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Post Column: When life gives you roadkill, catch catfish

All avid fishermen have used some weird tactics and baits to catch fish. We all have our lucky lure or lucky bait that each of us feels will attract the biggest and best fish. In some instances, the tactics to catch the big one might seem a little strange to some.

On Sunday evening, two buddies of mine were driving to pick up a set of speakers from a stranger they never met. On their way to this house, they drove by a few deer trying to cross the street. It was on their way back when they saw a car pulled over where the deer had been standing.

The two pulled over to the side of the road to check on the driver and then to check on the deer. Sure enough, the deer had been hit and killed. They then called me, asking if I wanted some deer meat from this deer that had been hit.

After waiting for the police with the women, Zach and Jon received a “salvage tag” (which is required for keeping deer out of season), threw the deer into the trunk of Zach’s Pontiac Grand Am and brought it home.

In the backyard, the deer was dressed, skinned, and “butchered,” to use the term lightly. It might be weird, but I’m pretty excited about eating my first road kill. However, the weirdness of this night was only getting started at this point.

After getting the meat from the deer and throwing it into the freezer, we thought of what we should do with the carcass and entrails. Naturally, fishing is always on all of our minds, so we intended to utilize this situation.

We loaded up some buckets with the “leftovers” of the deer and the five of us packed into the SUV and headed downriver.

We drove to a familiar spot on the Hocking River and carried the buckets to the water. Our plan was to throw the deer into the water, hoping to later attract big catfish to the area, much like when Hooper, Brody and Captain Quint chummed the water to attract Jaws. Our deed was done at about 1 a.m. and we would come back the following evening prepared to wrangle flathead catfish.

The following evening, we headed back to the bend in the river where the carcass of the deer lay somewhere underwater. We were equipped with our heavy rods and big reels, big hooks and big weights. We were not fooling around on this night.

As passionate outdoorsmen, our group believes in proper conservation, treatment and appreciation of the animals of the outdoors. If an animal is killed, we respect the animal and waste as little of the animal as possible. If we are able to take a deer that has been hit by a car and would be left to rot on the side of the road, we will use it as best we can. So for our bait that night, of course, we used the deer’s organs.

We used pieces of the lungs, heart and liver of the deer in an attempt to catch a catfish dinner. However, on this night, we weren’t able to get the job done. It was one of the first warm nights of the year and the fish were not yet as active as we had hoped.

Even though fish were not caught on this night, it was well worth keeping this deer. We were able to turn the unintentional death of a deer into dinner, bait and an experience.

Ryan Dentscheff is a junior journalism student, president of the Ohio University Anglers Organization and Post columnist. Send your fishing questions to rd291709@ohiou.edu.

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