If you’re interested in wild food, whether it’s venison, wild mushrooms, freshwater or saltwater fish, upland game birds, waterfowl, wild edible plants or small game, you’ll hear about it here. I’ve spent a lifetime gathering wild edible plants and fishing the waters of North America, and have become one of the better-known wild game cooks out there.
Why a podcast? Because as much of a writer as I am, there is an immediacy in the spoken word that excites me. A podcast is raw, real and allows me to be a bit more of, well, me. And besides, you can’t really read one of my essays while driving to the office or working out.
I plan on rolling out a new episode every other week, and most episodes will be an hour to 90 minutes. I reckon that’s as long as I want to listen to someone else’s radio show, so I’ll apply the same rule to my own ramblings.
If you have a suggestion for a podcast topic, drop me a line at scrbblr AT hotmail DOT com.
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Episode 1: Squirrels
I talk with Arizona biologist and hunter Johnathan O’Dell. Johnathan and I may well be the only two people to have ever completed the “Squirrel Grand Slam,” hunting and eating every species of tree squirrel it’s legal to hunt in the United States. We’ll go into all the various species, hunting, folklore, gear as well as prep and cooking.
Episode 2: Ptarmigan and Snowcock
Snowcock and Ptarmigan, with Kansas hunter Jim Millensifer. We will specifically be talking about ptarmigan in the Lower 48 here, because, well, hunting ptarmigan in the far north isn’t terribly challenging. Jim has also hunted — successfully — the hardest upland game animal in North America, the Himalayan snowcock, transplanted to Nevada’s Ruby Mountains.
Episode 3: Snipe Hunt
Snipe, with Scott Lindars of Marshdoodle. Yes, snipe are real birds, and Scott and I are snipe addicts — hunting these small shorebirds is like an upland hunt on the edge of a marsh. We’ll talk about the lore of snipe hunting, how to identify the birds so you don’t get a ticket, as well as how to best cook these tasty birds.
Episode 4: The Wily Hun
Hungarian partridges with Tyler Webster of the Birds, Booze and Buds podcast. Tyler might be the most hun-huntin’-est guy I know, and he is a trove of great information.
Episode 5: Bobwhite Quail
Bobwhite Quail with Dwayne Elmore, one of the country’s foremost quail biologists, and a lifelong hunter. This is a fantastic episode!
Episode 6: Prairie Grouse
Sharpies and Chickens with Marilyn Vetter. Vetter is a lifelong grouse hunter in the Great Plains, and is also a board member both of Pheasants Forever and the sporting dog group NAVHDA.
Episode 7: Rails
One of the most mysterious game birds in America, the various rails are a niche within a niche within a niche. Even I have never hunted them. I talk with rail biologist Auriel Fournier and rail hunter Dave DeBenedetto of Garden & Gun for this episode.
Episode 8: Grouse of the Pacific Coast
Another cagey game bird, sooty grouse are the grouse of the wet Pacific Coast. I speak with two Alaskan grouse hunters who also happen to work for Alaska Fish & Game for this one.
Episode 9: Chukars
Travis Warren of the Upchukar podcast talks with me about, yes, well… chukars. This is a fantastic, informative episode all about arguably to most challenging upland bird in the country.
Episode 10: Doves
Jorge Ramirez of Upland Jitsu and biologist Owen Fitzsimmons of the Texas Dept. of Parks & Wildlife join me to talk not only about mourning doves, but also the other huntable dove species in North America.
Episode 11: Sage Grouse
Sage grouse with biologist and hunter Ed Arnett of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. We talk about the conservation issues these birds face, as well as how to hunt them responsibly and ethically.
Episode 12: Spruce Grouse
We talk about the much maligned spruce grouse, the grouse of the boreal forest. Biologist Bailey Petersen and grouse hunter Kevin Kossowan join me.
Episode 13: Band-Tailed Pigeons
This episode covers band-tailed pigeons, America’s last huntable native pigeon. US Fish & Wildlife biologist Mark Seamans and I cover both conservation and hunting of this Western species.
Episode 14: Scaled Quail
Everything you want to know about scaled quail, also known as blue quail, with biologist and outfitter Ryan O’Shaughnessy.
Episode 15: Woodcock
Timberdoodles. Mud bats. Bog suckers. Worm burglars. This colorfully named gamebird is perhaps the premier quarry in the Northeast and upper Midwest, and I dive deep into woodcock lore, hunting, conservation, dogs (or no dogs), and cooking with A.J. DeRosa of Project Upland and Matt Soberg of Covey Rise magazine.
Episode 16: Pheasants
Finally we get to talking about the venerable ditch parrot, the disco chicken, the ring-necked pheasant. I join Bob St. Pierre of Pheasants Forever and my old friend Chris Niskanen to talk all about this most popular of game birds.
Episode 17: Gamebird Guru
This is a very special episode, as I get to talk with the Yoda of game bird biology, Rocky Gutierrez! He is one of the most prestigious wildlife biologists in the country, and while we talk about mountain quail ostensibly, we go far and wide in this conversation.
Episode 18: Fall Turkey Hunting
Everyone thinks turkey hunting is a spring thing. But you can hunt them in fall in many places, too. I talk with turkey expert Tony Caggiano of World Slam Adventures about hunting for your Thanksgiving turkey.
Episode 19: All Hail the King! Ruffed Grouse
Everything you need to know about hunting and cooking the king of game birds, the ruffed grouse, featuring biologists (and hunters) Rocky Gutierrez and Heather Shaw.
Episode 20: Desert Quail
Arizona Game & Fish biologist Kirby Bristow and I dig deep into the world of desert quail: Mearns, Gambels and Scaled quail. If you’ve ever wanted to hunt these birds, you don’t want to miss this episode!
Episode 21: Wild Game Cooking Geek Out
An all cooking episode with Wade Truong of Elevated Wild and Lori McCarthy of Cod Sounds. This is what it sounds like when you have three obsessive wild game chefs bounce ideas off each other.
Episode 22: Rabbits and Hares
We end where we began, with my friend Johnathan O’Dell of the Arizona Game & Fish Department. When Jon’s not chasing squirrels and ducks, he’s chasing rabbits and hares and is a font of knowledge about these animals. Bonus content: We explore the origin of the mighty jackalope!
And that’s a wrap, folks! That’s Season 2. You’ll have to wait for Season 3 until spring 2021. Stay tuned!
Episode 1: Hanging Birds, Seaweed, Stock and Fish Care
Episode 1 covers how to properly hang game birds, forage for seaweed, make venison stock and care for fish as soon as they come over the rail.
Episode 2: How to Get Started as a Mushroom Hunter
Always wanted to get started hunting for edible mushrooms? I talk you through what you need to know to get started without poisoning yourself.
Episode 3: First, Catch Your Woodchuck. Exotic Proteins with Joe Keough
My friend Joe Keough, an Ohio trapper, hunter, angler and cook and I talk about loving the unloved, from turtles and frogs, to woodchucks, muskrats, beavers, pigeons — you name it.
Episode 4: Early Spring and Transition
Spring comes early here in NorCal, and in this episode, I recorded in one fell swoop my ruminations on what it means to have spring in February, what happens to be out there to forage right now — and what transition means in our lives.
Episode 5: All About Rabbits
Chef Randy King of Idaho and I talk about hunting, prepping and cooking all sorts of wild rabbits and hares that live here in North America, from the cottontail to the giant antelope jackrabbit.
Episode 6: Salami Basics
My friend Christian Spinillo, one of the best home salami-makers I know, talks with me about getting into making salami and other dry cured sausages. We touch on everything from cures to cultures to casings, meat choice, curing chambers, fat choices and everything in between.
Episode 7: Basic Curing of Whole Muscles
I talk with meat maven and Drexel University professor Bob del Grosso about curing whole cuts, like duck prosciutto, venison backstrap or pork loin, boneless hams and that sort of thing.
Episode 8: Jerky, Venison Ribs, Gear Guide
I answer listener questions and talk about making whole muscle jerky, cooking venison ribs, and I offer you a selection of kitchen gear I use almost every day.
Episode 9: Hunting the Northeast
I talk with New Yorker Tony Caggiano of World Slam Adventures about hunting and eating turkeys, hunting and fishing in the Northeast, chasing ducks in the Atlantic and more.
Episode 10: Basic Herbal Medicine
I talk with herbalist Rebecca Altman of Kings Road Apothecary about real-deal herbal healing with plants that most likely grow near you.
Episode 11: Mexican Cuisine
I talk with Chef Patricio Wise of Monterrey, Mexico about the intricacies of Mexican cooking, how to get started learning a cuisine and about the place of wild game in Mexico.
Episode 12: On Scouting
Scouting, whether it is for foraging, fishing or hunting, is a vital part of the process of gathering wild food. The more you can scout, the wiser you will be in the woods, on the water or in the field.
Episode 13: Wild Beer
I talk with former professional brewer and well-known beer writer Rick Sellers about “wild” beers, both in terms of using foraged ingredients in your beers and experimenting with wild yeasts and bacteria for fermentation.
Episode 14: Enjoy the Silence
Tune out to tune into Nature. Part of what makes our connection to Nature so vital is our ability to be in the now, without electronic distractions. So when you’re out there, turn off the cell phone.
Episode 15: Fish Fry
A solo episode where I walk you through the classic fish fry in all its variations. If you love fried fish like I do, listen to this one.
Episode 16: The Wobbly Bits
I team up with the great New York Chef Brad Farmerie of Public and Saxon + Parole to talk about why we love the “fifth quarter,” the offal of animals. Brad is an expert at cooking them, and he shares his expertise.
Episode 17: Geeking Out with Pascal Baudar
My fellow wild foods expert Pascal Baudar and I geek out on pushing the boundaries of wild foods. Pascal is an expert forager and we compare notes on making wonderful things to eat from unusual plants.
Episode 18: Indigenous Foods
I sit down with Chef Sean Sherman, whose nickname is the Sioux Chef, and talk about indigenous cooking, from wild rice to bison, old school cooking techniques, heirloom seeds and more.