Field Ops for Sportsman's Box - Hunting and Fishing Subscription Box

Most Memorable Hunt: My most memorable hunt would hands down be when I harvested my first buck. It wasn't a buck with an incredible score or anything most would write home about. But for me, the experience itself was something I'd been waiting for. I'd been an athlete all my life and felt a huge void ever since college had ended. I'd immersed myself in the outdoors, hiking, learning survival tactics, and my favorite: living off the land. I wasn't raised in a family of hunters. But I was raised to work hard, to train myself to be tough no matter the physical conditions, and to appreciate the land. So, when I began hunting, I was learning from scratch. I was using my intuitions, but every book, magazine, and Youtube video I could find, I'd pour into them. I was able to make a few connections, but it mostly came from persistence and drive. I had already dropped my first doe two seasons before, and had been walked through the process of field dressing it. Then I took it in to be processed. When I went home, I started reading on the processing step, and realized I just cut myself short of an opportunity to learn. And to harvest my own deer all myself. I knew my next kill would need to be something I did entirely myself. But that's who I am. If it's feasible for me to do, you better bet I'll give it a shot.

I hadn't had a ton of time that season to hunt due to practices. But I'd made it out every time I could. It was about an hour within shooting light, and I was starting to get frustrated. My neighbors were having target practice a ways down. I figured no deer would even be moving across my path. But low and behold, a herd of 3 deer started making their way. I lined up, set him up in my scope, and click. Nothing. I had gotten so excited I hadn't cycled the bolt. After fixing my error, I struggled to find him again. I had to turn around the tree stand I was in. Adrenaline was pumping. When I finally spotted him, he was walking right past a tree. Boom. He ran about 20 yards and dropped. When I found him it was beginning to get dark. I called my mom, too excited to talk straight, which of course made her think there'd been an accident. Her only question was where we would put all the meat. Dad brought the tractor down, and we drug that big boy home to gut it, skin it, then I borrowed my uncle's meat processor, and processed that entire deer. and did my own European skull mount. I watched my share of tutorials that week. And realized how blessed I was to have friends I'd met via social media that I could contact about silly little questions. It was an accomplishment to me to be able to know I could fully take care of an entire deer.

Favorite Game to Eat and how to Prepare it: My favorite game to eat would have to be my venison. I absolutely love to cook, so I'm always trying new recipes. My favorite with it so far is the backstraps cut up, wrapped in bacon, sprinkled with brown sugar, and cooked in my cast iron skillet

Favorite Game to Chase: For me, I'd have to say my addiction is bowfishing. However, there is nothing like dropping a deer. The rush from both is a completely different feeling. Yet so exhilarating. As I advance as a hunter, I'm sure things will develop and I will set my sights on new animals to chase, but nothing will compare to the experience of dropping a deer on the land that built who I am today.

Most Memorable Hunt: My most memorable Hunt would have to be my most recent hunt in Georgia with several of my girl friends. Being out in the woods and knowing you are going to provide for your family is gratifying, but being out there with other women close to you brings the experience to a whole new level. Nothing is better than the memories and bonds you build on a hunt with friends.  

 

Favorite Game to eat and how to prepare it: my favorite would have to be venison. I love making slow cooked venison.  

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 4-pound venison shoulder
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup bacon drippings
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 12-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup dried porcini or chanterelle mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Dash of sugar

 

PREPARATION

  1. Season the venison generously all over with salt and pepper. In a cast iron pot, heat the bacon drippings over high heat. Add the venison and sear on all sides until golden broth, 2-3 minutes per side. Remove the venison from the pot and set aside.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onions, carrots, and celery to the pot and cook until they turn a rich mahogany color, stirring frequently. Add the flour and stir until well combined. Add the tomatoes, dried mushrooms, and garlic. Bring the mixture to a boil and slowly stir in the beef broth and red wine.
  3. Raise the heat and bring to a boil. Add the thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, sugar, and venison. Reduce to a low simmer, cover, and cook for about 1 1/2 hours, until the meat pulls easily from the bone. Taste and season well.
  4. Transfer the venison to a cutting board and remove the bone. Slice the meat into rough chunks and return to the pot to warm. Discard the herb sprigs and bay leaves.
  5. Serve the venison in shallow bowls over Louisiana rice, pasta, or mashed potatoes.

 

Favorite Game to Chase: I've only ever chased turkey and deer up until my most recent hog hunt which was so fun! I think deer is my favorite, although having the opportunity to be in the woods chasing any game feels like the ultimate blessing. 

Most Memorable Hunt: My most memorable hunt would have to be my Florida Alligator Hunt.  I have always wanted alligator boots, but it was on my bucket list to have alligator boots, with a gator that I had shot.  Not only did I get to harvest an alligator, I got to do it with my bow! 

 

Favorite Game to Eat and How to Prepare It: My favorite game to eat is venison.  I love it ground up, as steaks, sticks, or sausage!  My favorite would have to be venison tacos, you never realize how often you make and enjoy eating venison tacos, until you run out of venison. 

 

Favorite Game to Chase: My favorite game to chase are whitetail deer, with my bow.  I love the challenge of needing to be close enough for a shot, having to play the wind, making sure you are scentless, and practicing shooting my bow all year long.  It's so rewarding harvesting a buck with with your bow! 

Most Memorable Hunt - My most memorable hunt would be one of my first ever whitetail hunts with my father. It was the shotgun opener in Illinois, and we called a 10 pointer off of a doe and into range. I hit the buck but we never recovered the deer. Although we didn't find the deer, it got me hooked on the sport I love today and I will vividly remember the morning the rest of my life. It encompassed everything that I love about deer hunting. Cool crisp November mornings, rutting bucks, and sharing the outdoors with family.  

 Favorite Game to Eat - While I love venison backstrap, my favorite wild game meal is probably dove breast with a cream cheese stuffed bell pepper all wrapped in bacon. And then grilled to perfection.

 Favorite Game to Chase - Whitetail and whatever else is in season!

 

 

Most Memorable Hunt - I would definitely have to go with my 4th season as a turkey hunter. It was the end of the of opening week and for three days prior it had poured rain, was windy and cold to boot. I had been braving the elements in hopes of tagging an early season gobbler. That morning my alarm goes off at 4:30am, as I shut it off, I tell myself “take the day off…sleep in.” Just as the tired voice in my head almost has me convinced I decide to check the weather to make the decision for me. The forecast is calling for clear skies, sun, and 67 degrees. Suddenly the gobbler addicted voice in my head says “oh, we’re going!! It's rained for three days and now it's going to be beautiful?!? Those turkeys are going to be moving!!” I get up, grab my gear and I'm sitting in my blind at 5:30am, fifteen minutes later the treetops come alive with gobbles! I knew where they were roosted and I was about 70 yards away. At 6:30am the turkeys start flying down, and I let out three loud yelps on my box call, 4 birds hammer back immediately!! Game on, boys!! They gobble constantly for about 15mins and they start to head in the opposite direction, and right as frustration sets in with the thought they aren't heading my way, it hits me!!! “I made absolutely no noise walking in here because it's so wet…. they gobble again; further away; but I know where they're going. I put my mouth call in, grab my gun, and decide the odds are in favor to put a stalk on them! I slink through the woods about 40 yards sit under a big hickory tree and let out a short series of soft yelps…GOBBLE, GOBBLE, GOBBLE!!! I'm closer, but they've moved to an open field about 60 yards away with a ravine between us. Quickly I devise a plan, to move east, sneak along the bush line, heading south to a spot where the ravine is narrower and shallower, and I should be able to get a good position, almost in gun range without getting busted. I sneak to the edge of the woods, hunker behind a maple and decide to check in with my bearded friends. I yelp softly, twice and my distant birds hammer back right on cue! Just as I'm about to start moving… GOBBLE, GOBBLE, GOBBLE! A 5th tom! Coming from the east right toward me in the corn stubble, the adrenaline starts to rise as he struts and gobbles his way toward me. Ten minutes passes and I let out a small, short series of cluck-purrs, waiting for a response, when, I hear footsteps in the leaves behind me. ”No… what?!? is there one coming behind me now?!?!?” I tuck my chin to chest and slowly turn my head, and there, not 25 yards away is the biggest, fluffiest coyote I've ever seen, and it has no idea I'm here. Aaaahh!! My biggest fear now is this dog is going to go through me and get my tom! The coyote sniffs around, takes a drink from a puddle, and slowly meanders in the opposite direction until he disappears into the woods, phew!! I look back and there's no sight of my tom…my heart sinks. I set my mouth call in, ready to yelp when I catch the “bob” of a head in the brush line ahead, it's him! He slowly makes his way back into the field, now heading back to where he came from, when suddenly he turns and starts walking north. He’s going to walk right in front of me at about 40yds. Silently, I'm willing him, keeping walking, that’s right, and finally, here he is, “10 more steps…” I whisper, and I count them down. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6…come on buddy…5, 4, 3, 2….at 7:30am my spring long beard tag was filled, and I have a turkey hunt that will stick with me forever!!!

 

Favorite game to eat - This is like asking which one of my kids I love most! I love them all!! If I had to make 1 choice, I'd have to say Canvasback ducks! Taken later in the season they’re a beautiful big duck with a lot of versatility! However, if you slow roast, just like a Sunday chicken, and then bake them just long enough to crisp the skin, add some roasted potatoes, I'm not sure I've ever found a better comfort food!!

 

Favorite game to chase - I love bow hunting white tails! The turkey woods in the spring will always get my heart pumping and laying in a field blind while Canada geese honk, cluck and drop into a spread, or whistling wings of an incoming flock of ducks will never get old! I’m a fisherman at heart! Every chance I get I’m dropping a line, just waiting for that tug on the other end, the click of the drag fighting against the fish, then holding that fish in your hands, to the slow release and watching it disappear back to the depths whence it came! Largemouth bass and Northern Pike are my typical targets, Musky, Smallmouth bass, Perch and Crappie are always on the list when the conditions are right!

Most Memorable Hunt - My husband and I honeymooned in Maui, Hawaii and during our stay there we set up two different hunts.  I accompanied him on his hunt for an ibex goat and he accompanied me during my axis deer hunt.  My axis deer hunt involved two days of vigorous spot and stalk hunting.  That was without a doubt the most exciting and memorable hunt I have ever experienced. 

Favorite Game to Eat and how to prepare it - Venison Taco Salad! Ground venison (my husband and I process ourselves) 90% venison 10% beef fat. Brown the ground venison, add tacos seasoning and lay over a bed of crushed hint of lime chips and fresh baby spinach.  Garnish with your favorite taco toppings: salsa, cheese, avocado, cream cheese, ect...

Favorite Game to Chase - Turkeys or axis deer. 

Most Memorable Hunt - My most memorable hunt was my bull elk hunt in 2012.  This hunt was in a limited draw area with lots of elk and some very good bulls.  My brother also had a bull tag for this hunt, so as a family we spent countless days on the mountain scouting, camping, and hunting.  I was able to get a really good bull elk with my wife right by my side.  This was also our first time using our horses in the mountains on a hunt.  I truly love watching my horses perform and am always amazed by their strength and beauty.  Those days on the mountain with my family will never be forgotten and can never be replaced

 

 


Favorite Game To Eat - Elk fajitas served with marinated elk steak strips, diced bell peppers, onions, black beans, rice, lots of guacamole, and plenty of cayenne pepper.  The spicier the better!

 

 


Favorite Game To Chase - Nothing excites me more than chasing elk in the rugged mountains of the West.  It doesn’t matter if it is archery, muzzleloader, or rifle, as long as I am chasing bugles and pursuing elk far from roads in some of the most breath-taking scenery ever created.

 

 

Hunt hard, hunt often and be out in it.

 

 

Adam O.

 

 

Most Memorable Hunt - My favorite hunt took place on the last day of my first rifle season. There was fifteen minutes left to my season and after a long walk of shame, I gave into the fact that I was not going to be successful this season. I decided to sit at the base of a tree and let the season end. About two minutes passed and a couple bucks started fighting off to the left of me but I couldn't see them. Just then a curious four point buck walked down to the right of me within twenty yards. The next five minutes felt like an hour. As I sat there shaking and unable to move, we stared each other down. "One more step", I said to myself. And it happened. He stepped forward, I shot, he ran and stopped, I shot again. The blood trail was over a mile long and I spent two days looking for that deer. Sadly, I never found him but I knew that night as I ordered my first muzzleloader so that I could extend my season that, I will forever be a hunter and will always love the chase.


Favorite Game To Eat - I enjoy cooking, sharing and eating Venison.  "If it's game, I'm game!"

Favorite Game To Chase - So far, The Whitetail Deer has been my favorite game to pursue. I love studying the biology, habits and hunting strategies. However, this season I hope to head out west in pursuit of Antelope and Mule deer. Two species that I have felt compelled to hunt. Who knows, an Elk tag might be in my future as well... (fingers tightly crossed)

Get Out There,

Bob W.

Most Memorable Hunt -

Brit: This is a hard question because every single hunt I've been on holds a very special place in my heart. BUT if I had to pick, I'd say my 12 year old sons first elk hunt is one I will never forget. We were in an OTC unit and simply had hopes of filling the freezer. We weren't hunting one specific animal that we had scouted and kept an eye on, we were just "winging it".  To keep the story short and sweet we got our boy on a bull (we could tell he was a bull but couldn't tell how big he was) He took two amazing shots and once we were able to get to the animal we discovered he had harvested a big'ol 360 class bull! We got his hunt on film and had such an unforgettable day as a family working together to achieve such an amazing goal. 


Josh: To pick a hunt that's the most memorable is hard question to answer! I don’t have one. I think that is the point, and the best part of hunting to me. Every single time I head out it's a new adventure, with new memories, some stronger than others but none I would ever forget! I am always pushing to beat or accomplish a new challenge I've made for myself. Whether it's harvesting a certain animal, getting into country I've never been in before or doing anything with my family in God’s country they all turn out to be my most memorable.

 Favorite Game To Eat -

Brit: Elk by far is my favorite! I grew up with a mom that would NOT eat wild game, she hated the taste (I think it was all in her head). So when I got married I was
very hesitant to try it. Once I gave in I was hooked.  I also like deer, but nothing has topped elk in my books. I like to experiment with recipes and try new things with our elk and
deer meat.

Josh: I love most game meat if prepared and cooked right but my two favorites are Elk & Deer. As of right now, I will hopefully be able to keep challenging those two for which will be my favorite meat! 

 Favorite Game To Chase -  

Brit: Mule Deer

Josh: Mule Deer has my heart, but I love chasing everything! I'm not picky if it involves my bow or gun I am ready to go give the hunt 100% 

Most Memorable Hunt - March 12, 2012, fishing an FLW college fishing tournament at Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri. At 11:00 my partner and I had no keepers in the livewell. We regrouped and ended up catching the only 5 fish limit of the tournament, taking home the $10,000 first place prize, and qualifying for the regional championship. 

Favorite Game To Eat - Any meat is great, as long as it is wrapped in Bacon! 

Favorite Game To Chase - Every type of game presents a unique set of challenges, but the mental game of chasing Largemouth Bass would have to be my favorite!

Get Out There,

Brandon O.

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