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.
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.
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…
Joe got a total of five doves before the day got quite hot, and then we headed 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.
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.
RECIPE IS AS FOLLOWS:
Grilled Dove Kabobs & Grouse Nuggets
- 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
- 1.5 cups vegetable oil (for frying)
- 2 wooden kabob sticks, soaked in water
- Field dress birds. Marinade dove meat in Italian dressing in Ziplock bag for 24 hours. Store grouse in glass pan covered or ziplock bag.
- When ready to eat: turn on grill & get it heating up to medium heat
- Skewer dove meat alternately along with chunk of onion.
- Wrap piece of uncooked bacon around kabob and intertwine. Poke end of kabob though end of bacon to keep in place.
- 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.
- Pour vegetable oil into skillet and heat until it begins sizzling.
- Pour flour along with salt and pepper into shallow bowl. Dip grouse breasts into flour to coat thoroughly.
- Place grouse meat into hot oil. Turn after 3 minutes and cook an additional 3 minutes. Meat is done when it turns golden brown.
- Serve along with veggies for a great meal.