Most Americans will gather to celebrate a truly American holiday. Headlining the feast is usually a turkey all stuffed and basted, roasted a golden brown, maybe fried or even smoked.
Today’s Thanksgiving turkey is usually a domesticated variety, but the turkeys that helped sustain the Pilgrims through the winter and Thanksgiving were wild birds. They fell to the hunter’s gun and were part of the bounty of the new world wilderness.
It is no wonder that the American hunting and outdoor heritage is so strong and continues to play a major role in shaping our culture and our society. In addition to putting food on the table, maybe we take up a rifle, shotgun or bow and go into field and forest because it is a way to remember who we are and from where we came.
Maybe this Thanksgiving you will sit down to a wild turkey feast, roasted duck, grilled venison or even fried fish. If so, I salute your skill and the vision of conservationists who helped make such a feast possible.
After you have flushed ducks and taken a shot, just sit tight. Often flushed waterfowl will regroup in the same location.
Another deer hunting joke
One Sunday, a minister feigned illness so he could go deer hunting. That morning he shot a fantastic 14-point buck. Saint Peter looked down from Heaven and said to God, “You aren’t going to let him bag a prize like that are you?”
“Why not?” God replied. “Who’s he going to tell?”
Don’t give up
If you didn’t get a deer during the firearms deer season this year or you still have tags left, then don’t give up. You still have the antlerless only season in some areas Dec. 6-8, and the alternative season Dec. 28-Jan. 7.
If you are an archery hunter, you can still hunt until Jan. 15. There is also one more youth weekend Nov. 29-Dec. 1.
Since deer deposit fat under their skin and inside their abdomen, they do not have fat deposits marbled throughout their meat like beef. To keep venison juicy, you have to preserve its natural moisture or supply extra water and fat.
Remember too that the older the deer, the tougher the meat. The younger the deer, the milder the flavor. Doe meat is generally always good, but the meat of a mature buck taken in rut will have a strong, musky flavor. Even with their gamey flavor, you can still enjoy it in the right recipes.
Marinades are always good for masking gamey meat. Venison jerky, summer sausage and snack sticks also make great Christmas gifts.
Finding crappie in warm water
A lot of crappie lakes help provide cooling water for nearby power plants. In winter, look for crappie in the warm water near the lakes’ discharge outlets.
Rely on your instincts
When walking in the field or shooting clay targets, always be ready to shoot. Consider an open bored choke since most upland game birds are shot within 25 yards. Practice instinctive shooting and as you become a better wing shot, you’ll know when to rely on your instincts.
Something to think about
"We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have."
Larry Whiteley was born and raised in Nixa. He was inducted into the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in honor of his over 40 years of communicating the great outdoors all over the world through his outdoor articles and radio shows.