Sunday, January 31, 2010

"This is This"--The Conely Edition, or "How to Improve your shooting percentage", or "That new RGS biologist is doing a fine job"

Sunday afternoon, temperature finally in the double digits.
Let's take the dog out to celebrate.
A spot known to famous grousers, with the suffix "Hollow".

Working through a thick stand of pines, low alders to my right.
Conley gets birdy in the thickest of the thick. Snow covered brushpiles.
Wirrrrrrr...sound of a grouse flushing. Close, and sounding like it did not fly far.
Looking for it in a tree. Nope.
Dog returning to me with live bird in his mouth.
Hmmmm....good boy. I think so, anyway. What's a fella to do?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Easily the funniest book of the year

Every now and then I run across a book review on amazon that I wish I had written. Meat lovers among you should appreciate this one. The following was someone's review for Carol Adams's book, The Pornography of Meat. Enjoy!

easily the funniest book i've read all year,
May 31, 2003
By A Customer
if christopher guest ever set out to do - in a book about intellectuals - what he has done on film to rock bands and dog shows, The Pornography of Meat would be the result. here is a book that is so bizzarely and feverishly "leftist" that it seems to defy all reason. the book is a carnival of anti-meat, anti-porn, and anti-man rhetoric that may or may not be true. but, honestly, i can't tell you whether or not it is, because i can't wade through this text seriously. it looks SO MUCH like it was written to act as a parody, that i have a difficult time approaching it as actual scholarship. the basic idea seems to be something like this: there is a distinct and provable relationship between the consumption of meat (or at least media depictions thereof) and the consumption of pornographic movies/magazines, etc.. this all presumably builds from the logic of her first book The Sexual Politics of Meat, which i do not own.

the unquestionable highlight of the book are the many pictures that are offered up as evidence of this sordid relationship between porn and meat: the adult video cover where the female character is "hunted" by lustful men, the 30 year old ad for turkey where the bird carcass is layed out in what we are assured is a purposefully lurid pose. the whole thing is really sort of - excuse the pun - undigestable from the point of view of the skeptic. of course, if you're already a zealous, fervid, wild eyed supporter of these sorts of ideas, then this book will be very gratifying. girls with hairy armpits at liberal-arts colleges in vermont are going to be carrying this around like it was the Bible. the only thing that's missing (though perhaps it's there and i just missed it) was a way to tie all of this in with good old fashioned socialism. you know, the oppression of the masses by the ruling elite? the great future that is bound to come when the terror of property is destroyed and we all live on a big hug-a-bear commune and make arts and crafts and uncomfortable itchy hemp shirts? well, other than that, this book is an angry liberals wet dream.

look, let me speak honestly: i'm a man. i don't think of myself as a part of a patriarchy, or as an oppressor or rapist, or even as a good speller. and i do eat meat. plus, i'm a libertarian, which means that everyone regards me as a "conservative". so, you know, this book obviously wasn't written for me. i appreciate and identify with feminists, but books like this give them a bad name. maybe a book like this is supposed to be so "revolutionary" that it shocks everyone out of their dogmatic slumbers, but it just comes of as fanatical and - worse - flaky. so, take my ill-informed phallocentric egodriven opinion for what it's worth. read this book. if i'm wrong, WHICH EVEN AS A QUASI-CONSERVATIVE I CAN ADMIT THAT I MIGHT BE, then this book will be very informative. if i'm right, then you're bound to find this as entertaining as i did.

High Life - Here's to the Little Guy

Let's see your Raspberry Lambic, Blue Moon, granola crunch yuppie beers do THIS! Down with beer snobbery and elitism-- muckety-mucks. Power to the people. Go Saints.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Get Your Hunting Gear Reviews at Newsweek

Well, at least one elite mainstream media type is willing to step up and provide some helpful reporting for us Grousers. Hooray for Mr. Tuttle!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Therapy by tautology - a draft

Forced myself up the mountain this morning to hunt familiar coverts. I sought therapy from an imbalance between career focus and the remainder of life's meanings.

Forty degrees and three inches of melting snow, sun just cresting the ridge top. Grouse flushed to my right even before we left the car. We found the terminus of the bird's tracks, dog wild with fresh scent. Off we trudged, through pine stand, bar berry thicket and witch hazel meadow.

I followed grouse tracks, none as fresh as the ones we first encountered. An old compulsion, my zen quest. The dog, olympic marathoner, was also drawn to the old tracks, crossing them but never anchored to them as was I. Several points but no birds.

We crossed fresh porcupine tracks in the snow. Sweat, snow, thick cover.

Finally, fresh grouse tracks. Dog locked in point. Nothing. Dog relocated, then moving in slow motion, thick scent slowing her to a creep.

The fresh tracks continued, intermittent but persistent. An uhurried bird, flying 10 feet then walking. We circled the enormous covert, following a single set of fresh tracks it seemed. The hunt drew us back toward the car. A final point. I swung around, wide, only to find the spot where a grouse had flushed, two hours prior, and a stressed out hunter and dog had investigated its terminal sign.

Successful hunt

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ducks and geese by the numbers... 3rd installment

After a few days off to catch up on work, Eric and I spent some time scouting and rounded up the Team Terminator Goose Rig. The last two days of the season needed to be special, and with the iced up lakes and very cold temps, no hunt was going to be a "gimme." We settled on one of the Lott fields that had a mix of beans and corn in strips. This field was quite large, and had piles of tree trunks in it here and there where hedge rows had recently been torn out (see photo to left). We used these and the 6-8 inches of snow to our advantage as we set the ambush. As usual, we limited the number of hunters to minimize concealment problems and maximize joy. George and Dave were with us both days, and Bob joined the last day.

On Saturday, we had four hunters and four limits, 12 Canada geese for the smoker. On Sunday, the final day, which was clearer and less windy, we managed 5 geese in the bag, capitalizing on every opportunity, though few and far between. All in all, the second half was an exceptionally good season for geese and ducks, considering the frozen lake. If you were willing to scout, be mobile, and work at it, the rewards were there to be earned. Better than gold medals or bronze stars, we earned mercury traces, which we will wear proudly, boldly, inevitably. Thanks to Dave for taking pictures.


Sunday, January 10, 2010


Well, just back from the last goose hunt of the year. All in all, an excellent late season was had by all. Ernie and company proved to be terrific hosts as always, and we broke in a new B.C. Hunt Club member as the Path Walker put in an appearance on Friday at the Dozer Pile.

Nine of us that day slew fifteen geese, and then I think I can say I speak for all grousers that we were honored to be present when Ernie called us together to celebrate the life of Big Jim. I also don't think I was alone in fighting back tears as Ernie spread Jim's ashes on the pile (along with some toe warmers).

Anyway. My thanks to Ernie and Mike for making it all possible. In Dozer Pile We Trust.

Friends do things together
La, La, La, La

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


Taking the plunge boyz!!


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Wendy's Honkin' Good Jerky

I know Josh will appreciate this post, because Josh knows jerky.

I recently inherited a considerable amount of goose flesh, some of which I had a direct hand in collecting, the rest of which I influenced indirectly.

Anyway, I've spent the better part of the past couple of days trimming, bagging, marinating, and drying. Several batches of goose jerky later, I can confidently say the following recipe is a winner. The folks at CrossFit Ithaca dubbed this "Wendy's Honkin' Good Jerky":

Take a box 'o goose flesh
Pull out 1 to 5 pounds of flesh from the box
Trim the flesh of fat and sinew

Place flesh in freezer for 30 minutes to aid with slicing
Remove partially frozen flesh from freezer, slice cross-grain into 1/8" to 1/4" pre-jerky strips

Pre-soak pre-jerky strips in a brine of Morton's Tender Quick for 1 - 2 hours if desired

Mix the following for marinade:
1 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce (THIS IS THE SECRET INGREDIENT)
2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder

That's the base recipe and will make "honkin' good jerky" as is; the next batch I make is going to get more in the way of hot pepper spices; the batch currently drying has wasabi and fresh ginger added.

Rinse brined meat with cold fresh water, add meat to the marinade in plastic bag, and marinate as long as your patience can stand it: 6 to 24 hours.

Put your pre-jerky strips in a dehydrator and have at it. Six to eight hours later you'll have "Honkin' Good Jerky."

Alternatively, one could fire up their Bradley Smoker and cook it that way. Not really necessary, but could be good.

Path Walker's in the 'hood

Had the pleasure of hosting a surprise drop-in breakfast visit from the Path Walker this morning. He had just dropped his kids off at daycare and was "in the neighborhood." (jeezum, Hector sure seems smaller these days.)

Anyway, we feasted on oatmeal and maple venison sausage (courtesy a la Tidball '08) and discoursed upon subjects varied and far-ranging, including the weather, goose decoys, yearling setters, deer loads, diesel trucks, RGS habitat planning, Canoga tribal politics, late-season wood ducks, snow tires, real estate values, whoa barrels, the efficacy of goose pits over other modes of camouflage . . . as I said, subjects varied and far-ranging.

At any rate, it's great to welcome Mr. Weik back to the Ithaca area, and I'm sure we're ALL looking forward to the miracles he is going to work when it comes to increasing grouse and woodcock populations in New York State.

Path Walker, far right
(Safari, when are you moving to Ithaca?)

Monday, January 04, 2010

Vegan turned hunter

One of the topics in the goose pits this last week was the attractiveness of hunting to vegetarians, vegans, and members of other "health foods"-related demographic groups.

As luck would have it, I just got word of a new blog and website put together by a former vegan now-turned-hunter. Check it out at .

Friday, January 01, 2010

New Year's Day

Satiated by yesterday's goose hunt and tired from the Kuneytown revelries, we lounged until late morning. Performed farm chores in the mid-day, then finally made it to the Hector Grouse woods around 3. Three pm that is (an important distinction for the die-hard waterfowlers). Lilly hunted well, but no birds were encountered. Retract that statement. There's always a truck bird. At 5:15, guns unloaded and 10 yards from the car, a lone grouse flushed. May there always be another truck bird. Happy 2010 Grousers.

Ducks and geese by the numbers... 2nd installment

In this second installment of ducks and geese by the numbers, I again report on 2 hunts; a minimalist field hunt in Hoster's field with the Vicar and a spectacular New Year's Eve waterfowl hunting outing with Dr. Dirt, the Vicar, Eric and myself.

The field hunt at Hoster's was intended to be a highly mobile, minimalist effort. We placed a half dozen field geese decoys and a half dozen field mallard decoys, complimented by two mojos, one on a pole and one on the ground, at the North end of an island of woods. The wind was strong out of the west. Shortly after first light, we shot our first pair of mallards, on of which had a band. The birds flew relatively well, and despite my bad gun karma, we ended up with 5 ducks.

The New Year's Eve Hunt was a bit more exceptional. Eric and I had scouted hard the day before and prepared the Goose Rig in anticipation of a high-expectation reunion of Grousers [footnote, Chief Grouser Tantillo was in the neighborhood but with the Dozer Death Boys (Beer Camp) hunting party]. Because there are stories to be told about this hunt from the perspectives of the hunters (which I hope will be forthcoming) I will simply report that we shot 15 Canada geese and 2 mallards. More mercury for all. A picture and short film taken by Pete can serve as a trailer for the other reporters. Thanks for the camera work Pete!