Hunted, fished till Md. sub­urbs came knock­ing

The Washington Post Sunday - - OBITUARIES - BY BART BARNES new­so­bits@wash­post.com

Miller Young called him­self “the last red­neck in Bethesda.”

For years, he ran a bird farm on a four-acre spread that had been his fam­ily’s home since 1923. He hunted and fished and grew his own veg­eta­bles.

Pe­ri­od­i­cally, he hosted a game bar­be­cue where he served smoked veni­son, pork, wild boar, goose, an­te­lope, quail and rab­bit. Sixty or so of his best and clos­est friends— folks who “bite the caps off beers,” he said — gath­ered to eat, drink and swap sto­ries about the days long gone in Mont­gomery County, when men were men and an­i­mals were for shoot­ing and eat­ing.

Mr. Young died Sept. 16 at a hos­pi­tal in Raleigh, N.C. He was 67. The cause was com­pli­ca­tions from pneu­mo­nia, said a son, Hunter Young.

“Miller Young has been left be­hind by progress and he hopes no one comes back for him,” a 1988 Washington Post ar­ti­cle noted.

He be­gan his work­ing ca­reer as a pin boy at a Bethesda bowl­ing al­ley, and he would later claim to have once bowled a per­fect 300 game. He was a farmer, bar­tender, owner-op­er­a­tor of a bi­cy­cle shop, res­tau­rant man­ager and over­seer of a wine-tast­ing room. Mainly, he worked at night.

His day job was his av­o­ca­tion and also his call­ing. He ran the K&E (Keg and Egg) Ha­cienda bird farm. There, he raised black Span­ish tur­keys, ring-necked pheas­ants, sil­ver pheas­ants, man­darin ducks, chukar par­tridge, quail and white Chi­nese geese. There was a time when he sold quail eggs to Sut­ton Place Gourmet and day-old baby quail to fal­con­ers, who used them to train hawks for hunt­ing. They paid him back with wild rab­bits. He sold bird feath­ers for fish­ing flies and cap adorn­ments. His birds won lo­cal, state and na­tional awards in poul­try com­pe­ti­tions.

Miller Ver­non Young was born in Bethesda on Aug. 22, 1948. His fa­ther was an Army colonel, and his grand­fa­ther ran an ice cream com­pany in Washington. His great-grand­fa­ther was among the or­ga­niz­ers of pro­fes­sional base­ball in the na­tion’s cap­i­tal.

He grad­u­ated in 1966 from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School and at­tended Mont­gomery Col­lege. For 22 months, he was a mil­i­tary po­lice of­fi­cer with the Army Na­tional Guard. His du­ties in­cluded pro­tect­ing the White House from an­ti­war de­mon­stra­tors dur­ing the Viet­nam War.

Big-bel­lied and bearded, Mr. Young saw him­self as a hold­out against the re­lent­less march of a sub­ur­ban­iza­tion process that had no place for him. “I’m a dy­ing breed,” he told The Post. “I try to pre­serve my an­tiq­ui­ties. I eat bam­boo shoots, and poke salad in the spring.”

The neigh­bor­hood where he lived, on the north side of Bethesda, had be­come ex­ces­sively over­pop­u­lated, he be­lieved.

By the late 1990s, town­houses across the street from his spread were selling for hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars, and it was only a mat­ter of time be­fore he would sell, too. Since 1999, he had lived mostly in Gaithers­burg, Md., vis­it­ing his sons fre­quently in North Carolina, where he died.

His mar­riage to Martha Dabrowski ended in di­vorce. Sur­vivors in­clude three sons, Hunter Young of Wen­dell, N.C., Sam Young of Rockville, Md., and Nick Young of Raleigh; and one grand­daugh­ter.

Mr. Young’s pe­ri­odic bar­be­cues of smoked game typ­i­cally in­cluded meats “that prob­a­bly some of the best chefs in town can’t get their hands on. And we get high qual­ity with­out dish­ing out a lot of money,” he said.

There were only two real essen­tials: a ri­fle and a good aim.

As the years went by, even these essen­tials were im­per­iled. Hunt­ing in Mont­gomery County had be­come so­cially sus­pect, and the num­ber of places where hun­ters could hunt seemed to be in­ex­orably de­clin­ing. Or so said the ve­nis onand wild goose-eaters at Mr. Young’s bar­be­cues.

“There are too many peo­ple, too many jog­gers,” said Mr. Young.

FAM­ILY PHOTO

Miller Young was known for his many wild-game bar­be­cues.

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