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Bird Hunting

  • October 15, 2013

    Shotgun Shooting Tip: What It Means to Focus

    By Phil Bourjaily

    I talk a lot about focus or looking hard at the target when I am coaching and teaching, and sometimes people don’t know what I mean, and I forget to explain.

    Focus, or looking hard at the bird means looking at one part of it. Don’t look at the whole bird; pick out the beak, the eye, the cheek patch on a Canada goose, the green head of a mallard, the ring on the neck of a pheasant.

    This weekend I helped our local Delta Waterfowl Chapter with their first annual youth hunt by giving the kids a shooting lesson the day before. Most of the kids had shot before but there were three tiny girls there – the tallest was about 4 feet 8 inches – who had never fired a gun. They had little Mossberg and Remington youth guns and I had a supply of Fiocchi low recoil ¾ ounce trainer loads, so they had guns that fit and wouldn’t hurt them. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 14, 2013

    Recipe: How to Cook Port-Glazed Dove Breasts


    By David Draper

    Ed Mazzeo, assistant manager of shotguns for Remington, related this recipe to me over dinner last week. Mazzeo and I were discussing favorite quail recipes (mine was southern-fried and gravy-soaked, naturally) when he offered up this little gem for doves. I didn't have a pad handy, so caveat emptor as I scribbled it down later, well after I'd dipped into the bourbon. It's also untested, but Mazzeo is a man of taste—as evidenced by his bow tie, original Hummer, and extensive collection of James Bond-related memorabilia, so I don't doubt the recipe, only my memory of it. I didn't ask Mazzeo for his preferred apertif for the dish, but I'm betting he'd have offered up a vesper, Bond's preferred cocktail order rather than the better-known martini, shaken not stirred. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 10, 2013

    Non-Toxic Shot: Bismuth is Back

    By Phil Bourjaily

    Bismuth, the first non-toxic alternative to steel shot, is back.  With the price of tungsten ammo going from expensive to “if you have to ask you can’t afford it” prices, that’s good news, at least for those who can pay $2-$3 per shell for shotgun ammo. Bismuth pellets are actually a bismuth-tin alloy that is almost as dense as lead. It’s brittle, rather than hard, so it doesn’t damage gun barrels and it reacts to choke about the way lead did. Bismuth is a good choice for those who hunt waterfowl with older guns and nice doubles that can’t tolerate steel.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 8, 2013

    The Underappreciated Browning Gold

    By Phil Bourjaily

    This year I decided I was tired of shooting doves with plastic-stocked guns and went looking for something a little classier. I found a used Browning Gold at a good price. After I pointed out a dent in the vent rib and whined, I got an even better price on it. It’s a 12 gauge with a 26-inch barrel. It shoots where I look. Although this one is unadorned, like all Brownings it is nicely finished and a definite aesthetic upgrade over the all-black 391 I am now relegating to ducks only. Once I add a sling to the Gold I will have my ideal dove gun. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 7, 2013

    Cookbook Review: Hank Shaw Keeps it Real With 'Duck, Duck, Goose'


    By David Draper

    As I write this, hunter, angler, forager, and blogger Hank Shaw is somewhere in the upper Midwest, cruising along on an epic around-the-country tour to promote his newest cookbook “Duck, Duck, Goose," which was released just last week. I think most Wild Chef readers are familiar with Shaw and his epicurean approach to feasting on nature's bounty. His Website, Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook, is probably the preeminent source on the Internet for wild-game cooking and, as the title belies, his new cookbook focuses solely on his passions for waterfowl. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 4, 2013

    The New Dangerous Ignorance of American Public Lands

    By Hal Herring

    As would-be pontiffs pontificate about the shutdown, and ideologues of the left and right declare the end of America, some federal employees are going about some very serious business. You and I and Aunt Millicent are barred from visiting our National Parks and our federal wildlife refuges (that we paid for with our duck stamp money), and in Montana, more than 12,000 public lands managers, biologists, clerks and outhouse technicians are worrying about car payments while they are hunting ducks, watching Netflix, or trying to close in to archery distance with a big bull elk. But the government shutdown is no forced vacation for those who care nothing for America’s hunting and fishing heritage. These ideologues see this whole political pseudo-showdown as an opportunity, and they are busier than ever. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 4, 2013

    Food Fight Friday: Baked White Bass vs Barbecued Honker

    By David Draper

    This time of year a lot of sportsmen get so focused on hunting they forget fall is one of the best times to go fishing. Not Wild Chef reader nuclear_fisher, who sent in a photo of the white bass he boated for this week’s Food Fight. His opponent, reader Pat Chapin, prefers the goose fields of fall and his dish reflects that passion. Each looks good enough that I might vote for a surf-n-turf combo. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 4, 2013

    First Shot: "A Ruff Shot"


    By Kristyn Brady

    Photo by: Donald M. Jones 

    "The only other time I've managed to photograph a grouse expanding his ruff for a hen was back in the days of film—and it didn't turn out nearly as well as this shot," says Don Jones. He took the hard-won photo only 5 miles from his Montana home in April. "Bull grouse have multiple drumming logs they work throughout the day to attract a female. I observed this bird for a long time, found his primary and secondary logs, then covered one with branches so he'd be sure to visit the log 25 yards from my photo blind," Jones explains. He was careful in timing his approach to the blind, located in an area with plenty of overstory. "A ground bird is very nervous about any type of movement, and they don't like to see blue sky above them, for fear of predators."

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 1, 2013

    Duck Hunting: An Underrated Spot for Woodies


    By Michael R. Shea

    Illustration by Ryan Kirby

    Mike Bard has been killing wood ducks for 20 years. A New York state pro staffer with Avery and Field Proven Calls, he's dropped woodies over every possible kind of cover. While most waterfowl hunters focus on beaver swamps and farm ponds, you shouldn't overlook big, fast-moving rivers that can support serious bird numbers, according to Bard. "Everyone knows scouting is crucial for ducks," he says. "But with woodies you have to be even more precise. If you're off the X, even with decoys out, you'll watch them land 50 yards out of range." Here's how to find and hunt those fast-water woodies. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 1, 2013

    Making a Damascus Kitchen Knife


    By David Draper

    If you haven’t heard of Adam Perry-Lang, take a few moments to do a little research. The chef-turned-pitmaster has a ton of great info on advanced techniques and recipes for barbecuing meat, which can all be translated to wild game. You can find them on his Website, on YouTube, and in his three books. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 1, 2013

    First Look: Winchester Long Beard XR Turkey Loads

    By Phil Bourjaily

    From what little I have seen of Winchester’s new Long Beard XR turkey loads they really do offer nearly the performance of the premium tungsten-iron loads at just a little more than the price of regular lead. [ Read Full Post ]

  • September 26, 2013

    The Mojo Pick Stick: Quit Leaving Hulls In The Field

    By Phil Bourjaily

    Mojo’s Pick Stick is one my favorite new products of 2013 because it addresses one of my pet peeves in the field: piles of hulls. How hard is it to clean up after yourself at the end of a hunt? There are good reasons to pick up your hulls. It will help you avoid a ticket from our local CO, who writes people up for leaving trash and empties in the dove field. It helps keep your good spots secret because some people scout duck holes by looking for hulls floating in the water. Mostly, it’s just the right thing to do. [ Read Full Post ]

  • September 23, 2013

    Dove Hunting Etiquette: When Strangers Set Up Too Close

    By Phil Bourjaily

    I got to the best field at our local WMA first on Labor Day and sat near one corner. A couple of other parties arrived in the dark, the closer one set up 150-200 yards away. No problem.

    Ten minutes after shooting time a father and his teenage son came crashing through the bushes behind me and plunked their buckets down 30 yards away. “Good morning,” I said, assuming they hadn’t seen me tucked in the bushes and would perhaps go somewhere else. “Morning,” the man said, and proceeded to set his decoys ten yards from mine. [ Read Full Post ]

  • September 9, 2013

    Three Great Recipes for Teal


    By David Draper

    Teal season is in full swing across much of the U.S., and hunters in several areas got the added bonus of an extra bird or two in the daily bag limit. Hopefully, if your early-season shooting is on, that means plenty of teal for the grill. If you’re lucky enough to limit out, here are three great teal recipes to try this month. [ Read Full Post ]