and did all of this themselves.

“It’s the hardest part because one wrong move, and all of the meat will be ruined,” said Bryczek.

After hanging the doe upside down and slicing open its stomach, Bryczek assisted her father and he pulled apart the incision, revealing the inside of the deer.  As expected, it was messy.

“Yeah, it’s messy, but it needs to be done if you want to have the tasty, lean meat,” said Bryczek.

As they were emptying the doe of its insides, which would be left in the woods for a hungry coyote to eat, Bryczek’s father presented her with something she had never seen before.

“He handed me a bloody, red organ and I had no idea what is was,” said Bryczek.

After much confusion, Bryczek’s father told her that it was the heart of her doe.  

“I screamed and looked in my hand, wondering how I ended up with the life of the doe in my palm,” said Bryczek.  “Not only was it a cool texture, but it was also the coolest experience of my life.”

And that’s how it feels to hold the life of an animal.