Posts Tagged ‘Hank Shaw’

National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic Show Guide A to Z

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014


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.


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.


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.


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 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 and follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauckPF.

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



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


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.

Wild Game, It’s what’s For Dinner

Thursday, October 17th, 2013


“Hunters are increasingly motivated by meat,” that’s the headline of a report released on Wednesday by Responsive Management, an international survey research firm. According to their findings, the percentage of hunters identifying “for the meat” as the most important reason for hunting participation rose from 22 percent in 2006 up to 35 percent during this year’s study.

The report attributes the 13 percent climb to three factors; 1) the recession, 2) the locavore movement and 3) the increased participation of females in hunting. Summarizing the findings, Responsive Management concludes our country’s economic downturn has reinvigorated people’s food acquisition through hunting because of its relative affordability (they obviously haven’t accompanied me to Gander Mountain). Their research also indicates women have a slightly greater propensity to choose “for the meat” as a motivation over their male counterparts.

While I agree the economy and gender have played a role in the rise of wild game meat motivation, it’s the “locavore movement” I believe has had the most influence in this quest for game meats. As I look across “pop culture;” from television to magazines to books to restaurants.  I see prime time shows featuring Andrew Zimmern on a squirrel hunt, I see Hank Shaw’s books climbing Amazon’s best sellers list, I read about Lily Raff McCaulou leading Elle magazine on a rabbit hunt and I see restaurant menus featuring quail eggs.  Further, almost every episode of the hugely popular Duck Dynasty series ends with a family dinner around a plate of frog legs or mallard breasts. In fact, I believe this new embrace of wild meats is fostering a greater understanding of hunting across society.

While I’m certain Aldo Leopold never would have imagined Zimmern’s propensity for bug-eating, I do think Zimmern and today’s other locavore leaders can attribute their local food roots direct to Leopold’s 1949 philosophy from A Sand County Almanac:

“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm.  One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.” – Aldo Leopold

The obvious hope of organizations like Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever is today’s locavore trend will take one additional step toward Leopold’s writings – wildlife habitat conservation. Whether you favor beef or venison, chicken or pheasant, the common connector is our land. It is my belief society’s need for food and water will someday soon change our seemingly insatiable appetite to tile our uplands and drain our wetlands.  Or to put it more plainly, local food will lead to local conservation.


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.

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.

Go-To Gear of the Pheasant Hunting Experts

Friday, February 1st, 2013

In my previous life in professional baseball, I worked with ballplayers who exhibited incredibly strong affinities to particular brands and models of gloves, bats or cleats.  Some of those affiliations had to do with sponsorship (some with superstitions), but mostly those loyalties derived from success on the field.  As I’ve written before, I continue to be amazed by the correlations between bird hunters and ballplayers.  Another one of these parallels exists in pheasant hunters’ brand loyalty and that’s what my focus is today.

In my estimation, pheasant hunters are largely gear junkies and that gear, in priority of importance, revolves around: their favorite breed of bird dog, shotguns, boots, ammunition and hunting vests.

So today’s blog post surveys the nation’s most well-renowned bird hunters to poll their favorites in each of these five categories.  My assumption as I send out this survey is that like baseball players, expert pheasant hunters have a wide array of affiliations and there likely won’t be too many common answers.  Let’s find out.

To start, here are my favorites:

TRCP summit 2008 pheasnt, dogs, pidgeon shootBob St.Pierre, Vice President of Marketing at Pheasants Forever and Co-host of FAN Outdoors radio on KFAN

1)      Bird Dog Breed: German shorthaired pointer

2)      Shotgun: Beretta 686 Onyx 12 gauge over/under with skeet chokes in both barrels

3)      Boots: Danner Santiam

4)      Ammo: Federal Premium Ammo’s Upland Steel 12 gauge 3” 5 shot

5)      Vest: Wing Works Upland Vest


Ron Schara

Ron Schara, Host of The Flush presented by Pheasants Forever on Outdoor Channel

1)      Bird Dog: Raven, the black Lab, whistle trained

2)      Shotgun: Benelli Super Black Eagle or Benelli Vinci with Carlson choke tubes

3)      Boots: Irish Setter

4)      Ammo: Federal Ammo’s Prairie Storm 2-3/4” lead 5 shot

5)      Vest: Still looking for a good one; need deep pockets for ammo; easy reach for bird carrying pouch


BillSherckBill Sherck, Co-Host of The Flush presented by Pheasants Forever on Outdoor Channel

1)      Bird Dog: My love of hunting dogs is pretty basic.  I want a dog that can find downed birds, always.  That’s A-1 in my book.

2)      Shotgun: I have a 1929 LeFever Nitro Special 20 gauge that became a best friend of sorts.  It is, by far, my ugliest, most beat up shotgun, but I shoot it well and I love the history. Serious patina.

3)      Boots:  Irish Setter 894s, Irish Setter 894s, Irish Setter 894s….

4)      Ammo: Federal Prairie Storm is over the top!  I absolutely love the stuff.  No wounded birds, only kills (when I don’t miss!).

5)      Vest: I’ve become a fan of mountain tech vests.  I have an old Mother’s lightweight I still use a lot.  A Buck’s is my next big investment.


Scott LindenScott Linden, Host of Wingshooting USA Television

1)      Bird Dog: German wirehaired pointer . . . is there any other breed?

2)      Shotgun: Webley & Scott Model 2000 in 20 gauge

3)      Boots: Meindl Perfekt from Cabela’s

4)      Ammo: Depends upon the situation: Kent Cartridge Fast Lead or Fiocchi Golden Pheasant

5)      Vest: Filson Mesh Vest


HankShawHank Shaw, Author of Hunt, Gather, Cook and speaker at National Pheasant Fest

1)      Bird Dog: Pudelpointer

2)      Shotgun: Franchi Velochi 20 gauge

3)      Boots: Asolo

4)      Ammo: Federal Prairie Storm #5s

5)      Vest: Filson


TiffLee & Tiffany Lakosky, Hosts of The Crush on Outdoor Channel

1)      Bird Dog: Black Labrador retriever

2)      Shotgun: Tiffany shoots a 12 gauge Beretta Silver Pigeon and Lee shoots a 12 gauge Franchi Instinct

3)      Boots: Under Armour Ridge Reaper early season & Under Armour HAW’s late season

4)      Ammo: Federal Prairie Storm

5)      Vest: Badlands Pheasant Pack


DokkenTom Dokken, Professional dog trainer and speaker at National Pheasant Fest

1)      Bird Dog: Labrador retriever . . . or any dog that loves to hunt.

2)      Shotgun: Browning Citori 20 Gauge

3)      Boots: Danner Fowlers

4)      Ammo: Federal Prairie Storm 20 gauge 3” 6 shot

5)      Vest: J.L. Powell, waxed cotton


Nancy 2Nancy Anisfield, Professional photographer, Pheasants Forever National Board member and PF blogger

1)      Bird Dog: German shorthaired pointer

2)      Shotgun: Caesar Guerini 28-gauge Magnus Light

3)      Boots: Danner Pronghorn

4)      Ammo: Polywad Gram Crak-R and Spred-R 28-gauge

5)      Vest: Browning Bird ‘n Lite Strap Vest


CaptainBilly Hildebrand, Host of FAN Outdoors Radio on KFAN

1)      Bird Dog: American Brittany

2)      Shotgun: Beretta 686 Onyx Over/Under 12 gauge

3)      Boots: Danner Pronghorns

4)      Ammo: Federal Upland Steel 3s or 5s

5)      Vest: Browning Bird ‘n Lite Jacket

Note 1: Billy also prefers SportDOG Upland 1850, Chevy Z71, Folgers Coffee and “special” sandwiches.

Note 2: Billy’s hunting partners do not like his “special” sandwiches!


JustinLarsonJustin Larson, Outdoors Media Specialist for the nation’s pheasant capital, SOUTH DAKOTA

1)      Bird Dog: Prefers Labs, but doesn’t own his own at the moment

2)      Shotgun: Winchester SX3

3)      Boots: Muck Boots

4)      Ammo: Federal Prairie Storm

5)      Vest: Browning Bird ‘n Lite


mh, wids, 1-13, ill, 2 (2)Mark Herwig, Editor of Pheasants Forever’s Journal of Upland Conservation

1)      Bird Dog: Springer spaniel

2)      Shotgun: Beretta 391

3)      Boots: Danner Uplander

4)      Ammo: Federal 12 gauge 5 shot Pheasants Forever loads

5)      Vest: A Pheasants Forever strap vest


AnthonyAnthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor

1)      Bird Dog: English cocker spaniel . . . and I wouldn’t mind another

2)      Shotgun: Remington 870 Wingmaster, in the market for my first O/U

3)      Boots: Irish Setter Havoc when it’s dry, Muck Boots when it’s not

4)      Ammo: Federal Premium Upland Steel #4s . . . served “chilled”

5)      Vest: Browning Bird ‘n Lite Strap Vest


SteveRiesSteve Ries, Owner of Top Gun Kennels

6)      Bird Dog: German shorthaired pointers

7)      Shotgun: Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon over/under 20 gauge

8)      Boots: Irish Setter Upland DSS Gore-Tex hunting boots

9)      Ammo: Winchester

10)  Vest: Gander Mountain Guide Series Hunting Strap Vest



chad HinesChad Hines, Owner of Willow Creek Kennels

1)      Bird Dog: German shorthaired pointer

2)      Shotgun: Beretta 686 Onyx over/under 20 gauge

3)      Boots: Merrill Moab Hiking boots – I use these for almost all hunting.

4)      Ammo: Federal’s Black Cloud

5)      Vest: Bird ‘n Light Vest


MattKucharskiMatt Kucharski, Pheasants Forever National Board Member

1)      Bird Dog: A tandem of German Shorthair Pointer and Labrador, trained to honor each other of course!

2)      Shotgun: Ruger Red Label 20 gauge early season, 12 gauge late season.   Skeet and IC chokes early season, IC and modified chokes late.  Sadly, they’re not making them anymore.

3)      Boots: Red Wing Irish Setter (short uppers) early season and Meindl Scotland GTX (or similar) late season

4)      Ammo: Federal Upland Steel 4 shot.  3 inch in the 20.  2 ¾ in the 12.

5)      Vest: Filson mesh strap vest for short walks, Bird ‘n Lite strap vest if I’m in the field all day or carrying Bob’s birds.


JeffFullerJeff Fuller, host of Sporting Dog Adventures

1)      Bird Dog: Labrador Retriever

2)      Shotgun: Benelli

3)      Boots: Danner Pronghorn

4)      Ammo: HEVI-Shot Upland

5)      Vest: Browning vest


Now it’s your turn.  What are your favorites?

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.

The Mindful Carnivore Delivers Philosophy High in Protein and Conservation

Monday, June 18th, 2012


If you’ve read my blog over the last year, you know my leisure reading often focuses on the connection between hunting and food.  Steven Rinella’s two novels, The Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine and American Buffalo, first hooked me on the subject.  Hank Shaw’s Hunt, Gather, Cook and Georgia Pellegrini’s Girl Hunter extended my interest in the theme.  My latest exploration of the topic was Tovar Cerulli’s new book The Mindful Carnivore.


Admittedly, I was skeptical beginning Cerulli’s book.  The jacket cover promoted the book as a vegan’s journey into hunting, so I was on alert for a disingenuous story of incongruous ideologies to simply turn a couple bucks.  My fears were quickly calmed with Cerulli’s scholarly treatment of the subject, and ultimately I became fascinated with his internal struggles coming to terms with the decision to put the killing of his family’s food into his own hands.  Like Aldo Leopold, Cerulli came to recognize the problems associated with society’s lack of understanding about food and its connection to land.


The Mindful Carnivore

What I enjoyed most about The Mindful Carnivore was the amount of focus Cerulli spent on the connection between wildlife habitat conservation, hunting and food.  While Rinella, Shaw and Pellegrini all addressed conservation to varying degrees, Cerulli dove deep into the topic and even held conservation up as the reason hunting made sense to him over vegetarianism.  In the process, he came to the realization that all food – vegetables and meat –result in the death of animals one way or another.  As you can imagine from Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s perspective, I was excited to read Cerulli’s compelling arguments for a conservation ethic when making food choices.


The only trouble I had with the book was the majority of Cerulli’s hunting focused on whitetails.  While it’s hard to argue with the volume of meat and taste of venison from a deer, I’d have liked to read about Cerulli’s perspective of hunting birds in cooperation with animals- dogs.  Perhaps that’s part of his future plans.


Although this is his first book, Cerulli writes with the confidence of a seasoned vet.  His voice is engaging, his rationale logical, and his research thorough.  Overall, The Mindful Carnivore was a really easy, thought-provoking read.



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


Hunt, Gather, Cook Pheasant Pasta

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

One of my absolute favorite new books of the last year is Hank Shaw’s Hunt, Gather, Cook.  Shaw skillfully blends his personal narrative with unique recipes in this creative exploration of foraging, hunting, and fishing for nature’s “forgotten feast.”  If you made it to National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic last February, then you hopefully had the chance to catch Hank’s fantastic presentations on the Outdoor Channel Cooking Stage.


It was with Hank’s ethos in mind that I prepared this evening’s meal.  My cluttered countertop included one rooster from a memorable December pheasant hunt in Kansas, a few dozen wild morel mushrooms scored with the assistance of my FAN Outdoors radio partner “The Captain” Billy Hildebrand, and a few stalks of wild asparagus snipped at my secret railroad tracks spot not far from the Pheasants Forever national offices.


Here’s the skinny on my Hunt, Gather, Cook Pheasant Pasta


1 Cubed whole pheasant

4 Cups of fresh morel mushrooms

1 Cup of fresh wild asparagus

2 Cups of angel hair pasta

1/2 Cup of heavy cream

½ Stick of butter

1 tsp flour

Olive Oil

Salt to taste



1)      Sauté the cubed pheasant in olive oil until brown, lightly salt

2)      Sauté the morel mushrooms in ¼ stick of butter till reduced (approximately 5 minutes on medium heat)

3)      Boil the angel hair pasta till tender

4)      Melt ¼ stick of butter over low heat, add flour and whisk until blended, add cream, simmer on low heat.

5)      Boil asparagus al dente, so they are crisp

6)      Combine pheasant, mushrooms and pasta

7)      Pour cream sauce over the top

8)      Add asparagus

9)      Serve

Thanks to my sous chef and wife, Meredith, for helping me out in the night’s finished dish.



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



Girl Hunter

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012


According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, women’s participation in hunting has increased by 36.6 percent over the last decade.  That percentage represents 660,000 new female hunters busting cattails, climbing into tree stands and hiding in camouflaged pit blinds.  One of those women is Georgia Pellegrini, author of the new book Girl Hunter.


Theories abound as to why women are picking up firearms or bows in greater numbers these days.  As near as I can tell, women’s reasons for enjoying hunting are as diverse as their male counterparts.  In Georgia’s case, her love of food was the genesis for her interest in hunting.  She explains, “I’m an omnivore who has solved her dilemma; I’m a girl hunter.”


Like Steven Rinella’s The Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine and Hank Shaw’s Hunt, Gather, Cook, Pellegrini’s Girl Hunter leads the reader on a variety of hunting adventures through the eyes of a chef first and a woman second.   The end of each chapter also features a handful of recipes associated with the game she pursued during the chapter. 


In the book, Georgia pursues upland birds, waterfowl and big game.  She even slays a wild boar with only a knife in hand.  All the while, her hunts are shaped by the people who serve as mentors, guides, and friends.  There are also a few encounters with the kinds of unethical people who give all hunters and men bad reputations. 


Girl Hunter’s characters are well-rounded and the stories move at a rapid pace making for a very fun read; however, it’s Georgia’s own thoughts about hunting for food that resonated most for me.  In particular, the book’s last chapter about squirrel hunting stands out.  I have never been a fan of squirrel meat or squirrel hunting, but the juxtaposition of this beautiful and intelligent city girl waxing poetic about her love of the nutty flavor of squirrel meat has made me anxious for September’s squirrel season.


Whether you’re a man or woman, long-time hunter or newbie, I highly recommend you find some time to read Girl Hunter


NOTE: I also had the pleasure of interviewing Georgia for FAN Outdoors radio on KFAN 100.3FM.  Listen to the March 31st podcasts for Georgia’s own recount of the book and her introduction to hunting. 



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




Hank Shaw: Pheasant Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Hank Shaw's fantastic new book: HUNT, GATHER, COOK

Editor’s Note: Hunt, Gather, Cook author Hank Shaw has penned a portion of Pheasants Forever’s “Wild Game Cooking” special section appearing in the upcoming winter issue of the Pheasants Forever Journal.  If you’d like to become a member of Pheasants Forever and receive this issue along with a full year’s subscription, join today by following this link.


According to Wikipedia, the market for organic foods grew from nothing to a $55 billion industry by 2009.  I believe a similar trend is developing around our roots as hunters and gatherers.  From Steven Rinella’s Travel Channel show, The Wild Within, to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg declaring that he’d like to become a hunter, folks that hunt, fish and gather their food are becoming today’s pop culture trendsetters.  Suddenly, mainstream America has an interest in the origination and acquisition of the food on their tables.


One of the leaders bridging our hunting and gathering roots to mainstream America is Hank Shaw.  Shaw is most known for his popular blog: Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook.  I caught up via email with Hank  to ask him about a couple of his new endeavors; including, a fantastic new book titled Hunt, Gather, Cook.


St.Pierre: The Minnesota DNR’s Chris Niskanen, a mutual friend of ours, was the guy that introduced you to hunting when you were 32 years old.  Tell me about that experience; why were you interested, what surprised you, and what hooked you on hunting to the extent that you make your living today as a result of your ability to hunt, write about hunting and cook the fruits of your labor?

Shaw: I first became interested in hunting because, oddly, of my fishing abilities. When I’d lived on Long Island, I developed a deep knowledge of the waters there – to the point where I could almost always catch something. I knew the tides, moon phases, and seasons. I could read current breaks, knew where structure was to hold fish. And, most importantly, I had the skills to make pretty much any seafood taste great.


When I moved to Minnesota, I wanted that same ability on land. Chris took me out to South Dakota to hunt pheasants. It was a hard hunt, as it was the last week of the season and we were hunting public land, but Chris could still easily come away with his limit of pheasants each day. I couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn, but I was hooked.


What surprised me most was how engrossing hunting became. You can drink beer and shoot the breeze when you are fishing, but when you are hunting you must live completely within the moment. You become a set of ears and eyes, you start to notice smells you’d never notice before; I’ve smelled deer before I could see them. I never felt so truly alive as when I am quiet in the woods, hunting for deer, rabbits or squirrels. Even when I don’t come home with anything, I feel rejuvenated after the experience. 


St.Pierre: Both your book and your blog are subtitled “finding the forgotten feast.”  To me, that subtitle echoes of Aldo Leopold’s often referenced passage from A Sand County Almanac in which he talks about food not coming from the grocery store, but from the land.  Why is it important to you for America to rediscover this “forgotten feast?”


Shaw: Because we are one of the only cultures that does not, for the most part, eat food from our land. Very few of the foods Americans now eat are native to the 50 states. This was not always the case. Muskrat (called “marsh hare”) was sold in the finest restaurants in America a century ago. Our basic knowledge of plants and animals was far greater than it is today. Wild game and wild foods were once a normal part of the fabric of our lives. Now they are an exotic novelty.


What I hope to achieve is to rekindle people’s interest in nature’s bounty – and I am not talking about living off the grid or anything. I am talking about it becoming normal for people to own their own slice of nature within an otherwise “normal” life: Maybe they’re anglers, maybe they gather wild rice or berries or mushrooms. Maybe they hunt a deer for the freezer every year. Minnesota is one of my favorite states because so many Minnesotans already do this, so what I do is not such an alien concept for them.



St.Pierre: I consider myself to be a hunter, angler and gatherer.  I pick morel mushrooms and wild asparagus, hunt voraciously, and fish adequately, but some of the things you pursue had me thinking some of this stuff is more work than it’s worth.  The effort to make a cup of acorn coffee, for instance, seemed a painstakingly long process for the reward.  Where do you find the balance between adventure and practicality?

Shaw: Everyone has to find his own balance. I don’t really do acorn coffee so much because its flavor is only so-so, but acorn flour has such a distinctive nutty flavor I find it more than worth the effort. It is the perfect flour to use when cooking game.


But you bring up a good point, because if your calculus is always cost-benefit, or whether wild foods are cheaper than Wal-Mart, wild food will always lose. But there is a spiritual, emotional component to this that cannot be quantified. Anyone who has ever gone fishing on a camping trip, and who’s fried that fish up over an open fire that night, knows just how good that fish will taste – it’s more than the sum of its parts. There is something deeply satisfying about working for your dinner.


St.Pierre: Of all the crazy things you’ve chased, gathered, and cooked, what is: a) your favorite and b) the thing most of us would think odd that you absolutely loved?

Shaw: I dunno. There are so many awesome experiences. But I have to say ruffed grouse hunting in the far north of Minnesota is right up there. Hunting grouse in the forest touches me in a way that no other hunting does. I grew up around very old forests in New Jersey, and whenever I return to that kind of woods – no matter what state I happen to find myself in – I get the feeling I am home. I love the desert, I love the mountains, but I am most at home in the forest. And there may be no other game bird as delicious as a ruffed grouse. Maybe a woodcock, but that’s arguable.


Hank Shaw prepares a "forgotten feast"

Crazy things? Hard to say. Maybe periwinkle snails off the rocks of New England. Blue camas bulbs in the High Sierra, which you need to be sure aren’t the disturbingly named death camas bulbs. I also happen to love the freshwater drum of the St. Croix River, which most people scorn. I love that they are fatty and rich, just like their cousins the redfish of Louisiana.



St.Pierre: Since I’m a pheasant guy, I’ve gotta know your favorite pheasant meal, the sides you like to serve with your pheasant and the drink to wash it down?

Shaw: OK, this is tough one, because I eat pheasant all the time. But I do a dish where I gently poach the pheasant breast in pheasant broth, then crispy-fry the skin separately. I serve the poached breast with the crispy skin on top, with a sweet-savory corn sauce underneath. It is just awesome. Sure, it’s a little cheffy, but I like my pheasant breast gently cooked and I love, love, crispy skin.


A drink to wash it down? I think a heavy white, like a Cote du Rhone blend, a Viognier, or an unoaked Chardonnay are good. But so are dry roses from southern France or Spain, and even light reds such as a Gamay, Grenache or Pinot Noir work well, too. It depends on how you’re serving the pheasant. Same goes with beer: Everything from a Grain Belt to an expensive Chimay Belgian beer works with pheasant, depending on the preparation.



St.Pierre: My wife and I are looking forward to dining at Corner Table in Minneapolis next Monday night when you will be the guest chef for the evening.  What can folks attending your special appearances expect to taste and learn from these events?

Shaw: Our wild food book dinners are expressions of time and place. I work closely with the chefs, in this case Chef Scott Pampuch, to create a multi-course menu that can only really be done in one place and in one time – in our case, we’ll have lots of autumn Minnesota products, like walleye, pike, highbush cranberries, real Ojibwe wild rice, pheasant, venison – that sort of thing. Minnesota has such a wealth of wild foods that Scott and I are really looking forward to putting together a symphony of the North Star State’s finest foods. Even experienced eaters will taste something new here. I guarantee it.


Hank Shaw will be appearing at Corner Table in Minneapolis on Monday, October 10th at 6 pm.  Reservations for this special meal can be made by calling 612.823.0011.  Price is $65 per person.



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