New Protein

Duck season is upon us!!

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A successful harvest so far this season means that I’ve had a fun chance to do something new with a protein I’ve never used.  I’ve had restaurant duck plenty of times, and it’s always been delicious.  But wild duck is a whole different animal, and it really puts a whole new spin on it when you can take something all the way from harvest to plate.

In addition to eating we also have some wings stashed in the freezer for a taxidermy/biology lab style display I want to do for the upstairs loft.  I’m thinking something along the lines of displaying the wings with little tags and their Latin names.  It’s a nice way to blend hunting with science in a stylized way, and it will feature the prettiest part of the birds….in my opinion.  Using as much of what we bring home as possible is something I really put a lot of focus on, The Engineer might say too much focus….but he usually goes along with my ideas! 🙂

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The most shocking part of duck season so far is how strongly Madam Roo has taken to the whole situation.  My usual timid, perpetually nervous girl has taken to charging right through The Engineer when he arrives home that she can go investigate what he’s brought home every morning.  Poor guy just wants to say hello to her, and she can’t even be bothered until she’s accessed the daily harvest.

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I’ve shared this already on Instagram, but it’s just too good and too cute!
“The Stay at Home, Delicate Duck Hunter”

I have grand cooking plans for all sorts of wild game, so I tend to get a bit bossy with home the birds should be cleaned.  Sadly, it’s been a bit too early in the season to pluck a bird for roasting.  They have all been about halfway between their summer feathers and having their dense winter, downy feathers grow in.  This has just led to a mess of plucking, so sadly I haven’t had a bird yet for roasting with my canned apple chutney.  That will come with time I’m sure, but I am antsy to try that and let you know how it goes!

While we patiently wait for the birds to fully plume for winter, and hopefully cleaner plucking, we’ve been breasting out the birds.  I tend to be a bit more skilled than The Engineer in that capacity, so bird cleaning as really become a whole family affair.  We usually try and keep Scout in the house while the knives are flying, but she’s taken to crying like she’s being beaten if we are out with the ducks without her, so we usually cave about halfway through.

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Ummm excuse me iz trying to investigate pleez!

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Pleez do not mind while I investigate these ducks pleez….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My very first adventure into cooking duck was Spicy Thai Duck Burgers curtesy of From Field to Plate.  I’ve used other From Field to Plate recipes before, and I’ve always had really great results.  I really can’t say enough good things about his lime and tequila turkey marinade!  The burgers were alright, but I would defiantly tweak the spices and flavors next time we make them.

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I think I’m just not a huge fan of cinnamon paired with meats.  I know that it’s a normal flavor profile in some Eastern cuisines, but it’s just not my favorite flavor.  Also, I didn’t find it all that spicy, and even The Engineer thought it was too mild.  I will say I did half the jalapeño in the slaw, but usually a single jalapeño is all The Engineer can tolerate spice wise.  It’s so hard to know especially because every pepper is a little different, but it could have used way more oomph.

I would definitely remove the cinnamon and amp up the spice for round two.  Also, I don’t like peanut sauce and it was a Wednesday night, and I was feeling lazy…..so I cheated and bought some peanut sauce for The Engineer.  The From Field to Plate homemade version is probably much better.  If you’re into peanut sauce and give it a try let me know!

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High on list of things you don’t want in your burger patty…..

This week we were a bit crunched for time, so instead of trying a new recipe we went to an old fall back.  Friday night duck taco and nacho night with margaritas was exactly what this week called for!  Just treat it exactly the way you’d use regular ground beef, and no one will even know you’re sneaking waterfowl into the dinner rotation!

I do a bit feel like I’m not really using the ducks to their full flavor potential, and it’s making me a little bummed.  I’m not really in love with the texture of ground duck….it’s a bit soft.  More on the side of ground turkey or chicken then say ground beef or deer.  It defiantly goes better, in my opinion, with something crunchy….slaw or tortilla chips.  But, at the end of the day, it’s all getting gobbled up and that’s really what counts.

Meals do really mean more when you know the time and sacrifice that have been put in to make them happen.  So many people have moved so far away from knowing where their food comes from.  Nothing that arrives on your table arrives by magic, and I’m glad that in this house we are active participants in at least some of the meals that arrive on the dining room table.

Bonus points for not having any shot end up in the taco meat!  I’ll take that as my major victory for the week!!

Operation Thunder Chicken: Feel the Thunder

The Engineer and I had the opportunity to hunt a gorgeous, heavily wooded piece of private farm land last weekend that belongs to family friends.  We had never been to the property before, so we went Saturday afternoon to get a feel for the lay of the land.  It was miserably hot out, the ticks were swarming, and we heard not a single cluck, gobble, or yelp.

We were feeling rather defeated about the whole situation when on the way out we spotted a turkey across a dried up creek bed.  Too far away to take a shot, especially with my backpack on and an awkward bag of decoys falling all over the place.  The difference between public land, heavily hunted turkeys and mostly left to themselves private land turkeys became very clear when instead of sounding alarms and sprinting off…..this turkey just sorta wandered into a thicker wooded area all while continuing to pick for snacks along the way.

A hot and sweaty trudge up a hillside lead us back to the farmhouse on the property.  Just as I crested the top, I turned South to look out over the view of the valley and the Missouri River in the distance.  My picturesque view was jolted back to reality when 3 turkeys went flying out of a cedar tree probably 50 yards away.  The birds were clearly in the area, we just needed a better plan and some luck!

I’m not a morning person, and 4:30 comes real early.  Small consolation is that it’s no longer freezing outside, so you can actually sit around comfortably, even when it’s dark outside.  We drove out to the farm and wandered down to the place we had seen the turkeys the afternoon before.  Mostly unbeknownst to us, we set up right in the middle of the turkeys roosting lair!  Do you know what it’s like to listen to a far off group of roosted birds gobble in the distance, and then to hear  deafeningly loud gobbles that can only mean you’re almost directly below the flock?!?!  It’s amazing!  It will send chills of excitement all down your spine, and you will finally understand why they call it “Spring Thunder”!  Imagine the video below, but with more gobbles and much closer…..up in a tree and slightly to your left about 40 yards away!

Ugh, I so wish The Engineer and I were the kind of people who filmed our hunts.  But we aren’t, and mostly we are still trying to learn how to hunt turkeys.  I just wish I even had some audio to share about how amazing the gobbling was the other morning.  Alright….back to the turkeys.

Loud flapping sounds  and rapid clucks soon signaled the descent of the birds from their nighttime roosts.  The Engineer was sitting to my left, and had a clear view of the flock as they regrouped near the top of a small hill.  I looked out the blind to my right in time to see a single bird fly down about 40 yards away from the blind.  We called and waited as two hens from the left and the single bird from the right joined up together straight out from the blind about 30 yards.  I have sat in the blind with an arrow nocked every time we’ve been out, but I’ve never had a reason to clip my release onto my string, but these birds were finally giving me a reason!  The lone bird ended up being a jake, or young male bird, and he would have been legal to shoot.  The problem was, he was so small…..even smaller than the two hens, that by the time we could 100% tell he was a jake…..I didn’t have a clear shot.

At the time we didn’t worry too much about not taking a shot at the jake……there were 4 large, puffed up tom turkeys on the crest of the hill, and we were determined to move them towards us!  No reason to shoot a young, small bird when there are bigger and better options on the hill!  We were sure that our calling and our decoys would bring the big guys down the hill.  After all, we could hear them drumming, which research has told me is a good sign.  It’s breeding time after all, and no self respecting tom is gonna let his ladies get stolen by another bird.

We didn’t budget the toms down the hill, but we did aggravate the lead hen.  Slowly, a group of at least half a dozen hens pecked and walked past the blind out at about 30 yards.  Taking up the rear end of the train was the lead hen….I think.  In any case, she was the only bird to acknowledge our decoys, and she was none to pleased about it.  She trotted on over to our hen decoy and proceeded to get all up in her face, and annoyed with our decoys general presence.  If it was fall and hens were in season…..she would have been an awesome hen to take.  8 yard easy, straight on shot.  However fall it is not.  Honestly I could have taken several hens that morning, but hens aren’t what we were after…..especially with the promise of big toms!

Now after sitting down and going over everything that happened that morning it occurs to me that the turkeys around here maybe haven’t started breeding yet.  If they had, I just can’t fathom that all those toms would have just let all those ladies walk away from them.  It had all seemed to promising.  My research had told me that it was almost always fine if you attracted the hens towards you, as the toms were almost certain to follow……not these South Dakota toms I guess!  It might have eventually come together for us, but a distant, yet all together too close for turkey comfort, shotgun blast sent the toms running up and over the hill crest away from us.  The private farm land abuts a large area of public hunting land, so I’m hoping that our morning was at least ruined by someone else’s success! The hens had already disappeared up into the thicker timber, and it would have been worthless to chase them anyway.

We sat in the blind and called, hearing gobbles off from behind the hill, but the birds never did reappear into our view.  Knowing the the shotgun had probably ruined the hope of the birds moving back out into the open for several hours, we decided to leave the blind and do a bit of walking.  We could always hear gobbles, but for every yard we closed, the toms moved away at least a yard.  In the end, we packed up our gear and headed back to town with nothing more than a few large turkey feathers and a story of our first real encounter with a flock.  I won’t soon forget the feeling of listening to birds all around me and feeling potential and hope like I’ve never felt while sitting in the blind.  It was worth all the icky ticks to watch the level of sass displayed by that hen while she was investigating our decoy.  It seems like every time The Engineer and I head out to the fields, we get a little bit closer to filling my tag.  However, the end of the season is looming, so I’m hoping all the pieces fall together for us soon!

#OperationThunderChicken: The Journey Continues

This is the second weekend that The Engineer and I have had good weather and headed out to the turkey fields for Spring Archery Season!  Now I know basically nothing about turkey hunting, and The Engineer doesn’t know a ton either, but we’ve picked up some random tips from friends and my google skills.  The general consensus is that the weather has simply been too cold for mating to begin.  They don’t work off our calendar.  It doesn’t matter to them at all that the state has decided the season starts on April 7th…..if they aren’t ready to mate they just aren’t ready.  If they aren’t ready to mate, they are less likely to respond to calls because they are just busy doing other turkey things…..whatever it is turkeys do during the day.  We have been consistently seeing some birds on some public land about half an hour South of the house.  It’s easy enough to drive down after work a couple nights a week to keep tabs on the flock.  Of course, public land means that we aren’t always the only ones driving down in an attempt to score a bird!  But, it’s our land and we are working with what we’ve got!

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I bought that male decoy….The Wimpy Jake….and I’m hoping for big things from him!

Last weekend we woke up bright and early Saturday morning to rain.  Rain might be good for covering your noise, but when it’s still only in the low 40’s and neither The Engineer nor myself have rain gear…..going to sit in a blind in the rain isn’t our idea of a good time.  We ran some errands and I organized the kitchen and bathroom cabinets while we waited for the sun to come out and the ground to dry up a little bit.  We went out and did a bit more scouting Saturday evening.  There is a larger section of public land closer to home, but we couldn’t find any signs of life there.  I walked down to one of the fields at the bottom of a valley and couldn’t even hear any chirping birds…..it was oddly creepy.  We did head down to our reliable sighting spot, and there were two males in the distance getting all puffed up and circling each other.  They were quite in the distance……binocular distance…. but it was very cool to see none the less!

Sunday morning we were in the blind to see the sunrise.  Sadly, unlike our fall experience where we heard the turkeys all morning…..we heard almost nothing!  One very, very distance hen but then nothing after that at all.  Well…..we did hear a shotgun about an after after sunrise…..which mostly ended our dreams of morning success.  Public land can be a competitive place, especially around highly populated areas.  I’m grateful for the option to go sit on land that I “own” as a tax payer, but those areas are hard to come by when 90% of the state is privately owned.  It’s not as romantic as living in one of the Western states where large swatches of the land are open to public use, and you can walk deep into wilderness without seeing or hearing another person.

What we did see Sunday morning were deer, and honestly that’s pretty exciting in and of itself.  To get a small herd of deer to wandering into a clearing 50 yards from your blind and then just stand and look at you is pretty exciting.  Over the course of the 4ish hours we were out in the field, we saw 6 deer….one group of 5 and 1 single doe.  We also had some acoustic tunes provided curtesy of a woodpecker and a mostly dead tree limb.  We’ve also seen a ton of pheasants driving to and fro on all the gravel roads in the area, and I think The Engineer has been formulating some fall pheasant hunting strategies.  Sadly, there were no turkeys to be had.

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Last night though we had a promising, albeit gross sign, that the weather is shifting in the direction of Spring.  I had ticks crawling on my hands as we were sitting in the blind!  EWWWWW gross, gross, gross!!!!!

I know that bugs, critters, and all manner of insects are part of spending time in the outdoors, and I have grown to really like spending quiet mornings and evenings in the blind watching nature.  However, ticks don’t seem to serve much purpose other than spreading disease.  I remember running around on my Grandparent’s farm as a child, coming in the house, and feeling ticks crawling up my legs and into my ears.  It didn’t bother me anymore than having an ant crawl on me would bother me now.  I guess ignorance really is bliss.  Childhood me knew nothing about the illness and disease they carried.  I guess those days are over and gone.

We stripped off all our outer clothes in the garage, and I spend most of the rest of last night making The Engineer check for ticks on all our clothes, checking any other places they could possibly be hanging out, and feeling phantom ticks walking on me.  He keeps assuring me that there are none in the house, none that he can find in the garage, and if anything they are in his truck……. That last one is doing nothing to make me feel better about the situation, but he assures me that this is just part of the whole hunting experience.

The Engineer thought he was so funny last night….probably mostly because the ticks were leaving him alone!

Along with the gross creepy crawlies last night, came our first real up close and personal turkey interaction!  A lone hen went walking on by about 15 feet from the blind.  She didn’t even know we were sitting there!  Well…..maybe she did know, but she certainly didn’t act like she cared!  Spring season is male only so we just got to enjoy watching her walk along the creek bottom.  The other reason I’m somewhat convinced that mating hasn’t started around here yet is because she totally ignored our decoys.  Generally hens move towards toms to mate, but she just walked right on past them.  It could be that she was too busy eating to notice…..which more power to you girl!  You get those yummy tick snacks!

We had hoped to head back out this morning, however we woke up to howling winds.  Not only do arrows not fly very well in very windy conditions…..it becomes a bit challenging to keep the blind on the ground.  Last night it was gusty enough to we’d occasionally have to grab the sides of the blinds and hold it down.  Having a blind blow off the top of you really ruins the element of surprise!  I’m hoping that the winds calm down later today, and maybe we can head out to the fields and get one on his way to bed.  It’s such a beautiful day out, it’s a shame it has to be so windy.  Worse comes to worse I guess we can take Scout a Roo on a walk over to the duck pond.  It appears that our cute resident duck couple survived the blizzard and Scout really enjoys keeping tabs on all the ducks and geese on the pond!

I saw this video this morning and it gave The Engineer and I a good laugh.  This is probably as close to turkey hunting that I’m going to get today with the wind the way it is.  I guess I should maybe round up all our camo from the garage and throw it in the washing machine……drown the ticks!  Since writing I’m starting to feel more phantom bugs, so maybe I should also go give myself a good scrubbing.  Also, in case you’re curious….The Engineer and I are maybe a blend of Mr. Impatient and The Over Caller…..although not nearly as bad as the video!  It’s easier than you think to go a big hog wild on the calls.  One minute in the blind feels like 10 regular minutes!

#OperationThunderChicken — Part 1

I survived my first hunting trip!

Trip seems a little over adventurous of a term.  This wasn’t a big epic back packing trip into the mystical, mountain backcountry.  I spent a couple days hanging out in a field about 45 minutes from the house I grew up in.  I maybe was harboring delusions of grandeur about what my first hunt about be like.  It wasn’t nearly as glamorous as I had imagined, nor was it the smashing success that I had hoped for.

The Engineer used some connections and lined up permission to hunt some private farm land.  We arrived out at the farm around noon on Saturday and initially set up on the North edge of his hay field next to several fallen turkey feathers…..everything was seeming very promising.  After receiving a real time location tip off on the turkeys from the farmer, The Engineer and I decided to pack up and move to the southeast corner of the farm’s property.  We were using a small blind we borrowed from The Engineer’s Dad, and we had a couple turkey decoys from one of his hunting friends, so moving camp was a little bit of work, but overall not that bad.

It’s maybe about 1:30, perfectly nice, slightly warm fall day…..and disaster struck.  The Engineer wanted me to practice drawing my bow in the blind so I could make sure I had enough room to move without bumping the blind.  Everything was fine until I tried to release my bow.  Before you jump to conclusions….I didn’t dry fire my bow.  I didn’t have an arrow nocked, but it is possible to just slowing release a draw back.  That’s the effect I was striving to have.  What ended up happening was that my string popped off the bottom cam of my bow.  So now……we are sitting in a field, calling for turkeys, and I don’t have a bow that would be good for anything except maybe throwing at a turkey in the hopes of knocking one unconscious.

So for the second time in maybe….an hour…..The Engineer and I were forced to pack everything back up and schlep it back up out of the pasture to the truck.  Bows can’t be restrung without a press to release the tension, so we had to drive into town and head to the sporting goods store.  I haven’t always had the best experiences at the shop in town, mostly because I think they thought I was just a stupid girl buying a bow she wasn’t going to use.  I was surprised at their willingness to get my bow back in shape and help me get back out into the field.  They didn’t even charge me, and in the time it took me to walk back out to the truck to get my wallet they had it all put back together!  After a couple practice shots at the range to make sure everything was still tuned in the way it was supposed to be, The Engineer and I headed back out to the farm.

We once again hauled everything out, for the third time that day, and set up underneath the same tree.  We could hear turkeys, they would answer back almost every time we would call, however we never saw any.  So, there we sat.  The Engineer scrolled through his phone while I fidgeted around like a small child, until almost dark.  At this point I was a bit cold and wanted to actually do some moving around.  I convinced The Engineer that maybe we had missed the turkeys crossing back over in the North tree line……so we went on a bit of a hike back towards our initial set-up location.  Still no sign of the elusive flock we were told resided on the property, but it was nice to move around a little bit and warm up.  The 30 minute shooting window after sundown closed, and we packed up and headed back to Momma Jules house.

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That’s a direct quote from The Engineer about what’s standard practice while hunting!  He’s super serious in a blind….but at least he shared the snacks!

 

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If by share you of course mean giving me the tough pieces.  Couple of glamorous jerky models we are though!

The part of hunting I have always dreaded and used as a perpetual reason to not participate in hunting adventures….is that premium hunting always seems to occur at the absolute earliest possible butt crack of dawn.  I am really not at all a morning bunny, but apparently the prospect of shooting my first turkey is all it takes to get me out of bed and dressed at 5:30 in the morning when it’s 23 degrees outside!  On the dark drive back to the farm we decided that we would try the North tree line we had originally set up on the day before.  Of course you have to get there early, so there we sat, mostly frozen, almost half an hour before shooting time…..which is already half an hour before sunrise!

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Couples who freeze together stay together!

We sat in the blind and called turkeys and watched the cows and calves meander around the pasture till about 10 with still no sign of a turkey in sight.  Even though I didn’t end up with a turkey, I will say that listening to them all do their morning round up calls shortly after the sun came up was the high point of the weekend.  To hear the change from silence to everything around you getting up and start moving around is something you just don’t really get to hear and appreciate when you live in town.  From a purely hunting perspective, it was proof that the flock was indeed close, and hopefully they were hopping down out of roosting trees near us!

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I almost actually kinda look like I know what I’m doing……

I had already stolen a pack of hot hands from The Engineer’s hunting bag, and we were both getting hungrier than peanut butter crackers and jerky was going to fix.  Before we headed back to town for lunch and a thawing, we thought maybe we would walk the tree line and see if we could find out exactly where the turkeys were hanging out.  This was our last day to hunt, and a day only lasts so long after all…..crunch time was looming!!

We did eventually find the turkeys……across the county road from the field we had permission to hunt.  We found them because we……probably mostly me…..were making too much noise as we neared where the tree line we were walking met the road.  The line of trees extended across the road to a cut corn field.  I’m sure the flock was hanging out over there because the eating prospects were easier.  No need to contend with the cattle herd, and cut field means corn on the ground for easy snacking.  Not that this does me any good, I needed them to move North across the road onto the land we had permission to hunt.  We were operating under the assumption that if our farmer knew the owner of the field South of him and if it would have been okay for us to follow the flock over there……he would have told us the first day when he said he saw the flock.  Since he didn’t, we were forced to assume that was a no-go zone.  We packed up and headed back to town for some food and heat, and hoped that something would happen to drive the flock back north across the road.

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Headed back out to the farm for one last shot at a Thanksgiving turkey!

We set up for a final time on the edge of the tree line, as close to the road as you’d probably want to be.  To get to this spot, we parked the truck on a little access path between the farmer’s pasture land and the neighboring corn field.  We then hiked in, past were we had set up the night before and climbed up out of the creek bed and crossed into the farmer’s cut hay field.  It’s important to note that the path we took was clear….on the way in.

The decoys were set up in full view of the flock…..who still hadn’t motivated to cross the road.  We hoped that calling and being able to see the decoys would be enough to pull them across.  We had been researching and googling all weekend that fall turkeys are notoriously hard to move because they are set up in family flocks and not breeding, but all we could do was try.  It was about 2pm when we got back out, so we had about 3.5 hours to try and persuade them across…..even if we just got one stupid one…..that would have been enough!

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You can’t see them in the picture, but there’s the road….and the flock is just around the curve of the tree line on the left side of the picture!

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Our excellent bait turkeys…..or so we thought!  For reference the road is just skimming the left side of the picture.  They didn’t even have to motivate that far!

It became apparent around 4:45 or 5 that we were not going to get a turkey.  Especially if they were roosting in the trees on the South side of the road.  By this time they would slowly be waddling back towards the safety of their roosts before night fall.  Around this time we started to hear some crunching from the pasture behind us, but we obviously knew there were cows wandering around so we didn’t think too terribly much of it.

Feeling a bit sad and defeated, we packed up the gear for the last time.  Our inventory becomes important so I’ll give you a quick recap of what we are hauling back to the truck.

The Engineer-

  • The blind

Me-

  • My bow
  • Two camping chairs
  • Bag with the two decoys

Nothing that either of us was carrying was heavy……just a bit cumbersome and a tad hard to wrangle.  We both also had backpacks on, and I had the slight added struggle of trying to not bang my bow around too much on the various trees and brush we were trudging through.  We were slowly making our way back down to the creek bed when we ran into a sort of wall of evergreen trees.  They weren’t tall, but they were a bit dense and while we could have been pushed through, we decided to go around.  We headed left to skirt the heavier brush when we had to stop short because The Engineer saw cows.  I’m not sure if he saw exactly what they were, or if he just heard them….but in any case we turned around.  We headed back up the hill a bit and back South towards the road.  We weren’t on any beaten cattle trails, but I sorta just picked a path and went.  We ended up between two much taller evergreen trees that you could sorta duck underneath because the lowest branches were about shoulder height.

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Hindsight being 20/20…..we should have just skirted this tree line on the outside of the fence down to the road……..

This seemed like a good way down the hill, until I got the bottom near the creek, stood up and turned to come up almost face to face with a bull who was not at all happy to see me near his creek!!  Now I grew up with grandparents who raised cattle, so it’s not that I’m totally unfamiliar with their behavior, but we also weren’t allowed to be around and in the pastures and such when the bulls were out.  We turned south and sorta jogged off behind a fallen tree and looked back to see him loping and bucking in our direction.  He wasn’t really running…..he certainly would have been able to out run us, but he could have started at anytime.  I got a swift push to the shoulder and two words from The Engineer…..”Go, run!”  So we ran back up the hill….crashing through the thick trees and bushes…..hauling all our stuff!  We then had to jump back across the barbed wire fence which essentially put us 20 yards south of where we had been set up hunting!  It’s moments like that I’m glad I work out.  It’s nice to be able to count on your body when you need it, although again my hill sprints have nothing on charging bull pace had he actually been interested in following us.

So there we stand…….a bit out of breath…..basically on the highway.  I’m sure we were a sight trudging down the side of the road like hitchhikers.  The distance to the truck was probably shorter this way, and definitely easier to travel, but it’s probably not great form to be looking like total delinquents on the side of a country road as the sun is setting and it’s getting dark.  We had just sort of started to regroup and trudge when a badger comes scurrying across the road and stops at probably 15 yards from us and turns to face us.  Having not packed in his hand gun, our only “badger defense” was my bow, so The Engineer took the decoys from me and had me nock an arrow.  The badger didn’t end up causing us any trouble, but he would occasionally turn to look at us while we all walked in the same direction.  Trudging the country road with an arrow nocked on your bow probably doesn’t look great either, but ya know……..ya gotta do what you gotta do!

By the time we turned down the field access road and were headed back North to where we had left the truck, it was clear that we had ended up taking the only acceptable path out of the field.  I’m honestly not sure why we didn’t just walk the road back to begin with, but I’m sure The Engineer had his reasons…..I mostly just did what I was told.  The whole herd……mommas, calves, and a few more bulls…….had moved South into the corner of the field we had hunted the night before.  Even if we had managed to get across the creek without being chased out by the bull we would have climbed up out of the creek bed to face the whole herd.  Getting out of that situation would have been much harder, and it probably would have called for more evasive maneuvers than just running back up a hill.

So I guess all is well that ends well, and even though I didn’t get a turkey to cook for Thanksgiving next week, I’m glad we took the weekend and tried to fill the tag.  The Engineer was a bit sad I didn’t get to shoot any arrows all weekend except at the range and suggested I should have shot the badger.  Technically, they are nuisance animals and therefore can be shot on my license.  I don’t really have a use of a badger and would have only shot the animal if it had messed with us.  Badgers are known to be a bit feisty and are not afraid of taking on something much bigger than themselves.  The Engineer does have a coworker who really wants a taxidermy badger…..for whatever reason, but I’m fine having not shot anything.

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I think pretty much everything makes a badger angry…..beware the angry badger!

It’s called hunting not shooting after all, and to expect to go shooting your very first weekend out hunting is a stroke of luck that mother nature doesn’t allow everyone to have.  Probably, having my first hunting trip be an exercise in actually hunting and not shooting was helpful, after all…..if I wanted to just fling arrows all day I could have just headed to the archery range.

The Results are in and……

I DREW A TURKEY TAG!

I guess that means that The Engineer and I will be spending a weekend down in Bon Homme county hunting for a big fall tom!

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This is what I’m hoping to have not happen.  The Engineer and I spent a couple hours at one of the outdoor ranges yesterday working on making sure my bow is sighted in as accurately as possible for a few different distances and several different shooting positions.  Based on the poundage of my bow, I don’t feel comfortable making an ethic shot past 40 yards, but hopefully we can pull them in closer than that.  I’ll have a few more weeks of practice before the season opens, but I have some decisions to make until then…..namely choosing broad heads.

The Engineer is prepping for my big hunting adventure mostly by tent shopping.  We had discussed trying to camp out for the weekend we go hunting.  Momma’s house is in the adjacent county if things go really badly, but the running plan is to “rough it”.  To assist with that plan, he bought a tent!  To clarify, he bought a tent from Menards that was on sale for $20, because for $20 how could you not buy a 5 person tent?!  I’m cautiously supportive, however his new investment didn’t come with any rain protection.  Fall in SoDak can be a fickle bitch, so I guess we will just have to wait and see.  He assures me that tarps can be had if rain arrives….I’m maybe a bit less than convinced.

Speaking of hunting, The Engineer and I had a Halloween party to attend last night, and we channeled our inner hunters….

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Don’t mind my invisible upper lip….it’s there I promise, it’s just small. :/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bitch Faced Bestie and The Hubby in Law threw a themed diaper keg for their coming new little addition.  She loves Halloween, so of course the diaper keg was an early Halloween party!  The Engineer isn’t much for costumes and dressing up, so he got to wear some of his normal hunting clothes and I got to try out my makeup skills.  I feel like I did pretty well considering I never even did a practice run of this.  The antlers were a bit of a challenge, but luckily that’s why I have my engineer!

On a final note, a couple weeks ago I ordered myself some flowers!  My favorite place to get flowers, other than the farmer’s market downtown, is Bouqs.com!  They ship everything in bud form so your flowers will last and last.  The selection they offer changes seasonally, and they have quickly become the MisHappenings family standard place to order flowers from.  They were having a free upgrade sale and I have a couple gift cards on the website so I decided to treat myself to some fun fall flowers!

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Sunflowers!!!!!  And a baby MisHappenings with my Daddy! 

Like I said, the varieties of flowers available change all the time, and I’ve never been disappointed with the bouquets I’ve chosen.  If you are in the market for flowers, especially if like me you have an abundance of vases already squirreled in cabinets, you should definitely scope them out!

Besties, Babies, and Hunting?!

It’s just a short on tonight, it’s been a busy weekend!  

Lil B came to visit so that we could help celebrate Bitch Face Bestie’s soon to arrive baby!!

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Me and Loki the cat looking annoyed while Lil B looks cute!

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Lil B and the momma to be….while I apparently talk with my hands!

After all the festivities and hanging out, I did manage to freeze three quarts of tomatoes from my garden and finally got around to taking my archery safety class.  Sadly, I was late applying for a turkey license, so I wasn’t able to apply for my preferred county.  Well, actually my preferred county would have been the one I currently reside in, however we apparently don’t have a fall turkey season.  My next preference would have been the county I grew up in, but I didn’t get a license there.  The deadline for round 1 applications was September 15…..I’m always running just slightly behind schedule….it’s less than helpful!  Now, I guess we just wait and see if my name is drawn for an adjacent county. It should be a couple weeks before I hear anything….keep your fingers crossed!!!

Also, I have a major bone to pick with the Game, Fish and Parks Department!!  It shouldn’t be a two hour process to find out which counties have permits available, and where public hunting lands might be in those counties.  They do have a map, but it’s about the least helpful thing mankind has ever created.

Also, apparently in other states……like Nebraska…..your license is good mostly everywhere.  I wasn’t aware of that, but The Engineer is from Nebraska, and apparently hunting is an easier activity down there….or at least getting the licenses is a much easier activity!  South Dakota doesn’t roll that way.

If I do draw a license, it will only be good for one chunk of land.  If that’s the case, wouldn’t it make sense that those counties might have their own pages in the public lands hunting atlas book/map thinger?!  Like a county by county map since I’m not allowed to hunt outside that county.  I feel like that would be the easiest and most useful, but apparently my state insists on making things difficult.  The county where my license would be issued…..TAKES UP 4 PAGES IN THE GUIDELINES BOOK!!!!!!!!!!  How is that helpful or easy for anyone?!  So you have to flip around like an idiot to scope out all your potential hunting areas.

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This is maybe the most confusing map I’ve ever tried to read!

I’m sure it’s done that way for a reason, but as a new user and someone who just wants to get started hunting, it’s difficult and confusing.  Between several map keys, keeping track of new acronyms, and attempting to pick something that seemed reasonably achievable……it was just a stressful evening as far as hunting was concerned.  Although….I did do bomb.com on my bowhunter ed online course!

The Engineer tried to help, and I wouldn’t have figured out the maps and land issue without him, but he doesn’t do any just random public land hunting here.  He goes hunting in specific places that he or his buddies have secured the right to hunt on.  I don’t have any connections in the available counties, so we just picked one that wasn’t too far away from home and I guess I’ll give it a shot.  If I loose $15 in the attempt to get my fall turkey, I guess that’s the way hunting goes.