• How Legends Work: the Loss of Mystery and Lore

    There were so many doves out there that the power lines were sagging My Uncle Kenneth could spin a yarn. My grandpa passed away when I was 11 . . . his brother, my Uncle Leland, filled that surrogate role for me . . . His farm was an enchanted place full of cows and turkeys and deer and buffalo (seriously) . . . And, when we visited, it was also full of Uncle Kenneth, another great-uncle (in both the familial sense AND the storyteller sense) of mine. As a young boy in the Deep South, those family get togethers were marked by Jeep rides, and huge Sunday dinners, and…

  • Basic Field Medicine for Outdoorsmen

    Injuries from outdoor recreation like hunting, fishing, and hiking are usually less common than those of team or Olympic type sports. However, the very nature of what we do in the outdoors can lead to accidents that could quickly become dire if not treated quickly. As with any emergency situation, your best tool is your brain. Make a plan, tell people where you will be, and trust your gut. If a situation looks to steep, wet, or choppy find another path. The framework here is simply a guideline and basic overview. Take time during the off-season to learn and practice these skills. Accidents and tragedies rarely happen, but you want…

  • The Unwitting Conservationist

    As sportsmen, we like to thump our collective chests when we talk about how we “fund conservation efforts.” The fees we pay for tags and applications directly fund preservation of our state and federal lands. We support and gladly pay taxes related to Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson. For those who don’t know about Pittman-Robertson, it’s an excise tax of 11% levied on firearms and ammunition. In the 1970s, it was extended to include a 11% tax on archery equipment like bows and arrows. What makes this tax different than all the other taxes we pay is it goes directly to the Secretary of the Interior—not the treasury. This money stays with…

  • The Things We Carry

    Sportsmen are often a superstitious lot. We swear by a lure that will always catch one, or a stand that always draws in the deer. Many seasoned sportsmen carry a special item, something that conjures memories of hunts, mentors, or simpler times. I may be able to put a talisman I carry for every season. Partially emotional and partially effective, I always have a jitterbug in my tackle box. Half the time, I have one loose in my glove box or cup holder. The Arbogast Jitterbug doesn’t cast very well, it snags on everything, and the treble hooks are less than stellar, but that little top water connects me to…

  • Creamy Spinach and Shiitake Casserole

    Ingredients: 4 cups of chopped frozen spinach 1 Cup of diced Shiitake mushrooms 5 cloves of roasted garlic, minced ½ stick of unsalted butter ½ cup of mayonnaise ¼ cup of half and half cream ¼ cup of light sour cream ¼ cup of diced Hearts of Palm ½ cup of white wine ½ cup of crumbled goat cheese (or Feta cheese) Sea Salt and cracked black pepper 1 tsp of smoked Paprika   Directions: Preheat oven to 350* Defrost spinach and squeeze out moisture Sautee spinach on medium temp in butter Add mushrooms, garlic, wine and render slightly on low heat for 5 minutes Remove from heat and allow…

  • An Open Letter to the FWC Commissioners

    Greetings Commissioners, As you prepare for the upcoming February Commission Meeting, I wanted to take a moment and again submit the attached sign-on for your consideration regarding the Draft Rule Proposal for Restricted Hunting Areas. This is an opportunity for us to take steps to ensure a stronger future for public water waterfowling. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the extraordinary contributions waterfowl stamps have made and continue to make to public lands across our country. Personally, I only hunt public, non-quota waterfowl areas. I run programs for recruiting new hunters, programs for non-hunters, programs for teachers – all aimed at understanding how hunting fits into conservation and why…

  • Dirt

    I think about Florida’s dirt more than I don’t. From the sandy soils of the Lake Wales Ridge, to the mucky pastures along the labrynth of rivers, beaches and backwoods, in the wildest of places you could imagine. I love this dirt. This ground. This place that gets between the straps of your Olukai’s and rubs your feet raw. Chad Crawford (the host of “How to Do Florida”) once mentioned to me that Florida leads the nation in the export of coffins. In other words, more people die here and are shipped someplace else than anywhere in the country. This is a fun and fascinating fact, but the broader point…

  • Trophy Hunting for Guns

    One of my favorite hobbies when I can’t walk in the woods is walking into a gun shop. To add an air of sophistication to my window shopping, I’ve adopted a phrase from renowned gun writer Chuck Hawks— Trophy hunting for guns. There is always low-hanging fruit on the counter, but the real thrill comes from finding a hidden jewel. As with game animals, a true trophy gun is personal definition. Are you a collector of Belgian Brownings? I found a Browning SA-22 manufactured the same year my father was born. Sure, it was more than a 10-22, but getting a gorgeous .22 with a shared vintage brings a smile…

  • Do Duck Quacks Echo? Calling Ducks in Florida

    C’mon, you know you thought that a duck quack didn’t echo.  Apparently this urban legend was studied and proved to be false.  Researchers at the University of Salford in Manchester England around 2003 actually studied this in their quest to improve acoustics in engineering.  Long story short, the duck quack did echo, but it was harder to hear compared to other types of recreated sounds.  How do I know, I googled it, but in case you don’t believe me Mythbusters covered it too. So what does this have to do with duck hunting in peninsular Florida?  Well, I’ll tell ya.  Picture this…huddled around a cranking hot Mr. Buddy propane heater…

  • Venison Cube Steak

    Editor’s Note: There’s not much more traditional and wholesome and comfortable than pan fried cube steak . . . At our house, mom preferred beef, so she’d make a pack of beef cube steak and a pack of venison, and this often left my sister and I fighting over the venison.  It’s that good.  In this recipe, long time friend of the show Chad Rischar takes us on the perfect pan fried venison cube steak Pan Fried Venison Cube Steak Beef or chicken cube steak can be supplemented for venison (strong preference for deer cube steak) Mix together the following ingredients for the cube steak breading 1 cup all purpose…