Lira’s second season

Acting nonchalant

Last year Lira did pretty well as a pup hunting in the fall, she found birds, she mostly pointed and rarely bumped them and she retrieved most of the time.  She also liked to chase other dogs around the field quite a bit and locally found ‘easy’ birds that were not in too thick of cover for the most part.    This year she really changed a lot.  No more chasing other dogs around or even wanting to outside of the usual parking lot sniffing and the who let the dogs out initial walk into the fields.  Once she gets to the grass she is all business, nose to the ground looking for birds.   She’s also become fearless of heavy cover.  She will go into anything that she can possibly get into to go after a pheasant and has flushed birds out of brambles so thick that i couldn’t get the bird to move by kicking the crap out of the outer layers of the stuff.   She’s grabbed cripples and even a few unscathed birds that got trapped in thick stuff and couldn’t get out before she got to them.  Just a few days ago she ran down a wing shot rooster who took off up a corn row and brought the bird out still kicking and flapping but Lira’s tail was up. She also finally lets me take a photo without constantly trying to grab the bird on the ground, that was a huge accomplishment.  We’ve gotten twice as many birds in the first three weeks of the season than all of last season and I’ve missed or not had shots at quite a few that she found in really thick stuff where shooting can be a challenge to say the least.   The season is about half over since I’ll be gone most of next week but I can’t wait to see what November brings.

Pheasant Creole

While I’m busy prepping for the upcoming hunting season I’m also busy trying to clear out the freezers in hopes of re-filling them soon.  I had a few pheasants left from last winter and decided to try something new with them after doing some variation on smoked pheasant for the last several.   We had some Shrimp Creole a few weeks ago and are inundated with tomatoes from the garden at the moment so that inspired me to make Pheasant Creole last night and it was awesome plus I did it in the slow cooker so it didn’t heat the house up too much on a hot day.

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Hunting season prep

The pheasant station at Red’s Sporting Clays course

A little over a month to go before the season opens and I’ve been busy as heck between work, fishing and trying to get myself and Lira ready for the season.  I’m going at this on three fronts:

  • Shotgun –  I wanted to go through at least 1000 rounds in my shotguns before bird season opens up.
  • Rifle –  I wanted to get at least 500 rounds through my rifle before deer season.
  • Physical Conditioning –  Need to get myself and Lira ready for heaving walking.

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Looking forward to next season

Hunting season pretty much ended at the end of last month when turkey season closed here in Washington.  Of course, tag hunting season was still ongoing and I just finally received  word of all those efforts and am getting ready for next season.   Last year was really my first true hunting season.  The year before when I decided take up hunting again it was limited to a few pheasant hunting trips but in 2016-17 it got much more serious.   I ended up the season with 30 days of hunting in total,  23 days of pheasant hunting, 5 days of deer hunting and 2 days of turkey hunting.  Overall, I was pretty successful, I must have taken about three dozen birds, one Mule Deer buck and two Merriam’s turkeys.   I managed to gather enough food that we have been eating wild game a few days a week since last fall. Add in fish that I catch and we are just under half our food supply now from hunting and fishing.

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Smoke roasted venison

This weekend we had a dinner party and I decided to make use of the last big leg roast from my buck but had no idea how I was going to cook it.   I ended up combining about 3 recipes to get the final result which was awesome so I thought I’d better document it for future use.

I started where I always start, Hank Shaw‘s Buck, Buck, Moose which has been my goto cookbook since last October, everything we’ve made from there has been fantastic.   Following his Roast Leg of Venison recipe he has a side-bar on Smoke-Roasting a Leg of Venison which is what I wanted to do.  Hank gives 3 options to deal with this in a smoker:

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Turkey Time!

First turkeys!

First turkeys!

Since taking back up hunting a few years ago I’ve been trying to expand my skills and the critters I’ll go hunting for and turkeys were at the top of my list.   I had planned on going on a guided turkey hunt last spring but after getting Lira a few days before the season opened realized it just wasn’t in the cards so I put it off until this season.   I decided to use the trip as a lesson in turkey hunting but wanted to be pretty prepared so bought some calls and learned how to use them, read as much as I could on turkey hunting and got out and patterned my shotgun at the range with turkey loads.

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Can you be vegan with SIBO?

This is a question that has come up a LOT on the Facebook SIBO group and I thought I’d give my opinions on the matter having been a vegan and having suffered through SIBO.  I was on the spectrum from vegan to pescatarian most of my adult life, I think the last red meat or poultry I ate was at 18 years old until I got SIBO at 53.   This was a decision made for religious reasons as well as moral reasons to try and help save the planet and it wasn’t one made lightly.    Originally I was hard-core vegan living on rice and soy for the most part then switched to adding dairy and eggs to my diet with some occasional fish.  For many years we lived this way, eating fish often when traveling, otherwise maybe a few times a month.  Sometime a few years before I got SIBO I started having problems with dairy and went back to being vegan.

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2016, year of the dog

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2016 turned out to be a much better your than even 2015 was for me and really was shaped by our new family member – an Australian Labradoodle puppy we named Lira (river in Aboriginal Australian).   Catherine and I had been talking about getting a dog again and I wanted one that could hunt since I got back into hunting as well as be a good family dog.  We also wanted a non-shedding dog if possible.  This narrowed our options down to basically two breeds – a Pudelpointer or a Labradoodle.   We were on waiting lists for Pudelpointers when I found a breeder that had hunting doodles as well as Pudelpointers and after talking to her decided that the doodle would be a better dog for us.

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First snow for Lira

Playing before the hunting starts

Playing before the hunting starts

It had been a week since the Western Washington pheasant season closed and a friend came to town with his dog so we decided to head over the pass with a small group, brave the cold and do a hunt at Cooke Canyon with the dogs this week.  I was a bit worried about Lira in the cold and snow so got her a neoprene vest to wear and decided to see what would happen.    When we got the dogs out of the truck they both basically went crazy running around in the snow chasing each other.  Lira had Reagan by the tail much of the time.  Snow seemed to be no problem.

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