I drew this pen and ink while Mary and I were sitting in a ground hunting blind two deer seasons ago. It’s of a female downy woodpecker that I photographed earlier that season. I took it when we were in another blind. If you consider that I completed the drawing while waiting for deer you can probably deduce that no deer were harmed during the drawing of that picture. We always do most of our shooting with a camera.
If you’ve never eaten black bear, let me tell you, it’s delicious!
Two carnivores hunting in the woods. There’s something to be said about harvesting an animal that is perfectly capable of harvesting you. We encountered this beautiful beast while hunting Spring turkeys. With Autumn comes a different season.
Orange Glazed Bear
bear meat cut into thin strips
flour of your choice for dredging (wheat, cornstarch, rice, etc.)
barbecue sauce (homemade or one you like)
Marinade thin bear strips in a splash of soy sauce, fresh ginger, fresh garlic, with a pinch of ground mustard. Marinade over night or vacuum marinade for 30 minutes. The longer the better.
Place enough flour to coat the meat in a repurposed produce bag. Drain and save marinade juice from meat. Place meat in bag of flour, toss to coat.
Heat a splash almond oil with a dollop of coconut…
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Blitz took me pheasant hunting last week. I think she would drive herself if she had thumbs. Luckily, she needs a gunner tagging along. It’s my joy to watch this girl living her bliss. I captured this hunting moment in watercolor, and pen and ink.
This painting for me is more than a picture of a beautiful rooster pheasant. It is me trying to express the essence of something in my life that is significant.
Pheasant season ended a few weeks ago. It is a time when our dogs get to live their bliss, as Mary is so fond of putting it, living-bliss. I’ve re-blogged her post, because it is also about the dogs doing what they are born to do. They are working dogs and hunting is their work. They are happiest when they are working. What they do is written in their DNA.
I suppose the same is true for me. If I was plopped down in the American West 200 years ago I think I would have been perfectly happy. Engaging in hunting with dogs, friends and family keeps me connected to my roots and more primitive self.
Dogs are pack animals and pheasant hunting helps them live their pack experience. The difference is that we are now their pack, but the satisfaction to them is the same.
If I didn’t have bird dogs I probably wouldn’t bird hunt. The pleasure they bring to it is what makes it complete. These dogs have such heart in what they do. Hunting without them would be like dancing alone.
Procuring food is such a basic human activity. By acquiring food myself, I appreciate the meal much more. To spend the time hunting and experiencing the joy of success with my partners makes me think about what our hunter gatherer ancestors did on a daily basis. Then to have to go through the process of cleaning and preparing this food, it puts me very in touch with the reality of what was given.
When I hold the pheasant in my hand that I just killed and Blitz just fetched, I experience a blend of feelings. There is joy in the success and satisfaction of providing this meal to my family. There is appreciation for the beauty and for what this creature lost, it’s life. That leaves me with some sadness, but it is the reality of life. It causes me to not take meat in the grocery store for granted.
The time out in the field away from the day to day activities is a welcome break to go enjoy a more primal experience. There are things all around to be noticed that add to the richness of this time spent.
This time means so much when spent with family.
This is also a time for me to remember my old loyal hunting partners from years past. The ones that gave me so many fond memories. Last year was Hawk’s last season only we didn’t know it at the time. He should have had many more pheasants to retrieve. We miss him very much. Mary posted about him a while back, Her Papa’s Eyes.
Something caught my attention, while cruising around the North end of the log decks. Lots of animals were running in the hay field. The mill property has a couple hundred acres of hay fields and ponds on the North end of the log yard. Each afternoon a large herd of deer comes into the fields to graze. This morning, they were already in the field and running all over the place. This is odd behavior for the deer because they weren’t leaving. They usually wander randomly around the field feeding. If anyone gets too close they just leave the field for the cover of the nearby Valley Oaks. This time they were running helter skelter around the field, but not leaving. I was about a quarter mile away and could not discern what was going on. I pulled out my camera and zoomed in on the action. Then I saw the three coyotes. This is what happened next.