Sunday, August 25, 2013

Dinner tonite

I'm not a great chef, but sometimes I can work up a decent enough meal. Here was what I had to work with.

Took his breast meat out on the bone, then sliced it into fillet. I decided to turn him into pheasant burgers.


Pheasant breast fillets
Fresh Ciabatta buns
Gherkins - sliced long ways (not cross ways like McDonalds...)
Iceberg lettuce
Caramelised onion & garlic relish
Sweet tomato
Red onion slices

Ok, take your pheasant fillets, rub with oil, salt & pepper. Add some oil to a pan and a knob of butter. When butter is melted in oil, cook breasts until tender and slightly pink. Take out and set aside to rest. Slice your bun in half and put Camembert slices on, then toast under a grill. When browned, put avocado, tomato and red onion slices on. Add salt & pepper. Gherkin goes on next, then a pheasant fillet, then relish, then another fillet. Then beetroot, lettuce and if you really want to (I did) put some mayonnaise on the top bun, then put it all together. Grab a beer.


Yummm. A fitting way to devour the last bird of the season.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Auckland Waikato - More Ducks Strategy....

I received an email yesterday containing a draft of a strategy, the aim being to reduce the decline in numbers our local duck population. I offered some feedback, more around the need to get hunters aboard and working with the limited F&G staff resource, rather than sitting back and waiting for F&G to "do it for them".

Dave Klee responded quickly, and provided the following dialogue and images from some of the birds that are currently being tracked.

"BTW thought you might be interested in the attached. Some footage of our nest sites from the tracked birds. 059, hatched all her 10 eggs (see pic) on Saturday  but was down to 7 yesterday She has moved nearly 1km since hatching."
".171 on the other hand had this visitor, followed by another black one about 2 hours later, she returned to the nest very briefly, just once, and then abandoned it."
So of potentially 20 fledged ducks (say 10 per hen/nest) the net gain thus far and before further losses is 7 ducks. Small sample? Yes, tiny, but a pretty graphic demonstration of what's happening out there on top of habitat loss and all the other factors that determine the net number of available ducks.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Tui Ridge on Facebook

I don't subscribe to Facebook myself, (daily I see the result of people giving away their lives on-line, when their ID is hijacked), but Tui Ridge is now on Face Book.

We had our Beater's Day yesterday, where the guns become beaters and beaters take their turn at having a shot or 2. It was a damn good day, although because of my surgery I escaped any heavy duties and instead got to semi manage cooking a lamb on the spit (while drinking beer, eating goose salami and Gruyere cheese - yummm).

Everyone had a great time and after the meal the fines session took place. I had to wear a fine for my old man running out of ammo on the peg at one of the shoots.... all in all it was really well done and thoroughly enjoyable. Well done to Rick, Malcolm and the team for putting together a community based shoot that's worked very well. Thanks to all who have attended to beat and pick up - just a brilliant effort.

You can find Tui Ridge on Facebook.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Breath-taking quail hunting video

You'd have to go a long way to find a better video than this. John Fraser, some other dude and their dogs on Karikari Peninsular. Stunning.

Season ending injury (do I sound like an elite sportsman? Ha!)

The end to my game bird hunting season is most likely to have already happened; knee cartilage surgery has probably put an end to my ability to scramble up and down hills and through brush; with only 2 weeks to go and based on previous surgery I know I’ll be pushing it to be active by the end of August.
The weekend got underway against the backdrop of happenings; Matt & Tony are away in the South Island for a goose hunting trip interspersed with the Thar Show, where Tony is competing in the goose and duck calling champs. So Matt gave his peg at Tui Ridge to Chewie, for whom it would be his first driven shooting experience. I met up with Chewie and his mate Ben at the service ctr on the Southern Motorway, and we headed down to Tui Ridge where the folks were gathered for the 8th shoot day. We weren’t expecting great numbers of birds and the return wasn’t high, but boy did I enjoy myself after 2 weeks of no shooting. We had some fine birds as the wind got up and the birds used it to their advantage. Chewie got on the board late in the day, which was very pleasing. After a fine meal of roast pork we all went our separate ways; I hit the road for Craig’s place for my final shindig at the Shanks Ranch.
I was feeling a bit tired to be honest, pretty long hours in the office all week so took it pretty slow as the road into Te Anga is winding and tight. Arrived to find Craig, Mick and his mate Jethro in residence along with a Japanese WWOOF’er (Let’s call her ‘Sue’) and the long term German WWOOF’er Clarissa.
We decided after dinner on a pig hunt so set off to the back of the farm. Rather than checking just the bait site, we’d walk back around the back boundary of the farm. It was quite a rag tag party that set off; Jethro, Craig and I with rifles, Mick and Craig with spot lights and Sue using her cell phone to light the way. (I kid you not). The bait site was clear so we set off across country following Craig (mountain goat with red bands) around up and down slopes and gullys. I had a general idea of our whereabouts, so when I heard running water I pretty much recognised our locality. Then we spied 2 pigs together with the cows. Craig moved away to the left, leaving us with instructions to “head shoot them”; Jet and I found rests and got set up while Mick played the light over them. Jet fired first and hit the smaller of the pigs which offered a better shot, the second pig charged left and Craig’s rifle boomed out as he cleaned it up. When Mick swung the light back to Jet’s pig it had gone – I could hear it grunting as it made its way to the bush. Clearing our rifles we set off in pursuit, running up the gully after the pig. I suddenly realised that Sue was left behind; and having found Jet’s headlamp in the bush I figured that he and Mick would have enough light so I turned around. By the time I found Sue, Craig was on his way over; we found her strung up on a barbed wire fence, gamely trying to disentangle herself. Having got that sorted we gutted and hung Craig’s pig then he set off to look for the others while I headed back to base with Sue. Back there I grabbed Craig’s truck and set off to pick up the lads, finding them only half a click from home. They’d recovered the other pig and had her hanging with Craig’s. We watched the rugby replay until about midnight, then crawled into our sleeping bags. I went out like a light.

BOOM! Awake. Got up and scratched around for coffee making ingredients as the housed hold roused. Andy arrived bang on time and after a brekkie we were ready to head out. We had low cloud overhead and the day was still and quiet… unbelievably for winter it was humid and muggy. Today I’d be lugging the new 20 gauge around. It would take some getting used to the lighter weight and slim lines; but I’m not getting any younger and running around with the heavy waterfowl gun takes its toll by day’s end. We stopped the cars well short of the hunting zones and split into 2 groups to keep noise down. Mick, Jethro and I headed to the swamp area with Heidi (GWP ... thanks Mick) while Craig, Andy, and the WWOOF’ers  with Max and Keira headed out to the 100 Acre. Mick, Jet and I hit birds immediately, with Mick scoring a fabulous melanistic 2 year old cock.
Mick's bird
Whilst hunting around to pick his bird, Heidi pushed another bird out over me and I was able to take it with the second shot of the new gun. Very happy. We then spent 20 minutes looking for Mick’s bird which seemed to have slipped away. After a thorough search we were gathering our thoughts when Heidi snuck away and picked the bird 30 odd metres from where it had fallen. He was still alive and had tried to make good his escape. We were happy lads and had a little pheasant dance…. Then we worked the swamp proper for no birds seen. Our progress was painfully slow, unseasonal heat was taking its toll on all of us. By the time we met up with the other party, we’d seen only a few birds between us. Craig had managed a nice bird so our total was 3 in the bag.
Saturday & Sunday's bag
We hunted back towards the cars with quite a number of hens flying, bit the only cock that jumped did so well ahead, I thought I’d rocked him with my first shot but he glided on looking pretty healthy. Back to Craig’s for lunch which I prepped while the guys went to collect the pigs. I was pretty stuffed by the time home time came around. The drive back gave me plenty of reflection time, and also time to catch up with Matt and Tony’s adventure. They’d struggled to get onto geese; but Tony had managed 3rd placing in the national calling champs – well done!
Truly enjoyable weekend, may be a while until I next pull the trigger.