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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Why I’m sticking with my 20 for the rest of the year

img_2593I currently own two shotguns – a 20-gauge that I bought last year and a 12-gauge that I bought this year.  Both are Benellis.  The 20 a Montefeltro and the 12 an Ethos.   I’d been alternating guns a bit this season but recently noticed a trend.  When I carry the 12 gauge I don’t see any birds.  I mean none.  I haven’t even fired a shot out of that thing in the field.   When I carry the 20-gauge I see birds and have shot all my birds this year with it.   Now I’m superstitious and am sticking to the 20 the rest of the season.

Lots of bird hunting this past month

img_2560In the last month since I got home from my Idaho deer hunt I’ve been spending a lot of time out bird hunting with Lira.  So much time, in fact, that I haven’t been fishing for a month now.   We’ve been spending time at Cooke Canyon in Ellensburg and several of the Snoqualmie Wildlife Areas on the west side.   Lira has gotten better and better at finding birds, holding point and retrieving over this month, it has been really fun just watching her progress.   She’s also graduated from needing to be leashed up to being able to be free and, for the most part she listens.  She definitely would just as soon go out and play with other dogs as hunt though, it takes some prodding and a few zaps to get her out of play mode into hunt mode first thing in the morning.

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First buck

img_2462A few days ago I shot my first buck and must admit I had very mixed emotions about the experience which for me really began several years ago.   When I got diagnosed with SIBO and had to switch from a vegan/vegetarian to Paleo diet I made the decision to fully embrace the Paleo lifestyle and in March of 2015 part of that became taking up hunting again.   It all started when I re-read The Paleo Manifesto and the chapter where John Durant decides to go deer hunting to supply his own food.  I grew up hunting in Iowa and had indeed supplied my own food before so I knew I could do it.   But, I grew up hunting birds, rabbits and squirrels and while Dad had gone deer hunting I had never been along.   After my first bird hunt in 30+ years I began looking into big game hunting since the amount of freezer stocked is way higher than with small game.   Within a month I had read several books on deer hunting and was contemplating hunting deer.

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