Pemmican

2014-10-15 15.36.26-2Pimi: “Fat or Grease”

Pemmican is a traditional food of native North Americans that was later adapted by European fur traders and explorers. It generally consisted of a lean game meat such as Deer, Elk, Moose or Bison which was preserved in rendered fat and combined with whatever other “superfoods” were available: Dried berries, nuts and seeds. Preserving dried meat, berries and nuts in rendered fat creates an ultralight, calorie charged meal that is has an indefinite shelf life. The concept shares close similarities to both confit and traditional Mincemeat pies. With the high calorie to weight ratio and storage ability, pemmican is the perfect backcountry hunting/backpacking/paleo meal. Throw in the historical relevance that pemmican fed generations of hunter/gatherers and you need to look to further for a calorie rich, ultralight superfood.

In the spirit of tradition, pemmican need not be a fixed or rigid recipe, rather, use what you have and improvise. Here is an outline of my most recent experiment.

Ingredients:

*1-5 pounds dried venison (or beef)
1/2 pound (or more) Bacon
Coconut Oil (optional)
Dried berries of your choosing (I used Cranberries)
Dried nuts and/or seend of your choosing (I used Walnuts)
Cardamom
Ground Allspice
Ground Nutmeg
Ground Cloves
Brown Sugar
Maple Syrup

 

*Traditionally, the meat was dried in the sun (Southwest) or slowly next to a fire. What you are doing is making jerky without using a cure or marinade. Follow these steps to dry jerky out in your oven, or use a smoker or food dehydrator. I dried a couple of pounds even though I only used 1.5 cups in this recipe. The rest will be stored for use on the next batch of pemmican.2014-10-15 12.51.05-22014-10-15 16.24.10

  1. You will need to grind the jerky into a powder form. Consistency is probably nice, but this is a rustic meal we’re talking about, so inconsistency is welcome in my opinion. Traditionally, this task would have been done using rocks or a mortar and pestle. Let me tell you, after a few minutes of manually grinding venison, I went for the food processor. This was no easy task!
  2.  Slowly render fat from bacon. How much bacon? That’s entirely up to you. I used the fact from 3 pieces of center cut bacon, used some stored bacon fat and then added coconut oil until I had about a half a cup of fat. If you have some bacon grease stored away, this is the perfect time to put it to use. The cooked pieces of bacon were used in the recipe.
  3. Place the nuts, seeds and berries in a blender or food processor and chop them into a medium fine consistency. I used 3/4th a cup of Walnut and 3/4ths a cup of dried Cranberries. Exact amounts can vary and feel free to mix and match. Macadamia nuts are a high calorie nut that would be excellent choice. Dried blueberries are also excellent.
  4. Remove the nuts from the blender and chop the cooled bacon. Add 1.5 cups of Venison (or beef) powder and blend together.
  5. Add the nuts and fruit back into the blender (or, probably better move everything to a mixing bowl or mixer)
  6. Add Nutmeg, Cardamom, Maple Syrup, Ground Allspice, Ground Cloves, & Brown Sugar. How much of each? Experiment. You can always add more later. Salt shouldn’t be necessary as the bacon should provide plenty of that.
  7. You’ll need a minimum of ½ cup of rendered fat (I used a blend of bacon fat and coconut oil) and you’ll want it to be hot so that it doesn’t start solidifying on you while mixing.
  8. Mix in the hot, rendered fat. A mixer works great here. A blender can easily get overwhelmed by this combination. You can also manually mix using a wooden spoon. You should have a moist consistency that sticks together. If your mixture is too watery, add more ground meat. If it is too thick, add more fat and/or syrup.
  9. Sample and adjust your spices if necessary. You should have a delightful combination of saltiness, sweetness and richness.
  10. Place the mixture in a greased pan and cool in the freezer. You can cut the finished product into squares or roll into balls.


Pemmican will store fine at room temperature, but it won’t do particularly well in warm temps as the fat will melt and become messy. I store it in the refrigerator, but pemmican should store and travel well so long as the temperatures are reasonably cool. You can also store it in the freezer.

Trip Report: Colorado OTC Backpack Elk Hunt

We had been awake for 40+ hours, but our drive West had been seamless. After spending 24 hours at 9000 feet, we decided to go ahead and push into the backcountry a half day early.  Even though we planned on spending 48 hours acclimating, we all knew that we couldn’t resist the lure of the mountains and had packed extra food accordingly. After a couple of hours of hairpin turns, mountain passes and suspension-breaking, forest service roads, we stood at the base of our objective: A mountainside leading to a 12,600 foot pass and, hopefully, a steep drainage full of elk while lacking in hunting pressure.

Our mountain ascent started with a decent down a steep creek bank and across the water. Some scrambling plus a couple of fifth class rock climbing moves later, we began the 2,000 foot elevation grind in a mere fourth of a mile and, much to our surprise, we were in Elk and Mule deer sign almost immediately. After the initial 2,000 feet, the topography began to soften with a series of benches that were separated by steep sections of elevation gain. After 4 hours or so of climbing, we set camp 1 up on an exposed ledge. We were awaken just a few hours later when a herd of elk attempted to pass directly through our camp. The first couple of hours of daylight were spent glassing and listening for bugling before breaking camp down and continuing our push up the mountain. We found more reasonably fresh elk sign and encounter our first mule deer (21 yards) on the way.2014-09-19 15.48.37 2014-09-19 15.59.54 2014-09-19 19.01.54Camp 1. 10,500 feet. 

2014-09-20 07.25.44

 

In an effort to go directly to the top, we elect to take the more technical high ground and push over the mountain pass. A scree slope, some scrambling, and hard front pointing with our boots into elk and mule deer tracks combined with aggressive trek poling (yes, that is a verb!) in very steep alpine grass, we clear 12,600 feet and drop down 600 feet to make camp 2. Not a lot of options for flat ground up here, so we do the best we can, which means that us two ground sleepers our resigned to sleeping with a bit of body tension to keep ourselves in place. The other member of our party used an ingenious hammock system which seemed well suited for the terrain. Night 2 gave us relentless rain, freezing rain, snow and hail all night. Our 4:30 am wake up call was ignored due to lightning. Once we got going, we split up in an attempt to cover some ground in the immediate area. I glass early from the mountain pass and spend the mid-morning stalking my way downhill through the alpine forest. Despite elk sign, I only encounter mule deer.

2014-09-20 10.42.05 2014-09-20 11.32.12 2014-09-20 11.42.13 2014-09-20 12.27.57
2014-09-20 12.28.51 2014-09-20 13.03.352014-09-20 13.53.25Camp 2. 12,000 feet. 

During the afternoon, Robert and I pair up and do an exploratory investigation of the drainage on the other side of the mountain.  In an effort to stay above the elk, we try to stay just higher than the elk sign, but this takes more effort than we anticipated. We end up traversing dicey slopes clutching handfuls of grass for balance and having to make technical, fifth class moves to get over and around exposed rock outcroppings. The effort comes up a bit short on providing the vantage point we had hoped for and dark clouds, heavy thunder and impending rain sent us reversing these moves in a hurried manner. The speed was both a relief (less time in the danger zone) and stress inducing. With a background as a climber, I find the rock to be stimulating and enjoyable while some of the grassy traverses with  potential cartwheel falls into scree fields  to be a bit harrowing.2014-09-20 16.27.33 2014-09-20 16.27.57IMG_0346Climbing22014-09-21 08.32.12

After another night at camp 2 with heavy rains, we break camp in the morning and descend into the upper third of the steep drainage to our East. With the weather socked in, we establish camp 3 at 11,600 feet. Due to the heavy storms and humidity, much of our gear is wet and the weather is looking to become increasingly bleak. Brett sets to the task of starting a fire while Robert and I spend some time stalking downhill in a hail storm. In the early afternoon, we began to see hints that the sun might just break through and we spend the next hour watching the sun battle the clouds and cheering as if this battle is a sports event. The sun finally breaks through and it is glorious! We shed our wet clothes and spread our gear out on any exposed surface, taking full advantage of the drying and warming power of the sun. Though our relief from the bad weather was not to last, 90 minutes of direct sun was all we needed to ensure that we were set for a comfortable night. Brett takes off around the rim of the drainage while Robert and I push for the top. Lung congestion and a cough has become increasingly bothersome and, though I push through the weather and altitude to get to an exposed ridge, I pay for that ascent with a poor nights sleep and a body that is just barely hanging on the verge of sickness. For the second afternoon in a row, we hear bugling well below us between the hours of 5 and 9 PM. 2014-09-22 09.41.19location of camp 3

2014-09-22 10.46.42Camp 3. 11,600 feet.

2014-09-22 12.20.492014-09-22 14.17.28

The next morning, Brett returns to the opposite of the drainage to descend 1,000 feet while Robert and I drop into a deep creek gorge and then reclaim our elevation for a 1,500 foot stalk down the opposing North side once the thermals began to rise. Though we encounter no elk, we find some of the very freshest and most direct sign of regular herd travel. The downhill stalk was steep, often requiring the assistance of a trekking pole for secure footing. After meeting up, we ascend to 10,500 feet and establish camp 4. After some cold hours of glassing, we encounter a herd of elk who move onto the East face of the drainage, about a 3rd of the way up. We make plans for the morning and continue to observe and listen as light fades.2014-09-23 10.01.53-1 2014-09-23 10.02.14 2014-09-23 10.09.312014-09-23 13.05.05Camp 4. 10,600 feet. 

2014-09-24 14.23.45

4:30 comes early and, even though our plan involves waiting for the thermals to begin to rise before getting aggressive on these elk, we hope to be ready and have eyes on them at first light. Unfortunately, the elk appear to have moved off the face, or, if they are there, we are unable to see them in the thick aspens. As was our experience all week, there was no AM bugling.

Once the thermals begin to rise and carry our ascent up the mountain, we began our ascent angled towards a rock outcropping that sits at a diagonal and slightly higher than where we saw elk the evening before. The drainage here is steep. Damn steep. Our ascent is much more technical and slowgoing than we expected. We spend much of our time climbing and scrambling on all fours while trying not to knock loose rock off on each other. My two partners enter into a “spirited” debate about where we are and where we should be. We get set up by mid afternoon with Brett bugling from above with Robert and I set up to intercept on the path of least resistance between us and where we suspect the elk may be hiding. Our calling yields no interest so we began stalking while traversing the mounting. In terrain this severe and thick, stalking is a frustratingly difficult task. I end up taking a hard fall during this process. After checking myself over for injury, I decided it best to quiver my arrow for the more technical sections of the mountain as an encounter with a broadhead during a fall could be trip ending.

2014-09-24 16.45.11

While descending, we get separated in the Aspen thickets. The terrain is increasingly steep and we are forced to commit our entire body weight to the branches of Aspen saplings just to continue down. Like clockwork, the elk began to respond to our bugling at 5 PM. The bulls are spread out on the opposing face. We descend as quickly as we can while trying to cause minimal rockslides, but this is an impossible task. Descent at this point is more a matter of controlled falling by means of trusting our lives to sapling limbs than anything else. As I reach the bottom portion of the drainage, I look up to find the herd bull, a mature 5×3, standing 2,000 feet above me scanning the terrain below him like a mountain goat. The bull is firmly perched on a rock outcropping, surrounded by high angle (80-85 degrees), alpine grass slopes that drop off into 90 degree rock ledges. I was amazed to see an Elk moving so dominantly in what was clearly goat country.  In fact, I had dismissed the idea of elk using that portion of mountain altogether. I watched him for 10 minutes or so, trying to run the math on a way to get up there where he is while there is still daylight. It is impossible. Despite being less than 300 yards away, getting to the elk would require a 1,000 foot descent and a 2,000 foot climb. Finally, he loses interest and trots off, traversing those steep, grassy slopes with ease. Some of the subordinate bulls continued to bugle from various perches in dark timber of the same face. The day was both exciting and entirely defeating. We were certain that we had blown out the North side of the drainage and the South side was so steep and complex that there is no way we could attempt it without positioning ourselves on top; A task which would easily take a full day just to reposition. The general feeling was that we had gambled big time on the Elk remaining on the North side and that these same elk had used the severe terrain to defeat us. While we could have doubled down on that area, the concern became the clock (we were running out of days), the distance from the truck and, most importantly, the terrain between us and the truck. We would easily need 2 full days to get elk meat out of the hole we were positioned in. We made the decision to head up out of the drainage the next morning. With full packs on, the difficulty of potentially recovering meat uphill and out of the drainage became a harsh reality. Despite feeling recovered from my brief sickness and even feeling strong, the mountainside was relentless. After dropping into the other side, we spent some time stalking through the alpine forest, encountering more mule deer along the way. We set up Camp 6 on an exposed ridge at 11,700 feet (the first flat ground we sleep on) and spent the evening doing more stalking.

2014-09-25 10.23.55 2014-09-25 10.23.332014-09-25 13.58.152014-09-25 18.45.272014-09-25 14.00.35Camp 5. 10,500 feet. 

2014-09-25 14.00.01

2014-09-25 15.25.20We all three used the Sawyer water filter. Both of my partners used the filter inline on their bladders, filtering while they were drinking. I used the bag method as I had 2 smaller bladders -one of mixing drinks in and another for cooking water. 

2014-09-25 18.32.28Listening for Elk bugling in the late afternoon. All of the bulging we heard was between the hours of 5 PM and 9 PM

On the morning of day 7, we again waited for the thermals to begin rising, split up and, over the course of several hours, stalked our way downhill. This  ended up being a very hot day, especially as we dropped altitude. Once we descended the benches, we strapped our bows on our packs and pointed our feet downhill to polish off this last 2,000 feet of drop. I descended this section so quickly that I got a nosebleed. The last obstacle between us and the truck is a creek. Instead of wasting time picking my way across trying to keep my feet dry, I take the plunge in the thigh deep water and knock the crossing out in no time.2014-09-26 13.21.30

That night we ate dinner twice (beers with both) and spent time in a hot tub drinking bourbon.

We’ll be back next year.

Thoughts on backpack hunting:

Obviously backpacking hunting is not for everyone. Combining your experiences as an ultralight backpacker with the concept of ultra light hunting is not as easy as a marriage as one might think. If you lack experience in either or both departments, this could be an even more difficult concept. Despite striping our gear to a minmimum and using extremely simple shelters, methods of meal preparation and a bag full of ultralight camping hacks, it was surprising how much time we spent dealing with camp on a daily basis. Not to say that a DIY basecamp or spike camp does not come with its own list of daily chores and tasks, but backpack hunting seems to have the highest tradeoff in terms of comparing benefits vs. consequences of different types of backcountry hunting. You will give up the most in terms of comfort and will require the highest level of physical conditioning in order to carry and hunt with camp on your back on a daily basis. At the same time, this approach allows the hunter the greatest range and ability for improvisation. For the out of state DIY hunter with no ability to scout an area for sign, outfitters and other hunters, the choice seems obvious, however, the execution of this method of hunting is something that will continue to appeal only to a small fraction of hunters. After all, you’re going to spend just as much time obsessing over the weight of your sleeping bag as you will sighting in your weapon.

Backpack hunting is not “backpacking” because you are often going into places based upon the movement of animals instead of the path of least resistance or aesthetics. You may end spending your time in a craggy hell hole rather than next to a nearby scenic river. You have to get up earlier than normal in order to break camp. You can easily overextend yourself in terms of distance from your vehicle. There are many things that can wrong, more decisions to be made on a daily basis. More decisions means more bad decisions. Additionally, you are not thinking solely in terms of “hunting” mode as you have many “backpacking” decisions to deal with. At the same time, this is a close as the modern hunter can get to the nomadic hunter gatherer experience without going intentionally primitive. It could be argued that contemporary equipment makes that type of experience impossibly modern, however, we are merely translating this experience into the modern world, not reenacting an experience from the past.

Backpack hunting maintains about a 60/40 hunting to backpacking (“camping”) ratio. Basecamp hunting, particularly if outfitted, maintains more of a 90/10 ratio. Your chosen method of backcountry hunting will reflect more of what you want out of your experience than anything else. One method does not guarantee success or outcome over the other, but the different methods do offer totally different experiences of backcountry hunting. In a contemporary setting where the hunting world has been entirely conquered, the next step in the hunting experience is to repeat what has already been done in improved style, means and manner; to move lighter, faster and further to accomplish the same ends and to do solo what in the past has taken large groups. Why strap on 40 pounds of gear for seven to ten days and hunt an animal that could just easily be hunted to and from a vehicle on a daily basis in a different area? Because it is a different experience.

Venison Prosciutto, 12 months later

Well, after 12 months of hanging, it was finally time to dig into the Venison Prosciutto.

2014-09-30 20.36.20 2014-09-30 20.48.12
The outside was tough and inedible, but as we got to the dark meat in the middle, the taste became increasingly interesting. Salty, but interesting. I think that with a pork prosciutto, the fat offsets the salt a bit, however, with lean venison,  you get the full impact of the salt. I’m not sure if the prosciutto is very substitutable for typical prosciutto uses such as wrapping asparagus, but it does make an interesting charcuterie offering unto itself. First impression is that this is an interesting novelty. Worth the effort? Well, there’s not a lot of effort involved. It is an interesting experiment, especially if you have an abundance of venison and a curing setup. I’ll likely do it again, perhaps even mixing in a bit of spice.

Backcountry Elk Hunting Prep

Back in mid January, I committed to making a DIY backcountry Elk hunt become a reality this September. After months of training (over 800 training miles & 100+ Crossfit workouts) and planning, we are about 2 weeks out from heading to Colorado.  This will be a “backpack” or “bivy” style hunt in that we will have no established base camp, rather, we will stay mobile on a day to day basis until we find what we are looking for. Our philosophy is that since we have no opportunity to scout and have no real idea where we may run into other hunters or, worse, outfitted pack camps, our best chances for success as well as an aesthetic experience will be found in a highly mobile, ultra light backpacking method of hunting. So, with the goal set to have pack weights of less than 40 pounds (including water) and a total load out (boots, clothes to be worn, weapons etc) of less than 50 pounds for seven days, each of us sorted through our present gear, upgraded where necessary, weighed, re-weighed, calculated, experimented, researched, asked for advice and compiled our gear. 

Elk_Backpacking_Gear_2014

 

Gear List: 

  • Empty Pack: 82oz
  • Sleeping Bag + dry sack: 59oz
  • Tarp Shelter: 29oz
  • Trekking Poles: 18.8oz
  • Water Filter: 4.9oz
  • Sleeping Pad: 7.9oz
  • 2nd Merino shirt: 9oz
  • Down Jacket + dry sack: 20.5oz
  • Food: 160
  • First aid kit: 2.1
  • Water: 70.4 (2 liters)
  • Bladder: 6 oz
  • Extra Bladders: 3 oz
  • Rain gear (top & bottom): 34.4
  • GPS w batteries: 4.7
  • headlamp w/ batteries: 3.2
  • Spare batteries: 1.6
  • dry sacks: 2.5
  • bowl/cup/spork: 3.7
  • Fuel: 7.5
  • Lighter: .4
  • *Kill Kit: 16  (game bags, knife, 550 cord)
  • socks 2
  • Soap 2
  • Toothbrush/Toothpaste: 1.2
  • wipes/TP: 3
  • towell: .7

—-

Base Pack weight: 555.8oz / 34.73 lbs

Bow: 96 oz

Clothes/ Items to be Worn: 

  • Merino Base layer pants: 9.1oz
  • Merino Base Layer shirt: 8
  • Outerwear Pants: 18.5
  • Gloves: 2.6
  • Merino Neck gaiter: .75
  • Merino hat: .75
  • Hat: .75
  • Optics + Harness: 35.2
  • Boots: 64 (size 13)
  • Socks: 4

Total: 143.65oz / 8.9 lbs

Total Clothes + Weapon: 239.65oz/ 14.97lbs 

Total Load Out (everything): 798.4oz/ 49.90lbs

Gear wise, I went back and forth on many items. Some of my existing gear was applicable, other items had to be upgraded for more specific purposes. In other cases, such as my bow (which was not purchased with ultralight hunting in mind) and my sleeping bag (which was light by the standards of the late 90s but not today), upgrades were financially not feasible this year. The backpack was the focus of much attention for several months. I do have several backpacks ranging from a dedicated “backpacking” pack that I purchased in 1998 to day packs for day hunting whitetails and small game to a mid size pack suitable for overnight and weekend hunting trips. The main problem with my selection of packs is that none of them are particularly comfortable for heavy duty hauling, which backcountry Elk hunting potentially requires.  Since we’ll have to be prepared move several hundred pounds of meat from a backcountry kill site back to the truck, I needed a pack that is capable of handling extreme loads yeth still maintains our ultralight ethos. Many conventional packs just aren’t designed to go into the 80, 90, 100+ pound weight range. There is an exceptional selection of such packs (dedicated to backcountry hunting) on the market manufactured by boutique companies. The time tested standard is the Kifaru pack and one of my partners went with this pack. The Stone Glacier was a pack that I closely considered as well. Kuiu and Mystery Ranch are also packs commonly used by serious backcountry hunters (my other partner went with a Mystery ranch). After much deliberation, I decided to go with the Exo Mountain Gear 5500. It is a titanium frame pack that is light, strong, simple and at a competitive price point for the high end pack market. 

Food: In order to hit a desirable weight to calorie ratio (general ultralight rule is 100 calories minimum per ounce) of food that I can find enjoyable to eat yet balanced with the consideration of practically in the backcountry setting, I went with a combination of dehydrated meals, jerky, pemmican, salami, dried fruit, drink mixes, almond butter, meal replacement bars, granola+dried milk+whey protein, energy gel shots (for hard climbs) and Starbucks Vias for morning coffee. 

Food-Scale

Breakfast: Granola + Nuts + Dried Milk + Whey Protein, Dried Fruit (Mango, Banana, & Tangerine). 

-first 3 days is about 350 calorie breakfasts at 2.8 oz. 
-last 4 days, I increased the portions to get 400+ calories
(thinking here is that I’ll have some initial loss of appetite due to altitude and/or, I’ll need more fuel the last few days than the first few days). 
 
Lunch & Snacks: Pemmican (fat & protein), Venison Jerky (protein), Almond Butter (protein, fat, sugars), Dried Fruit (sugars/carbs & fiber), ProBars (protein, fat, carbs -heavy on the Greens and Fruit options), Gel Shots (carbs), Salami (fat & protein). 
 
Dinner: A mixture of Mountain House, Alpine Aire, and Backpacker’s Pantry dehydrated meals. My entire selection of meals are the “ethnic” options: Jerk Chicken & Rice, Sweet & Sour pork & Rice, Chicken Cashew Curry & Rice, Southwestern Style Masa with Beef, Thai Style Chicken with Noodles, Chicken Vindaloo, and (the more bland sounding) Lasagna with Meat Sauce. I also packed some dehydrated desserts consisting of Three Berry Crumble, Ice Cream Sandwiches and Neapolitan Ice Cream.  Most of the Dinners + Desserts came in over 1,000 calories. So, I’m running about 3,000 calories a day at 1.5 pounds (24 oz) per day. Given the terrain we will be hunting, this will surely be a caloric deficit, but should be just enough to keep hunger at bay. 
 
Supplements: Since my usual Paleo-esque diet includes massive amount of fiber in the form of greens, I included a green concentrate drink mixture, one serving of which provides two daily servings of fruit and vegetables. I plan to take two servings daily, which should provide a steady supply of fiber and nutrients in addition to what I get from the dried fruits and other foods. I also packed energy drink mix with a high vitamin concentrate as well as daily multivitamins and fish oils (Omega 3 Fats). 
 
At home, I would normally not eat grain (granola) or rice with any kind of regularity, however, under the circumstances, I hardly think that the daily intake levels of each are enough to cause me any problems (upset stomach, inconsistent energy levels etc) as I have done my best to maintain high levels of fat (which my body is accustomed to drawing energy from) and protein.
 
Training: Since we will be hunting in very difficult terrain, constantly on the move with camp on our backs and will potentially be required to pack very heavy loads of meat for long distances, off trail and through very difficult terrain, we considered physical preparation to be of the highest priority for this trip. The core of my training schedule consisted of a strength based Crossfit program (generally 4 times a week) split with rucking (trails, hill repeats, stair wells, stair climbers), cycling, and a bit of running (which tapered off over the months). My approach was to add strength where it counts most (legs, back and core), increase the amount of time I can operate at or very near my VO2 max (through the HighIntensity Interval Training/ Metabolic Conditioning workouts programmed at my Crossfit affiliate) and be comfortable moving under the weight of a heavy pack for extended periods of time. My training volume was generally 7-10 hours a week, some split days, and always with 2 rest days. Every 2-3 weeks, I would make sure to get 2 consecutive rest days and I took 4 consecutive days off 4 times over 8 months. These recovery days were not always easy to make myself do, but they insured that I made consistent gains (recovery is greater than 50% of any training program) as well as stayed injury free. There are many different approaches one can take to train for mountain hunting and mine is but one of them. Once my regimen has been tested in the mountains, I share more thoughts and details.  
 
Final thoughts: At any given time, one can be focused on anyone of the many facets of hunting. This could include being a wild game chef, a dedicated duck hunter, backyard squirrel hunting with a pellet gun, sitting in a treestand, being an athlete, dog training, planting food plots, hosting dinners, shooting, researching gear etc. For me, infusing more adventure into my hunting experience is presently the aspect of hunting that is most attractive. 
 
 

Whole Foods under fire for selling Rabbit meat

Absurdity. People are protesting Whole Foods for selling rabbit meat

 

Surf n Turf

Ken Owens has skinned and mounted an untold number of wild animals at his Autaugaville taxidermy shop. This week, he put his knife to what is believed to be a world-record alligator killed on the Alabama River during this year’s state gator hunt.

Owens said that when he cut open the gator’s stomach, he saw a pair of ears. He pulled on them, and out came the carcass of a fully intact, yet deteriorated, adult female deer.

The gator had caught it and gulped it down whole.

Read the full story with detailed pics. 

Carnivore News, Augst 2014

Plans to Kill 2,800 Deer on Civil War Battlefields

The National Park Service has tentatively approved a plan that envisions government sharpshooters killing more than 2,800 white-tailed deer at three Civil War battlefields in Maryland and Virginia over the next five years to curb damage to plants and trees.

The agency aims to reduce herds that it says are over-browsing vegetation at the Antietam and Monocacy battlefields in Maryland and the Manassas battlefield in Virginia.

Spokeswoman Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles said Friday that the number of deer to be killed would depend on how quickly the forest regenerates.

The park service says with public hunting prohibited in the parks, the deer population has become too dense.

The government’s growing use of sharpshooters from the Agriculture Department’s Wildlife Services division to control wild animals on federal land has been criticized by hunting proponents and animal-welfare advocates.

These culling programs costs taxpayers anywhere from $100 to $500 per deer. The sames ends could easily be accomplished with the NPS hosting a few controlled archery only hunts. At what point does reason prevail and we start considering controlled (archery only, lottery system etc) hunts as a sensible solution to overpopulation in National Parks and Battlefields? These hunts could even potentially be revenue generators. 

Hunting From a Mountain Bike -Trailer or no Trailer? http://www.examiner.com/article/mountain-bike-hunting-trailer-or-no-trailer

I personally prefer no trailer, though, a heavy pack can get very uncomfortable when it comes to sitting on a bike seat.

Utah’s First-Ever Crow Hunt Has a Catch: Eat What You Kill: http://www.wideopenspaces.com/utahs-first-ever-crow-hunt-catch-eat-kill/

I have a crow sandwich spread recipe if anyone wants to give it a try.

What Type of Hunter Am I? http://www.humansandnature.org/hunting—jed-meunier-response-121.php#.U9lFCxb2sM4.twitter

As former Bugle editor Dave Stalling and others have pointed out, “in order to assure the future of hunting, we don’t need more hunters; we need better hunters.” We do not need a Homo sapiens equivalent of domestic housecats torturing their prey for amusement. We need “nature hunters,” as described by Kellert, who regard their prey with affection and respect and consider how both the prey and the hunters themselves fit into their environment. An easy first step centers on self-identity in the same spirit that Grinnell and Roosevelt showed when redefining hunters to save hunting at the turn of thenineteenth century. By redefining hunting within an ethical framework we may begin to satisfy public concerns about hunting, but, more importantly, we can revitalize the hunting experience. We successfully restored the populations of game animals. Now, more than ever, we need to restore hunters and the meaning of hunting. I will begin by redefining what type of hunter I am. I am a “nature hunter” and this helps make me human.

Tennessee Bear Hunting Regulation Change

In November of 2013, I experienced first hand the impossibilities of the Tennessee bear hunting regulation requiring hunters to check in bears as a whole animal (unquartered). During the public comment period, I sent a long email to our state game agency explaining the difficulties of this regulation and and am happy to report that the regulation has been changed to where bears may be checked in quartered so long as the quarters add up in weight to 75 pounds. This is a very significant and practical change. I am unsure how much influence my comments on the matter had, but it is at least comforting to know that our state agency is listening to hunters.

Proclamation 14-05 in the Big Game Tagging section reads:

(2) All harvested bears must be checked in at any approved checking station (excluding internet and mobile applications). Bears may be whole or field dressed, but must weigh 75 pounds or greater when checked in. If bears are quartered or boned out, the total of the meat, hide, etc. must equal or exceed 75 pounds. The reproductive sex organs shall remain attached to each bear harvested at least until the bear has been officially checked out at any official checking station.

Deer Farms: Hunting’s Ticking Time Bomb: http://www.petersenshunting.com/deer/deer-farms-huntings-ticking-time-bomb/

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“Make food part of your identity. Hunt, gather, grow, or prepare it yourself. Hunt a wild animal, kill it, thank it, gut it, get your hands bloody -then share the meat with others. Get your hands dirty: plant a vegetable garden, grow herbs on a window-sill, or gather wild berries. Raise some chickens or learn to butcher an animal. Fish.”

-John Durant, The Paleo Manifesto