Sunday, April 28, 2013

The joys of being a female hunter

Someday, in my dreams, there will be a store full of outdoor clothing.  Deer hunting, turkey hunting, fishing… a store full of every possible article of clothing that you could possibly need.  Blaze orange, camo, base layers and outter layers… it will all be there.  And the best thing about the whole thing – it will be all women’s clothing and NOT pink!

I bought my first pieces of camo this spring in preparation of turkey season.  Nothing crazy, just a head/neck cover and a long-sleeve shirt.  I had to try and figure out what men’s size I would need that would do the trick and be usable next year (while covering the baby bump this season).  I think I did it, but if there were women’s sizes, I could have easily picked out a size and been done with it.  Instead, I find myself always negotiating men’s outdoor clothing to make it work for my hunting wardrobe.

It is important went picking out hunting clothes that they fit.  Too small and you are dealing with being uncomfortable and cold.  Too big and there is too much bulk that can get in the way when you are trying to get a good shot off and you could get cold.  I actually wear ski clothes for all layers but the top when I go deer hunting.  My top layer consists of my Dad’s old wool pants (that fit me) and a men’s red/black plaid wool jacket that is a classic hunting jacket but it would not fit me if I did not have about 6 layers below it and wanted something big enough to cover me and keep me warm as I sit for 5-6 hours at a time.

I ended up buying a men’s large camo long-sleeve shirt.  I had to skower the rack looking for a large because the other sizes were XL, XXL, XXXL.  Nothing for a medium or small – clearly only large+ men hunt.   Yes, I know that I could have ordered something from a handful of online retail places but then you don’t know the real size of what you are getting, if it is wrong and you need to return it… it is just as much of a hassle as converting men’s sizes.   Plus, being brand new to turkey hunting, I might not like it as much as deer hunting and am not willing to drop $150 or $200 on one piece of clothing right from the start.

So, I had to settle on, once again, buying men’s hunting clothes for my hunting needs.  Someday we will have our own hunting clothing store and I can not wait until that day arrives and I can worry about other things each hunting season besides my clothes.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Stock piling

My plan is to get some great blogs in place to cover me for the month of June when I take on mommy-duty.  I have a couple great blogs lined up about turkey hunting and will hopefully have a few about my adventures in the woods to bag a turkey but I wanted to check in and see if there is any topic that you wonderful readers would like to read about or know about that I can look into and post while I am away from the computer.

Moose? Deer? turkeys? BOW? 

Just let me know =)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A dinner of meat - for a good cause.

Last week, Hubby and I traveled to Unity to the 7th Annual Sportsmen's Conference and Game Dinner  and met up with Robin and her family.  The dinner raises money for local non-profits and serves game that is usually donated by local hunters, game wardens who take animals that have been poached and the members of the Unity College community.  We had everything from elk and bear to togue and beaver.  And if you were lucky enough to get tickets to this yearly sold out event, then you were able to enjoy a 5 course meal in addition to the yummy appetizers.

I was open to trying anything that would be served - within reason (I won't eat the heart of anything, even when I am not pregnant) and I am happy to report that there were a few things I was surprised that I liked!  For appetizers, I tried chicken-fried beaver with aoli sauce (yum) and bear (also yum) and venison and elk tempenatas (they were so so) but the one that sealed the deal for me was the cheddar and venison meatballs.

Dinner was a 5 course meal!  While I would have liked something like a side salad and dinner rolls and a full pitcher of water on the table, so I wouldn't have had to flag someone down when I wanted more water, the food was good.  Here is my breakdown:

Dish 1: Axis Deer Pie -
I don't know where I can shoot an Axis deer, but I want to now!  Or just get the meat. This was so good - like a really good sausage quiche that was rich, moist and all around awesome.  I could have eaten a 2nd piece if there was enough.  Sometimes they auction off extra food that is not made up.  If one of these pies was up for grabs, I would have done my best to buy it.  Good way to start off the dinner.

Dish 2: Goose and Wild Hog in phyllo dough with mixed greens -
I have never had either of these meats so I hope this dish does not represent how they normally taste.  It was dry.  Really dry.  The salad dressing and glass of water that I drank with this helped but it was hard to get down.  But, I can now say that I have had goose and wild hog now.  Hopefully, I can have them again and they will taste better.

Dish 3: Venison Ugandan Meatballs -
I don't like spicy food unless I am sick and need to knock the illness out of me.  Having a baby that would do more cartwheels than he already does if I ate this whole spicy meatball convinced me to try a bite and pass it on to Hubby.  It was good and probably in some red sauce with spaghetti, it would be really good.  As a stand alone dish, it was a little too much for me.

Dish 4: Venison Stroganoff with Crimini Mushrooms over crostini -
I love mushrooms.  It is probably not normal that I would eat them with every meal and any type of mushroom.  I have made stroganoff before but not with venison.  My determination after eating this was that I could probably make it better and a little more flavorful.

Dish 5: Venison Cutlets in a white wine reduction, roasted red potatoes and carrots -
If there was a dish in which I would play up the fact that the pregnant lady wanted more, it was this one!  I don't eat carrots so I don't know how they were, the potato was a potato but those cutlets were SO good!  Just slightly breaded and so flavorful.  When the waitstaff came to the table with a plate of more cutlets, I was all over it.  The chef walked around to all of the tables and thanked everyone for coming (he also organizes the whole dinner).  Someone at our table asked about the cutlets and I eaves dropped so I could figure out if I dare attempt to make them myself - I do have venison in the freezer.  I will let you know if I do try to duplicate this effort!

To all of you hunters out there - what other meat should I try?

The non-profits that were the recipients of this year's event were:
Maine Operation Game Thief
Maine Warden Service Association - in memory of Mjr. Gregg Sanborn
Get Back Outdoors

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Do I need to worry about ticks?

If you have read this blog for any period of time, you know how much I love deer ticks.  As I head out for turkey season in a couple of weeks... how concerned do I need to be about those little blood suckers coming after me?  (Rabid, Duck Hunter...)

I have the Doctor's ok to wear deet from my knees down and I bet I could spray clothing or a blanket and put it over me... but as I am BRAND new to turkey hunting, I need some help with how prepared I should be.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Need to shoot a shot gun to be ready for the turkeys!

For 10 years, I have been trained to look for that quarter-sized spot, half way down the crease of the shoulder. That is where I would set my cross hairs and shoot. That one small spot to ensure that the deer I was hunting would die a quick death. The idea that I would have many pellets in a shell and just sort of aim at what I was trying to kill is something I am trying to wrap my mind around.

Hubby and I were up at Mom and Dad's for Easter weekend and decided to break out the guns on Saturday afternoon. We were using #6 and #8 shells (I apologize right now for any and all incorrect terminology that I am about to use! I will get it after a while) but will be hunting with #4. Dad has a pump 12 gauge and a break action 12 gauge. The neighbor stopped by to talk to Dad, found out I wanted to turkey hunt and brought over his 12 gauge for me to use.

It is a Remington 1100 and probably the lightest gun I have ever held. But it is a semi-automatic and this girl is use to a shoot once and have to manually jack out a casing before you shoot again. My 30-06 becomes useless after one shot until I jack the shell out - and I like that. I don't want to be in a position where I get excited and more ammo comes out of the gun than I am ready for. Solution: put one shell in the gun and be done with it. Until I am MUCH more comfortable with it, that is my course of action and Dad can be my backup, second bullet.

Mom cautioned me to be careful (since apparently, the gun kicks into my stomach and not my shoulder) and hubby was concerned that the noise would be too much for the baby (so I wrapped as many vests as I could around myself and ended up with 6 layers between my skin and the wind).

Dad took the first shot to make sure everything was working and firing the way it needed to.  He said that the shells were sticking with the pump action (or maybe it was both of them), so he wanted to see if they would stick and he would need his knife to pop them out. 

It was a little breezy but a beautiful day to be outside and shooting guns, especially for a first timer like me.

I had Hubby snap a photo of me shooting so I could see how bad I looked.  When I deer hunt, I do so sitting down and can rest the gun on something.  There are so many new things to do now; open sites, holding the gun while standing up and as you can see, I am leaning back more than I should be. And for a little bit of an ego boost, please remember, I am also 7.5 months pregnant =)

Both Hubby and Dad did say that I brought my head down more when I actually shot (this photo was taken a minute or so before I pulled the trigger).  It was the 12-gauge Remington and was so light and easy to handle.  The trigger pulled like my 30-06; you barely think about squeezing it, and it goes off.  I want one!

When the three of us had successful emptied a box of shells, we collected them all, put them back in the box, and Dad and Hubby thought it would be fun to throw the box up in the air and see if Dad could shoot it with the last shell he had.  It rained black and red shells as he hit it.  Hubby tried the same thing as Dad threw up an old, empty paint can (yes, we pretty much shoot at whatever is lying around).  The can went up and down without any additional battle scars and we all got a good laugh. 

I feel good about my first turkey hunt coming up in just a few weeks!  Wish me luck!!

Variables for the start of the season that could result in a very interesting hunt:
* I don't shoot things that are moving fast - I watch them go buy and then think huh, I should have shot that.  I need a solid 10-15 seconds to process what I am seeing and what I need to be doing.
* Turkeys are smaller than deer and don't have fluid movements
* Shot gun without a scope vs a 30-06 with a nice, accurate scope