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19 responses to “Sea Ducking in San Francisco”

  1. Jessa

    I love Hugh’s meat book! We used his coq au vin recipe (tweaked it a bit, obviously) with the jackrabbit that Rick brought home a few weeks back – was fabulous!

    Sounds like an exciting time – the only ducks I saw this weekend were the two in the back yard (which I have been informed by my roommate are “not for eating”, no matter how fat and delicious they look). Alas.

  2. Joshua

    Great post; what an adventure! You were deeper into the Delta than I’d first thought, eh?

  3. Rachel @ Dog Island Farm

    I second the Meat Book! I got it for my husband for Xmas. He couldn’t put it down.

  4. Todd Baier

    Great post Hank. I am very jealous. Our duck season closed two weeks ago and goose closes today. For me it is all over but for the eating!

    I enjoyed seeing a dog taking it’s place in your hunting adventure. I wonder how my dog would handle that kind of big water. We may never find out.

  5. Carolina Rig

    I miss diver/sea duck hunting. Jerky, sausage, pate, and spicy asian dishes were the norm when I was lucky to kill a bunch of ducks.

    Completely changing the subject…I ate the best scrambled eggs I’ve ever had last night thanks to you. I hope to collect your payment tomorrow. If not, I’ll head out when I get back from Florida. Thanks again.

  6. lanesvillelady

    Sounds like a great hunting trip. Love Chris Baron’s photos and of course that talented Chocolate Lab! What kind of camera did Chris use and especially what kind of lens and settings?

  7. mike

    good read hank.
    here in Michigan, bills, redheads & cans are excellent table fare.
    must be a dietary thing.
    ever done a layout hunt on open water?

  8. Paul C

    What’s up with the fat? does it taste bad or is it just salty ? If the latter could it be used to confit seafood or anything?

    That pie looks fantastic, but it looks like it has a few empty spaces and air pockets? I think often with traditional pork pies they would pour in a collagen heavy stock through the hole in the middle after cooking the pie to soak through and fill in the gaps that then sets like jelly when it cools.

  9. John

    Hank , I think its time for you to get a retriever – - It took hunting to a whole nother level for me !

  10. Mike Spies

    Hank, I am pleased to see that you enjoy a sport that I did for may years on the Bay. I shot canvasbanks, bluebills, widgeon, et al on the bay from a sneakbox.

    I ate a lot of divers. Canvasbacks make a particularly fine terrine en croute. I have a huge spread of diver decoys that you might need if you decide to take up the sport in earnest.

    Get a dog… NO, get a LAB!

  11. Nate

    What fun, eh? I’ve hunted eider/scoter for the last 12 years, and each hunt is new, different, and exciting as the first time. When/if you come back east, we’ll have to shoot some eider out of the dory over handmade decoys. And, I’ll show you how I like to cook sea ducks – we call them “Napalm Nuggets.”

    Best,
    Nate

  12. Cork @ Cork's Outdoors

    You’re quickly taking the reining title from the Cantonese, Hank: if it flies, crawls or swims, they know how to prepare it so that it tastes great—scoter burger, and diving duck meat pie amazing!

    I’m definitely going to try that fat testing technique on any divers we get off the SF Peninsula…shooting at those divers flying the nape of the Earth is definitely different from having a bunch of fat mallards landing in a deke set on a puddle.

  13. Dave

    Really enjoyed the post, Hank. Diver hunting can be addictive! Nothing quite as thrilling as a squadron of ‘bills looking like they’re going to pass you by, then turning 90 degrees and taking dead aim at your rig. Next thing you know, you’re the proud owner of fifty new decoys, a Labrador Retriever and an 18 foot Lund Alaskan!

    BTW: my son shoots many goldeneye on the St Lawrence river, and they are much better table fare than the ones we shoot in Long Island Sound.

  14. Daniel Klein

    never done that before, very cool, great pictures too. How was the pie? strong game flavor?

  15. Dan Donnelly

    Sounds like you guys had a great hunt. I hunt sea ducks all the time. Eiders and such. I love fishy ducks and seabirds but we eat seal as well up here. Ptarmigan,moose, caribou, snowshoe and arctic hare all good. Eider ducks are my favorite thing to eat. We do them in a stew.

    take care
    dan

  16. Capt RJ

    Hank you need a 12!
    Thanks again for coming out with us.
    We love sharing our passion for waterfowling,
    especially with folks like you and Holly.
    Cheers-
    RJ

  17. Andrew Bogan

    I hunted divers with RJ last week on Suisun Bay and two of the ducks we harvested were drake goldeneyes. I was amazed to discover that one of the two goldeneyes was the cleanest smelling diver I have ever plucked and cleaned. I made the decision to roast it whole, skin on with an herb rub. It was easily the tastiest diver I have cooked, too. I’m not suggesting this is a common outcome, but don’t assume that all goldeneyes are wretched ducks. (The second drake from the same flock was a more typical diver in flavor, but I discovered my one year old loves slightly fishy tasting ducks. Who knew?)

  18. Andrew Bogan

    It looked like a clean, healthy, large bird and it didn’t have any marshy odor to it while still in the feathers. So I began plucking it to have a closer look and just kept going. One unsung advantage of how tightly a goldeneye’s skin clings to its meat is that it is much easier to dry pluck than other divers. Even gutting this particular bird was better than the average puddle duck, it was clean and fresh on the inside, too. I grilled the heart in a traditional Japanese yakitori glaze and that was tasty as well (but I could tell the heart was from a diver given its stronger flavor). I’ll try the doing gizzard along with some others the way you recommend with my chanterelle mushrooms from Marin.

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