COOKING LOINS!!!

Wild game “backstraps, tenderloins, fish, loins, or filets”; no matter what you call them, this cut of meat, along the back of the critter, is simply delicious. Filet Mignons are cut from this amazing and lean cut of meat. Loins are often the first cut removed from the critter. Don’t forget the smaller inner loins, inside the body cavity, and near the back.

During hunting camp, these cuts rarely make it home. Once removed, they can be cleaned with salt water. The inner loins can be cut into cubes, and soaked in milk. Warm them up, make a gravy, add some noodles and enjoy. This is often the reward meal for a hunter on his first harvest.

Marinate loins in a bath of cheapo red wine, Montreal Steak Seasoning, and olive oil. This marinate is perfect for beef and all wild critters. Let the meat soak up the flavor for an hour, a day, or a week. Once you try this simple marinate, you will never cook your meat another way.

The larger ventral loins can be cut into more manageable pieces and grilled, smoked, baked, fried, or cut into butterfly steaks. There are so many options. These recipes taste wonderful. The main cooking tip is to not overcook wild game. If you cook it too long, it just gets tough. Medium rare is more than enough cooking.

Stuffed loin roasts are maybe the most decadent way to cook loins. This recipe can be used with wild game, or pork loins. Cut the loin crosswise ¾ of the way through. Stuff each slice cavity with a ½ piece of pineapple slices. You could also use cream cheese, peppers, tomatoes, etc. depending on the flavors you enjoy. Salt and pepper. If you are not a pineapple fan, use Bleu Cheese, bacon, or whatever you enjoy.  Once sliced, the presentation is awesome.

In a separate bowl, add your favorite BBQ sauce, chopped onion, garlic, diced peppers, pineapple juice from the can slices. Jalapeno is optional. Mix and pour over the loin. If you don’t like pineapple juice, try apple cider, beer, or whatever you enjoy or have on hand. Tie the loin up to hold it together. Don’t over stuff the loin. We tend to add more stuffing than is necessary. Less is more here. The other secret is to allow the loin to rest 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Pouring an Au Jus over top, at the end, is also a nice touch.

You can also cut the loin like a loaf of bread. Unfold and fill the loin with your stuffing. Now tie it up with a string. You can also wrap the loin in foil and cook it. This will not sear the meat, or give the grill marks you may desire. Cooking the stuffed loins in a Sous Vide, hot water bath, style also is tasty but lacks the smoky grill touch.

Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Now lower the temperature to 350 degrees for 35 minutes. You can adapt this recipe to use on your charcoal grill, Traeger Smoker, or Green Egg style grills. Each method enhances the flavor. At hunting camp, I have cooked them in a cast iron Dutch Oven over a wood fire. Just remember that less is more. Think low and slow. DON’T OVERCOOK THE MEAT!

Also plan the other courses when preparing the meal. Try to have everything done at the same time. Hungry hunting or fishing camp pigs do not want to wait. Bake or mash potatoes ahead of time. Veggies like green beans, asparagus can be grilled quickly. Simply add some olive oil to them and season with the Montreal steak seasoning. Stir them up in a bowl or shake and bake them in a zip lock bag. Grill them slowly and serve with the loins. Sweet potatoes offer a different flavor that also goes well with wild game.

Desserts are also important. Always try to make hunting camp, or wild game meals special.  Perhaps a baked apple, cobbler, or S’mores would be a good choice. Dutch ovens create new twists on great meals. Being a great cook is a great way to get invited to hunting and fishing camps.

PIG OUT and Enjoy!

Montana Grant

For more Montana grant, visit his blog at www.montanagrantfishing.com.

PIG POWER!!!

Catching PIGS is a goal of most anglers. If not Pigs, then “Hawgs, lunkers, whales, toads, jumbos, monstigators”, “troutasarus”, or simply “monster” fish! Size matters to the Pig Power Fishermen.

Nothing is more exciting than making hundreds of casts and finally you connect with a Pig. The thrill lasts a lifetime. It is so funny how we can forget some memories but always remember the big fish, big bucks, and big events in our life.

PIGS need to be hunted. They are not just found in every pool or riffle. You need to know where to look for Pigs! Once you target PIGS, you will catch fewer fish but you will hook bigger fish. Big fish are major predators which means you need to fish major flies, or lures.

Casting huge flies, or lures is work. You need stiffer, heavier, and beefier gear. Patience is a must. I remember hearing a Musky fisherman talk about how it takes 10,000 casts to get one strike from a trophy musky. This takes a lot of endurance, confidence, skill, and casting. Once you are hooked up, it is all worth it.

Hunting a big buck or bull elk is similar. You spend hours, and days, waiting for a moment. Those moments of excitement are amazing, and remembered forever.

No matter how many fish you have caught in a lifetime, hooking a Pig makes you feel like a kid again. Nothing else in life is as important as putting the pig into a net. The guy working the net has a thankless job.

Years ago, I was on a walleye trip to Canada. The lake we fished was a fly in lake called Echo Lake. There were also HUGE PIG PIKE in the lake. About midweek into the trip, I hooked a Beast! My friend was responsible for the net. He netted the 50+ inch monster and, despite my directions, lifted the net, and fish, hoping to swing him into the boat. The net broke and the pike slapped his tail, as he swam free. Needless to say, the Pig got away!!!

Damn!!! Pigs that escape the net may be the best memories of all. These failures make us fish harder and longer. We had a taste of Pig Power and want more. “There can be only one!”

Every cast could be the one that hooks a Pig. That is why fishermen never catch enough fish. “One more cast please!”

Pig Out!

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, visit his blog at www.montanagrantfishing.com.

Q and L

Questions inspire answers. Everyone has an opinion, complaint, or judgement. Sometimes the best answer is to ask a better question.

So, you want to become a better hunter, fisherman, or sportsman. Start by finding a great mentor, teacher, or role model. Now ask the best questions you can. Be honest about your weaknesses and be open minded. Ask great questions. The truth is, you will probably not like the answer you are given. Instead, you want the answer that you can own.

Now “Listen!” When I was a young fly fisherman, I went to a seminar being taught by Lefty Kreh. He is the greatest fly fisherman I know. My casting stroke was poor and it had to be the rod, line, or something that was not about me. After demonstrating a few of my sloppy loops, he asked me, “What kind of girls did I like?” I had no clue how this was relevant but I told him that “I liked girls with big smiles!” Next, he had me cast and say, “I like girls with big smiles!”, and come forward with the cast on “smiles!” The problem with my cast was in the timing. I was moving the rod too fast. Using the phrase allowed me to know the exact moment when the line had flowed completely backward, and loaded the rod, for the return cast. Lefty’s question became my answer!

The best answers are the ones that you discover through trial and error, or personal experience. Humans learn best when they make a Big, Fat, Mistake. If it hurts, makes you feel bad, or costs you money, or pride, the sting will help you avoid making the mistake again.

Make it your own! Whatever answer that you come up with, put your twist on it. If you find a successful fly, add some of your own color to it. If you hunt an area that was shared with you, look at the maps and find a similar one.

Often, we tend to listen less, and are too anxious to give our input. Clarify the question with another question. Construct your questions so that they lead you to the answer. If the questioner comes to the answer on their own, they will use it, remember it, and grow.

When I perform seminars at outdoor shows, clubs, or schools, I ask the viewers to take at least one thing away with them. This challenge usually leads to more retention. The audience wants to be entertained, but they also have some questions they would like answered.

So, the next time you have a question, or answer, try listening more closely, and more often. You will be surprised what you hear!

Say What?

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, visit his blog at www.montanagrantfishing.com.

CARTELOPES!!!

Antelope hunting is an annual, western, hunting tradition. “Speedgoats, Stinkgoats, or Lopes” are all names for a critter that is the last survivor of an ancient deer species. The Lewis and Clark expedition made the first documentation of this native North American critter.

Much of Montana requires a lottery permit to access vast areas of public land. Eastern Montana tags are more easily obtainable. A second Doe tag is also available in some areas. Check out the regulations before heading afield.

Antelope hunters often practice long range shooting, close in bowhunting, or stalking. Opening day can be crowded but hunting is productive throughout the season. Antelope are not leapers and will only crawl under fences. These crossings and water holes are great places to set up a blind.

A normal antelope hunting day allows you to see distance groups of “lopes” all day long. Anticipating their path of travel, or putting the sneak on them requires skill and patience. Antelope can be seen at great distances due to their white rump hairs. They can straighten their hollow hair to eliminate excess heat, or lay their hairs flat to gain warmth.

Eyes are positioned so that Lopes can see 320 degrees. This field of view helps them to survive for 7-10 years. These fast critters can reach speeds of 60 mph! Only a Cheetah is faster.

 “Horns” are a combination of hair and keratin. They are not antlers. Antelope horns sport the only forked horns in nature. A horn sheath is annually shed and a new one begins to grow over the bony core on both bucks and does.

Antelope eat many toxic plants that are harmful to domestic farm animals. They also target available grasses and low crops. Primary antelope predators are coyotes and humans. Disease and weather can also impact herds dramatically.

Once the Lope is down, it is important to dress it and allow cooling to begin. Dragging a dead critter will quickly remove the softer hair. A cart is perfect for transporting harvested critters from the field. Each antelope weighs 80-120 lbs.

Hunting friends Mike and Shawn hunt “Lopes” annually. Antelope make for great eating. This year’s hunt began at sunrise, with a couple of mile hike to the antelope grounds. A game cart is pulled along and stashed along a fence row until needed. Usually, tags are filled by noon. 25-06 and flat shooting calibers work well. Rifle shots are usually 150-400 yards.

Now the work begins. A “Cart e Lopes” is hard to navigate across open prairie. Team carting makes the work easier. Tags must be attached immediately upon reaching the downed animal. Wardens typically set up roadside check stations to examine harvests and licenses.

Once back to the truck, with a “Cart e Lopes”, the beverage is a little colder, hunters are a little happier, and the meat will provide food over the upcoming long winter.

Hunt honest, safe, and often!

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, visit his blog at www.montanagrantfishing.com.

The WINNER!!!

Every sportsman wants to be the winner. Whether they win the biggest buck, bull, or fish, the trophy wall will celebrate the winning memorial. If it is not on the wall, it will be in the conversation.

During a lifetime of hunting and fishing, sportsmen contribute to protecting, managing, and conserving our wild places. No other organization contributes as much to our wild places than hunters and fishermen! That’s simply a fact.

Fees for licenses, permits, access, taxes, and every other supporting element of the sport are important. No other sport requires more fees, training, expenses, and time than hunting, and fishing. Workaholics that have few hobbies, and interests do not understand this. They simply find ways to limit vacation, days off, and fun.

Sportsmen contribute taxes through the Pittman- Robinson, and the Dingell- Johnson Acts. These acts, levy a tax on all implements of the sport. Every gun, bow, rod, reel, lure, or hook costs additional fees. This money is then re-appropriated back to every state based upon the number of hunting, and fishing, licenses purchased. The funds are earmarked to purchase, manage, and maintain public parks and wildlife areas.

Many states put these funds into the general fund to help balance the state’s budget. This loophole re-directs these important, earmarked funds. Anti-hunting and fishing groups do all they can to destroy these sports, and contribute little. Most anti- hunting, and fishing organizations do not spend their funds on habitat, parks, greenways, or wild places. Every American can access open spaces paid for by sportsmen’s dollars. Many of these places allow no hunting or fishing.

Outdoorsman that survive a lifetime of hunting and fishing can now become “winners”! At the age of 64, license fees decline. Instead of paying full price for these licenses, the fees are greatly reduced. In MD. A hunting license is only $5.00! In MT. these veteran hunters and fishermen can purchase a “Sportsmen’s License” for just $25:00 each year.

This is good news for every state. These aged hunters are still contributing to the sport. License sales are rising. The bad news is that aging hunters have aged. Most of my hunting and fishing buddies have died, have handicaps or health issues, are physically unable to venture out, or have simply become lazy.

Who wins? The last sportsmen standing have an opportunity to celebrate their sport for a little less expense.

Congratulations on being the winner!

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, visit his blog at www.montanagrantfishing.com.

DENNIS’ DINGHY!!!

Size does not always matter when it comes to boats! There are certainly an ocean of boat styles and sizes to choose from. Anyone that has lived near water has had a flotilla of boats.

My friend Dennis, has a growing fleet of boats. As a child, many of Dennis’ favorite memories were with his Dad on the water. He continues to navigate life finding joy afloat. The other day, I saw Dennis heading out onto the water. He only had a small cooler and a couple rods. Not the usual boat hitched to his truck. Instead, he was going to use a different craft.

Dennis’ Dinghy is small! The inflated, Zodiac style boat, has a small kicker motor on the back. A Big Man can stretch out and touch both ends. On a calm day, Dennis’ Dinghy will safely get you where you need to go. It may not be a seaworthy craft, but it is certainly fine for inland waters.

Dennis’ small dinghy makes less noise and wakes, which can scare off fish. Small crafts also can navigate in shallow water. Using these boats can be a great advantage. Stealth is important for fishing and hunting.

“I just wanted to practice using my dinghy”, is what Dennis said. Many boaters have a small dinghy, for emergencies, and have never used them. What is the point of having a boat, RV, or outdoor toy, if it just sits?  Use it or lose it!

Dennis climbed aboard his small dinghy and headed out to fish. The craft handled perfectly and Dennis was soon into a nice keeper striper! Sitting back, puffing on a cigar, and enjoying a refreshment, he was comfortable in his small dinghy. The size of the fish you catch matters more than how big your boat is.

Whatever floats your boat!

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, visit his blog at www.montanagrantfishing.com.

500 !!!

Practice makes perfect! Wisdom comes from experience. It takes 500 repetitions, or more, for some things to become learned.

The only way to learn how to catch a fish is to catch a fish. After you catch 500 of one species of fish, you are beginning to figure out what it takes. You will never master the craft but at least your confidence grows.

They say it takes 10,000 repetitions to learn some things. The examples were, how to pick up dirty clothes, follow directions as a child, and to do simply what you are told. Putting down the toilet seat must be way more repetitions than that. My estimates of 500 repetitions are way more positive and conservative.

Good bird dogs need to smell 500 birds before they figure things out. The hunter basically goes along for the walk while this happens. Hunting good areas, or game farms, helps to train your dog faster. The hunter needs to practice commands, but the dog needs to practice and tune their instincts. It just takes a pile of birds, and repetition, for them to learn.

Only 499 to go!

A good drift boat oarsman needs to row 500 miles to understand how to row a drift boat. Everything is backwards. You need to row upriver to drift downstream. Once your brain figures that out, the job becomes easier.

Jogging is another sport that requires repetition. It takes 500 miles until the rewards start to show up. Your cardio, weight, muscles, and body will begin to show positive results after this marathon. Now the exercise becomes a positive habit.

Shooting takes practice. 500 trigger pulls per gun will help you understand the accuracy of your weapon. After that many shots, you are now ready to put one best shot where it needs to be. Not only will your skill level grow, the stress relief will also be appreciated.

It also takes 500 “I Love Yous” for your partner or friend to hear just one. Just keep them coming and in the end, it will pay off. Over a lifetime, they will add up.

Just because you have accomplished 500 successes does not mean you are done learning. The truth is that everyone learns differently. Practice still makes perfect and we will discover that there are 500 more things to learn or try. We learn so much from mistakes. Our efforts are always rewarded over time. Just keep forging onward and upward!

Only 500 more to go!

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, visit his blog at www.montanagrantfishing.com.

STINKY ICE CHESTS !!!

Everyone has experienced the special fragrance that emanates from a stinky ice chest. Whether it contained fish, bait, old food, or other rotten things, stinky ice chests can take your breath away!

Years ago, I saw an article in a Popular Mechanics magazine. It addressed this exact problem. The powerful stink from old coolers is just as rank as the stink from today’s coolers. My friend Tom also read this tip and swears by their not so stinky suggestion.

Many stinky ice chest owners try bleach, cleansers, chemicals, and scrubbers to de-stink their coolers. Usually, the cleaning process starts after the stink has already started. Many ice chests die an early death from smells that just will not go away.

Tom suggests that you immediately rinse the cooler after each use. Do not use any chemicals, bleach or cleaners. The cooler is also used to contain food, drinks, and fish that you plan to consume. Avoid any chemical contamination!

Once rinsed, dry with a towel or leave the lid open and exposed. Once the cooler is dry, add a little Vanilla extract to a paper towel. A teaspoon or so is all that you need. Now wipe the coolers surfaces with the Vanilla. Leave the fragrant paper towel in the bottom of the cooler. Your cooler is now clean, chemically safe, and pretty “sniffty”!

Over years, some light brown color may be visible from the Vanilla. With scrubbing, this can also be removed but, most coolers die before that becomes an issue. The truth is, that folks will be able to enjoy opening your cooler to smell the Vanilla fragrance and not a scent that triggers a vomit reflex.

You can also extend the life of the cooler by replacing or protecting the hinges. Replacement cooler hinges are available on line. Use some silicon adhesive, on the screw threads, when replacing. You can also reinforce the hinges with a flexible fabric or rubber cover, that is attached overtop the hinges. An internal string, spring, or strap is also a good idea to hold the lid partly open. This will keep the lid from folding back too far and breaking the plastic hinges.

Keep a damp towel spread out over top the ice and cooler contents. This will keep the temperature down and save the ice from melting so fast. Freezing ice jugs, with water, allows the cooler to stay chilled and will also provide cool water to drink later. The melted ice water may also be used to clean and rinse.

Attach an old plastic cutting board or tray to the outside cooler lid. This will serve as a cutting board for bait, or cleaning fish. Screw the board in place with stainless steel rust proof hardware and seal with silicone adhesive, on the screw threads.

Stay stink free!

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, visit his website at www.montanagrantfishing.com.

BEE CAREFUL !!!

Bees and wasps can quickly ruin your day. These stinging insects can quickly cause pain, and potential death. As Fall arrives, outdoorsmen can have close encounters. Checking out duck blinds, deer stands, boat docks, canoes, gardens, lawns, or just hiking around can agitate individual insects, hives, nests, or swarms.

The other day, my friend Jesse was called to help move a deer stand. The new site was a perfect tree where plenty of deer sign could be seen. It takes two to hang a stand safely. As Jesse and Chris approached the tree, Jesse was stung on his neck by a huge wasp. “I saw it coming, and tried to swat it away!’ Within a minute, Jesse knew that something was wrong. He had been stung many times before, but this time the feeling was different.

Chris immediately saw the severe symptoms and rode Jesse back to the house. 911 was called and within minutes, Jesse’s face was swollen, breathing was hard, and he was going into shock! When the emergency team arrived, they quickly administered epinephrine and an IV of fluid. Off to the hospital they went.

Bee and wasp stings are painful and very common. Yellow Jacket stings are the most common. The venom that these insects secrete is pumped into the skin by a barbed stinger, with an attached venom sac. Even when the stinger is left in the skin, the attached sac continues to pump.

Bee, and wasp, deaths are 3-4 times more common than snakebites. Anaphylaxis shock is the greatest problem. The body can quickly go into shock. These symptoms are an increase heart rate, decreased blood pressure, difficult breathing, and severe swelling to the face, airways, throat, and lips. Emergency care is a must!

Routine stings require simple care. Stay calm, add a cool compress, or ice. Remove the stinger quickly, take an aspirin, or acetaminophen. You can apply a cream that contains an antihistamine, such as Benadryl. Monitor the bite site, wash with soap and water, and keep the bite site clean, to avoid infection.

Remove the stinger with tweezers or a cloth. Using the edge of a card or knife are also good tools. Do not squeeze or scratch the sting site. This can lead to infection or help spread the venom. Avoid Calamine lotion, vinegar, and bicarbonate of soda products. They tend to add more discomfort, are for surface use, and will not impact the injected venom.

EPI PENS are a great tool to carry on your person if you have an insect allergy. The epinephrine shot will relax blood vessels, muscles, and calm the body until help arrives. This is a prescription required medication.

Avoid stings! Wear light colored, fitted clothing, with a brimmed hat. Loose clothing can trap insects and allow repeated stings. Closed toe shoes make common sense. Personal hygiene is important. Sweat agitates insects along with other smells. Flowery fragrances and movement will attract insects. Banana, fruity, and coconut fragrances should be avoided.

Remove nests and look for hives that can be hanging under decks, boats, stumps, debris piles, gardens, chimneys, and sheds. Bees also can live in ground nests near roots and rockpiles. A few years ago, my son was climbing a pool ladder when he disturbed a wasp nest. He was painfully stung on his face. The huge nest had been growing there all summer. If you do not know how to deal with these nests, call a trained professional.

Parents, camp counselors, day care staff, outdoorsmen, joggers, pet owners, and anyone that ventures into the bees, and wasps, domain, need to be observant and able to apply First aid.

BEE CAREFUL and BEE AWARE!!!

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, visit his website at www.montanagrantfishing.com.

BUZZARD BLITZ!!!

Now don’t get me wrong, I love nature and most of God’s creatures. Buzzards, or Turkey Vultures, may be my new least favorite critter. Especially at the Susquehanna State Park below Conowingo Dam. This location is a wonderful access for the public to boat, hike, fish, and watch the birds, eagles, and I guess the filthy Buzzards!

I took a couple of young fishermen out for a fishing adventure. Years ago, I had done the same trip many times. The trip required a 1 ½ mile walk to an area along the Susquehanna River known as the “Fish Traps”. The local Indian tribes had moved rocks to direct fish into their fish weirs. The evidence remains, and the fishing is still great. How cool is fishing for striped bass in fresh water around ancient fish traps!

When we arrived, it was dark, and we hiked down the trail. I had parked in a marked, paved parking spot. Fishing was fun and everyone caught stripers, white perch and smallmouth bass. I saw an old fisherman upstream and started up a conversation. Like me, many years ago, he rode a bike to the spot but came up river, not down. The distance was twice as far. He said that a few weeks earlier, he had parked where we parked, and that the buzzards ate his windshield wipers, plastic trim and trashed his truck!

Oh well. We were committed. The river rises when the dam runs water to make electricity. At 10 AM we hiked back to my shiny, new, beautiful truck. I was curious to see if the “Old Timer” was correct.

When I first saw my once beautiful truck, there were dozens of buzzards hanging on my ladder rack, roof, and hood. Wings were spread and flapping. It looked like they were trying to fly away with my F-150. When they couldn’t lift it, they did their worst. Feathers, crap, vomit, and filth were everywhere. We flushed the flock away and I noticed that the trim around my windshield had been eaten. Their little beaks meticulously nipped it away! In a few short hours, they had wasted my truck!

Across the parking lot were two more buzzards sitting along a fence next to a sign that said, “Buzzards may damage your vehicle”. Talk about too little too late! The State Park covered their liability but has done nothing more. I am sure that I am not the only victim of a Buzzard Blitz! How much fiscal damage has been done? How many people, pets, and children have been sickened? How many people now avoid this wonderful public park because of Buzzards?

If these road kill eating birds are such a problem, at least put up several signs, and maybe some bigger signs. The parking lot is paved, mowed, lined, and managed for public access, not Buzzard Blitzes! Did any of the State Park Staff witness the event as they patrolled the park? This parking area is at the main gate to the park. Does the State feel that their small sign is enough to address the problem? How can boaters leave their rigs near the boat ramp safely?

More warning and solutions are needed. Not only is there a vandalism issue, there is also a huge health issue. Perhaps a little population management or control are needed. I will be glad to help!

CRAP!!!!

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, visit his website at www.montanagrantfishing.com.

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