Posts Tagged ‘timberdoodle’

Blackened Quail

Monday, November 26th, 2012

A trio of blackened quail breasts complimented by Brussels sprouts and mushrooms

A few months back, a friend of mine opened up to me about his secret passion for woodcock hunting.  I, too, have an undeniable love affair with the American timberdoodle.  This migrating aspen and alder tornado is an awesome game bird for pointing dogs and an under-appreciated challenge for wingshooters.


This same anonymous friend shared with me a woodcock recipe to transform the timberdoodle from a meat equated to flying liver into a white linen delicacy.  I’ve bagged 15 woodcock this season and sautéed every single one to rave reviews employing his recipe.  Unfortunately, I’ve exhausted my timberdoodle freezer reserves; consequently, last evening I substituted Nebraska’s Rooster Road Trip quail for woodcock in my newfound favorite recipe.  Whether you’ve got timberdoodle, quail, ruffed grouse or a pheasant breast in the freezer, I believe you’ll find this recipe easy, tasty and addictive.





1)      Brush the quail breasts generously with olive oil

2)      Liberally sprinkle the breasts with Chef Paul Prudhommes blackening seasoning

3)      Sauté the breasts on medium-high heat in a frying pan for 3 or 4 minutes

4)      Flip the breasts over and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes

5)      Serve with a side of Brussels sprouts, mushrooms and wild rice



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

Pheasants Forever, “The Friends with Benefits Organization”

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Membership in Pheasants Forever will introduce you to new people, good people. Some will even become your friends, help you train your dog, and show you a new hunting spot as evidenced by Mark Haslup (left) and Tom Poorker (right).

I was struggling.  It was Sunday morning and I was on the second day of a fruitless grouse hunting/scouting excursion intended to produce some new spots.  You see, I’ve been hunting my exact same haunts the last five years and “my” aspen stands were starting to age out of their grousey prime. So, I’d set off east and north of my normal destinations in search of new coverts.


I spent Saturday pounding decent looking grouse woods with very little flushes.  And the one layup shot presented to me clanked off the backboard with a horribly makeable miss.


Truth be told, I was really struggling with two nagging thoughts in my mind.  First, it was my first solo exploring expedition with two dogs, so I was very nervous about losing my 6-month old pup in the woods.  Second, I was nervous about getting lost myself.  Despite my GPS lock on my truck’s location, I had trouble diving into the grouse woods with abandon.  Fortunately, hope was just around the corner.


Around 11AM on Sunday, I rounded the corner of a state forest gravel road and passed two trucks on my right.  To my surprise, I recognized the two faces under the blaze orange hats.  If you’ve attended Pheasant Fest or Game Fair in the last ten years, then you’d probably have recognized both of them too.  They were Tom Poorker and Mark Haslup from Focus Outdoors Television and Midwest GunDog Kennels.


After commenting on the serendipity of their coming out of the woods at the exact moment I drove by, I shared with them my frustration of learning a new grouse woods.  That’s when my luck turned around.  Although, they’d both been set to finish their hunting for the day with dog training obligations waiting at Midwest GunDog Kennels, they offered to show me a spot in their home woods.  They even went so far as to insist on my two pups being the only dogs in the woods as their bird dogs had already completed their work for the morning.


Needless to say, we found grouse and woodcock in the woods where these two veteran hunters aimed our trio.  In fact, Mark bagged a nice opening weekend timberdoodle that my young pup was able to deliver to his hand, and Tom brought down a beautiful ruff with a dandy shot.  However, I earned the trophy of the morning’s walk with renewed confidence.


After sharing a few laughs over our impromptu hunting trip and thanking them for their generosity, I went north in search of some spots of my own.  And I finally started to find what I was looking for in the woods.  In fact, in one particular alder/aspen mix, I elected to hunt my 6-month old shorthair solo for the first time and she produced three neatly pointed woodcock, quickly earning me a day’s limit.


Izzy’s first limit of Minnesota timberdoodles

To me, the moral of the story is that membership in Pheasants Forever definitely delivers more habitat on the ground – we’ve got 8.5 million acres of proof of that fact – however, membership in Pheasants Forever also creates friendships.  Whether you’re a chapter officer, banquet goer or Pheasant Fest attendee, your involvement in Pheasants Forever will introduce you to new people, good people.  Some will even become your friends, help you train your dog, and show you a new hunting spot.


To Mark & Tom: Thanks a bunch for a great experience!  It truly meant a lot to me for you to take the time out of your plans to give me a little nudge in the right direction.


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

A Bird Dog’s Life List

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Me & Tram after putting a checkmark next to ruffed grouse on her life list.

Over the holiday weekend, I caught up on some reading.  An article in the most recent issue of The Pointing Dog Journal particularly caught my attention.  The piece titled “My Bucket List” was written by Tom Davis, also a contributor to the Pheasants Forever Journal.  As the name implies, Tom writes about the hunting adventures he’d like to have before he passes on.  It was an interesting read and likely follows thoughts many of us have this time of year as we review our calendars, health, and dog power for the coming autumn.  I wrote a similar blog post a year ago titled “My Bird Hunting Bucket List.” 

However, what really grabbed my attention was Tom’s tally of the wild upland game bird species shot over his bird dog.  Turns out, this sort of “Bird Dog Life List” is fairly common.  A couple of guys; Joseph A. Augustine (English Setters) and the renowned Ben O. Williams (Brittany) have even penned bird dog hunting books on the topic.  The consensus is twenty different North American upland game birds constitute a “Grand Slam.”    

So as I look toward my own German shorthaired pointer’s fourth season, I have taken inventory on Trammell’s own bird hunting life list.  Here is Tram’s current tally: a) species I successfully shot over her point, b) the year it occurred and c) the state in which it took place.

  1. Ruffed Grouse, 2007, Michigan
  2. Pheasant, 2007, Minnesota
  3. Timberdoodle, 2007, Michigan
  4. Hungarian Partridge, 2008, Montana
  5. Sharp-tailed Grouse, 2008, Montana

In some respects, I look at that list and feel guilty.  There’s the greater prairie chicken I missed in South Dakota’s Fort Pierre Grasslands last year.  And there’s the doggy plane ticket to Georgia I couldn’t afford preventing bobwhite quail from hitting her list. 

On the other hand, three seasons with Tram have been the best three seasons of my hunting career.  And if you consider the dozens of states and subspecies necessary to reach double digits, a guy could go broke chasing this list.  Plus, I’ll be in the Fort Pierre Grasslands in three weeks and I smell redemption.  Come to think of it, I’ll be in Nebraska (bobwhite quail) and Kansas (lesser prairie chickens) in November too.  Hunting season is here and things are looking up!

In the comment section below, post the following: a) your dog’s breed, b) your dog’s name, c) your dog’s age, and d) how many birds on his/her life list so far?

Thinking Spring

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Have you heard the cackling of roosters this spring?

It’s supposed to break 70 degrees today in Minnesota.  Those temps have got me thinking about spring.  Here’s a mixed bag of what’s rattling around in my head today.

Pheasant Mating Season: Have you heard the roosters cackling?  That’s right, it’s mating season for ringnecks with the all-important nesting season right around the corner.  The peak of the pheasant hatch typically occurs about June 10th.  My fingers are crossed for a warm and dry early June in states like Iowa, North Dakota and Minnesota to help the birds rebound after a harsh winter.  In western states, I’m hoping for some early spring rain to green up the vegetation and kick off insect production.  Did you know that pheasant chicks’ main diet right out of the shell is a high protein insect buffet?  It’s true.  Learn more about pheasant nesting season and the ringneck’s lifecycle by following this link.  Also stay tuned to  PF’s super intern Jared Wiklund is putting the polishing touches on Pheasants Forever’s 2009/2010 winter impact assessment.


Morel Mushrooms: According to, folks have already found morels as far north as Ohio and Indiana.  It seems like we may be in for an early mushroom hunting season this year.  Excellent! 

Boat Shopping: My wife Meredith and I are in search of our first boat.  As a household with two non-profit incomes (Meredith works for Ronald McDonald House Charities), it’s going to be a used starter boat.  We’re looking for a skiff that will satisfy our fishing focus of muskies, pike, bass, and panfish . . . with a little sun deck for the gal when the fish aren’t biting.  Hopefully we find one this evening . . . the ice is coming off Bald Eagle Lake today – our neighborhood fishery.

College Sports Predictions:

NCAA Basketball Champ: Michigan State University Spartans

NCAA Hockey Champ: Miami (Ohio) University RedHawks

Timberdoodling: That’s right, Trammell (my German shorthaired pointer), pointed her first woodcock of the spring on a WMA near Forest Lake, Minnesota last evening. 

WMAs closed to dogs on April 16th:  Speaking of bird dogging, please remember that Wildlife Management Areas in Minnesota are closed to dogs on April 16th through July 14th to protect ground nesting birds like pheasants and ducks.  Please be sure to check with your state’s natural resources agency to find out when your public lands are off limits to canines.