Posts Tagged ‘wild game’

Realtree

BYWILL BRANTLEY

I’m often amazed at the people, deer hunters included, who tell me they just don’t like venison. That statement is usually followed by a qualifier: it’s tough; it’s gamey; it’s dry. And so on.

I’ve eaten a lot of good deer meat. But I’ve eaten some really bad deer meat, too. I’m only a self-trained butcher, but I process five or six animals each fall, and have been doing so for a decade or more.

I’m no Scott Leysath, either, but my wife and I do eat venison in some form two or three meals per week, year-round. I think we eat pretty good.

Some things consistently make venison really tasty. And some things will ruin the flavor, too. Here are a dozen of the worst offenders.

1. Poor Field Care

In the real world of hunting, things happen. We all make bad shots on occasion. And while we know not to “push” a deer that’s been hit marginally, realize that the longer it takes for the animal to die and the farther it runs, the more adrenaline and lactic acid builds up in the animal’s system and muscles. Ever had a glass of good-tasting acid? I didn’t think so.

The faster a deer hits the ground and can be field-dressed, the better the meat will be. Some of the best-tasting deer I’ve ever had have been shot in the head with a gun. The animal is killed instantly, and the meat is uncontaminated by blood and entrails from the chest cavity. That said, head shots are risky. The lungs remain the best place to aim.

click to go to the full article at Realtree

click to go to the full article at Realtree

2. Failure to Cool Quickly

Internal bacteria rapidly takes over after death, expelling gases and causing the animal to bloat. That’s the first step in decomposition. This process is accelerated in warm weather. Learn how to field dress a deer, and get to it ASAP. Removing those organs is the first step in cooling the animal down.

On a cold night—in the mid-30s or lower—a deer can be left hanging skin-on overnight. In especially cold weather, some hunters like to age a deer in such a manner for several days (more on aging in a bit). I live in a warm climate, and most of the deer I shoot in a season’s time are during early bow season, so I don’t have that luxury. When I find my deer and get it field-dressed, I plan on having it skinned, quartered and on ice within the hour.

3. Shot the Wrong Deer

Modern deer hunters are in tune with deer herd management. We’ve learned of practices that contribute to the health of a herd, including which deer to shoot. Given the chance, most of us want to shoot a mature buck with big antlers. Me included.

Old bucks are perfectly edible, but rarely the best. Muscles get tougher with use and stringy with age. An old buck that’s spent a full autumn fighting, rubbing, scraping and chasing does will be lean. Expect chewy steaks. Same thing goes for an old doe that’s burned all her summertime calories producing milk to nurse fawns. I usually make hamburger, sausage and jerky out of such animals.

For steaks, you can’t beat a young, crop-fed deer. Deer that spend a summer munching on corn and soybeans have an easier life—and more fattening food sources—than those that spend a lifetime wandering the big timber in search of scattered mast and browse.

The tastiest venison I’ve ever eaten came from a 1 ½-year-old fork horn shot through the neck near a picked corn field during early bow season. That young deer had nothing to do all summer except get fat. Am I saying to forgo everything the QDMA is teaching and whack every young buck that walks by? No. But I am saying if a deer for the freezer is your goal, young bucks from the early season are usually good eating, and have more meat than does to boot. If you want to shoot one and it’s legal, go for it. You don’t owe anyone an apology.

 

Read the rest of the tips at Realtree

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As a side note, IF you end up with terrible tasting venison, you can simply BRINE the meat to leach the nastiness out of it, then cook it however you like.   To brine the meat, mix salt, sugar, and water at room temperature, mix until the salt and sugar dissolve, then soak the meat for a few hours to overnight. You can also add in seasonings during the brining to help with the flavor.  – Niko

Brining_Venison.jpg

Venison backstrap from a gnarly ol’ buck brining in salt, water, and sugar

Venison_jerky

After slicing, marinating in soy, worchestershire and hickory salt, a few hours in the oven produced LOVELY jerky.

Georgia Outdoor News

click to go to GON.com

Warm-season food plots can be enhanced.

By Joe S. Reams III
Originally published in the April 2014 issue of GON

 

Sweet Tea is a special selection of a perennial plant in the Mallow family named Sida that is highly attractive to deer. There are at least a dozen species of Sida that occur in the Southeast, some of which are native and some non-native. Sweet Tea has been identified as Sida acuta, which is a native plant of the Southeastern United States.

Sweet Tea is a special selection of a perennial plant in the Mallow family named Sida that is highly attractive to deer. There are at least a dozen species of Sida that occur in the Southeast, some of which are native and some non-native. Sweet Tea has been identified as Sida acuta, which is a native plant of the Southeastern United States.

Food plotting has come a long way in the last 10 years in the South and has evolved into a broader discussion about habitat. A number of informative studies have yielded tons of useful information on this subject but the volume of facts can be somewhat exhausting. Sometimes it pays to take a step back and look at the big picture to help us understand the microscopic. I hope to share some background on the subject of habitat restoration and then some specific steps to take that will directly and positively affect your hunting success. 

“Live and learn,” the wise old saying goes. Someone once turned this proverb around to convey another truth: “Learn and live.” 

There may not be a more agreed upon statement on earth. Society operates on this principle, but there is rarely a consensus about how to implement change for the better. Unfortunately, a lot of really important issues end up being political fodder, restricting our learning because of the “spin” put on the facts. There is also the divisive political labeling game…. “if you believe in ‘that’ then you are one of ‘them.’” 

Over time, as the dust settles people usually figure out the “real deal,” as my dad would put it. It’s a shame that we have allowed conservation issues to be used in political games. The good news is that, due in large part to sportsmen, things are changing. 

The truth of the matter is that hunters, being the very first conservationists, are now walking away in droves from the fruitless political fracas and are choosing rather to be engaged in educating themselves about good stewardship practices.

When it comes to conservation issues, I find that many landowners and sportsmen are choosing to ignore the nuts on both sides and are pressing forward and doing the right thing. We’ve always known that it is beneficial to everyone (not to mention the animals we hunt) to protect our water and air, but along the way we somehow allowed radical groups to hijack the discussion and lay claim to the entire conservation message. 

On the flip side, because we agreed on things like free markets and small government, we let other special interests convince us we were in with the crazy people if we went very far down the conservation road. We saw the “experts” dividing into camps, and we read stories of fraudulent skewing of facts. So we found it easy to be skeptical about some of this fanatical environmentalism. I still am, but I’m much more discerning in what I dismiss and what I pay attention to. I’ve heard countless stories from landowner clients who say they have been jerked around in the past by overzealous “government hounds,” as a landlord of mine called them, many times with bad science and manners. This caused some hard feelings and mistrust, but I have noticed that many of these landowners and sportsmen are refusing to allow those experiences to discourage them from their commitment to conservation. At the same time they smell plenty of bull coming from all directions, and not only from the folks who think guns are bad, hunting is murder and people are just two-legged animals. It’s also from a few who let their bottom line shape their views on conservation. Sportsmen have evolved into savvy fact-checkers and are not falling for junk science very easily. Thankfully, these days there is plenty of good, clean science out there, and we have seen measurable results with implementing various new practices. 

A hot topic in the southern hunting world is habitat restoration. In the industrial Northeast, because of the impact of a high population density and polluting factories, they witnessed the effects of wetland and habitat destruction earlier than in the South and were forced to begin taking steps to mitigate these damages. Over the last 30 years in the South, we have seen some ill-effects of our own. Now we are implementing various practices in order to enhance our southern habitats, keeping our forest systems diverse and productive, and sensibly protecting our water.

Read the rest at Georgia Outdoor News

I just picked up “Duck, Duck, Goose” by Hank Shaw – the man behind Hunter Angler Gardner Cook and one of my go-to sources online for ‘how the HECK do I cook (insert wild game)’ moments.

Now, I haven’t read it through yet, just the introduction and a section on hanging upland birds and waterfowl, but I’m excited, happy with what I’m reading, and can’t wait to finish it and write an actual review.

This is just the heads-up that I will be writing one.

(Yep, I’m excited…)

Click to go to Amazon.com's  listing for the book

Click to go to Amazon.com’s listing for the book

 

By Hank Shaw on December 25, 2012

 

roast venison recipe

Photo by Holly A. Heyser

I have hesitated for years to post a recipe for roast venison, not so much because of the venison part, but rather because roasting large joints of meat is more of an art than a science. In few other areas of cookery are recipes more suggestion than manual. It’s not brain surgery or anything, but you do need to be watchful when roasting a large joint of meat.

True roasting requires the radiant heat of an open fire, and if you are ever lucky enough to eat a haunch of venison properly roasted over such a fire, you will never forget it. Texas barbecue comes close, but only in a galactic sense. What most of us do is technically baking, but it still creates wonderful results if you know what you are doing.

What follows is what I know about roasting meat. I’ve been doing it for many years, but that does not mean I know everything there is to know. Feel free to chime in with your tips in the comments section. Oh, and if you notice that the meat in the pictures is a little pale, that’s because this roast comes from a yearling antelope I shot in Wyoming this year; younger animals have paler meat. Think veal.

I begin any roast by bringing the meat towards room temperature. Roasting a cold joint of meat is a very, very bad idea. You get a charred exterior with a cold center if you do, and unless you enjoy this, you will be sad. I also salt early and often. Salt when the meat is resting before cooking, salt in whatever rub I happen to be using, and salt when you serve. Adding salt little by little as the meat roasts makes it taste more of itself; adding it all at the end makes the meat taste of salt.

Venison is lean, so you need some sort of fat. Can you drape bacon over the roast as you cook? You bet, but only do it after you have done an initial sear, otherwise the exterior of the meat will look gray and unhappy.

Speaking of the initial sear, I prefer to get there by starting the roast in a roaring oven, somewhere between 450°F and 500°F. The smaller the roast, the hotter the oven. I roast the venison for at least 15 minutes this way, and up to 25 minutes. Then I drop the temperature to a more moderate 350°F. I wait until this point to add spices and herbs to the outside of the meat — if you add them in the beginning, they can burn and become nasty and bitter. This is also a good time to drape that bacon over the roast, or baste it with fat or oil.

Up to this point, you can follow a recipe verbatim. Finishing the roast requires attention and an eye for doneness, however. For whatever reason, heat does not seem to increase in a linear fashion with roasting meat. I’ve tested a roast and have had it at 110°F and then a mere 10 minutes later have seen it jump all the way to 140°F. Not sure what’s going on here, but it happens. A lot.

Read the rest at Honest Food.

The author, Hank Shaw, also has a book available “Hunt – Gather – Cook

In my never ending quest to find more stuff for you folks, I found an interesting web site just now: “Honest Food.”  The recipes and culinary know-how looks very good so far, and I will be picking one of the recipes to share later.  For now, head over to Honest Foods and check out the wealth of information.

sliced-venison-heart

Click to visit Honest-Food.net

Most of the sites I visit start with the idea that you’ve already got the ingredients prepped and ready to start a recipe, this author has a more comprehensive approach, in other words, the author starts assuming you’ve obtained your game, what next?