Tag Archives: Colorado

A Little Tussle Among Friends

Take a look at this short video of two mule deer bucks doing what young bucks do, although they are probably still new to the game and may not be completely sure exactly what makes them do it. The November rut is a ways off yet, but it helps to get some practice in beforehand. Just getting shed of some nervous energy, I suppose.

The clip is courtesy of Dave Massender of Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Dave recorded this little bit of fun from his office window, and the deer were sparring in his backyard. Clicking antlers is a sound not heard near often enough.

Many thanks to Dave. We should all be so lucky to have such an interesting backyard!

Posted by Michael Patrick McCarty

You might also like The Promise of Deer, or our story on Our Shrinking Mule Deer Herd Here

Pronghorn In The Pan

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Buck antelope taken with Compound Bow
Pronghorn for The Pan

 

The meat of the Pronghorn Antelope is a most precious commodity from my point of view, speaking as a hunter and a huge fan of all wild fish, game, and fowl. Yet, I think it safe to say that  the beast is not common table fare in most American households; in fact, I would venture to guess that very few people have ever tried it. That is a great loss to those so interested, as the animal affords one of the greatest epicurean opportunities of the west. It is my favorite of all wild meats, and there are many, many others like me.

It is understandable why so few have had the opportunity to give it a try, for it is a main ingredient not easily obtained. Pronghorn hunting permits are limited in one form or another in most of the western states, and acquiring a tag is often the most difficult part of an antelope hunt. It can take several years for the hunting gods to smile, but I can assure you that is it well worth the wait.

To my taste the flesh is fine-grained, sweeter, and more refined than most big game animals. Most venison or beef recipes will work to some degree, but it is after all, a bit different. It may take a little experimentation at first, but not too much. And as with all venison as a general rule, it is best to cook it leaning on the rare side.

To me a Pronghorn is the untamed and free-roaming veal of the western horizons, as there are some basic similarities and shared culinary characteristics. Treat it as you would prepare a nice cut of veal and you may be pleasantly surprised. A dish of Breaded Pronghorn Cutlet, or “Antelope Wiener Schnitzel”, might just do the trick.

As for spices, sometimes simple is best. If you like your entrees with a touch more complexity, then the usual candidates for veal and venison apply. But be sure to try one dish with sage as a special attraction. It is, after all, a creature of the sagebrush flats and the high deserts of the west.

Above all, enjoy your prize and savor the catch of the day. That is if you can get one to stand still long enough!

* Pronghorn has a nasty reputation as tasting overly gamey, at best, and inedible, at worst. Don’t believe it for a second. Well harvested, properly cared for in the field, and prepared in an attentive manner, antelope is hard to beat. Generally hunted in hot weather far from commercial processing facilities, heat spoilage and tainted meat is your worst enemy. The old-time hunters who really knew their meat used to say that quick cooled meat was of the sweetest kind.

Plan accordingly – dress, skin, and quarter as soon as possible and store on ice until you can refrigerate or freeze. You will be more than rewarded for your efforts, and you may find that you have acquired some new and famished friends in the bargain. It’s a fine deal, anyway you slice it.

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A FEW THOUGHTS ON PREPARATION

I am a proponent of offal, or organ meats – otherwise known as the heart, livers, kidneys, and assorted parts. Many hunters choose to leave these items behind, missing out on some truly great dining as a result.

Traditional venison recipes for the liver and kidneys work well here. As for the heart, I prefer mine cut in pieces, marinated, and splayed out on a very hot grill, finished medium rare. Be careful not to overcook it, as it will become extremely tough if you do.

Be extra sure to recover the tenderloins, which sit directly under the backbone and can be tricky to find. They are quite small but highly desirable, and many hunters have simply forgotten to cut them out. I’ve done it myself a time or two, much to my chagrin.

Tenderloin can be best cooked simply, and I like to celebrate success with a heavy black skillet and some salt and pepper. After a long day or more on the hunt, there is nothing like a simple feast to finish off the fun.

As for the rest – you’ve only just begun. Chops, roast, or stew, it’s all great any way you cook it.

Bon Appetit!

Have any favorite recipes you’d like to share? We’d love to hear about ’em….

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Food Freedom – and Guns Too!

Michael Patrick McCarty

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Just Another Bowhunting Trophy

Bull Elk Taken With Archery Tackle in Colorado
Rocky Tschappat With Another Bowhunting Trophy

September 28, 2014

Any elk taken with a bow and arrow is a trophy – just ask anyone that has hunted them.

This great bull was taken near Carbondale, Colorado late in the archery season. I am told it was a 73 yard shot too, and I believe it.

Congratulations Mr. Tschappat. Somehow you make it all look so easy, though we all know that is far from the truth!

We can’t wait to see what you come up with next year.

 

Posted by Michael Patrick McCarty

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September Was Created for Bugling Elk

October 8, 2015

 

A Bull Elk Bugling and Herding Cow Elk
King of The Mountain. Photo by David Schroeder of New Castle, Colorado

 

Call me crazy, but I may never tire of admiring elk.

It would take much more time than I have here to tell you why, but if you are a hunter, or another elk enthusiast, then there would not be much of a point in doing so. You already know what I might say.

I would be with them right now, amongst the herd, if I could. September is the best of all times in the Rocky Mountains, and elk have more than a little bit to do with that. I suspect the elk might agree with that too.

Yet, personal time in the wild lands is limited and precious, and there are always so many things that get in the way. I can appreciate a good picture when I see one though, and this one really puts me in the proper elk-country frame of mind.

A wildlife photographer is a hunter too, though they may prefer a different kind of tool to acquire their prey. With luck and perseverance they may just catch that perfect moment in time, preserved for you and I and for those who may never step foot in the land of rutting and wild-eyed bulls.

They fill in the gaps of our lost experience, and placate our wilderness longings when we simply cannot be there ourselves. We are all so very much richer for their efforts, and I salute them.

This particular photograph was taken by David Schroeder this September in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. He used a Nikon D600 camera with a 600mm telephoto lens, set at ISO 800, an aperture  of f/4, and a shutter speed of 1 /400 sec.

Dave tells me that he has been crazy about elk for over 35 years, and it shows. I can tell a kindred spirit when I see one.

I have no doubt that he, like I, shall never tire of admiring elk.

Posted by Michael Patrick McCarty

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Mountains Are For Merriam’s

ALPS OutdoorZ NWTF Grand Slam Turkey Vest


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There’s Nothing Like Hunting Turkeys at 8,000 Feet (If You Can Take It!)

Sometimes you have to go a long, long, way up in the land of little air to find a turkey…and if your hunting in western Colorado, I can just about guarantee that you will.

Merriam’s are the name of the game, and they, of all the other subspecies, may be the most challenging wild turkey of them all. If you have any doubts in that department, just take a long, hard gander at where they live. It may force you to reevaluate your hunting strategy…and your hopes.

But then again, maybe not.

The terrain is usually steep, and deep, and big. Really, really big. But the turkeys are there for the undaunted, and it is after all, a Rocky Mountain adventure.

Did I happen to mention that there is very little O2 hanging about?

 

 

Michael McCarty poses with a Merriam's Turkey taken in western Colorado in Spring 2016
Spring is for Merriam’s Turkeys
Michael McCarty prepares to set up while hunting Merriam's Turkeys on a full moon morning in Western Colorado
Moon Over Merriam’s

For some tips on hunting The Merriam’s Wild Turkey, see a great article here.