Welcome back the Hunt Gather Talk podcast, Season Two, sponsored by Hunt to Eat and Filson. This season will focus entirely on upland game — not only upland birds but also small game. Think of this as the podcast behind my latest cookbook, Pheasant, Quail, Cottontail, which covers all things upland.
Every episode will dig deep into the life, habits, hunting, lore, myth and of course prepping and cooking of a particular animal. Expect episodes on pheasants, rabbits, every species of quail, every species of grouse, wild turkeys, rails, woodcock, pigeons and doves, chukars and huns.
In this episode, I talk with University of Illinois biologist Auriel Fournier, who specializes in rails, as well as Dave DiBenedetto, editor of the magazine Garden & Gun, who is also a serious rail hunter in South Carolina.
This is an unusual episode in that I have never successfully hunted the true rails, although I have hunted their relatives, the coot and the moorhen. The four huntable rails — sora, king, clapper and Virginia rail — are the biggest gap in my gamebird experience.
For more information on these topics, here are some helpful links:
- Learn more about sora rails, and you can hear their cool “whinnie” on that page (bottom right). Here’s a short video of a sora eating things in a marsh. And here’s a cool research project tracking the migration of soras on the East Coast.
- Information about Virginia rails, plus the sounds that these rails make.
- A species account of clapper rails, plus their vocalizations.
- Finally, learn about the king rail, the largest huntable rail, and what it sounds like.
- My story about hunting pukekos in New Zealand. Pukekos are a rail, similar to our purple moorhen.
- Some good rail recipes: Lowcountry perloo, in honor of Dave DiBenedetto, and my take on the venerable popper, which works great with sora rails.
I am bringing back Hunt Gather Talk with the hopes that your generosity can help keep it going season after season. Think of this like public radio, only with hunting and fishing and wild food and stuff. No, this won’t be a “pay-to-play” podcast, so you don’t necessarily have to chip in. But I am asking you to consider it. Every little bit helps to pay for editing, servers, and, frankly to keep the lights on here. Thanks in advance for whatever you can contribute!