Category Archives: Hunting For The Pot, Fishing For The Pan

Getting It Done! Hunters Were “Paleo” and “Field To Table” Long Before it Had a Catchy Name

Complete Fish and game Cookery of North America by Frances Macilquham

Complete Fish and Game Cookery of North America: A Compendium of Lore, History, and Cooking Methods Ancient and Modern, Encompassing All Varieties of Birds, Beasts, and Fishes as Well as every Regional Cuisine, from the Arctic to the Tropics. By Frances Macilquham.

In The Eyes Of A Pigeon

Superdove: How the Pigeon Took Manhattan … And the World (Hardcover)

Why do we see pigeons as lowly urban pests and how did they become such common city dwellers? Courtney Humphries traces the natural history of the pigeon, recounting how these shy birds that once made their homes on the sparse cliffs of sea coasts came to dominate our urban public spaces. While detailing this evolution, Humphries introduces us to synanthropy: The concept that animals can become dependent on humans without ceasing to be wild; they can adapt to the cityscape as if it were a field or a forest.

Superdove simultaneously explores the pigeon’s cultural transformation, from its life in the dovecotes of ancient Egypt to its service in the trenches of World War I, to its feats within the pigeon-racing societies of today. While the dove is traditionally recognized as a symbol of peace, the pigeon has long inspired a different sort of fetishistic devotion from breeders, eaters, and artists—and from those who recognized and exploited the pigeon’s astounding abilities. Because of their fecundity, pigeons were symbols of fertility associated with Aphrodite, while their keen ability to find their way home made them ideal messengers and even pilots.

Their usefulness largely forgotten, today’s pigeons have become as ubiquitous and reviled as rats. But Superdove reveals something more surprising: By using pigeons for our own purposes, we humans have changed their evolution. And in doing so, we have helped make pigeons the ideal city dwellers they are today. In the tradition of Rats, the book that made its namesake rodents famous, Superdove is the fascinating story of the pigeon’s journey from the wild to the city—the home they’ll never leave.


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By Michael Patrick McCarty

 

a vintage photo of a boy watching his homing pigeons exercise their wings after being released from their catch pen
Come Home Soon!

A willing and observant person can gather some extraordinary insights about the natural world in the most unlikely places. It can happen in the short time that it takes to blink an eye, no matter if that eye belongs to you, or to something else. Nature abounds with beneficial lessons and the teachers of true meaning are everywhere. I just happen to gain some of my clues from the clear-eyed and attentive stares of my backyard pigeon flock. You can learn a lot from an otherwise ordinary and common creature.

I spend a fair amount of time with this captive audience of one hundred in their outdoor aviary. I am their provider, and their lifeline from the outside lands. I supply them with their daily ration of grains and clean water, irregardless of the weather or the many other duties or time constraints I may have. I fill their pickpots with grit and minerals. I break ice from their bowls in the winter, and suffer the same stinging snows and biting winds of the day. I clean their flypen and pigeon-house, and keep a sharp eye out for the telltale signs of distress or disease. I study them closely, and through it all, they watch me too.

I am a constant in their lives, and a spoke in their wheel of life. I have come to know of them and their world just a little bit, and they of me. It could be said that they would rather prefer that I was not involved at all, but I am a necessary intrusion they must tolerate, at least for a brief time.

Yet, they wait for me each morning and afternoon, the anticipation building as I drive up to the entrance doors. They mill about excitedly as I approach, ready to perform just for me. I touch the door handle, and they begin their wild jig, dancing like ecstatic puppets on hidden strings. They hop about and swirl their wings like crazed whirligigs, or slap their wingtips smartly as they launch from their perch for a short flight across the pen.

They chant their pigeon talk and coo even louder as I step in through the inner doors, to become completely surrounded by frantic birds, eager to fill their crops before the other’s. They push and shoulder for each speck of grain as if their life depended on it. Perhaps they bicker and fight to establish or maintain some imperceptible pigeon pecking order, or maybe just to remind themselves that life can be a struggle. You would think that they would know by now that their will be enough food for all comers, but it is a wild ritual that they simply must abide for reasons known only to the pigeon.

We have repeated this madcap scene a few thousand times and more, the pigeons and I. It has become routine, with little deviation from the usual suspects. That is until yesterday, when our normal interaction abruptly and inexplicably changed.

It was immediately obvious when I pulled up in my truck. The absence of sound or flashing wings struck me first, and what pigeon heads I could see sat on top of outstretched necks, alert, with searching eyes. They crouched in the classic manner of all prey, with feet tucked under their bodies, coiled and ready to spring out and away from impending danger.

A close up photo of a common pigeon with eye

The birds stood frozen and paid me little mind as I entered and searched the ground for an animal intruder. I investigated the pigeon houses and the nest boxes and found nothing. I checked every nook and cranny of their limited world and came up empty. I paused to scratch my head, and ponder this puzzling circumstance.

Hand on chin, I stared at the closest pigeon and wondered, determined to discover just why he would not fly. And then he cocked his head, and I saw his eye focus on something high as he grounded himself more tightly to his perch. At that moment I spied a wide, dark shadow moving across the dirt floor, and smiled. I knew exactly what belonged in that kind of shadow, as did my fine feathered friends. All I had to do was look up, to see just exactly what it was that had struck such all-consuming fear in their hearts.

I had no doubt that the shadow maker was an eater of birds, but there were several possibilities in this category. A red-tailed hawk maybe, or a gleaming eagle from the nearby river. In this case the black shadow belonged to an animal of equal color, with a distinctively naked neck. It was not what I expected to see.

The Turkey Vulture, or Buzzard as it is sometimes called, is quite common to the American West and many parts of North America. A six-foot wingspan casts a long shadow across the land, and he covers a lot of it as he travels. That great red and bald head is immediately recognizable from afar, and known by all. His sentinel like posture and hovering demeanor create and perpetuate his iconic image. It is a form often associated with death, and it is a meaning not entirely lost on my domesticated, but anxious, pigeon flock.

The Vulture is classified as a bird of prey, after all, even though he finds most of his meals by smell after they are already dead. I suppose that it is a distinction utterly lost on the brain of a pigeon.

His generic name is Cathartes, which means “purifier”.  It is an appropriate name, as the Buzzard is the sharp-beaked “tearer”, and recycler of flesh and feather. He is part of nature’s cleanup crew, and a perfectly ordained sanitizing unit. His kind is often referred to as “carrion eaters”, as if it were a derogatory term used to define the sordid parameters of their defective character. Nothing could be father from the truth.

I, for one, am a defender of this homely yet beautiful animal. The manner in which he makes his living should not be used to demean or degrade his standing in the larger scheme of things. His shadow may strike terror in the souls of countless scurrying and furtive creatures, but he has not come for them. Not now. He is where our lifeless bodies might naturally go, may we all be so lucky. There are far worse fates to suffer than those borne through the belly of a bird.

Still, it makes me wonder about the sensibilities of the pigeons in my charge. None of this buzzard business should be of any concern to a bird so far removed from a natural environment. It may be true that their only protection from flying marauders is a thin, nylon mesh that forms the roof of their cage. But what of it?

Most of my birds have never known anything else than the limited boundaries of the aviary. They were hatched here, reared by their parents and brought to adulthood without having to worry about danger and death from above. They have never enjoyed a truly wild moment in their lives, and I doubt if the thought of escape and a different kind of life has ever occurred to them.

Likewise, their parents have grown up in much the very same way, as did their parents, and their parents, and so on and so on. In fact their domestic lineage goes back for thousands of years, to the days when the first man-made his first hopeful departures from the relative safety of the caves. They are mankind’s first domestic animal partner, and their history is our history. One would think that very little of the wild would be left in the soul of a pigeon. On the contrary, it would appear that the thin margin of safety above their swiveling heads provides little comfort.

It makes me wonder about the level of domestication in the so-called domestic pigeon. How much wild is left in an otherwise non-wild creature? What does he remember of his life on the cliffs? Is it some latent genetic memory, or something else that keeps him looking skyward? Something tells me that there are some wild yearnings left behind, and that it might not take them very long to surface if given some small opportunity.

Truth be known, the story of the vulture and the pigeon is a tale as old as time and one not so easily forgotten. Each has something to tell us in their own way. Their interactions remind us that the primordial spark of life burns on as brightly as ever. They beckon us to live fully while we are alive, no matter the circumstance or the crosses we bear.

They tell us that danger is but a heartbeat away, though we try to deny it by surrounding ourselves with shallow and petty distractions. The realities of life and death lie closely behind the delicate veil, no matter how hard we may try to separate and protect ourselves from the natural world with the cages of our own clever designs.

The Turkey Vulture occasionally wishes to feel like a master predator on the wing, and a hunter of live prey. Perhaps he flies over our birds to feel the power of his blood and history. He dares us to be watchful, yet hopeful, lest we gain the finality of his steady gaze. We all must eventually return to replenish the elements of the earth. We are needed, we are welcome, but perhaps not today.

The great purifier embraces the rising thermals and circles ever upward, hanging on the edge of consciousness to remind us that a little bit of wild remains in the most cowered and tamed of the earthly realms below. We shall all have plenty of time to rest, and to watch, in our time.

 

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) riding the air currents while searching for prey or carrion and something to eat
Patience Is A Virtue For a Vulture

By Michael Patrick McCarty

You Might Also Like A Skunk Is A Down Low Odiferous *Weasel (But That’s O.K.)

https://steemit.com/homesteading/@huntbook/in-the-eyes-of-a-pigeon-observations-of-an-amateur-naturalist

Black Canyon Wing and Clay

BH Outdoors Hunting Dog Training Pack – Strong Bumpers – Retrieving Dummies – Lanyard – Work/Training Whistle – Durable Throw Rope Dummy (Sports)

Team Realtree Natural Canvas Hunting, Retrieving, Training Dummy 6 Pieces Total 4 Canvas Dummies (2 orange, 2 natural) Readily holds scents For use on water or land Size Small Each dummy is; 9″ long + Throwing rope, 2″ diameter Durable and Floatable Work whistle/dog whistle Orange lanyard Team Realtree Hunting Dog Training Kit Durable Long-Lasting Canvas Material Includes Throwing Rope Floatable Dummies that can also be dog toys Whistle is Versatile Dog Training Tool which Produces Varied Sounds and Pitches

New From:$19.99 USD In Stock
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“Soak it up, go into it softly and thoughtfully, with love and understanding, for another year must pass before you can come this way again”.

Gene Hill, Wingshooter’s Autumn, 1986

 

October 2015

Recently, I was honored to be an invited guest of a member of Black Canyon Wing and Clay in Delta, Colorado.

The use of their hunter friendly facilities and their gracious hospitality will be forever appreciated. And thank god for good friends too.

Give them a call if you are looking for a well-managed shooting property and a fine place to train your dogs or spend a stress free afternoon in a field of upland birds. And oh by the way, a round of wobble trap shooting is a whole bunch of good time (if you hit them).

Here’s a small look at some of the fun, and a couple of game recipes too.

A hunter, Michael McCarty, poses with a shotgun and a ring-necked at Black Canyon Wing and Clay Shooting Resort in Delta, Colorado. A great place to shoot trap and enjoy a hunting shooting reserve
Who Could Ever Tire of Pheasant in the Hand

 

Hunter’s “Go To” Pheasant Marinade

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • juice from one lemon

This should be enough marinade for about 4 pheasant breasts and 8 legs. If not, adjust amount of marinade to the amount of meat (It is not necessary to completely immerse it). Marinade in covered dish in refrigerator. Best cooked on a hot grill. Don’t over cook.

*This is a fairly powerful marinade, so shorter marinade times of 20 minutes to 2 hours are best.

**It is difficult not to overdo it with this simple marinade. It’s that good! This works equally well on many kinds of wild game. Give it a try on some prime elk steaks and you won’t regret it.

A upland game bird hunter shoots some wobble trap at Black Canyon wing and Clay in Delta, Colorado. Trap shooting is a great way to practice your shotgunning skills for upland birds
Time To Check The Eye
An upland game hunter poses with a Rooster Pheasant at black Canyon Wing and Clay in delta, Colorado
Pheasants Always Make You Smile
skeeze / Pixabay
Logo found on a pickup truck for the Black Canyon Wing and Clay in Delta, colorado. A colorado shooting and hunting preserve reserve
Where The Action Is!

“Now you know your first big cock pheasant is a sight to see. There maybe ain’t nothing as dramatic, whether it’s an elephant or a polar bear. A cock pheasant is like a mallard duck. Maybe the pintail or the canvasback is better to eat, but there is nothing in the flying department as wonderfully gaudy as a cock pheasant of a he-mallard. Well, maybe a peacock, but we have so few peacocks around our neck of the woods”. – Robert Ruark

Read More About Black Canyon Here.

CHUKHAR WITH SHALLOTS

  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 4 chukhar
  • 1 pound shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme

Brown the birds in 1/2 of the butter and salt and pepper to taste. Set Aside. Add the shallots, and cook until soft. Set shallots aside. Melt the remaining butter and add flour; stir for two minutes. Add broth, return the shallots, chukhars, and thyme. Cover and cook until tender (about 15 or 20 minutes).

At Mesa's Edge by Eugenia Bone. A celebration of the food from Colorado's North Fork Valley of the Gunnison
Bring On The Chukhars, and the Pheasants Too!

*This recipe was taken from At Mesa’s Edge: Cooking and Ranching in Colorado’s North fork Valley by Eugenia Bone. It provides great insight into the Gunnison Country and the unique pleasures of this area.

You May Also Like Our Thoughts On  Pheasant Hunting HERE, and a recipe for pheasant burritos that we love.

By Michael Patrick McCarty

And, You Might Also Read Our Post About Trophy Pike Fishing at Manitoba’s Silsby Lake Lodge

https://steemit.com/hunting/@huntbook/sporting-destinations-black-canyon-wing-and-clay

Pronghorn Jerky With Raisins and Madeira

SIGVAL Beef Jerky Gun, 1 Pound Capacity Jerky Maker, Aluminum Barrel, Easy to Clean Handle and Stainless Steel Nozzles

The SIGVAL Jerky Gun is built to last with an aluminum barrel, a smooth-pull metal trigger and handle, and a metal rod. The gun is easy to handle, holding one pound of meat.

Three stainless steel nozzles make creating flat or round jerky incredibly simple. Make flat sticks of jerky twice as fast with the third double flat nozzle.

The barrel, nozzles, and connecting caps can all be quickly disassembled for easy cleaning. A stainless steel and nylon brush is included for quick cleaning of the nozzles. The handle and trigger do not use plastic covers that create crevasses that are difficult to clean. The entire gun is simple to take apart and wash between uses.

Take the ingredients of your food into your own hands and enjoy with your family and friends. We hope you have many successful jerky adventures! Included: 3 stainless steel nozzles, nozzle-cleaning brush, jerky gun, instructions

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Pronghorn Antelope

Incoming! Jerky On The Hoof

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 3-4 pound rump roast or similar cut
  • 3/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3/4 cup Soy Sauce
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 3/4  cup Good Madeira
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Salt

DIRECTIONS

Cut meat into 1/4″ strips. Place remaining ingredients into blender and mix well. Then pour mixture over meat and refrigerate for at least 48 hours. Dehydrate for 8-10 hours, or until done.

Pairs nicely with the remaining Madeira, but then again, that’s the general idea.

Enjoy!

– Bear in mind that this jerky does not call for any type of added preservative. Refrigeration, or freezing,  is best for long-term storage.

Recipe by Michael Patrick McCarty

Pigeon Jerky

Most people don’t think of making jerky out of this common and often underrated bird, so good pigeon jerky recipes are scarce as hen’s teeth. Either that, or our fanatic pigeon shooting friends are holding them quite close to the vest.

We’ve been experimenting a bit with pigeon jerky and we have a few ideas. Many beef jerky marinades seem to work fairly well. Duck or goose jerky recipes can be adapted too. We’d love to hear about some of your favorite creations.

Soy and Ginger Pigeon Jerky

  • 6 pigeon breasts
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper

Pound and flatten pigeon breasts in an effort to make them as uniform as possible, then cut into thin strips about 1/4″ thick. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and add the breast meat. Marinade for 4 to 12 hours in refrigerator, then dehydrate for about 8 hours at 155 degrees. It is done when it cracks easily when bent.

Serve with some creamy goat cheese of your choice on a good artisan cracker and a glass of good Port to wash it down. Guaranteed to stump the crowd, because almost no one can guess it’s origin. They will, however, want more.

Meditations / Pixabay

 

Pronghorn Antelope Jerky With Chipotles In Adobo

Nesco FD-28JX Jerky Xpress Dehydrator Kit with Jerky Gun – MADE IN USA (Kitchen)

Nesco American Harvest Jerky Xpress Dehydrator Kit with Jerky Gun includes everything needed to make delicious home made jerky. Just add ground meat. Features a 350 Watt, fixed temperature, and top down power head is perfect for the beginner or an experienced jerky maker. Jerky Gun comes with 3 tip attachments. Makes great tasting beef jerky or venison jerky! There are four different flavors of jerky spices included with this unit, Hot and Spicy, Teriyaki, Original, and Pepperoni.

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Making Homemade Jerky in the Dehydrator
Almost Ready

October 10, 2015

I am becoming a jerky aficionado, and I must say that so far this is one of the best jerky marinades I have tried. It makes me wonder if even an old shoe would taste good after hanging out in this for a while.

Long term storage does not seem to be a problem with this creation. It simply does not last that long in my house.

Kudos to Hank Shaw of Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. This man is a master wizard when it comes to wild game.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 or 5 pound antelope roast
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup sliced onion
  • 1 head garlic, peeled
  • 1 seven-ounce can of chipotles in adobo
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons salt

Cut meat into 1/4″ strips and place in a non-reactive bowl. Combine remaining ingredients into blender and mix well. Pour over meat and refrigerate for 36-48 hours, stirring occasionally. Dehydrate for 6-8 hours, or until done.

*I have also made jerky with this marinade from elk, deer, and now, mountain goat. I love them all.

Re-posted with Permissions. Thank You Hank!

Posted by Michael Patrick McCarty

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Mountain Goat Sausage – It’s What’s For Breakfast!

LEM Products 17801 Big Bite #12 .75HP Stainless Steel Electric Meat Grinder (Sports)

All stainless-steel motor housing, all metal gears with roller bearings, heavy duty handle for easy moving, 110 volt, permanently lubricated motor with improved grease formulation to reduce motor noise, built in circuit breaker, stainless steel knife, head, auger and large meat pan, stainless steel coarse (3/8″) and fine (3/16″) plates, 3 stuffing tubes, and meat stomper. Five-year factory warranty and lifetime customer support. ETL Certified to UL Standards.

LEM is a family owned company, passionate about bringing innovation to game processing. Our revolutionary Improved Big Bite Grinders live up to this passion with improved speed and performance that deliver a premium grind in half the time. The head design and advanced Big Bite technology offer a superior second grind, while virtually eliminating stomping and vastly improving the sausage stuffing function.

LEM products deliver high quality meat processing equipment: meat grinders, jerky making equipment, and vacuum sealers along with the needed supplies for the hunter and home meat processor. Our products allow everyone from butchers, restaurants, and the at-home meat processor to make delicious sausage, jerky and other meat products, all while controlling the healthy content of the foods they provide for their family and friends. We believe home processing to be an essential part of the outdoor experience and will continue to promote the responsible use of our greatest gift, the bountiful outdoors.


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“And then to breakfast  with what appetite you have”.

Shakespeare, Henry VIII

 

Cooking In A Skillet Over A Hot Campfire
StockSnap / Pixabay
PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

 

Grinding Wild Game Meat At Home With Food Grinder
Homemade Sausage and Burgers Are The Best   Sausage making is more art than science, and it is really a matter of personal taste in the end. Creativity is king, and it’s fun too.

I like patty sausage, so here is one bulk sausage recipe that you may enjoy:

Hot Italian Mountain Goat Sausage

  • 5 pounds ground shoulder or cut of your choice
  • 2 Tbsp Salt
  • 8 tsp Fennel Seed
  • 8 gloves Garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 tsp Oregano
  • 5 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
  • 1 1/4 tsp Coriander
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Paprika
  • 1 1/4 tsp Caraway

Mix very well. Form into patties and fry in the cooking oil of your choice.

*You may also wish to substitute 1 pound of ground pork butt for 1 pound of goat, which seems to go together quite well and does add some flavor.

**This recipe also works well with elk, mule deer, and pronghorn antelope. I have tried them all, and to my added surprise, I believe I like the mountain goat the best.

It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it!

A Close-up Photo of A Rocky Mountain Goat on a Cliff
The White Spirit of The Mountains

May the goat be with you!

—————————————————————————-

Posted by Michael Patrick McCarty

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First Impressions – Mountain Goat On The Grill

Camp Chef SmokePro DLX 24 Wood Pellet Grill Smoker, Bronze (PG24B)

Say goodbye to the world of guesswork and hours over a BBQ pit-the SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill & Smoker brings you an easy, reliable smoke every time. We’ve designed each feature with the back patio griller in mind, from the digital temperature readout to the simple temperature setting system. But what really sets this pellet smoker apart from the competition is the exclusive ash cleanout system. Instead of vacuuming out your grill after each use, you can pull a lever to empty the ash from the fire box. That means less time fumbling with a suction hose and more time enjoying the beautiful day and delicious food. Now that sounds like the grill for you. *For the best performance, use Camp Chef Premium Hardwood Pellets. Our pellets burn hotter and cleaner, meaning they last longer and create an improved flavor.

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“We kill the game to eat it. Tasting it, we thank it. Thanking it, we remember it: how we hunted it, how it tested us, how we overcame it, how it finally fell”.

Charles Fergus, From A Rough-Shooting Dog, 1991

 

In Honor of The Rocky Mountain Goat. Burgers For The Grill. Rocky Mountain Goat Recipes

Paying Homage to The Rocky Mountain Goat. Burgers For The Grill. Photo by Keli Tschappat

October, 2015

I have waited a long time to taste the meat of the Rocky Mountain Goat, and I am…surprised. The question is, of course, just exactly how to you prepare it and cook it

Surprised mostly, I suppose, because it did not taste anything at all like I thought that it would. And surprised too because most of the information that I could find on the internet and my library of wild game cookbooks was anything but hopeful. You might say that recipes for mountain goat are far and few between.

Granted, I have only tried one small sample from the front shoulders, and that was ground well without added fat to get a true taste of the meat.

But we prepared some large patties and heated them medium rare on a hot grill on a perfect mountain evening, and they were good.

In fact they were great, served with buns and the usual burger accompaniments. They didn’t last long at all, and they left us wanting more.

I am at a loss to describe the taste completely, though perhaps that is the difficulty. The meat was subtle and mild, and fairly flavorless, but in a good way. Sometimes, less is more with wild game.

It may have something to do with the fact that this billy was perfectly processed in the field, then quickly and thoroughly cooled by mother nature as well as any walk-in cooler.

What I can tell you is that it was firm and clean without a hint of gaminess. It was well…refreshing, wild, like the promise of a new day in the bracing air of a high mountain valley.

Finding a recipe for this amazing animal almost anywhere is about as difficult as harvesting one in the first place. So, when in doubt, let the spirit move you and make it up, I say.

It is a blank canvas of possibility, and I look forward to experimenting with this wonderful wild meat.

A spice here, a spice there – a complimentary sauce or two. Some sausage for sure. Let the celebration continue…and if you have any suggestions, you know what to do.

*I have now tried this with 5% added beef fat, and I can highly recommend it.

 

Rocky Mountain goat recipes. how to make hamburger and rocky mountain goat sauasage
Now That’s What I’m Talking About…A Mountain Goat Burger as Big as The Sky

 

A FEW WORDS ABOUT MEAT GRINDING

One theme emerged when researching the gastronomic qualities of Mountain Goat. That theme in a word, is tough!

It makes perfect sense, considering where they live and what they do. Their meat seems to be infused with an inordinate amount of sinew and connective tissue, which would seem to explain a thing or two about their character. You’d be tough too if you spent the long winter clinging to a cliff or looking for something to eat on an impossibly cold, windswept ridge.

A crock pot obviously comes to mind, and no doubt that I will be breaking it out very soon. In lieu of that, a small electric meat grinder may be the perfect tool for the job.

My hunting partner has had his grinder for many years, and I know that he would be hard pressed to count how many elk and deer and other wild game animals have had some of their parts run through it. It worked wonderfully on this five-year old billy too.

While using it the other night I was reminded at just what a miraculous and indispensable machine it is for the big game hunter. Or any kind of hunter, for that matter.

There are things that you can do after this little beauty has finished that you simply can’t accomplish any other way, with the exception of a hand grinder, of course. The possibilities are endless.

Might you have a hankering for some german sausage? Or Italian is more to your taste? How about some meat sticks or hot dogs? Have you ever used a jerky gun? It is essential in making jerky from ground meat too.

In my mind it is one of the most beneficial tools that any hunter could own.

Enjoy!

Posted by Michael Patrick McCarty

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It Was the Best of Food, It Was the Worst of Food

Close-up photo of a Brown Bear Track in Comparison to the Size of a Human Hand
A Good Reason To Look Over Your Shoulder
Close-up Photo of Cottontail Rabbit Running
Full Charge!

 

The best meal I ever ate, anywhere, featured cottontail rabbit fried hot in an electric skillet, hunted up fresh from the fields within sight of the big picture window of my friend’s southern New Jersey family homestead.

I had eaten many a rabbit by the time I had nearly finished highschool. Cottontails were our sportsman’s consolation prize. They were everywhere in our neck of the woods, and we could always count on bagging a brace or two when we could not find a covey of bobwhite quail or other small game.

But the rabbit of my experience had never tasted like a lesser prize. My friend’s mom knew her way around the kitchen, and she knew exactly what to do with farm fresh ingredients, be they wild, or not. She was, in fact, a culinary wizard, conjured up to look like an ordinary woman.

What she did I suppose I will never really know, but I suspect it had something to do with buttermilk, flour, a perfectly matched selection of spices, and hot lard. The meat hit the pan with crackle and sizzle, and it spoke of blackberry leaves and sweet clover and sun dappled woodlots.

It literally melted in your mouth, and I remember watching as a heaping plate of rabbit pieces disappeared into smiling faces around the long farm table. It was ordinary fare, dressed in high style, and I was the honored guest of their simple realm. I knew then that I would never forget that wonderful dinner, and I have never looked at the unsung cottontail in the same way since.

A long farm table setting for a large group
Farm Table Magic About To Happen

Contrast that with the worst meal I ever had, which I had the displeasure of ingesting in a windswept Quebec-Labrador Caribou camp north of Schefferville, somewhere below the arctic circle.

It was a vile concoction of rancid grease, pan drippings, and rendered fat, and we ate it with a big metal spoon of questionable cleanliness. My native guide kept it stored in a good-sized mason jar, and he carried it around like it was the holy grail of gourmet cuisine. He ate it while sporting a huge grin, and I tried it because he wanted me too, and because he acted like it was so damn tasty. Who knew?

It seems that many people in the far north country can develop a bad case of “fat hunger”, as a result of their super lean, high protein diets. This affliction is also called “rabbit starvation”, having been given its name by those unfortunate souls who at one time or another subsisted solely on rabbits.

A hefty jar of partially congealed fat can be a highly prized commodity in that world, where calories count, and the lack thereof can literally mean the difference between life and death.

One throat gagging spoonful was quite enough for me, followed by an old candy bar of some kind to dull the taste, and washed down with some lukewarm canteen water. To this day, the occasional thought of that wretched goo turns my stomach inside out, now almost 40 years later. It definitely gives one some perspective on the otherwise fine cuisine of Canada.

With that in mind, an honorable mention must go to the partially raw and burnt slices of elk heart I skewered over an aspen fire one clear, brisk night in the Colorado back country.

I should have been more than happy that lonely, star filled night. I had taken a fat four point bull elk with my recurve bow just hours before, and I was headed back to my friend’s small hunting shack when I ran out of daylight, and flashlight batteries.

I took a breath snatching fall from a low cliff, and by all rights I should have hurt myself badly, but did not. So, I gathered up some branches and hunkered down for the night, and thanked my guardian hunting angel. The animal’s heart and liver was all that I had packed with me.

It wasn’t so bad, after all, if you enjoy rubbery, half-cooked offal, but it could have used some salt. And it would have been far better if I had some water, which I had run out of during the hot afternoon. The head pounding hangover left over from the previous night’s shenanigans was still with me, which did not help my predicament.

In my defense, let the record state that it was the weekend of my bachelor party, and it is fair to say that the boys’ and I had just a little “too much fun”. I had been the only one to stagger out of camp that early morning, and only then because I had somehow managed to pass out in my hunting cloths, with boots on. One downhill step, and I was on my way.

My head and parched throat told me that I was in for a rough night, but my heart said that there were far worse places to be than in the abiding lap of the Rocky Mountains, with elk bugling all around, even if the meal was merely marginal. It’s how memories are made, and I would not trade them now for all the world. We laugh about it still.

The supper I am most grateful for consisted of one big can of yellow cling peaches, packed in heavy syrup. I ate them while huddled in a sleeping bag, in the low light of a small gas lamp. I did so from a short bunk in the cabin of a small crab boat, anchored just off the beach somewhere in Prince William Sound, Alaska.

My guide and I had spent the day above timberline hunting mountain goats and glassing for coastal brown bear, and we had been late getting back to our pick up point. Loaded with the heavy hide and meat of a white-robed goat, we struggled down through the rocks and heavy underbrush in a race to beat the faltering late night sun. We didn’t make it.

Left with no easy choices, we made our way to a gurgling stream in the bottom of a canyon, and waded in. We thrashed and slipped and bullied our way down through knee-deep water for more than a few miles, while desperately trying to keep our feet under us.  It was a truly dark and soul-searching night, made far worse by the occasional loud crashes of large, big things, just out of sight. These things most probably had huge tearing teeth and long, flesh ripping claws to go with them. It was not a pretty picture, and I am not proud of the terrified thoughts and hobgoblins which danced and screamed inside my head and nearly got the better of me.

I have never been so happy to break clear of thick brush, and to see a low slung skiff waiting hopefully on an open cove in the light of a wispy moon. My father could barely speak, relieved from his duty of pacing the shoreline and imagining the worst. Once on board the main boat, and safe, I had enough energy to slurp down those aforementioned peaches that had appeared under my nose, to then lie back and fall instantly asleep.

A can of peaches is certainly not much of a meal, but it was heavenly sustenance to me. It was much better than the alternative, which most importantly meant that I had not become the hot and ready to eat snack of a snarling 10 foot beast. Thank god for life’s little graces.

Last but not least, I savored my most memorable meal on the day after my wedding in the high mountains of Colorado. We spent a pampered night or two in Aspen’s only five-star hotel, and dined in its’ fine restaurant.

The company and the conversation was grand, to say the least, as was the atmosphere, and the setting. The hotel has a grand view of the area’s towering, snow-covered peaks, and sits within close proximity of summering herds of elk, and the occasional black bear. It was a most appropriate location from which to approach a colorful plate of elk tenderloin with sun-dried cherry sauce and sweet potato fries, duly crafted by the expert hands’ of one of the world’s greatest chefs. I can only describe the entire experience, as well, absurdly, …grand…

Now that was a preparation for the ages; a far cry from a flame scorched elk heart to be sure, and almost as good as that lovingly tendered rabbit dinner of my youth.

So, these are some of my food highs, and lows, in the proverbial nutshell.

No doubt you have several of your own. If you do, we’d love to hear about them.

Care to share?

 

A close-up photo of canned peaches in a mason jar
Canned Peaches – Nectar of The God’s

 

You may also wish to see the recipe for grilled elk loin and cherry sauce here.

skeeze / Pixabay

Posted By Michael Patrick McCarty

https://steemit.com/life/@huntbook/it-was-the-best-of-food-it-was-the-worst-of-food-of-an-outdoor-life

A Man Made of Meat – A Hunter’s Celebration

Weston Butcher Saw with 22 Inch Stainless Steel Blade (47-2201) (Kitchen)

The Weston Brand Butcher Saw easily cuts meat into manageable sizes for processing. The heavy-duty, sturdy construction and stainless steel blades makes this Butcher Saw slide effortlessly through any type of meat, bones or game. Its trigger blade tightening allows for fast and easy replacement of the blade and the high-impact plastic handle make it easy-to-clean.

New From:$22.99 USD In Stock
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By Michael Patrick McCarty

 

 

IT’S THE HOLIDAY SEASON

 

A Solo Hunter Drags an Elk Hindquarter Up a Steep Hill in The Snow While Elk Hunting in Colorado.
Bringing Home The Bacon. Photograph by Michael Patrick McCarty

 

Just in Time For Christmas Dinner.

Oh Joy To The World!

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Man in all his forms has been dragging something along behind him since he first stood upright and made his first staggering steps toward the horizon. Sometimes, it was a big hunk of life sustaining meat just like this.

They say that modern man hunts to fulfill some relentless though mysterious primordial need. Perhaps it is a way to reconnect with mother nature, to feel the wind on our face and remember our true place in the world.

I have another idea.

Perhaps we are just hungry!

Should We Get The Grill Ready?

By Michael Patrick McCarty

You Might Also Like Our Post The Way It Ought To Be

 

“The real work of men was hunting meat. The invention of agriculture was a giant step in the wrong direction, leading to serfdom, cities, and empire. From a race of hunters, artists, warriors, and tamers of horses, we degraded ourselves to what we are now: clerks, functionaries, laborers, entertainers, processors of information”. – Edward Abbey

 

“One does not hunt in order to kill, on the contrary, one kills in order to have hunted…”.

From “Meditations on Hunting”, By Ortega y Gasset

https://steemit.com/hunting/@huntbook/a-man-made-of-meat-a-hunter-s-celebration

Of Babe Ruth and Wild Rice – Recipes For The Sportsman

 

Babe Ruth Retires in Front of Adoring Crowd
Babe Ruth – Athlete and Sportsman

 

The world of sports offers a long list of heroes and icons, but few names grow even larger over time. The Name Babe Ruth is one of those, and for good reason. He may have been the most dominating baseball player of his time, and all time, and he is considered to be one of the greatest sports heroes in American culture. He was a living legend and his fame and persona completely transcended the game. I wish I had met him, or at least been able to watch him swing.

What is not as well-known is that “the Babe” loved to hunt and fish. It appears that baseball was indeed the perfect sport for a man of his appetites. For when his hands were empty of bats and gloves, they most often held a fishing rod, or his favorite shotgun. Babe loved his duck blinds, and the pursuit of feathered game. He liked to eat too, and he liked to cook what he acquired in the field. His favorite recipe could be a main camp meal, or a side dish to accompany his hunter’s reward. He called it “Wild Rice for Game“.

Or so notes, “Famous Sportsmen’s Recipes For Fish, Game, Fowl and Fixin’s“, compiled by Jessie Marie Debooth. It’s a lovely and unpretentious little volume, a copy of which I have had in my personal collection for some years.

“The sportsmen of America have written this book, by contributing their favorite recipes for game, for fish, for birds. The recipes reflect the quality of mind and spirit that makes the true sportsman”.

Miss DeBooth goes on to dedicate the work “to the sportsmen and true conservationists of america, the conservationists of our natural resources of wild life, and the true protectors of the rightful heritage of future generations of americans, admiringly I dedicate this book of their favorite recipes, as cooked by them in their favorite outdoors”. I am certain that Mr. Ruth would agree.

His selection calls for 2 cups of wild rice, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 3 cups of water. “Put this into a double boiler after washing thoroughly, making sure that the water covers the top of the rice. Do not at any time stir the rice – always shake it. Allow to boil for twenty minutes, then drain off the water and continue to cook over a low flame for fifteen minutes, then add: 3 finely chopped onions, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon sage, 1 teaspoon thyme. This recipe will make enough to serve six people”.

Ray Holland loved his waterfowl too, and our recipe book lists his hobby simply as “Duck Shooting”.  He grew up on waters teeming with waterfowl, and he shot his first duck with a muzzleloader shotgun in 1893 at the age of nine. For those in the know this is the equivalent of saying that Michael Jordan used to enjoy shooting a few flat-footed free throws in a pick up basketball game, and we all know how that turned out.

Mr. Holland was editor of Field and Stream magazine during its heyday in the 1920’s and 30’s, and an author of sporting classics like “Shotgunning in the Lowlands”. An ardent conservationist, his tireless efforts to protect this precious migratory resource is one of the reasons we still have ducks to hunt today.

His recipe for “Roast Wild Duck” is as follows: “Cut up together celery root, turnip, onion, parsley, carrot. Fry with a few slices of bacon in roasting pan until whole begins to brown. Upon this place the duck, thoroughly washed and salted, either larded with or covered by a strip of bacon. Baste, while roasting, with red wine. When done, pour cream over whole and allow it to become brown. Remove duck, mix in flour, allow to brown. Strain and serve sauce over sliced duck and dumplings”.

Zane Grey is mentioned here, as Zane Grey, author. His angling exploits are now regarded as somewhere beyond legendary, and really not possible today. He wasn’t a bad writer either.

Continue reading Of Babe Ruth and Wild Rice – Recipes For The Sportsman

A Pheasantful of Memories

Pheasant Tales (Kindle Edition)

The stories in this anthology demonstrate why the pheasant has become America’s favorite game bird. Some of the finest writers in the field take their best shots at the Ringneck, covering guns, dogs, lore, history, conservation, and even some tried and true methods for preparing your pheasant for consumption.

Kindle Edition:Check Amazon for Pricing Digital Only
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A ring-necked pheasant, in all it's colors of glory.
JanTemmel / Pixabay

Where would we be as outdoorsmen, and as human beings, if not for the people in our lives who took us hunting?

It is a question not so easily answered, though at least we get to ask it. Sadly, a steadily increasingly group of young people never get that chance. In most cases I can only grieve for the loss that they will never fully understand, while staring upward and thanking the heavens for the sportsmen of my youth.

It was only a natural way to be in the world in which I grew up. My father had been a hunter all of his life, and his father was too. To be true so were my uncles and cousins, my brothers, friends, and our neighbors. There was always someone to go hunting with and a shotgun was never far out of hand.

We hunted small game and deer and birds of all kinds, but pheasants – pheasants were a special creature. There were not many to be found in our corner of the uplands, and those that remained were wary and smarter than smart. It was a big event to bag a hefty, redheaded cockbird.

If you are like me then there is no doubt that you remember your first cackling rooster rising like a shimmering phoenix in the sky. The memory of that long-tailed vision burns brightly in the mind, ready for access at a moment’s notice. Mine is a mind full of ring-necks.

I hold my treasure trove of remembrances most dearly, yet it occurs to me that It is only right to return the favor. I am more than willing to share that long list of images in my head, though I would be most happy to help you gain your own.

One thing can be said.

Take a boy, or a girl, hunting – today. It is a responsibility and an honor, and in fact a debt that must be repaid.

We can only be as strong as the sum total of our experience, and I cannot comprehend a life barely lived without the solid grounds of woods and field beneath the boots. The pursuit of wild things is a foundational activity, built upon the realities of the natural world and the spirit of the quickening heart. It is an opportunity to learn some core moral values, while becoming part of something much larger than one’s self.

We owe it to our mentors to carry the torch; to help ignite that undying spark in the imagination and energy of the next generation. I can think of no greater reward than to be remembered fondly in the thoughts of the grateful and fortunate soul of a hunter.

It is only but a moment of memory, and a towering pheasant, away.

A rising ring-necked pheasant towers toward the sky

Michael Patrick McCarty

You Might Also Like How It Ought To Be and The Gift

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“If Christmas came on the Fourth of July and it also happened to be your birthday, you might have some idea of what a first pheasant is like on a clear, crisp Maryland day, with the hills behind, and the tender-green meadows reaching out to black-green blotches of trees, and nothing very much to do but watch a couple of expert dogs work over the noblest Oriental stranger we have in our midst, while two mellowed old gentlemen do not interfere with a boy’s passionate effort. They were not shooting; they had been there before. It took me another thirty years to find out how much fun you have not shooting if there is somebody else around who wants to shoot it more than you do”.

-From The Old Man and The Boy by Robert Ruark

A hunter and a young boy hunt upland game

See our other favorite Robert Ruark Quote at the bottom of our post Here

*We generally have for sale some collectable copies of Ruark’s books. Please email for more information.

Read More About Black Canyon Wing and Clay HERE, and a recipe for marinade.

Shotguns, young gunner’s, and Pheasants Forever!


Wondering what do to next with your bird? Try This:

Pheasant Burritos

  • 2 pheasants (cut into pieces)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup fig, plum, or apricot jam
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in a little water until soft, then chopped
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 2 dried ancho chiles, with stems and seeds removed and then ground
  • 2 minced garlic gloves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 8 large flour tortillas

Brown pheasant pieces on both sides in broiler or hot skillet. Boil remaining ingredients(tortillas excluded) in a covered sauce pan. Add the pheasant and cook on low heat for 30 minutes or until done. Let cool, then pull the meat from the bones and set aside. Stain the sauce and return to heat. Reduce over medium heat by about 1/3. salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with warm tortillas, topped with pheasant meat and sauce.

Enjoy with your favorite extras and wine, then prepare to get ready for your next pheasant hunt.

*This recipe taken from At Mesa’s Edge: Cooking and Ranching in Colorado’s North Fork Valley by Eugenia Bone.

It’s a lovely read about life in this unique area of northwestern Colorado, with some wonderful recipes using the area’s plentiful bounty. It includes some wild game recipes too.

We have some copies for sale if so interested.

the front cover of At Meas's Edge: Cooking and Ranching in Colorado's North Fork Valley by Eugenia Bone with some pheasant and wild game recipes
Eating What You Catch