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Hunting & Fishing Stories
How I get the game I cook.
A great many of you reading this are new to hunting and fishing. My advice is always to work at first with experienced friends – or guides. But there is an etiquette to working with a hunting and fishing guide you need to learn. This should get you started.
Diver ducks have a reputation as smelly, fishy tasting birds. Sometimes that’s true. But as I found out last week, even a clam-eating, saltwater duck can be magnificent at the table. Believe me, I am as shocked to write this as you are to hear it.
I’ve seen a lot of hunters “breast out” a lot of birds this hunting season, leaving the legs and wings for the coyotes – or even just tossing them in the trash. It pains me to see this. It’s my hope, in my own small way, to convince those hunters who do that to change their minds.
I tend to be a home body when it comes to hunting ducks. California’s duck hunting is just so good, I rarely see a reason to leave. But when I got an invite to hunt the Great Salt Lake I had to take it — and it did not disappoint.
Something about squirrel hunting touches me deeply. Moreso than anything else, hunting squirrels in the Eastern forests takes me back to childhood, to the woods that were my home when as a boy. I miss those days of exploration, but they all came flooding back recently in one epic day in Ohio.
Sometimes a hunt is more than a hunt. Sometimes it is a window into the dark reaches of this world, and the next. I came away from my Wyoming antelope hunt with a vision of courage — not by me or by any of my companions, but of the animals we pursued.
At the end of a long bay in a corner of Prince William Sound lies a stream with no name. In that stream swim untold numbers of salmon — enough to turn the water black. If, God forbid, I were dying of cancer, one of my final acts on this earth would be to fish this place. It is magical.
If you live long enough, you start to see glimpses of paths untaken, lives you could have lived but for chance or snap decision. Last week I got a long look at what I could have done had I become a commercial fisherman years ago. Did I make the right choice to stay on land?
Catfish swim through a murky stream of race, class and regional rivalry. No other fish in North America defines where you stand in this world quite so much as the catfish. Eating one can border on being a political act.
Fishing for striped bass means far more to me than merely chasing my dinner. Stripers have become a marker for the key moments in my life.