hunting for dinner

Hunting for Dinner: Squirrel and dumplings

squirrel

It's been almost two years exactly since I wrote my first article for Simple Good & Tasty, about taking my mother squirrel hunting for the very first time. Over the past two years, I've received some very good feedback about that article and best of all, I ended up meeting Mike Pugsley.


A career musician in his 50s, Mike has been an avid shooter for most of his life but only hunted a couple times 20 years ago. He was interested in getting into hunting and doing some research online when he came across my squirrel article, in which I noted that I frequently take new hunters out and introduce them to the outdoors. After he called, and talked about squirrel hunting, we set up a time to go out. 

 

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Hunting for Dinner: Salmon burgers, fresh as you can get

salmon

My father-in-law, Ted, has a beautiful king salmon that he caught, mounted and hung in his closet. I've heard the story about how he caught that fish a few times. He likes to tell everyone that he hung it in the closet so that he can look at it twice every day — once in the morning when he gets his coat to leave, and once in the evening when he hangs up his coat. It really is a magnificent fish and I've found myself looking in the closet from time to time, thinking about the day that I might get the opportunity to catch one similar. 

 

This year that chance finally came. Ted asked me if I'd like to head over to Manitowoc, Wisconsin for a weekend of salmon fishing. I quickly jumped at the opportunity and looked forward to it for months. It was going to be a quick trip leaving Friday morning and returning Sunday afternoon with two days out on the charter, joined by my brother-in-law Zac and his friend Ndefru. 

 

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Hunting for Dinner: Thoughts on why I hunt

Jamie Carlson in the blind

My last post for Simple, Good and Tasty was about cooking and eating beaver. I figured it would bring a few juvenile comments, but I didn’t expect to start a debate about cruel hunting practices. One reader took offense to the use of traps in killing the beaver, and it started a good conversation about ethical hunting and trapping practices, and making sure the animals we hunt don’t suffer unnecessarily. 

 

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Hunting for Dinner: Making Coot Edible (and a Recipe for Coot Cotechino)

I have been duck hunting for almost 30 years, and in that time I have shot a lot of ducks. I have also eaten a lot of ducks. Everybody has a favorite kind of duck to eat; mine is the wood duck. To me, there is nothing tastier than a nice, fat wood duck. Wood Ducks have a tendency to eat acorns, and that diet gives their meat a sweeter milder flavor. Most people prefer to eat the mallard because they are a milder flavored duck as well, and many people claim that the canvasback is the finest duck to eat. As far as eating ducks go these three are probably the most revered because of their milder flavor. Wild ducks are much more powerful in flavor than domestic ducks and many people who claim to love eating duck don’t enjoy the taste of wild ducks.

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Hunting for Dinner: Flushing Grouse

I used to go grouse hunting all the time when my grandparents had a cabin on Leech Lake. It was easy for me to go: I would just walk out the back door and off into the woods for the morning or afternoon, and that was all there was to it. But when my grandparents sold their cabin, I stopped grouse hunting, and I haven’t been grouse hunting in over 20 years. So when my brother asked me if I wanted to head up to his in-laws’ land in northern Minnesota to go grouse hunting, I jumped at the opportunity.

 

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Hunting for Dinner: Snapping Turtles (and a Recipe for General Tso's Turtle)

A couple of years ago I was told about a book called The Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine, by Steven Rinella. In the book, Rinella tells the tale of being given an old cookbook written by Auguste Escoffier and being inspired to have a feast of all the things he hunts and gathers. Rinella talks about how, pre-Escoffier, he once ate snapping turtle and didn't enjoy the turtle meat because it tasted like a mucky swamp.

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Hunting for Dinner: Boundary Waters Canoe Trip (and a Recipe for Fish Curry)

This is the ninth post in a series about hunting for food -- truly meeting your meat.

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Hunting for Dinner: Bowfishing for Carp (and a Recipe for Carp Ceviche)

This is the eighth post in a series about hunting for food -- truly meeting your meat.

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Hunting for Dinner: Foraging (Stinging Nettles, Morels, and Ramps)

Spring is finally here, and along with it comes a whole new hunting season. I’m not referring to the spring turkey season; I’m talking about the spring foraging season. As the woods and prairies come alive with new growth, a plethora of wild edibles come into season. From May until the first snow falls, there are literally thousands of wild plants that grow in the wild. And these plants, berries, and mushrooms are as delicious – if not more delicious – than anything you can buy in the grocery store. I love getting out into the woods and finding wild foods that I can take home, not just because of their distinctive flavors but also because foraging is a great way for me to stay connected with nature and to scout possible hunting areas for the upcoming fall hunting season. 

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Hunting for Dinner: Wild Game Charcuterie (and Recipes for Goose Pastrami, Pâté, and Confit)

As a hunter, one of my primary thoughts when I am out in the field or forest is: How am I going to use whatever I kill? One of the complaints I hear from people who hunt is that they get tired of the same old ways of preparing wild game. It seems like a lot of hunters let their wild game go to waste or give it away because they don’t understand how versatile wild game can be. I grew up in a family that took most of the venison we shot and turned it in to summer sausage or jerky -- not very creative. We ended up giving a lot of it away because after eating the first 30 pieces of jerky or summer sausage sandwiches every day for a week, you lose interest and don’t want to eat either anymore.

 

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