(First published in the September 19 edition of the Vermont Standard)
By Katy Savage, Standard Staff
BROWNSVILLE — What’s on the supper menu depends on what the 15-members of the Windsor Coon Hunters Association can get. There has been wild chili and wild game stews in the past. There has also been moose meatloaf, roasted deer stuffed with garlic and fish. Bear meatballs were the biggest hit last year.
“We’ve been known to bag some pretty good deer,” said Tom Kenyon, a Windsor Coon Hunters Association member.
More than 100 people attend the Coon Club Wild Game Supper every year, eating and celebrating the moose, deer, bear and wildlife hunted in the Brownsville woods. This year’s supper will be at the Coon Club in Windsor on Sept. 21 at 5 p.m.
What started six years ago as a way to raise money to send children to conservation camps to learn about wildlife has turned into a can’t-miss event that now raises at least $1,000 each year. The Coon Club raises money to sponsor a hunter safety program. This year’s hunter safety course had about 12 young people in it, learning the rules of hunting.
There has also been more exotic food. A wild boar gets donated to the supper yearly and a caribou has been shipped from Canada in the past.
It brings people together who otherwise don’t see each other.
“The way society is now it’s very hard to get everybody together,” said Coon Club member Gary Burke. “Everyone has family responsibility.”
Just 1-2 deer are all that chef needs to prepare about 100 pounds of meat. He spends all day Saturday before the dinner cooking on the conventional oven at the Coon Club, while other members work to peel 50 pounds of potato or make homemade pie. For those who aren’t up for the gamey taste, there is also store-bought chicken and ham.
“Everyone enjoys the meal and enjoys seeing friends they don’t often see,” Kenyon said.
“I just enjoy getting out and observing the wildlife and birds,” Kenyon said. “When you get older the fact that you can climb to the top of the hill everyday is exciting.”
Leftovers are auctioned off — a raspberry pie was auctioned for $27 a few years ago. Other auction items can include breakfast at the Brownsville General Store, maple syrup and even paint cans.
“It isn’t just going out there and hunting game,” Kenyon said. “It’s learning about wildlife and how to support wildlife and encouraging landowners.”