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Monthly Archives: November 2013

OH DEER! Finally a venison recipe!!

Now I know we don’t have much in the way for deer where we are…we have one heck of a healthy population of moose, bear, wolf and grouse though!!

I figured I shouldn’t be biased and just talk about what we have and share some fun ideas for what to do with what you may have 🙂  ENJOY!!  This is a magnificent recipe and one that will garner rave reviews even from those that don’t eat wild game…go ahead and serve it….I won’t tell them what it is either 😉

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Restaurateur Lidia Bastianich (of Felidia, Becco, and Frico Bar in New York City and Lidia’s in Kansas City) gave us this hearty and delicious recipe.

 

VENISON OSSO BUCO 

SERVES 6

1 lemon
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and shredded
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 bay leaves
4 cloves
1 sprig fresh rosemary
10 juniper berries
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 8¿10-oz. venison osso bucco,
cut from the hind shanks
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. tomato paste
1 cup fruity red wine,
such as chianti
1 cup fresh carrot juice
6 plum tomatoes, peeled and crushed
2 cups hot chicken stock

1. Peel zest from oranges and lemon in wide strips with a vegetable peeler. Set the zest of 1 orange and lemon aside for sauce. Slice zest of other orange into narrow strips about 1/8″ wide and set aside for garnish. Remove and discard pithy membrane of 1 orange, then slice into segments and reserve for garnish. Juice second orange and set juice aside.

2. Heat olive oil in a large heavy pot with cover over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add carrots, celery, bay leaves, cloves, rosemary, and juniper berries, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until vegetables are light golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, generously season venison with salt. Dredge venison in flour until lightly coated, then shake off excess flour. Add vegetable oil to same pot and increase heat to medium-high. Add venison in a single layer and cook until well browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Return vegetable mixture to pot, reduce heat to medium, stir in tomato paste, and cook until tomato paste begins to caramelize, about 6 minutes. Add wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits stuck to bottom of pot. Add carrot juice, reserved orange juice, and reserved wide strips of orange and lemon zest. Bring to a vigorous boil and cook until sauce has reduced and vegetables have softened, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Stir in hot chicken stock, partially cover pot, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, or until meat is fork-tender.

4. Remove meat from pot when done. Strain sauce through a sieve, pressing on vegetables to extract liquid; discard solids. Return meat to pot with sauce and keep warm until ready to serve. Garnish with reserved orange segments and zest, and serve with polenta, if you like.

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Posted by on November 27, 2013 in hunting, recipe, Wawang Lake Resort

 

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Bear Down: Tracking and the one that might get away

Black bear are very hard to kill, and they are hard to track when wounded. Even a good heavy-caliber lung or heart shot may not keep the animal from getting off into the woods, and that same shot may not leave very much of a blood trail. Wounded bear bleed into the porous fat layers between hide and muscle, and their thick fur absorbs external bleeding like a sponge. As the bear runs and the fat moves, it appears to seal over most wounds and even a heavily bleeding animal may travel a great distance before its wound begins to leave a visible trail again.

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There aren’t many more upsetting situations a hunter can face in this country than to put a carefully aimed shot into a carefully selected bear at virtual point-blank range, see it stagger, then vanish into the brush in two steps before you can even recover from recoil. You sit there, with dark closing in by the minute, not able to see more than 20 feet, and a wounded bear extending the distance. You have to get down onto the ground and do something about it. No wonder now why your guide and other experienced bear hunters kept telling you how important it is to hit a bear hard and solid and put him down and keep on hitting him until there is no chance he will get up and get out of your sight.

First rule is to wait.  Be patient and slowly gather your wits and be prepared for the next steps.

Second: Look.  Observe the direction your bear exited.

Third: Listen.  Bears are commonly known to turn into the direction of their wound (more likely if mortally wounded) and can actually end up circling the bait.  Those that don’t will run with such ferocity that the normally silent creature can cause major disturbances to surrounding areas and make enough ruckus for you to gage the direction to begin tracking.

If you are lucky, a short time after your shot is made, you may hear a drawn out, breathy cry often referred to as the death moan.  This likely means your bear is down and is not getting back up.  Don’t worry if you don’t hear one, not all bears will give you this satisfaction.

After waiting at least 30 minutes in your stand, cautiously come down and look at the area where your shot connected.  Look for any sign of your shot: blood, tissue or even an arrow that carried through.

Start in the direction where you shot and look for any sign of blood in the direction you saw your prey evacuate from.  Take the time to bring and use marking tape to highlight your trail as you go, not only will it give you a general direction, but it will also make finding your way out much easier and stress free.

A good, clean shot should drop a bear within 40 yards but we have tracked bear that have gone up to a couple of miles away.

peroxide

On top of marking tape, I also suggest having a spray bottle with peroxide in your kit.  In the forest, leaves can often have brown marks that look an awful lot like blood and using the peroxide will help differentiate as it will bubble on contact with blood.  I often add the brightest yellow food coloring I can find to highlight the blood even further.  I also like to pack a small black light to use in conjunction with this mixture as it will illuminate if the natural lighting begins to fade.

It is not uncommon to spend a few hours searching if your bear has gone beyond the 40 yard mark but don’t lose hope.  Keep your eyes peeled for signs of foot prints, snapped twigs or torn leaves as this could be nature’s own way of marking your bear’s trail.

If the day ends and no bear can be found, ensure that you go back early the next day.  Look for any signs of scavengers in the area.  Turkey vultures are often a DEAD giveaway.  They feed in the daytime so be prepared to wait a bit for them to arrive.  We sometimes will suggest to our hunters to climb back in the stand and look over the area again from the original vantage point.

If on the second day there is no harvest found and no sign of scavengers, it is very unlikely you will find your bear and you will come away with one of the hardest experiences in hunting.  Disappointing for both sides.

So in closing, take time placing that shot and take time looking for any wounded animals you may have created.

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Posted by on November 25, 2013 in black bear, hunting, Wawang Lake Resort

 

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Geared Up: Cleaning your gun

Most know that cleaning a firearm is a necessity for ownership.  This not only helps prevent malfunction and missfire but can also help bullet path and accuracy.  What most don’t know is that the average gun owner does not clean their firearm correctly which can lead to major headaches down the road 🙂

Here are a few great tips to set you straight

Step 1: Clean barrel and metal parts
Step 1: Clean barrel and metal parts with good commercial solvent.
Step 2: Bore should be cleaned through breech end
Step 2: Bore should be cleaned through breech end where possible.
Step 3: Clean bore until dry patch comes through as clean
Step 3: Clean bore until dry patch comes through as clean as possible.
Step 4: Run oily patch through barrel
Step 4: Run oily patch through barrel.
Step 5: All metal parts should get light coat of oil
Step 5: All metal parts should get light coat of oil.
Step 6: Store in horizontal position
Step 6: Store in horizontal position, or with muzzle pointing down.
Step 7: After storage, run a clean patch through bore
Step 7: After storage, run a clean patch through bore before firing.
Step 8: Remove all excess grease and oil
Step 8: Remove all excess grease and oil.
Click to view pdf of this diagram
With clean gun in hand, enjoy the hunt!

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Posted by on November 23, 2013 in firearm, gun hunting, Wawang Lake Resort

 

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Grin and Bear it: How to bear eating bear meat.

As an outfitter, we often hear how many people would love to hunt bear but have no idea what to do with all the meat or if they did keep it, how to cook it (Ontario is a no waste province, it is mandatory to take all of the meat with you upon departure.)

Below is an excerpt from a great story written by Jackson Landers and how he dealt with an unexpected amount of bear meat…..and what he learned.

 

 

bearfordinner

Now I had heard all sorts of stories from hunters about what bear meat is like: that it’s tough, gamey, and unpleasantly greasy. But in my experience eating a fairly wide array of unusual species, I had found that meat that tastes “tough and gamey” is more often a case of bad butchering and sloppy handling than an intrinsic quality of a species.

To maximize the potential flavor of my bear, I dry-aged it for a week before I started experimenting. Dry-aging meat, for the uninitiated, is the process of letting meat hang out for a while at cool temperatures while allowing moisture to evaporate from it. Dry-aging accomplishes two things. First, natural enzymes in the meat begin to tenderize it by breaking down the collagen in the muscles. (Collagen is what makes tough meat feel tough, and more of it builds up in muscle tissue as an animal gets older.) Second, dry-aging allows water to evaporate out of a piece of meat, concentrating the flavor. High-end steakhouses all do this with their beef, and I have been dry-aging most of my venison in my fridge at home for years.

Once my bear was sufficiently dry-aged, the very first thing I tried was cutting some simple steaks out of a forequarter (the upper portions of the front legs) and from the backstraps (the cuts from alongside the spine that are referred to as “pork loin” in pigs). I wanted to keep the recipe simple so as not to hide the true flavor of the meat, but I also wanted to have some fun. So I just ran with the bear theme. I pan-seared the steaks in olive oil and drizzled just a bit of honey on them. A handful of blueberries went into the pan with them (bears love blueberries almost as much as they love honey). Then I transferred the meat to a covered dish to finish cooking in the oven and deglazed the pan with a splash of Toasted Head cabernet sauvignon, which I had chosen on account of the wine’s label having a black bear on it. I made sure to cook the meat to 140 degrees and hold it there for a while, since bears, like pigs, can carry trichinosis.

bearroast

My girlfriend and I sat down to eat our first bites of bear meat, drizzled with that red-wine pan sauce. The texture was good, and the backstrap cuts were a bit more tender than the forequarter cuts. The flavor was mild; it tasted more or less identical to venison—which is to say a lot like beef, only with less fat and a blander flavor. There was nothing greasy or tough about it. It looked like a thick piece of filet mignon. Between sips of the bear-bearing Toasted Head wine (which paired very nicely with the bear meat, I should add), we soon forgot that it was bear meat that we were eating. By the end of the meal, it was just dinner, no more exotic than the artichokes we served along with it.

Heartened, I started putting bear meat in everything. And once I began running it through the meat grinder, the stuff became a household staple. Think bear tacos, spaghetti with bear sauce, lime-marinated bear stir-fry served over ramen noodles.

moosestir

Bear burgers in particular were a big hit. I mixed one egg with 1 pound of ground bear meat and just a touch of onion powder and pepper and broiled them under high heat. Three minutes per side seemed to get me up over 140 degrees every time, without taking the burgers beyond medium-rare. I invited some friends over to eat them, and the unanimous agreement was that they simply tasted like very good beef burgers and that nobody would ever guess they were bear.

I began to take the ground bear meat so much for granted that I confess to feeding it to a dinner guest in a ragout over angel hair pasta without thinking to tell her that she was eating bear as opposed to beef. She ate every bite. I’m still not sure whether I should tell her what she ate.

Lately I’ve found myself worrying about the dwindling supply of bear meat in my fridge and freezer. I have one whole hindquarter in my chest freezer awaiting a special bear dinner with a group of friends, but other than that and a pound or so of medallions, all I’ve got left is an array of very unusual bones that my dogs have been chewing on in the front yard. What will I do when I run out?

 

 

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Posted by on November 21, 2013 in black bear, recipe, Wawang Lake Resort

 

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Quick tips for hunter safety

While reading some great hunting articles last night, I came across a very overlooked topic.  This is an article written by Tyrrell Hearn and is a great quick snippet on basic hunter safety tricks!

climbing treestand

Over the years we have all heard of hunting accidents and how bad they can be. Hunting safety should be paramount in the mind on any hunter, especially those using high-powered rifles. It goes without saying that guns are designed to take life quickly and effectively, making it imperative that you treat them as such. If you are a hunter, here are a couple tips to keep you safe this season.

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Blind placement– Keep in mind that there are people around you who may also be hunting in the mornings and evenings. Be mindful of other known hunting groups in your area. Having a chat with them about the direction of their firing lanes so everyone is up to date on their neighbor’s new hunting spots is a great way to stay safe.

Less powerful bullets– It is always a draw to buy the highest grain bullet for your guns, however, higher grain equals a faster and longer bullet trajectory. Pick something a little smaller but effective for the game you are targeting.

Aviary Photo_130254763368957516

Hollow points– Buy hollow point bullets. Full Metal Jacketed bullets are not legal to hunt with in most areas anyway. Hollow or soft tipped bullets will break up even if they are only hitting brush and small trees. Lessening your chance of a bullet traveling way past your target.

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Safety orange– Wear your safety gear so that even at a distance, the most novice of hunter will not mistake you for an animal.

Stay safe, think ahead, and have a great hunting season!

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Posted by on November 19, 2013 in archery, black bear, grouse, moose, Wawang Lake Resort

 

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In A Rut: Late Season Moose Tactics

We don’t often hear about hunting moose in the late season. An undeniable romance focuses on calling and attracting bulls during the peak of the rut; but what about when all that hormone-driven activity subsides? Where do the moose go and what do they do? More to the point, how do we hunt them in the late season?

For much of the year, bulls are reclusive by nature. They do their own thing, eating, sleeping, and moving on their own. As the rut approaches and peaks, physical antler-on-antler confrontations take place but as breeding winds down, their short-lived aggression fades back to a more docile demeanor. But as the rut concludes and moose are forced into winter survival patterns, bulls become more social, often opting to hang out in bachelor groups. At this time their focus turns to maintaining the necessities in life; eating, sleeping, and conserving energy. For the late season moose hunter who understands these dynamics, hunting can be straightforward. For those better acquainted with rutting bulls, the late season can be both uneventful and frustrating.

 


Seldom do you see bulls hanging out with cows in the late season.
More often than not, bulls will begin bunching up in small bachelor groups.

Use Vocalizations
While there was no need to communicate with the bulls, you will experience several more encounters during late season hunt when calling is used effectively. Bottom line – don’t be shy about calling, even in the late season. After the rut, formerly reclusive bulls will often group up as the weather turns cold and winter conditions set in. While seeing individual bulls is normal throughout the warm summer months and most of the fall, their social demeanor changes once breeding activity is finished. Vocalizations are common, even in November and December, as moose communicate with one another.

For late season moose hunters, this presents an outstanding opportunity. On several occasions I’ve been told experimenting with cow calls while hunting late season bulls they respond favorably.

Focus on Food

Just as it is a priority for other ungulates, food is always a priority, but during the late season, it’s at the top of the list. This usually means shifting to habitat areas offering the best food sources. While moose have a home range, they will shift within that range throughout the year based on their needs, i.e. to breed, or to find thermal cover and nutrient-rich foods.

During the warm-weather months when wetlands offer a smorgasbord of marsh plants, food is plentiful. At this time food is abundant and life is good. When sub-zero temperatures freeze these wetlands and snowfall covers an assortment of grasses, moose turn to the most accessible food, and that means bark, willows, and poplar saplings. With this in mind, willow flats surrounding frozen marshlands can be an ideal place to look for moose in the late season.

Consider the Cover
Cold, wind, and snow; these are often the conditions of late season. Just like you and I, they don’t like inclement weather. In defense, late season moose may take refuge in hills, valleys, or on leeward facing slopes. They’ll seek cover near food. This can mean different things in different types of habitat. In many areas thermal cover such as old-growth mixed forest is a first choice. In the absence of coniferous trees, alternative cover like thick willow clumps will be a top choice. Rarely will a moose hang around in open areas when the temperature and conditions are inhospitable.

Use the Snow
Found in every Canadian province except Prince Edward Island, moose are also thriving in many northern states like Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Minnesota, Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire – all places that get snow, and sometimes lots of it. It doesn’t matter if you’re hunting in the foothills, mountains, rolling aspen parkland, or boreal forest, more often than not the common denominator with hunting late season moose is colder weather and eventually snow. And with snow comes the added bonus of tracking. Locate a fresh track and, particularly in soft snow, you’ve got an exceptional chance of walking a bull down. If you find a fresh track, get on it, and slowly follow keeping a keen eye looking ahead. Chances are within a short distance you’ll catch up with him.


Rut sign like this rub confirm that moose live in the area.

Follow these tips and that daunting late season hunt will be a breeze!!  Don’t put down your weapon as soon as the snow flies…embrace it as another opportunity

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Gear up: Bow Hunting 101:pt 1 The Parts of Compound Bow

The lure of archery hunting has been an age old tradtion. From the evolution of spear to projectile, a sport was born!

Many people (including myself) have been daunted by the task of choosing their first bow. From draw length to pull pounds, this choice can be pivitol to a successful purchase.

There are many manufacturers and models being introduced yearly boasting a wide array of different accessories, colors, cam numbers and composites but in general, most compound bows come equipped with the same basics.

Study the image to the right to help learn the parts of the compound bow. Click on a compound bow part for glossary definition.

Parts of a Compound Bow

parts of a compound bow

  1. Arrow Rest
  2. Arrow Shelf
  3. Berger Hole
  4. Bow Sling
  5. Bow String
  6. Brace Height
  7. Cable(s)
  8. Cable Guard
  9. Cable Slide
  10. Cam(s)
  11. D-Loop
  12. Fletchings / Vanes
  13. Grip
  14. Limb(s)
  15. Nock
  16. Nocking point
  17. Peep Sight
  18. Quiver
  19. Riser
  20. Sight
  21. Silencing Aids
  22. Stabilizer
  23. String Vibration Arrester
  24. Tiller Measurement

With this basic outline, you can build your understanding and move forward into the purchasing stage.  Remember, before attempting to harvest any animal, practice practice practice!  More times than not, an amateur archery hunter will skip this step and either miss or wound an animal needlessly 🙂

If you are anxious to use your bow immediately, join an archery club…not only will you learn the skills needed, but you may even meet others that are looking forward to hunting and may request your company 🙂

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Posted by on November 15, 2013 in archery, bow, Wawang Lake Resort

 

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