Friday, January 15, 2016

Making Room in the Freezer


    I don't know if y'all are like me, but I go hunting and fishing and take the time and effort to prepare my harvest for the freezer.  I am pretty good at that.  My wife is not a huge fan of wild game and fish, so I am meticulous when cleaning the meat to insure she don't get a surprise when we cook it.  We can't find a piece of shot or a scale, or the meal takes a sudden turn toward pizza night! LOL. To be honest I don't won't to find it either, kind of a pride thing.  Where I seem to be lacking in all of my efforts to hunt, fish, and provide table fare is cooking it.  We are the busy family with kids and jobs.  Many times my wife and I get home from work and after rounding up all the kids, realize we haven't planned dinner.  Then we begin the scramble of trying to throw together a meal or negotiating for who is going to get take out, all the while our freezer is loaded with game. 
    Sadly, packages of game get lost in the freezer over time until they don't appear appetizing. Then another seasons harvest gets added to the mix.   Really, that is unacceptable and this year I am going to make an effort to reduce our inventory.  With turkey season and the spring crappie spawn just around the corner, I am going to try to start with those two first.  I would suggest the same for anyone who is dealing with this problem at home.  With a little planning and better organization of the freezer, hopefully I can better use the game meat I have worked so hard for.  I just posted a good looking recipe for wild turkey in the recipe page, check it out!  D

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

End of Deer Season for Me

   This is a selfie from my last deer hunt of the year.  It is always a little bitter sweet for the season to come to an end.  By the end of each season I have fulfilled my urge to deer hunt, at least for a little while, and most of the people I hunt with have either gone home or are back to family life. So, by the end of the season I am kind of looking forward to some of the other hobbies I have like spring turkey season, fishing, and metal detecting for hidden treasure.  That is the sweet part.  Here is the bitter part of bitter sweet.  I have had so much fun this past season.  I got back to doing what makes hunting fun for me.  Hunting season means get-togethers for me and my family, seeing people who I love to hang out with that may not be possible with the hustle and grind of everyday life.  Notice I left friends out of it, that is because I am so close to the people I share my season with, they are family to me.  Lots of work went into the preparation of deer season, and sitting on stand the last time of the season, it seems like a long time before I get to experience it all again.
   With that being said, I had a great season. As I mentioned before, I got back to having fun while hunting.  I dropped all of those out of reach standards I had from watching hunting shows, and just enjoyed what I had to hunt! I did put out my first food plots with my buddy Eric.  I don't normally do stuff like that, because I simply don't have the resources to do so. It was cool to see how he approached it, and see the finished result. I was hunting over one of the food plots the last day.  I normally have a couple friends from Louisiana come up to hunt rifle season with me.  This year there was a bonus! We were blessed to have two more of our extended families make the trip and we had a blast!
    I got a great buck about five days into modern gun season after losing a really good buck opening weekend.  Unfortunately, we didn't kill some of the bigger deer we had pictures of, but lots of deer meat headed south to Louisiana to be made into smoked sausage and ground meat! Here are some of the photos of this years hunts.

                                                      A buck I am super pleased with!

 Me and Eric trying to kill a turkey on video with a crossbow. Got Busted by a hen at 10 yards.

Eric's buck. He had about 3 days total to hunt this year due to work. Glad he got to put some meat in the freezer.

Caught up with that hen in Fall shotgun season.
Rocco's first deer!

Audrey's first deer!

Mike and Haley enjoying beautiful Kentucky weather.

   Every year I tell myself that I am going to make more preparations, check cameras more, hunt more, but I never do.  Life is just busy like that.  I have no complaints though. I had a safe, fun and successful deer season.  The best part was spending so much time with so many wonderful people.  I'm already looking forward to next season! Well, once I kill a big ol' Tom and catch a bushel basket of crappie! D

Friday, January 8, 2016

Baked Rainbow Trout


   So I have been posting about fishing for rainbow trout in lakes/ ponds located in local parks like Noble Park in Paducah, Ky and Mike Miller Park in Draffenville, Ky.  I personally like to fish bigger bodies of water, but recent rainfall left the water at my favorite spots super muddy and too much current to fish.  For years, I heard about the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources stocking rainbow trout in the local parks during the winter months.  Me and a couple friends decided to catch a few.  The weather was just too nice for late December to not be fishing!  Keep in mind, I had never caught a trout, much less tried to cook one.  So some digging on google resulted in multiple recipes.  This is the one I chose.

3 Rainbow Trout (these are about 10 inches with head)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Lemons (sliced thin)
1 Cup Pinot Noir

Nothing complicated here.  I cut the heads off the fish and gutted them. Something I didn't know about was the blood line under the spine.  I used a fillet knife to slice the membrane keeping the blood in. Pretty easy to do.

The blue is the blood line on the left, the right has blood line removed.

    I placed a large piece of foil in a baking pan and spread some EVOO on it.  Next, I sliced 2 lemons thin and placed three slices in the foil for each fish in the pan.  I sprinkled salt and pepper in the open cavity.  After seasoning the cavity, I rubbed the fish down with the olive oil and placed them in the in the baking pan on the lemons.  The left over lemon slices, I placed in the fish's cavity and one or two on top of the fish.  The only thing I added to this recipe was sprinkling dill weed in and on the fish. Lastly, I added a cup of Pinot Noir wine to the pan.  Credit my wife with having that wine on hand. Average dude would have probably had Boone's Farm on hand! LOL  After everything was seasoned, I used another piece of foil to create a nice tight seal around the fish by crimping the two pieces of foil together.

   With the oven pre-heated at 350, I slid the dish in and set the timer for 28 minutes.  The web site called for 30-35 min, but my trout were considerably smaller than the fish on the web site.  When 28 minutes were up, I took the dish out and carefully opened it.  The fish was flaky and smelled great, done.  I added one fish to my plate to go with a salad my wife made the day before.  I poured a glass of wine, and it was complete.

My first trout dinner!
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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Time to Change Batteries and SD Cards

Deer here in West Kentucky should start shedding antlers soon. Those of you who have cameras out, it pays to replace batteries and SD cards where you have attractants.  You just might see some big bucks that made it through the hunting season and start preparing to keep them there for next season! Here is a page with some good information about deer shedding their antlers.

You Buy Your Hunting and Fishing License

    Like the title says, you buy your hunting and fishing license, hunt and fish like you want to.  I have been seeing so many people on social media sites being frustrated with other people about their hunting and fishing practices. Some don't like high fence hunting, while others crack on you for shooting a young deer.  There have been some on social meda who complain about giant bucks being shot on large manicured ranches.  People tend use those sites as a medium to promote their opinion or worse demote others opinion. I am one of those frustrated people I guess, or I wouldn't be writing this, however I feel like there are others like me out there that could benefit from reading this.
   I had become frustrated more with hunting than fishing.  I should be more specific, I had become frustrated more with deer hunting.  I have never heard a rabbit hunter complain that he knows another rabbit hunter who shoots yearling rabbits.  I, like many of my peers had become caught up in trying to emulate all of the hunting shows on TV.  Surely you all know what I mean, putting out trail cams, minerals, hunting certain stands according to the wind, scent clothing, scent spray, scent shampoo, scent soap, scent toothpaste, cover scent for my lack of scent, scent creole, scent kabobs. I guess that's about it. Ok, that was a terrible play on words from a movie scene, but ya'll get it.  I spent lots of time analysing pictures of deer. Is that deer three or four years old?  If that deer comes out, should I shoot him? Don't get me wrong, all of these things are good if you are into them and have the time, energy and money to do so. For me however, it began to wreck my passion for hunting. Some of my fondest memories of hunting were as a kid.  My whole family hunted, even my mom.  As I got older, I began hunting with my friends.  The MOST fun I ever had hunting was during those times!  What's crazy, there were times I didn't even have a stand, I sat on a tree limb! IT WAS SO MUCH FUN THEN!  That is a sign of changing times, sitting on a limb with a rifle or bow probably wasn't the safest thing we ever did, but it was fun.  Those were the times that deeply embeded in me a passion to hunt and I didn't have a stand at times, cameras, minerals, great clothing(froze to death at times), or outdoor shows to show me how to be successful. So why wasn't I having as much fun with all the technology and gagets that I had to improve my hunting success? I think I had been trying too hard to be what those TV personalities were trying to be.  Honestly, I don't even want to be the next Jim Shockey or Michael Waddell, but I sure tried to act like them.  I became something much different.  I was that guy that would talk about you if I walked by your truck and saw a buck I thought you should have let walk, or disagreed with you on the best broad head on the market. Yep, that's who I had become.  Quite frankly, I set myself up for failure.   Because while trying to improve as a hunter, I had become so critical about everything, I lost track of why I went to the field in the first place which was to have fun. I think, to be a top hunting show personality, your world has to revolve, to some extent, around hunting, and mine does not.  That doesn't mean I don't love to hunt as much as others, I just have other things that take priority over my hobbies.  I have a family with young children, I work two jobs, and try to spend time with extended family/ friends. I am not willing to sacrifice those things for the sake of a hobbie. There are those who are willing though.  The people on those hunting shows have dedicated a ton of their personal time to their craft to make it possible to have a show. That is great for them. It is just not that important to me, but love it just the same.  This year, I tried something different while hunting.
  This years deer season, I didn't get all caught up in the analysis and gagetry of todays hunting.  I just hunted for fun. Guess what happened! I had a Friggin blast.  I didn't feel any pressure to kill a certian age/ size deer and shot one that I am proud of! It is the first buck I have killed in like eight seasons and I am going to get him mounted.  The stupid thing is, I have let a bunch of bucks like him or bigger walk on by in the last several years. For some hunters this buck would be a giant, while some hunters may think that I should have give him another year. But you see, that is my point.  I got back to what makes hunting fun for me and I am satisfied with this deer.  I enjoyed it so much, it inspired me to start this blog so I can interact with others like me. People who have to work hunting and fishing in where they can, and make the best of what they have. I began to apply this thinking to other outdoor activities I love.  I love to fish.  I don't tournement fish, in fact, I sold my boat because I am so limited in time to fish.  Luckily for me, my brother has a boat he lets me borrow if I get a day to get out on the water.  I don't even have a specific species I target now.  I go fish for what I can, when I can. I keep some fish to eat at times, other times its catch and release only. Here is the best part, I don't care who agrees or disagrees with what I am doing.
  Going back to social media, I get why people are so critical of what others are doing. Like I said earlier, I had a bigger opinion about what you were doing, than you did. I now see that I was approaching things wrong.  Not all wrong, but wrong. I understand that if everybody passed up those dumb two and three year old bucks and shot doe for meat, the woods would be full of bigguns. If people kept the smaller fish to eat and released the bigger fish to reproduce, the lake would be full of giants for those who catch and release.  Here is the problem I had. I didn't buy all of those other people's licenses.  I don't pay for their hunting lease. I didn't pick up their payment on their boat or pay their insurance for it. As long as what they did while hunting and fishing was within the laws and game regulations, it was none of my business and rightfully so.  I am that person now.  I am going to hunt and fish the way I want to.  You may complain about it, and thats fine, it is your right. Just don't forget the rights of others, or they might tell you what I will.  You buy your hunting and fishing license and I will buy mine.   D

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Low Tech Trout Fishing with Average Dude

I kept five rainbow trout from this trip, and will try to have a recipe on my blog in a couple days!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Changes to Braggin Board

Hey everyone,
I have made changes to my Braggin Board. The idea was to have a gallery where hunters' and people who fish could upload photos of their trophies. I had some technical issues with the pages due to everyone having different size photos, as well as being advised to moderate the pics before they posted to my blog. This is a family friendly site and I didn't want someone to have the ability to post something vulgar without me knowing it for a day or so. So, I changed my pages in the Braggin Board to now include my email. Please email me pics of your trophies and I will upload them to Braggin Board. Thank you all for your patients while I sort these little glitches out.