Grilled Dove Kabobs & Grouse Nuggets

blog dove

While our horses have, and continue, to play a big role in helping us harvest wild game, we now have added a dog to the equation as well! Maggie is the newest animal addition to our family, a chocolate lab that we got back in June.

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She has some personality to her and is a loving, lay-on-top-of-you, smart, willing, full of energy, dog! She is contributing to helping us make meals from the mountains through her retrieving of game birds, which she is just learning how to do.                                                                      If you noticed that her left eye is red, that is scar tissue from when she was bitten in the eye by her litter-mate at six weeks old. Her vision does not seem to be negatively affected, but the scar tissue will more than likely be permanent.

Labor Day Weekend Joe & I took Maggie down to Bass Lake for her first hunting adventure.

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Ready for Doves

At five months old, she has been practicing retrieving a dummy both on land and in water and has no fear of gunfire. Both her parents were hunting dogs; the sire waterfowl and her momma upland bird and shed antlers. We weren’t sure what to expect, but it went really well. The first dove Joe got was right after we arrived. Maggie immediately picked up the expelled shotgun shell after the shot, but was uncertain about the bird since it was still wiggling…

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Hmm, still wiggling, I will bark at it!
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Still not so sure about the whole bird thing…
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First retrieve!

Joe got a total of five doves before the day got quite hot, and then we headed home.

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Catching a nap on the ride home

I would like to get some practice in before I attempt bird hunting, as my shotgun experience is quite limited and has really only been for bear defense in camp.

Monday being Labor Day holiday, we had off from work and ventured out again to look at an upcoming job that Joe has, and decided afterward to take a drive and look for a grouse. We drove along through the forest slowly, keeping our eyes on the lookout along the edge of the road. Sure enough, in the same EXACT spot we had spotted a grouse last year, there he was again. Last year he got away! This time, the first shot rang out and the grouse flew a into the dense timber. We followed and fortunately found it where Joe was able to shoot again and harvest the bird. This was Maggie’s first upland bird hunting experience and while she did not really understand how to flush a bird, but she did retrieve it once it was down!

Once we got home, Joe cleaned the grouse and got out the breast fillets.

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I placed the meat in cool water in the fridge for about 15 minutes and then dredged the meat in flour mixed with season salt. Then I fried the grouse fillets in a cast iron skillet with vegetable oil while barbecuing the dove meat as kabobs with onion slices and wrapped in bacon.

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Dove Kabobs- Marinaded in Italian dressing

RECIPE IS AS FOLLOWS:

Grilled Dove Kabobs & Grouse Nuggets

Serves 2

  • 4-5 doves, with meat marinated in Italian dressing
  • 1 grouse
  • 1/2 yellow onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 slices thick bacon
  • 1/2 c. AP flour
  • season salt
  • pepper
  • 1.5 cups vegetable oil (for frying)
  • 2 wooden kabob sticks, soaked in water
  • Grill

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  1. Field dress birds. Marinade dove meat in Italian dressing in Ziplock bag for 24 hours. Store grouse in glass pan covered or ziplock bag.
  2. When ready to eat: turn on grill & get it heating up to medium heat
  3. Skewer dove meat alternately along with chunk of onion.
  4. Wrap piece of uncooked bacon around kabob and intertwine. Poke end of kabob though end of bacon to keep in place.
  5. Place skewers on grill and monitor every few minutes, turning as needed and adjusting heat if necessary. The meat should cook medium low and slow so as not to burn the bacon.
  6. Pour vegetable oil into skillet and heat until it begins sizzling.
  7. Pour flour along with salt and pepper into shallow bowl. Dip grouse breasts into flour to coat thoroughly.
  8. Place grouse meat into hot oil. Turn after 3 minutes and cook an additional 3 minutes. Meat is done when it turns golden brown.
  9. Serve along with veggies for a great meal.

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Mongolian Elk Stir Fry & Long Creek Elk Hunt

If you are looking for a way to spice up your same old elk steak routine like I was, this recipe is certainly worth a try, it was delicious and made me feel like I was eating at a restaurant from my own home. I used this recipe from the Real Hunters Wives site as the basis for preparing the meat in my slow cooker, and served it atop a bed of rice pilaf and stir fried veggies for a nutritious, flavorful dish!

mongolian elk

Mongolian Elk Stir Fry

Servings: 3

  • 3/4 lb elk steak (round steak worked great)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups frozen sugar stir fry vegetables
  • 1 box rice, prepared per package– I used Mushroom Rice Pilaf (Far East brand)
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Slice venison into bite-sized chunks.
  2. Place cornstarch in Ziploc bag, then put meat chunks inside and shake until coated.
  3. Combine onion, soy sauce, chicken broth, garlic, hoisin sauce, brown sugar, ginger and red pepper flakes in slow cooker.
  4. Place meat in slow cooker so it is covered by broth mixture.
  5. Cook on LOW for 4 hours.
  6. Prepare rice, and while rice is cooking, saute stir fry vegetables in 1 tsp. olive oil in a large skillet for 3-5 minutes over medium low heat. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve meat over a bed of rice and vegetables.

This elk steak was from my 2014 bull elk, for which I am both gracious and grateful…..

2014 Long Creek Elk Hunt

This fall Wyoming experienced a cold August and a warm September and October, marked with weeks of sunny, 60 degree weather. This impacted the typical elk migration timeline and allowed elk to remain in the high country. In mid-October Joe and I headed out on a Sunday afternoon with Yolanda and Slim to scout an area for elk that Joe had in mind, given the unusual weather.

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We rode for a little over an hour through an old cut block and old burn area until we reached an open pocket meadow on the East Fork of Long Creek. After tying up the horses, we sat and glassed, and decided we would stay until the sun dropped below the tree line to the west and then ride back. After a little while, we spotted some elk far across the valley, six or seven, that were on private land. We also spotted two buck antelope munching away several hundred yards away. It was a wild and beautiful spot and I was already pretty happy just to have been able to ride to this spot.

As the sun began to lower in the sky, I looked back across the meadow and saw that two cows and a calf had suddenly appeared out of the timber and were grazing away. Ironically Joe had stepped away to find a tree just ten seconds before, so when he returned back a few moments later, I was resting my Kimber 25-06 on a head-high tree limb and was sighted in on the cows, in case a bull stepped out. Joe ranged the elk and they were a good 500 yards away. We watched them a few more minutes as more cows and calves stepped out, eight or nine total now, and were thinking; are they really alone, no bull?! Then, all of the sudden Joe caught just a glimpse of a bull as he headed back into the trees; he had come out of the timber already in front of the cows closer to us, but due to the gently rolling terrain we had been unable to see him from where we were. So now we were on the move to get closer; all but one cow were headed back into the timber and she busted us, but we had no choice but to move. So we “squat-ran” a ways and then got down and crawled up to a stump within 350 yards. And then the last cow headed up into the trees and they disappeared. Disappointed yet excited at having come so close, we sat there and waited about five minutes to see if they would come back out, but were doubtful, since we knew that one cow had seen us. This is usually how our elk hunting has been the past five years; close, but the elk usually win!

As we stood up to walk back to the horses, Joe glanced to the north and much to our surprise, the bull and just one other cow had stepped back out from the timber and were standing along the treeline eating. I couldn’t believe my eyes. This NEVER happens! Now, we “squat-ran” again to the right, trying to close the distance as much as possible without giving ourselves away, but we now had a bit more advantage due to the lay of the land and fact there was virtually no wind. We crawled the last little bit over to a rock at the top of a small rise and I laid down flat and rested my rifle on the rock. I do best when I have a few seconds to get real comfy and solid, and thankfully I had that time. Just that morning I had printed off the ballistics chart for my new Huskemaw scope and taped it to the stock; Joe had tested the loads he built for my gun at the Range and we were able to enter the data and know exactly how many clicks to make to adjust for distance. At 370 yards, I was able to find the bull immediately in my scope. I zeroed in with laser-like focus as the bull stood broadside, and my shot rang out into the calm evening air. I was confident I hit him, as was Joe, but knowing how tough elk are, I chambered another round and shot again, as he was now standing facing the other direction. I shot a third time. Then I was out of bullets; the rest were in my saddle bags. The elk had gone into the timber now, and in the back of both our minds was the thought we might have to track this animal through dark timber at dusk in some of the most dense bear country; where bears are known to run toward gun fire and a (totally unarmed) man was killed and eaten by a grizzly not ten miles away this summer.

Joe headed back to get the horses and bring them over, and I waited and watched the spot where I last saw the bull, by a six-foot tall dead tree stump. Joe was back in a few moments, so I re-loaded my gun and walked out ahead as he followed with the ponies. I got over to the stump while Joe tied up and looked down for blood, and much to my horror, saw none. I then glanced over into the timber toward the direction the bull had gone, and out out of the pine trees saw two elk horns sticking up; he was only about 20 yards away laying down in the trees. I turned my scope way down and held my rifle up to my shoulder and shot him in the nose-area just below the eyes. Still alive. Joe now came up behind me and had me aim at a tiny patch of neck visible through the branches, so I shot him there as well. He now rolled onto his side, and as we approached, realized he was still indeed alive, head rolling up and down. A quick final shot with the .41 to the back of the head ended the suffering. They are tough.

I was instantly overcome with excitement and gratitude at having harvested the bull in such unsuspecting circumstances in such a wild and perfect spot, and grateful we would not be put in the situation of having to search the woods for the bull in the dark, or worse, not find him.

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The next step was to quickly field dress him; Joe grabbed his knives off Slim, we had our rifles within arms reach, and we moved the horses as close as we could to have extra eyes keeping watch while I held legs up and open while sitting on the chest cavity and Joe gutted the elk. We discovered two of my first three shots hit the mark; the first shot was through the lungs, the second missed, and the third hit low, in the guts. By now it was dark, so donning our headlights, we worked up a good sweat as we drug the head and each half of the elk through the woods to the treeline using lead lines. Slim saved us a lot of work, as once the elk was at the edge of the treeline, Joe got on him and Slim dragged the elk halves several more yards out into the open so that when we returned the next day with pack horses they would be visible, should any bears be on them. Having done what we could for the night, Slim and Yolanda took us back out in the dark under the stars with a light snow falling. We got back to the trailer right before 9 pm, and in six hours, our “scouting trip” had turned into a successful and very memorable elk hunt.

Copy of Taz with 2014 bull

The following day, I had to work, so Joe and a friend rode back in with all four of our horses and retrieved the elk. No bears had visited during the night, and the ponies packed out the quarters for us. Taz, 30 years old, packed out the front quarters and head, the tough old bird. We do not use him very much anymore, and I was thrilled he did okay on this trip. Joe went on to harvest a calf on his cow/calf tag in December, and I have already told him that next year it is his turn to go after the bull!