Saturday, September 24, 2011

Bow Practice At The Gun Range

I don't like living in the suburbs.   I would rather live in a rural area that allows me to have plenty room to shoot my bow, but that isn't the reality that I currently live in.  I have to drive to an archery range to shoot longer distances than I can find in my backyard.  Besides, my neighbors think I am crazy and a menace for shooting a weapon behind my own house.

I could have gone to my local archery shop and shot a 20 yard range, but it was a beautiful day and it is was the weekend before deer archery season, so I elected to go my local gun range that also has a very primitive archery range.  The range was over run with enthusiastic pistol and rifle shooters, but I was the only archer on the premisses.  I was elated because I can choose my own distances and pull arrows from the targets whenever the heck I want to.  I shot broadheads at the foam targets, field tips at the field targets and even used an elevated platform to practice tree stand shots.  I shot distances from 15 to 50 yards and had a blast.  Here is a short video of my shooting session.  You will notice the noise from the pistol and rifle ranges that were directly behind me (they were shooting in the opposite direction).  I shot until my arm felt like it was about to fall off and then I shot a little more.  I can't wait for October and deer season to get here!  My next post should be covering my first deer hunt of the year!  Good luck to everyone for your upcoming hunting seasons, be safe!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

How About Crock Pot BBQ Venison

October 1 is fast approaching and with it is the 2011 Deer Season!!!! I get goose bumps just thinking about it!  My thoughts turn to preparation for the season and an unlikely preparation many may forget is to  ensure you have room in the freezer.  I have been diligently working through my inventory of wild game from 2010 over the past year and only have a few of my less desirable cuts left.  As I took an inventory of the game freezer, I found four packages of hindquarter steaks.  Now, don't get me wrong, hindquarter is an okay cut, but it isn't back-strap or tenderloin.  I looked at theses numerous packages of meat and tried to envision what tasty concoction I could come up with.  Then it struck me!  "I'll make a crock-pot barbecue shredded venison!"  I didn't even know if I could find a recipe for this, but I was determined to see if it could be done.

I found a few recipes via the internet that weren't exactly what I wanted, so I took a little from one and added it to another.  The result was so tasty that even my wife and older daughter were impressed with it!

1 large onion
1 venison roast or 6 venison steaks
3 strips of bacon
1 bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce

1.  Cut the venison into 1 inch cubes and throw it in the crock pot.

2,  Cut up the onion distribute it over the venison.

3.  Cut up the bacon and distribute it over the onions.

4.  Add water or beef broth or apple juice deep enough to cover the meat.

5.  Turn the crock pot on high, cover, and allow it to cook for six hours.

6.  Remove the meat and onions from the water and shred the meat with a fork.

7.  Pour the water out of the crock pot and place the meat back in the pot.

8.  Add the barbecue sauce to the meat, turn the crock pot on warm and serve on a bun.

I fixed more than we could eat in one sitting, so I have divided up the left-overs and froze them for a quick and easy meal in the near future.  This really turned out well and will be one of my stand-by recipes for the future.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The 2011 Dove Season Has Finally Arrived!

Dove Season has the most enviable placement among all the hunting seasons in Texas and Oklahoma as it is the first hunting season of the Fall.  Hunters across the area wait in anticipation of being able to once again go afield and have an outdoor adventure.  This year it seemed as though dove season would never arrive with the merciless +100 degree days and no rain in sight, but after much preparation and patience September 1 did arrive.

My first morning of dove season found me on my lease in a wheat field that was across the road from, what looked to be, the best dove field in the county (also part of my lease).  Why didn't I hunt across the road you ask?  Well, last year I did hunt what appeared to be the best field, but the crowds were terrible and there was a near altercation that I would rather not go into.  This year I wanted more space so I planned to intercept the doves coming and going into the primary field from my secondary location and it turned out nicely.  I had more than enough room and could enjoy myself with plenty of birds to go around.

It is always a humbling experience the first morning of dove season.  You discover just how "out of practice" you really are.  Your gun can only hold three shells per the federal regulations governing migratory bird harvest, so when a dove flies over and you empty your gun "BAM, BAM, BAM" and then the dove continues to fly by unscathed you realize "seriously, I need to practice more!"  Although as the morning went on I began to find my rhythm.  I made some really great shots bringing down 7 birds.  I had only taken a half day vacation from work, so I had to call it quits by 9:30 AM.

Thursday night was also great.  I returned to the same location by 6:30 PM and the birds were already moving.  I shot two while I was placing my decoys!  Everything was coming together as the birds were flying by in range and my shooting had vastly improved from the morning.  I was able to get the second half of my limit (8 more birds) bringing my total for the day to the 15 bird limit.

Friday evening I returned to my new "favorite spot" as soon as I could arrive after work.  There were two other hunters North of me along a tree row and I noticed that the one of the hunters nearest me wasn't doing so well.  He had a mojo decoy, but it was set up really close to his position and he was focusing his gaze to the East, but the doves were coming from the North West.  Multiple times, groups of birds flew over him and directly to me.  He didn't see them until I was unloading my 870 Remington pump into the sky and doves were raining down.  I thought about approaching him and giving him a few friendly suggestions, but he looked grumpy and I don't like giving advice to armed grumpy fellas.  The final straw was when he decided to pick up his spent shotgun shells and at that precise moment the biggest group of dove that evening flew directly over his position.  I had time to watch them approach me so I picked out the lead bird as it drew close.  After bringing down the first bird I and was able to pick up a second before the group passed.  I walked out to get my birds and I could see him throwing his gear into his pickup to leave looking even more aggravated. He didn't even wave when he drove out!

I spent the rest of the weekend with my family, but did sneak in one brief Labor Day morning hunt.  Things had gone downhill with the cold front blowing in.  I only saw a handful of dove and my outings since have also not been productive either.  Still, I have three nice freezer bags of dove awaiting their date with a grill in the future.  Hopefully the hunting will pick-up again in a few weeks.  If not, there is always Deer season come October 1!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Searching For The Perfect Salmon Recipe

The older I get, the more I have realized that hunting and fishing is not only about the actual taking of the fish & game animals with rods, guns and bows.  In fact, that is only half of the process.  It is also about the cooking and consumption of the fish & game animals that completes this cycle.  Without the latter, the former loses its meaning in my opinion.  So with this in mind, I have been searching for a recipe that is worthy of the wonderful Sockeye Salmon I recently caught in Alaska.

I scoured the internet and my own cookbooks to come up with the perfect method of preparation that balances simplicity with elegance.  After testing out a few fillets, I think I have found my favorite and I wanted to share.  This recipe only requires a few ingredients, but delivers a phenomenal result.  Bon Appetite!

Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon with Spice Rub

Salmon fillet (best fresh caught from Alaska if possible) 
Cedar Plank

Spice Rub
- 1 TBS brown sugar
- 1 TSP coarse salt
- 2 TSP ancho chili powder
- 1 TSP ground cumin
-1/2 TSP black pepper

1.  Soak the cedar plank in water for about an hour and preheat grill to 350 degrees prior to cooking.  

2.  In a small bowl, mix the spice rub ingredients together thoroughly.

3.  Apply the spice rub to the salmon.

4.  Place cedar plank on grill to preheat for 3-5 minutes.  Turn plank over and place salmon fillet on plank (skin side down).  Cook for 12-15 minutes (no turning necessary).  Remove from grill and enjoy!

This recipe is simple and delivers a spicy crust for your delicious salmon!