Archive for the ‘Pheasant Fest’ Category

Hats off to the Dogs of Pheasant Fest

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Photo by Nancy Anisfield / Anisfield Hunting Dog Photography

Photo by Nancy Anisfield / Anisfield Hunting Dog Photography

Being a major media attraction isn’t a walk in the park. Neither is being adored by thousands. So hats off – or extra biscuits – to the dogs of Pheasant Fest.

It can’t be easy for a true bred hunting dog to line up in a parade of varied breeds in a strange hallway then march through a crowd to pose before an even bigger crowd. The enormity of the convention center, with its sensory overload of colors and noises, is a far cry from the sharp air and clean swoosh of prairie or sunlit morning gold of the southern quail pines. But these beautiful dogs took it all in stride, wagging at admirers and absorbing pet after pat after kiss.

Some of the dogs posed proudly on tables, others beckoned visitors into their booths. A small Munsterlander waited patiently while conversations rambled on around her. A sleek Weimaraner stood confidently by his owner’s chair, making eye contact with every camera lens turned his way. Reclining on an elevated platform, a noble chocolate Lab seemed to have magnetic fur, luring hands from nearly every passer-by. While their owners answered a myriad of questions about breed and training, the dogs themselves drew the attention. No written or verbal information could equal attendees’ hands-on and eyes-on experience of being able to study and touch each dog.

One of the best moments I witnessed was late Saturday afternoon. Fergi, a young German shorthair, was lying visibly pooped on her training table in the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA) booth. She’d been doing retrieving demos and obedience drills all Friday afternoon and Saturday. Getting a break from the demos, Fergi was due for a nap. When a young boy came over to give her a pet, her eyes glanced up. His hand went out to stroke her head. Calmly, quietly, Fergi rose up, turned in a very slow half circle and settled back down for her snooze, offering her back and hind quarters to the boy’s hand. She was so tired and so sweet, not wanting to pull away from him but not able to take one more pat on the head. Within seconds, she was deep asleep while the boy stroked her flanks. A win-win situation.

Dogs rested in crates in the back of booths. Dogs performed on stage, focusing on their trainers instead of the distracting crowd. Dogs strolled the aisles with only their owners’ leashes keeping them from tempting jerky treats, french fries, and candies galore. Throughout, it was clear that these dogs enjoyed the opportunity to please their handlers and participate in the event…even if there were no coveys to point or roosters to retrieve.

National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic 2015 will be February 20, 21 & 22, 2015 at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa.

Nancy Anisfield, an outdoor photographer/writer, sporting dog enthusiast and bird hunter, serves on Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s National Board of Directors. She resides in Hinesburg, Vermont.

Eleven Observations from Pheasant Fest 2014

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

The Stabyhoun, courtesy of the Ameri-Can Stabyhoun Association, was one of nearly 40 bird dog breeds represented at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic. Photo by Bob. St.Pierre / Pheasants Forever

The Stabyhoun, courtesy of the Ameri-Can Stabyhoun Association, was one of nearly 40 bird dog breeds represented at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic. Photo by Bob. St.Pierre / Pheasants Forever

We held the organization’s 10th National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic last weekend. More than 21,000 people (and hundreds of bird dogs) attended the event. For three days, Milwaukee was the epicenter of the upland world. Here are eleven things that struck me as I think about this year’s Pheasant Fest.

1)      Upland Enthusiasm.  As Mark Twain once said, “the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” Twain’s words hold true for recent predictions forecasting the demise of our cherished upland bird hunting traditions.  While there is no doubt we’re in a habitat war for the ages, millions of folks love the uplands. In fact, Pheasants Forever’s membership has never been larger, there is technological growth in our industry (see SportDOG Brand or Garmin’s new dog products), bird dog breeds are increasing in popularity, and the locavore movement is exposing new people to wild upland meats.  Add upland conservation’s benefits to America’s water quality, pollinator plight, and prairie ecosystems, and you can count me as a glass half-full optimist who sees an exciting future for upland bird hunters.

2)      Midway Goes All the Way.  Larry and Brenda Potterfield, owners and founders of MidwayUSA, have proven time and again their commitment to getting the next generation involved in hunting. This year, they made a remarkable $950,000 donation to Pheasants Forever’s youth programs.

Pheasants Forever accepted $1 million in donations for the organization's youth programs at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic 2014, including $950,000 from Larry and Brenda Potterfield of MidwayUSA, $25,000 from SportDOG Brand and $25,000 from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Photo by Jim Cooper

Pheasants Forever accepted $1 million in donations for the organization’s youth programs at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic 2014, including $950,000 from Larry and Brenda Potterfield of MidwayUSA, $25,000 from SportDOG Brand and $25,000 from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Photo by Jim Cooper

3)      Cheers to Milwaukee.  Wisconsin is a state that embraces beer, sausage and their hunting traditions, and we found the market knowledgeable and embracing of our conservation message.

4)      28 Gauges Going Gangbusters.  Seems I’m not the only bird hunter with a crush on 28 gauge shotguns.  There were more 28s on the show floor than ever before – from CZ to Franchi and Beretta to Connecticut. A wingshooter has lots of choices these days in smaller bores.

5)      Lee & Tiffany Crushed It. The Lakosky’s may be known for their deer hunting escapades on Outdoor Channel, but they were a huge hit with the bird hunting community at Pheasant Fest. In fact, their shed hunting seminar with Tom Dokken was a standing room only log jam of people on Saturday afternoon. I was most impressed with how genuinely nice the Lakosky’s were to me and every fan they encountered at Pheasant Fest.

6)      Goodbye Perennia.  While perusing the awesome shotguns in the Beretta truck, I was informed their gorgeous Perennia model over/under shotgun had been discontinued. So, if you find one of the remaining Perennias on a sporting goods rack somewhere, scoop it up.

7)      The Pied Piper of Hunting Locavores.  The James Beard award winning food blogger, Hank Shaw, has been a part of the Wild Game Cooking Stage the last three Pheasant Fests and his audiences continue to grow. While in Milwaukee, I also had the chance to join Hank and David Draper, Field & Stream’s The Wild Chef, at the chef’s table of Hinterland which included an epic nine-course marathon of bison heart, quail and elk loin. It was a dinner I’ll remember forever.

8)      Gaga for Griffons.  As pointed out on our Pheasant Blog, (Ten Bird Dog Breed Popularity Trends), the wirehaired pointing griffon is a bird dog breed on the rise. Pheasant Fest was a great example of that trend with lots of griffons on the show floor and in the bird dog parade.

9)      Test your Litter.  My friend, Brian Lynn, the Gun Dogs blogger for Outdoor Life, is working for a new company called Paw Print Genetics. Staffed by expert geneticists, the folks at Paw Print can test your potential sire and dam before a litter is ever conceived. This simple testing helps prevent inherited diseases and subsequent heartache.

10)  Sling Shot.  After months of Twitter conversation, I was excited to meet the friendly folks behind the Upland Sling.  More importantly, I look forward to checking out their new bird hunting sling come fall 2014.

Rep. Paul Ryan speaking at Pheasants Forever's national banquet. Photo by Jim Cooper

Rep. Paul Ryan speaking at Pheasants Forever’s national banquet. Photo by Jim Cooper

11)  The Politics of Conservation.  Last year, Democratic Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken spoke during Pheasant Fest in Minnesota.  This year, Republican Representative Paul Ryan took the microphone in Wisconsin. While not, because of our tax exempt status, affiliated with any political party, Pheasants Forever does lobby for conservation issues. In an effort to work with legislators on these issues, wherever Pheasant Fest is located, we invite local elected officials to participate in our event. The good news is that both Minnesota and Wisconsin’s politicians spoke from a background of bird hunting, which helps make our case for conservation, regardless of political affiliation.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for our official announcement of the location for National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic 2015.

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre and listen to Bob and Billy Hildebrand every Saturday morning on FAN Outdoors radio on KFAN FM100.3.

National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic Show Guide A to Z

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

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National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic runs Friday, February 14th through Sunday, February 16th at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee. In addition to more than 300 exhibitors, there will be seven seminar stages with hourly presentations. The event is presented by MidwayUSA.

Antler sheds. Looking to keep your bird dog busy this offseason? Renowned trainer Tom Dokken is revolutionizing the sport of using dogs to hunt for sheds and presenting at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic.

Benelli has introduced the new Ethos shotgun for 2014, and you can get your first look at it at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic.

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New for 2014, the Benelli Ethos.

Cabela’s, World’s Foremost Outfitter, longtime Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever supporter, is presenting sponsor of Rudy’s Youth Village at the show.

Delmar Smith. “To train like a pro…you’ve got to think like a dog.” Well, Delmar has 75 years of experience thinking like a dog, and you can catch up with him on the “Ask the Experts” panel at the Bird Dog Bonanza Stage.

Expert dog trainers. When Delmar Smith, Ronnie Smith, Tom Dokken, Jim Moorehouse and Bob West form a panel for you to ask questions, that’s a combined 260 years of dog training know-how. Each day on the Bird Dog Bonanza Stage.

Free, as in wildlife habitat management plan. Stop by the Landowner Habitat Help Room at the show and you can consult with a wildlife professional about conservation options for your property from anywhere in the country.

Griffons. Wirehaired Pointing Griffons are growing in popularity perhaps faster than any other sporting breed. Learn more at the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Club of America booth.

Habitat. Pheasants Forever’s tagline is “The Habitat Organization.” If your passion is improving habitat for pheasants, quail and other wildlife, the Habitat Hall group of exhibitors is a must.

Is your mouth watering? Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever are hosting their own “top chefs” at the show, including wild game chefs Tovar Cerulli, author of The Mindful Carnivore  and David Draper of Field and Stream’s The Wild Chef blog.

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See Hank Shaw on the Wild Game Cooking Stage.

J&L Boykins is one of the man bird dog exhibitors at the show. Check out all the bird dog breeds at the Bird Dog Alley.

K9…you can bet there are a couple of exhibitors listed under this letter/number combo.

Life Membership. Make the ultimate commitment to conservation by becoming a Pheasants Forever Life Member. Visit the Pheasants Forever booth by the show floor main entrance.

Missing. If you’re tired of it, then it’s time for a new gun. Check out all the top makers on the show floor: Benelli, Beretta, Browning…

Native grasslands can offer quality nesting cover for pheasants. Come to the Habitat Stage and learn about diversifying and improving this critical habitat.

Outdoor apparel. Start at the Pheasants Forever MarketPlace on the show floor for your Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever-logoed gear. Your product purchases here support wildlife habitat conservation.

Pollinator habitat. What does it have to do with pheasants and quail? Check out the presentations on the Habitat Stage.

Quail are Scott Linden’s favorite bird to hunt. Stop by the Wingshooting USA booth and meet the venerable television host who’s an expert on bobwhite and western quail species.

Rudy the Rooster is Pheasants Forever’s youth mascot. Visit the Youth Village area of the show and get your picture taken with him.

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Bird dog breeders and bird dog training seminars are the most popular attractions at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic.

Smith, as in Delmar, Rick and Ronnie. National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic is a rare opportunity to see the three from this legendary dog training family at the same event.

Training. E-Collars. GPS. Pointers. Puppies. Retrievers. Spaniels. If you can name it, you’ll find a how-to on it.

U.S. Bank presents Pheasants Forever’s Visa Card. Stop by their booth, sign up for their card and receive either a hardcover wild game recipe book, a green PF shooters bag or a chance on a Tri-Star Setter 12 gauge shotgun.

Vegan-turned-hunter Tovar Cerulli, author of The Mindful Carnivore, provides a unique perspective on the Wild Game Cooking Stage.

Wingshooting from the good ‘ol days with the L.C. Smith Collectors Association and the Parker Gun Collectors Association.

X marks your next upland hunting spot, and the tourism divisions from the likes of Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota, plus regional tourism representatives and guides and outfitters are here help you book your dream trip.

Yum… Hank Shaw is a hunter, chef, blogger and author of Hunt, Gather, Cook – Finding the Forgotten Feast. See him on the Wild Game Cooking Stage.

Zero-turn lawnmowers. Check out Wisconsin-based – and Pheasants Forever national sponsor, Scag Power equipment, one of more than 300 exhibitors at the show.

Field Notes are compiled by Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor. Email Anthony at AHauck@pheasantsforever.org and follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauckPF.

See the Complete National Pheasant Fest 2014 Seminar Schedule

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Rick Smith is one of many legendary bird dog trainers presenting at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic.

Rick Smith is one of many legendary bird dog trainers presenting at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic.

Before heading to the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee for National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic Feb. 14-16, view the complete seminar schedule and plan which presentations to attend. There will be seven seminar stages for upland enthusiasts to choose from, with concurrent seminars running on-the-hour throughout the three-day weekend. The event is presented by MidwayUSA. Highlights include:

Bird Dog Bonanza Stage. Between six panel experts – Delmar Smith, Rick Smith, Ronnie Smith, Tom Dokken, Josh Miller and Bob West – this dog stage hosts more than 260 years of combined training experience. Includes presentations on “Basic Obedience Training and Starting Your Dog Off Right,” “Remote Training and Tracking Your Dog with GPS,” “Shed Antler Hunting – Train Your Dog to Help You Find More Sheds” and a question-and-answer session with a panel of experts. The Bird Dog Bonanza Stage is presented by Purina and SportDOG.

Wild Game Cooking Stage. The cooking stage will feature presentations by authors Hank Shaw and Tovar Cerruli as well as David Draper of Field and Stream magazine. Session titles include “Getting the Most of Your Upland Birds for the Table,” “Preparing Wild Game from the Tailgate,” ”From Tough to Tender, Making the Most of your Venison Cuts” and “The Mindful Carnivore – A Vegetarian’s Hunt for Sustenance.”

Habitat Stage. The habitat presentations include “The Food Plot Establishment and Management for White-tailed Deer and Pheasants, Best Practices,” “Landscape Scale Habitat Efforts – The History of Pheasants in Wisconsin,” “Pheasant Management” and “Pollinators and Great Upland Wildlife Habitat.” The Habitat Stage is presented by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the USDA Farm Service Agency and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Additional seminar stages include the Upland Hunting Stage (featuring the likes of Scott Linden from Wingshooting USA), the Building Habitat Forever stage, the Get into the Hunt stage and Rudy’s Youth Village stage presented by Cabela’s.

All seminars are free upon admittance to the show.

Field Notes are compiled by Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor. Email Anthony at AHauck@pheasantsforever.org and follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauckPF.

Ask the Experts: Purina and SportDOG Brand Assemble More than 260 Years of Dog Training Experience

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

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Meet top bird dog trainers and get expert advice on nutrition and conditioning while visiting the Purina and SportDOG Brand booths at this year’s National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic at Milwaukee’s Wisconsin Center Friday, Feb. 14 through Sunday, Feb. 16.

Purina Pro Plan brand dog food and SportDOG Brand are bringing the country’s best bird dog trainers to the Bird Dog Bonanza Stage at Pheasant Fest for hour-long seminars throughout the weekend. These trainers also will be on hand at the Purina and SportDOG brand booths to answer your questions.

Here’s a look at the professional trainers Purina and SportDOG Brand are bringing to Pheasant Fest this year.

Delmar Smith honed his skills at teaching the public how to get the most from their dogs over his 55-year training career operating Delmar Smith Kennels in Edmond, Okla. Smith dogs have performed in all 50 states and some foreign countries.

Ronnie Smith, like dog trainers in previous generations of the Smith family, knows that bird dogs are more than just a business, they are a passion and a way of life. He has operated Ronnie Smith Kennels in Big Cabin, Okla., since 1982.

Bob West, Director of Sporting Field Operations for the Purina Professional Engagement Team, is passionate about sporting dogs and those who own and train them. He also walks the talk, having put more than 100 titles on sporting dogs over the past 40-plus years as a part-time professional trainer at his Napsinekee Kennel in Le Claire, Iowa. West is a longtime contributor to the Pheasants Forever Journal, Pheasants Forever Television, Cabela’s Television, and Gun Dog Magazine.

Rick Smith of Crozier, Va., continues the Smith family tradition of his father Delmar Smith and cousin Ronnie Smith as he conducts seminars across the country. His titles include three National Open Brittany Championships, seven U.S. Open Brittany Championships, six International Brittany Championships and more than 100 Open Brittany All-Age stakes.

Tom Dokken, the inventor of the DeadFowl Trainer, has more than 30 years of training experience. He is the author of Retriever Training: The Complete Guide to developing Your Hunting Dog and is a leading innovator in shed antler hunting with dogs. He owns and operates Dokken’s Oak Ridge Kennels and Dokken Dog Supply based in Northfield, Minn.

Josh Miller and his dog “Easton” are one of the leading shed dog hunting teams in the U.S. Miller also is the only two-time North American Shed Hunting Dog Association World Champion. He operates River Stone Kennels in New Richmond, Wis., where he trains gun dogs of all breeds.

Samples Available at Purina Booth

Visitors to the Purina booth can learn more about the Purina Pro Plan SPORT performance nutrition line. While supplies last, Purina Pro Plan SPORT brand dog food samples will be available in six ounce bags.

Field Notes are compiled by Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor. Email Anthony at AHauck@pheasantsforever.org and follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauckPF.

Pheasant Fest Favorites

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

From a "Bird Dog Parade" to exhibitors on the show floor, nearly 40 different dog breeds will be featured at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic 2014.

From a “Bird Dog Parade” to exhibitors on the show floor, nearly 40 different dog breeds will be featured at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic 2014.

National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic is like Disneyland for bird hunters, or perhaps more like Epcot, since it’s more about global information. By “global,” I mean our world, the world of conservation, outdoor education, hunting, and gun dogs. PF’s “Youth village,” habitat forums, wild game cooking, bird dog training and sensory overload of wingshooting vendors – the best in the trade – make for excitement in every corner of the eye. But, as with any exhibition or show, each person will find his or her own particular highlight. That’s the magic in this kingdom.

For me it’s the dogs. That’s where my mind romps when I think of the upcoming Pheasant Fest, starting with the bird dog parade, then the training seminars, and the new products from industry classics and trendsetters such as Garmin, Tri-Tronics, Purina and SportDOG. Then there are the kennels’ booths with handsome champions and irresistible puppies. And the club booths. My personal highlight is my once-a-year guaranteed opportunity to pet a “Chessy” in the American Chesapeake Club booth.

A dedicated pointing dog owner, I still miss our magnificent Chessy, “Cooper” – my defender, a strong waterfowler, and an upland bird dog wannabe who had more insight and humor in his eyes than any dog I’ve ever known. So after attending the seminars I’ve starred on my program and after scrutinizing the vendor booths for must-have new gear, I will steal a few minutes to stop by the Chesapeake booth to sink my fingers into an aromatic, thick and curly Chessy coat.

We might all share a passion for conservation and the hunting life, but each of us down deep has their own reason for living that life: Guns, outfitters, ammo, outdoor clothing, publishers, field gear, dog gear, artists, seeds, leather and game sauces…Family activities, kids’ challenges, workshops on pollinators, burning and food plots…May each and every one of you discovery your extra special, personal highlight at Pheasant Fest.

Nancy Anisfield, an outdoor photographer/writer, sporting dog enthusiast and bird hunter, serves on Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s National Board of Directors. She resides in Hinesburg, Vermont.

A Pheasant Hunter’s Christmas List

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Christmas came early for “Bubba,” Don McCormick’s large Munsterlander. Photo courtesy Don McCormick.

Christmas came early for “Bubba,” Don McCormick’s large Munsterlander. Photo courtesy Don McCormick.

In the spirit of Twelve Days of Christmas, here are my top gift ideas for that tough-to-buy-for bird hunter in your family.

#12  Filson’s Alaskan Guide Shirt.  Classic plaid in a variety of colors.  It’s pricey, but it’s the best . . . and you might as well have the best.

Stormy Kromers are a favorite for this family of upland hunters.

Stormy Kromers are a favorite for this family of upland hunters.

#11 Stormy Kromer.  Warm and fashionable without being trendy.  Also proud to be made in my native U.P. of Michigan.

#10 L.L. Bean Classic Upland Shirt. This is my all-time favorite bird hunting shirt.  The only thing missing is the Pheasants Forever logo.

The L.L. Bean Classic Upland shirt is a personal favorite of mine, high comfort and high visibility.

The L.L. Bean Classic Upland shirt is a personal favorite of mine, high comfort and high visibility.

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#9 Pheasants Forever Belt Buckle.  I’m not tall enough to properly pull off a cowboy hat or cowboy boots, despite really trying (#EpicFail).  However, this buckle makes me feel like a cowboy anyway.

#8 Covey Rise Subscription.  My friend Kim Price started this publication prior to his untimely passing in 2012.  The new owners have taken Covey Rise to new heights in quality photography and top-rate hunting stories.  Kim would be honored.

PFest_MidwayUSA_Logo_2014 (1)#7 Tickets to National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic 2014.  Our signature event takes place in Milwaukee over Valentine’s weekend this coming February.  It’s a three-day orgy for the bird hunter, amateur dog trainer and aspiring wild game chef.

#6 Arno Bernard Knife.  I honestly don’t know much about Arno Bernard as a company.  I simply stumbled upon their booth at SHOT Show last winter and was enamored by the craftsmanship and beauty of these blades.  More than anything, I love the idea of owning a knife with a handle made from a mammoth’s molar!BerettaSweater

#5 Beretta Wind Barrier Sweater.  I have never owned a better piece of clothing in my life.  It’s as simple as that and #WinterIsComing.

#4 Danner Light Mill Street Boots with Woolrich.  These will cost you a pretty penny, but they caught my eye.  Fortunately for my family’s credit cards, they’ve already sold out of my boot size.

#3 The Wild Feathers debut album.  Every good hunting trip needs a road anthem.  This has been my soundtrack for the 2013 season.  Rock on!

#2 Rescue a bird dog best friend.  If you follow Pheasants Forever’s Facebook page regularly, then you already know our group is filled with heart-warming stories of rescued pups that become fabulous family bird dogs.  In this season of giving, consider giving a bird dog in need of a good home a place next to your lounge chair.

#1 Give the Gift of MembershipPheasants Forever was created and exists today for the purpose of creating wildlife habitat for wildlife, bird dogs and hunters.  Out of every single dollar we have generated over our 32-year history, 92 cents has reached the ground to impact our mission.  The problem is only 10 percent of America’s bird hunters are part of our organization.  Your dad, mom, son or daughter has likely “thought about joining” before.  Help him/her take that first step.    Thank You & Merry Christmas!

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre and listen to Bob and Billy Hildebrand every Saturday morning on FAN Outdoors radio on KFAN FM100.3.

 
Back to On The Wing

BOOK REVIEW: Hank Shaw’s “Duck, Duck, Goose”

Friday, November 1st, 2013

The author, Hank Shaw, will also appear at National Pheasant Fest 2014 in Milwaukee

The author, Hank Shaw, will also appear at National Pheasant Fest 2014 in Milwaukee

Over my careers working for Pheasants Forever, in the front office of a minor league baseball team, and co-hosting on KFAN radio, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some relatively famous people.  (WARNING – NAME DROPS COMING)  I’ve had the good fortune to pitch baseballs to the likes of Bill Murray and Andrew Dawson, play catch with Alan Trammell and Rollie Fingers, manage press pools for President George W. Bush, organize meet & greets with Billy Joe Armstrong of Green Day and Michael Stipe of R.E.M., and interview four different members of the Swamp People. Out of all those experiences, I’ve come to value a person’s genuine friendliness above all else.

 

While Hank Shaw doesn’t yet have the name recognition of a Grammy winner, he recently added a James Beard award to his resume as the country’s best food blogger. More importantly, Hank is a guy anyone could drink a beer with while talking about the day’s bird hunt and becoming fast friends. Hank has a way of emulating your oldest drinking buddy.

 

Much to Hank’s chagrin, I always attribute his friendliness to the fact he served as a political reporter for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press while Jesse “The Body” Ventura was Governor of Minnesota and then as beat reporter for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger before embracing his culinary career. Anyone having to endure those tenures as a journalist was bound to come out the other end either jaded by the world or able to see the good in humanity under any situation. Thankfully, Hank escaped as the later.

 

Over the last couple of years, I’ve gotten to know Hank through his appearances at National Pheasant Fest where he speaks on the event’s Cooking Stage. During the show when he’s not speaking, Hank hangs out in the Press Room with me and my cohorts. He tells us of his favorite hunts, evening’s dining plans and the scuttlebutt across America’s wild game food scene. More importantly, he jumps in and helps whenever he can. On a moment’s notice, he’s helped me do a live pheasant cooking demonstration for a television station and then the next moment he’s helping haul boxes to a special banquet event upstairs. Want to grab a beer after the day, Hank’s buying.

 

And did I mention, he won the James Beard Award this year as the country’s best food blogger. Basically, he’s the MVP of food writers. And his new book Duck, Duck, Goose lives up to the standard you’d expect coming from the Heisman of honker cooking. Duck, Duck, Goose is filled with exciting recipes featuring wild edibles like morel mushrooms and ramps, as well as fun new approaches like duck sliders and buffalo duck wings.

 

However what I found most interesting was Hank’s review of different species of ducks and geese as table fare. Did you know a specklebelly goose is nicknamed “ribeye in the sky” for its exquisiteness on the plate? I’ve heard the sandhill crane called the ribeye or “flying fillet” before, but never the speck. Hank’s favorite waterfowl for dinner at his own home, the canvasback.

 

Duck, Duck, Goose is a marvelous addition to any bird hunter’s collection. It’s filled with beautiful photography and a good mix of both simple and complex dishes. It’s hard bound and perfectly suited as a gift for the upcoming holiday season. Equally as important, Hank is an independently employed good guy. Your purchase of this book doesn’t furnish a beach house in the Bahamas or a bank account in the Caymans. Your purchase of this book helps a guy like you pay for his hunting license, a box of Prairie Storm and a six pack of suds to wash down a dinner of roast duck.

 

Hank Shaw on a diver duck hunt

Hank Shaw on a diver duck hunt

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

 

Hank is slated to speak on the cooking stage again at National Pheasant Fest 2014 in Milwaukee on February 14, 15 & 16, 2014. His topics include:

  • Happy Hour: Pairing beer & wine with wild game
  • Getting the most from your upland birds
  • Wild game sausage and other curing techniques

 

Saturday Morning FAN Outdoors Radio Interview 

And lastly, you can listen to Hank with me this Saturday morning on FAN Outdoors. “The Captain” Billy Hildebrand and I will be interviewing Hank about the new book and his fall hunting & book tour across the country. I’ll also do my best to persuade Hank to begin writing an upland-oriented book for his third hardbound endeavor. So far, he’s refuted my advances, but we’ll see if 100,000 watt radio can change his mind. Tune in at 6:30AM this Saturday on FM 100.3 or anywhere in the world at www.KFAN.com.

 

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre and listen to Bob and Billy Hildebrand every Saturday morning on FAN Outdoors radio on KFAN FM100.3.

Replicating Georgia Pellegrini’s Stuffed Pheasant

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

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In keeping with our post-Pheasant Fest dinner theme this week, my wife and I replicated Georgia Pellegrini’s stuffed pheasant recipe in our humble kitchen.  I found it interesting that both Georgia and Hank Shaw employed a meat mallet in both their Fest pheasant recipes, which happens to be a tool I’d never used prior to Monday night.  In the end, we found the pounded pheasant meat to be very tender and juicy.

I believe you’ll find this recipe to be tasty, easy and a healthy preparation for any rooster meat you’ve still got in the freezer.

 

Stuffed Pheasant 2Stuffed Pheasant Breast Ingredients 

Serves 4

4 pheasant breasts, deboned

10 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons finely diced shallots

4 celery stalks, peeled of outer strings and finely diced

1 cup white wine

8 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts

4 tablespoons dried currants

4 cloves garlic, diced

4 tablespoons bread crumbs

8 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-parsley leaves

2 tablespoons fresh thyme

Salt and pepper

 

Stuffed Pheasant 1Recipe

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, melt 6 tablespoons of the butter in a sauté pan and sweat the shallots and celery over low heat, until translucent.

2. Add the white wine and reduce by half.

3. In a small bowl, combine the walnuts, currants, garlic, bread crumbs, parsley,

and thyme.

4. Once the wine is reduced by half, stir the bread crumb mixture and cook until

it thickens and forms a paste. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set

aside.

5. Pound the pheasant breasts between two shetts of plastic wrap until thin.

6. Lay on a baking dish and distribute a lump of stuffing onto the breast meat and wrap the meat around the stuffing and tie to secure.

7. Add 4 tablespoons of butter to the baking dish and place in the oven to bake for 12 to 15 minutes, basting the top of the quail with

butter three times during the process.

8. Remove from the oven, and remove the twine and serve immediately.

 

For more wild game recipes from Georgia, please visit www.GeorgiaPellegrini.com

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre.

Hank Shaw’s Pheasant Wiener Schnitzel

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Pheasant Wiener Schnitzel 004

Hearty pheasant wiener schnitzel. Photo by Bob. St.Pierre / Pheasants Forever

Spending time with Hank Shaw was one of my personal highlights from last weekend’s Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic in Minneapolis.  Hank is a genuinely good guy who cares deeply about turning wild game into phenomenally tasting food, and he’s motivated by converting wannabe chefs like me into masters of the frying pan within our own homes.

During a Friday afternoon television interview, Hank prepared Pheasant Wiener Schnitzel for the viewing audience.  Since I’d just completed an interview immediately preceding his cooking demo, I was in a prime spot to taste-test his dish.  Not only was it awesome, it was one of those bites that brings one back to a moment.  For me, the bite brought me to Iowa’s Amana Colonies where I visited on a trip to see me brother during his PhD years at the University of Iowa.  The restaurants of the Amana Colonies focus on hearty family-style dishes with lots of German influence.

Last night, I set out to accomplish Hank’s recipe on my own.  What I can tell you is this dish is absolutely as easy as Hank promises.  It’s also hearty and tasty to boot.  I would reiterate Hank’s own message to make sure to squeeze a little lemon on the finished dish.  The lemon’s sweet acidity is a must for unlocking the full flavor of Pheasant Wiener Schnitzel.

Visit Hank Shaw’s website for his full Pheasant Wiener Schnitzel recipe.

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre.