Thursday, July 26, 2012

Woodcock recipe

Ran across this recipe in the Upland Journal forums, everyone there raves about it--thought I'd pass it along.  Haven't tried it yet. 
The cant lose woodcock/venison/waterfowl/gamebird recipe
6-8 Woodcock -feeds 3 or 4 people
Fillet off breasts of the woodcock w/no skin
Cut off legs w/thigh, w/no skin.

Mix a marinade w/this:
Minced fresh ginger- about 3 quarter size pieces
Minced 2 large cloves of garlic
3-4 tablespoons of Soy sauce
1 tbs+- of brown sugar
Several drops + of Asian Sesame oil
Black pepper
1 oz+- hard liquor. (I used rum but whiskey etc would work)

(cut up some green onion-put aside)

Marinade WC meat for an hour or so.

Heat a pan w/1 tbs veg oil til smoking hot. Add meat and stir cook til meat turns color--keep heat high. Just a few minutes. Check to make sure it is rare! Dont overcook.

Just at end add a small handful of green onion.

Place meat on top of white rice or to side and add a little more fresh green onion on top.

Thanks to Ben Hong for providing me this recipe. This recipe will work well w/venison/duck and geese. And is good w/any gamebird.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Path Walker at Free Workshop On Ruffed Grouse Hunting In Holderness, VT

Free Workshop On Ruffed Grouse Hunting In Holderness, VT : The Outdoor Wire

Tuesday, July 24, 2012
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Free Workshop On Ruffed Grouse Hunting In Holderness, VT
HOLDERNESS, N.H. - Get set for the fall grouse season at a free workshop on Ruffed Grouse Hunting on Saturday, August 18, 2012, from 9 a.m. to noon at the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department's Owl Brook Hunter Education Center in Holderness. The session will be led by grouse hunting enthusiasts/hunter education instructors Sean Williamson and Dan Keleher. In addition, Andrew Weik, the Northeast biologist for the Ruffed Grouse Society, will give a presentation on ruffed grouse and their habitat needs. Pre-registration is required. To sign up, call 603-536-3954.

The workshop covers the basic skills needed for the pursuit of these challenging birds. Participants also will learn about grouse behavior, hunting safety issues, hunting with or without dogs, gaining permission to hunt/landowner relations, clothing choices, shotgun and ammunition options, creature comforts for an enjoyable hunt and recipes for grouse.

Grouse hunting season in New Hampshire opens October 1 and runs through December 31, with a daily bag limit of four birds. To learn more about small game hunting in New Hampshire, visit

For more information about the Owl Brook Hunter Education Center, and directions to the center, visit

Educational activities at Fish and Game's Owl Brook Hunter Education Center are funded by the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program, now in its 75th year, supported by your purchase of firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department works in partnership with the public to conserve manage and protect the state's fish, wildlife and marine resources and their habitats. Visit
Tom Flynn, (603) 536-3954
Jane Vachon, (603) 271-3211

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Vermont's 2012 Moose Auction is Open for Bids

for you moose hunters out there

Vermont's 2012 Moose Auction is Open for Bids

Always wanted a moose hunting permit but never won one in a state lottery? Here's your opportunity to bid on a permit and potentially win a hunt for Vermont's largest big game animal. Vermont's auction for five moose hunting permits is open until August 21. Sealed bids must be received by Vermont Fish & Wildlife by 4:30 p.m. that day.

Auction winners will choose to hunt in one of several wildlife management units (WMUs) open to moose hunting and choose to hunt during the October 1-7 archery season, or in the October 20-25 regular season.

The 2011 Vermont Moose Harvest Report with details on last year's hunt, including the towns where moose were taken, is on Fish and Wildlife's website. Look under "Hunting and Trapping" and then "Big Game."

During the regular season, you will be able to name a partner to hunt with you, who also may carry a firearm or bow, and a third unarmed person may accompany you on your hunt. There are many experienced Vermont moose hunting guides who could assist you if needed.

Bids do not include the cost of a hunting license (residents $22, nonresidents $100) or moose hunting permit fee ($100 for residents and $350 for nonresidents). The bid amount and moose hunting permit fee must be paid by September 6.

Contact the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department to receive a moose permit bid kit. Telephone 802-241-3700 or email (

Proceeds from the moose hunting permit auction help fund Vermont Fish and Wildlife educational programs. Winning bids are typically at least $4,000.
Cedric Alexander, 802-751-0105; Mark Scott, 802-241-3700

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Guest post from Michael M.

One of our old friends at Grousers, Mr. Michael Mieszczak, weighed in recently with his thoughts about what he found on the website of Orion, The Hunters' Institute.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Orion Doesn’t Fence Around Fair Chase

When it comes to hunting and fishing, the gang at Cold Duck all consider ourselves to be “good sports.” We’ve never actually sat down together and tried to nail down just what “being a good sport” means. We buy all our required licenses and permits; never shoot or fish above the limit; reflexively let a youngster, or a newbie, or someone with challenges take the first shot or fish the best pool; and, if we kill it, you can be darn sure we’ll enjoy eating it. These behaviors, and a few activity-specific others that we’ve picked up along the way, have pretty much let us feel we’re good sports even if, as admitted earlier, we haven’t spent a lot of time parsing out the term.
On a random scoot through the Internet recently, I learned that some people care a whole lot about good sportsmanship, or what they call Fair Chase. Jim Posewitz founded Orion - The Hunters’ Institute in 1993 to pursue the stated goals of “cleaning up” hunting’s image and of placing hunters in the leadership position in defining and guarding our nation’s conservation ethic. I found all sorts of interesting reading at the website and its associated blog, Fair Chase Hunting.
A core element of Orion’s outlook is that hunters should only occasionally succeed, but the animals should generally “win” by avoiding being taken. If Jim had been following me and my perpetually underweighted game bag around NY’s fields and swamps, he would never have seen need to form his organization. Apparently there are plenty of outfits out West that offer the opportunity to “hunt” large game-species mammals that’re penned up in enclosures of various sizes; and Posewitz condemns both the outfits and their customers to the farthest regions of Dante’s Inferno.
Jim and his crew have lots of other ideas as well. Orion would like to see large tracts of wilderness preserved so that wild resources will be democratically available to hunters of all economic strata. I bet you’ll enjoy roaming through Jim’s website as much as I did, and so rather than try further to reduce his group’s prodigious efforts to 50-words-or-less here, I recommend you click on the link and give it a tumble.
When you do, you’ll love the photos of Bighorn Sheep and snow-covered Rocky Mountain vistas. Check out this beauty from Orion’s homepage:
from Orion - The Hunters' Institute's website
While some NY hunters may daydream of chasing those Bighorns out West, we at Cold Duck genuinely prefer hunting feathered or furred small game behind our doggies of choice. I’d love for Orion to expand on its Western large game focus and speak to the hunting that many of us do in the East. Come on, Orion, let us know what you think of chasing Adirondack snowshoe hares behind bawl-and-chop beagles, or “rough shooting” grouse, woodcock and ducks behind a busy-tailed flushing spaniel up on Tug Hill.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

New "canned hunts" essay on Fair Chase blog

My new post on the Fair Chase Hunting blog has been published.  My sincere thanks to Mike M. and Jay Coggins for some great feedback.

In a recent article, “Canned Hunting: Don’t Call It Hunting!” outdoor writer David Petersen discusses the difference between fair chase and canned hunts, and he quotes Orion founder Jim Posewitz approvingly. 

“A fenced shoot,” Posewitz writes, “is just the sale of a fabricated image to people who have neither the skill nor the inclination to obtain the real thing.”

Petersen agrees, and argues, “There is honorable hunting, and there is cowardly captive killing. The motivations and characters defining each are as distinct as day and night.”

Petersen is wrong.  The motivations and character of hunters are NOT as distinct as day and night.  There is no distinct line between canned hunts on the one hand, and fair chase on the other.

The difference between honorable hunting and cowardly hunting does not depend on the presence or absence of a fence.  Ideals of honor and cowardice, however, as well as ideals of fair chase, depend crucially on the hunter, and upon the hunter’s skills and aptitude. 

Fair chase has traditionally been defined relative to the animal—in particular, to the animal’s ability to escape. 

What’s missing in most debates about fair chase is the awareness that we need also to define fair chase relative to the human hunter—and to be specific, to the individual hunter’s ability to hunt. (And here we also know that hunters come in all shapes, sizes, interests, and abilities.)

Furthermore, we must acknowledge that there is a fundamental ambiguity to the very concept of fair chase. This ambiguity involves the philosophical problem of vagueness, a problem that has long been identified by philosophers as the sorites paradox, from the Greek term meaning “heap” or “pile.” 

The paradox is this:  start with a pile of sand, and begin removing the sand, one grain at a time.  At what point does the pile or heap become a “non-heap”?

The thought experiment can also be run in reverse: start with a grain of sand, and add to it another grain of sand. Do you now have a pile of sand?  Of course not.  Now add a third grain.  Is it a heap yet?  Of course not.  Now, continue adding sand, one grain at a time . . .  at what point do you have a heap of sand? 

The upshot is that there is no clear dividing line between having one or two grains of sand (that might constitute the concept dust) and having a pile, or a heap, or even a mountain of sand.  Thus the very concept of heap or pile or mountain is ambiguous.

Baldness is another inherently ambiguous concept (my own baldness, however, is clearly unambiguous). Begin with a full head of hair and remove it one hair at a time. When do you cross the line from having hair to being bald? (For me, it was around the age of 20!) 
Author Jim Tantillo
Trying to define fair chase is exactly like this—like trying to define “baldness” or “pile.”

So what does all this have to do with hunting?

On the one hand, or to be more precise, on one end of the spectrum (and spectrum, a term from physics, is exactly the right term to use) we have hunting practices that are clearly akin to a single grain of sand or to my gloriously bald pate. 
To illustrate the point: imagine a deer chained to a post in a 10’x10’ chain-link enclosed pen, being shot at close range. Clearly this is not fair chase:  the deer has no ability to avoid death, and the hunter needs no ability at such close range either to pursue or to shoot the tethered animal.

Remove the tether.  Now the deer is in a 10 x 10 enclosure, but can move around.  Is this fair chase?  Clearly the hunter is at more of a disadvantage than in the first scenario: the deer may jump at precisely the same moment as he/she squeezes the trigger, and the hunter may wound the animal or possibly even miss entirely.  It may take two shots to bring the animal down, particularly for a poor marksman.

Does this second scenario constitute fair chase?  Clearly not, the animal is still enclosed, and little to no skill is needed on the part of the hunter.

Let us now imagine that we expand the enclosure—how about a full acre?  And while we are at it, let’s add an acre’s worth of brushy vegetation.  The deer has the ability to roam about, but the hunter must still stay out of the fence to shoot the animal.

All the hunter need do in this case, is wait patiently for the deer to come along within view inside the fence, and take a killing shot.

Is this fair chase?  Probably not, although now the lines are getting a little more fuzzy.  How does waiting outside the fence differ from an archer sitting and waiting in a tree stand?  But I’ll leave that question for another essay.

Let’s keep going, trying to get closer to fair chase.  Let’s put a gate in the fence, and allow the hunter to enter and pursue the animal within the one-acre confines of the enclosure.  The animal can still move around and has plenty of early-successional shrubland (let’s go ahead and fill the enclosure with thorny multiflora rose and honeysuckle) in which to hide.

Now it takes the hunter the better part of a morning to locate, stalk, and shoot the deer.  But after several hours of patient stalking, the hunter is successful.

Does this “hunt” now constitute “fair chase”?  Observe that we have come a fair way from shooting the animal that was tethered inside what was essentially a dog pen.  

Most hunters still would not be comfortable labeling the one-acre stalk on a deer--multiflora rose or not--as a fair chase hunt.  And yet notice that some hunters might . . . .  We can imagine hunters with disabilities, for example, who might be content with such a one-acre stalk if confined to a wheel chair. Or a young hunter, just starting out, may appreciate and learn from such an experience.
Note that I am not implying that this necessarily would be a good hunt, for young hunters or hunters with disabilities.  I am simply suggesting that the hunt might provide sufficient challenge to each individual hunter, and each hunter might possibly go home satisfied with their hunting experience. 

Now let’s continue the sorites part of our thought experiment.  Let’s rerun the thought experiment a thousand times, adding one additional acre with each repetition.  First the hunter pursues the deer in a two-acre enclosure, and then in a three-acre enclosure . . . and so on, and so on, and so on.  (And let’s, for the sake of argument, assume there is only a single, individual deer to be pursued—not legions of overpopulated deer as occur in many areas of the country.)

At what point does the enclosure become large enough that we cross a line between canned hunting and fair chase?

Perhaps never, for some hunters.  For them, hunting inside a fence is always unethical.  But for others, trying to pursue a single deer in a 1,000-acre enclosure, or a 5,000-acre enclosure, or a 20,000-acre enclosure, would be challenging and fair regardless of the proximity of the fence. 

So now let’s just remove the fence.  And imagine the same, solitary, single deer roaming about unrestricted over a 20,000-acre, or 50,000-acre, fenceless area.  Would this hunt now constitute fair chase?

I’m pretty sure if you plunked down a hard-core deer hunter, and took away his tree stand, and made him stalk a single deer over 50,000 acres (that’s 78.125 square miles!), he or she would most likely call that a fair chase hunt.

David Petersen is wrong because he sees a distinct line where none exists.  One hunter’s canned hunt is another’s fair chase hunt.  Questions about the ethics and morality of “canned hunts” need to be answered on a case-by-case, hunter-by-hunter basis, not by the types of overly broad generalizations that Petersen offers.

And broad generalizations are exactly what Petersen offers:

“Canned killing is a suppurating sore on the face of honorable hunting, an impotent's end game, an insult to the unfettered wildness that shaped humans and wildlife alike, an orgy of objectification and utter disregard for the prey, and one more ugly omen that something is horribly wrong with our unconscionably commercial, insanely competitive, egregiously egoistic, nature-raping, soul-slaughtering, profit-driven mother culture.”

Whew! I wish Petersen would tell us what he really thinks!

Kidding aside, such purist approaches to hunting may do more harm than good to hunters and hunting in the long run.   In my view, Petersen’s “it’s my way or the highway” ethic is far more threatening to the future of hunting than any fenced shoot of animals.  What hunters need to do is respect the differences between hunters: differences in motivation, differences in skills and aptitude, differences in character.

While I myself might never hunt a captive animal in a high fence setting, unlike David Petersen I am not about to tell someone else that they should not do so.  As long as a hunter conscientiously strives for a clean, quick, one-shot kill, and does so safely while respecting the law, then that hunter acts ethically and morally.

The difference between canned hunting and fair chase is like the difference between a grain of sand and a pile of sand.  When viewed on each end of the hunting spectrum, fair chase and canned hunting are clearly different.  But there is no distinct line, no clearly unambiguous boundary, to be drawn between fair chase and canned hunts, or between honorable hunters and cowards.

Jim Tantillo is the Executive Director of Orion, The Hunters’ Institute. He has M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Cornell University, where he currently also teaches ethics and environmental philosophy in the Department of Natural Resources.

A grouse hunting purist, Jim will generally argue until he is blue in the face that the One, True, Correct Way to Hunt Grouse is with a 16 gauge Parker double gun over the staunch point of a well-trained English setter.  In the spirit of political toleration, however, he also argues until he is equally blue in the face that his retriever- and spaniel-owning friends be permitted to hunt grouse legally as they see fit, despite their aesthetically misguided preferences for flushing dogs or 12 gauge autoloaders!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

New dogge

Some grousers already know about my new dog.  Ezra is a six-month old setter from Chuck and Nancy Thurston's Whispering Woods kennel in Michigan.  I was on my way through Michigan a couple of weeks ago to the Orion board meeting and so arranged to stop by the Thurstons' to take a look at the dog.  Six hours of visiting later, I was pretty much committed but knew I had to run it by She-Whom-We-All-Know-Must-Be-Consulted-With-First.

Well, luckily Wendy has never met a dog that she didn't like, so she deliberated for a second or so and then said yes.  Now, one of the things that I knew about the dog ahead of time (and one reason why he was still available), is that he had developed a limp at five months.  The Thurstons had had him checked out, x-rayed, etc., and they told me he was fine according to their vet.  The limp had cleared up by the time I saw him, so I committed to the purchase.

Brought him home--beautiful dog, one of the calmest dogs we have ever seen.  But wouldn't you know it, the first day out with Wendy's boxer, running up and down the trail, and Ezra pulled up lame again.  So we made a vet appointment to have him checked out again and arranged to have the Michigan vet's x-rays sent to our vet in Trumansburg.

Well . . .  the Michigan vet had missed the fact that Ezra has a hairline fracture to one of the bones in his elbow.  Our vet expressed surprise that the Michigan doctor hadn't caught the fracture in the x-ray.  But in some ways this is a relief, as I had done enough internet research to start worrying about everything from elbow dysplasia to hypertrophic osteodystrophy. Good news is, with restricted activity the dog should heal on his own, with no lasting effects, in 10-14 weeks from the original injury, that is, if we can keep him from re-injuring it.

So there you have it. A new addition to the stable, and instantly the best-mannered house dog (next to Aldo) in the bunch.  He should be a nice addition to our grouse camp ponies.

New dogge

New Job

Some grousers already know about my new position with Orion, The Hunters' Institute, which started Monday.  Here's the press release that went out.

For Immediate Release:
July 2, 2012

Orion, The Hunters’ Institute Names New Executive Director

JOHNSON, VT – James A. Tantillo of Ithaca, N.Y., has been named executive director of Orion, The Hunters’ Institute, an organization that provides leadership on ethical and philosophical issues related to fair chase and responsible hunting.

"Jim's strong management and leadership skills make him the right person to push Orion to a new level," said Mark Hirvonen, chairman of Orion's board. "In addition, the organization will benefit from Jim's expertise in environmental policy and natural resources management as well as his commitment to upholding our hunting traditions."

Tantillo said his immediate goals are to increase fund-raising and to work on shared goals with groups such as the American Wildlife Conservation Partners. In addition, his efforts will include maintaining and expanding Orion's publications and speaking services and strengthening its hunter education services.

An avid upland bird hunter, Tantillo has served on Orion's board since 2009. During that time, he was chairman of the board’s governance committee, and he also represented Orion nationally at conferences and hunter education training workshops in various states.

Tantillo's management experience includes serving from 2006 to 2008 as CEO of Historic Ithaca, a local historic preservation organization in Ithaca, N.Y. Prior to that, he was interim executive director and chairman of the board for the Tompkins County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, also in Ithaca, N.Y.

Currently, Tantillo is a lecturer in environmental history and ethics for the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University, where he will continue to teach part-time.  Tantillo holds his Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, and doctorate in natural resources from Cornell.

Orion, The Hunters’ Institute is the nation’s leading hunting think tank and provides education and consulting services for hunters and nonhunters throughout the United States and Canada. The organization was founded in 1993 by Jim Posewitz, a Montana big game biologist.  Posewitz put Orion on the map with his book Beyond Fair Chase, which has sold more than a half million copies.

To learn more about Orion, The Hunters’ Institute call 906-362-1969 or visit Orion’s website at

James A. Tantillo of Ithaca, N.Y., has been named executive director of Orion, The Hunters' Institute.
Contact: Mark Hirvonen, Chairman
Orion, The Hunters’ Institute Board of Directors
657 Maple Hill Rd
Johnson, VT 05656

One of the things I am hoping to do with Orion is expand our writings on our webpage, and from time to time I may look to some of you to display your literary talents--and who knows, with luck I will even be able to pay you for your efforts . . . .

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Adirondack Mothers Day Idyll...

Epic, epic, epic.  Which of course is why it has taken me well-nigh two months to post it up.

Camp Goreham on Dart Lake, N. of Inlet, almost to Big Moose Station.   The good country.  Not your 'sexy Gortex high peaks', where grim faced hikers follow each other around like dull-witted sheep on  paths so well-worn that you can walk on autopilot.  

No, this is brook trout, backwoods, and lakeside tavern country.  Flatten the hills, replace the brookies with musky or walleye, and you could be in northern Wisconsin or Minnesota.  But with history so thick you can sniff it when the breeze is just right.  We added our layer.

Day 1 , while the good Tidball elders were still abed, Hannah, Tori, and Charlotte were down by the docks.  Cold out. Wearing winter jackets.  Big splash heard.  Big empty space on the dock where my loverly daughter had just been standing.  Hmmmm.   She seemed to remain under the surface for an improbable length of time.  Run down to the dock, fish her out, her squalling like an alley cat.  Good experience for her to understand the interactive effects of 12' of 45F water, winter jacket, and knee high boots.   Good thing she can swim, that one.  Sigh.  Walking back to the cabin for fresh clothes and something in the coffee to steady my nerves.   Hmmm...that's a black bear.  Right there.  30' away.  More or less between us and the cabin.  I angled the girls up the hill and he ambled on his way.  This is all by 830 the first morning, you understand.  Did I mention that in the poker game the previous evening, Julie got not one, but TWO four of a kind (queens each time) playing 5 card stud?  Sheesh, good start.

While Mo hauled Keith all the way over to N Hudson, the kids and I and the poker queen climbed Black Bear Mtn (appropro of the day).  Some good scrambles in a few places, but with Tori ably leading the way (occasionally even within sight of the rest of our ragtag team) we made the summit.  

when did Hannah get so big?

Day 2: Mother's Day Brook Trout Bonanza
Mo was so grateful to us for watching her chickies while she and Keith circumnavigated the 'daks the day before, that she volunteered to watch all four kids, while Julie, Keith and I set off for the sake of science to angle for the noble brook trout, which as everyone will tell you does NOT grow very big in these little Adk streams.  Part of the reason there are not so many mounted fish on the tavern walls here as in the upper midwest: even a brookie of a lifetime (of anyone's lifetime, for that matter) does not carry the gravitas of even a decent sized musky.  A different kind of place totem.  We fished an unnamed tributary of an unnamed river that drained into an unnamed lake.  Somewhere N of Utica, S of Ottawa, and W of Boston.  Find it yourself.

First we ran into boo-boo bear...or his brother...en route.

And man did we find the brookies.  Big ones.  And we whacked 'em.  Firmly hewing to Mo's "bring them home for science" project (a very cool study on nutritional analysis of wild game and fish for her Cornell Cooperative Extension project, but one that requires--crazy scientists--preposterous quantities of carnage--think about donating your next 97 woodcock, for example), we celebrated the opportunity revel in the temporary orgy of the 'catch and bonk' school of thought.  Old school all the way.  What kind of flies did I use?  The kind that say "Mepps" on the blade.

And we caught big fish.  One great productive riffle/bend, with nary a pirahna in sight.  Keith got a 16.5" beauty...

And so did I.

And Julie of the "four of a kind" topped us both with a gorgeous 19.75" monster.  Gotta teach that girl how to hold a fish to properly show it off.  There will be time enough to admire later...this one is going on the wall.

ain't she a beaut?

Cagey the ADK wilderness guide, sensing my emerging guilt at the orgy, and my wondering whether we had totally messed up the stream for future generations, assured me that this is the natural density of unhassled brook trout water.  Set it aside for a day, and wallow--roll in it, soak it up good and savor.