Friday, June 28, 2013

Oven Roasted Wild Turkey Breast

After shooting a turkey, I learned there is an important decision to make after taking a picture with it and checking it in. Are you going to pluck the bird and roast it whole like on Thanksgiving or are you going to break it down? One risk you run in to breaking down the bird is drying out the meat while cooking it as it no longer has the skin and fat on it to help seal in the natural juices of an already very lean bird. I chose the latter of the two and very quickly broke down the bird. One reason I chose to do this was because over the past few years I have accumulated many different recipes and ideas of how I wanted to prepare/cook my first wild turkey. I was able to get an abundant amount of meat from this bird which supplied me with enough meat to try a variety of these recipes.

Never preparing wild turkey before and hearing some of the horror stories I asked a few friends and did a little research to find out what the easiest and tastiest recipe would be for my first with this bird. With any recipe I get, I had to tweak, change, and just never leave well enough alone so this is my variation of oven roasted wild turkey breast.

  • 1 – Whole Turkey Breast
  • 8 oz. – Italian Dressing
  • 1 Cup – Butter
  • ½ Cup – Olive Oil
  • Camp Dog Cajun Seasoning (Creole Seasoning will work also)
  •  Ground Black Pepper
  • Ramp Powder (Onion/Garlic Powder will work also)
  • 1 –Reynolds Oven Cooking Bag (Small)

Place turkey breast and the Italian dressing in a container or Ziploc bag to marinade overnight. Make sure the breast is fully covered with the marinade, if not you will need to turn the breast so that both side have had time to marinade. This step is used to help keep the breast moist while cooking it and to provide a flavoring throughout the breast after it is cooked.

After the breast has had time to marinade, remove the turkey breast from the marinade and discard the remaining marinade as it will not be used for anything else.

At this point this point the turkey breast should still have some marinade on it. There are two methods that can be used. The Camp Dog, pepper, and ramp powder can be sprinkled on the top of the breast for quick application. The second method is to mix the seasonings together in a bowl and then to rub down the entire breast with the seasonings to make sure there is maximum coverage of the turkey breast.

Once the breasted is seasoned, transfer it in to a Reynolds Oven Cooking Bag.

Before sealing the bag, melt the butter and mix it with the olive and then pour it in the bag also.
After adding this seal the back and place it into a cake or loaf pan, use whatever size you see fit for the amount of turkey being cooked. Make sure to read the cooking instructions for the cooking bag you are using.

Finally bake the turkey breast at 350⁰ for an hour to an hour and a half.

As I said before, it is just that easy! It might not be culinary masterpiece, but it sure will impress your friends and family!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Trail Cam Tuesday: June 25, 2013

With the first day of summer only a few days behind us and my Facebook and Twitter blowing up with trail camera pictures, it made me want to revive an old favorite of mine. If you have been following this blog for awhile, you know about Trail Cam Tuesday (TCT), a series of posting regarding interesting trail camera pictures I have been taken and am currently receiving from Foggy Mountain and the surrounding areas. Though I had not been writing with the same frequency recently, I have not forgotten about my trail cameras. I still run them religiously; the only difference is they are not getting checked as frequently, yet this could be good thing. Over winter a few interesting pictures had surfaced, but nothing that made me think I have to post a new TCT. This past week, I found the set of pictures that made me think I needed to revive this series.

The potential for checking your trail cameras less frequently gives the animals less of a chance of patterning you and your behaviors while checking your cameras. This lets them move more freely and naturally throughout the given area without fear and or scent of humans. Yet and this this a big one, it also can have a counterproductive reaction if your camera(s) is placement wrong, is not seeing the activity you are trying to capture, the batteries die, or the overall pattern of movement has changed.  That’s where I was over a month ago; I have gone from checking trail cameras from at a minimum of once a week to now possibly once a month. I knew that the pattern of deer movement had changed some due to downed trees and other obstruction in the normal routes since last year’s “Super Storm” and surrounding properties recently being timbered. Finally a few weeks ago I decided I needed to move one of my cameras from a location it had been at for multiple years, since before the creation of this blog. Granted it only moved 50 to 75 yards away, but did it make a huge difference.

As I said before, my Facebook especially has been flooded with picture of potentially great looking bucks in velvet. I won't lie, I was hoping to find a few of those in my pictures since moving my main trail camera set, but that was not the case. As I switched out my cards and threw the old one into my camera to view it, I saw a lot of doe movement on this trail at various hours of the day. This was good to see, but still not what I was hoping for. I did not think much of and threw my camera into my backpack and carried on with my plans for the rest of the day. Not until I got home that night and transferred the pictures to my computer did I look at the pictures again and see what I truly had. One of the does that was walking though had something following it. Something small enough that I couldn't pick it up on the small camera screen. It was a small fawn, with its vibrant white spots. Although this is not a giant buck I can chase this fall, it might been in another few years or it may be just another doe to help repopulate the mountain top and keep the great deer herd thriving.

It’s not always about the antlers, sometimes you have to step back and enjoy the simple things in nature.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Montani Semper Liberi

westvirginia1Montani Semper Liberi is latin for "Mountaineers are Always Free" and is the state motto of West Virginia. This is something that many people from the great state of West Virginia know and take to heart. If you haven't guessed, I love my state and everything it has to offer; not to mention the people  are great and always welcoming. It was just yesterday I received an e-mail from a fellow Mountainteer saying he stumbled across the site and wanted to tell me that my blog looked nice and he was wondering what part of the state I was from. It is that kind of friendliness and unity that makes me love West Virginia. With that being said, today we celebrate the state's birthday. It was a 150 years ago today that we, the state that is now West Virginia, seceded from the state of Virginia, during the height of the Civil War. Below is a lengthy but great article that I found at the WV Gazette. The article is by Sen. Jay Rockefeller. Politics aside, he does a great job of  describing why so many of us from West Virginia love the state so greatly and want to share it with everyone. 

Sen. Jay Rockefeller: A tribute to West Virginia

Fifty years ago, I was on the outside looking in. A young man in awe of a state knit so tightly and beautifully -- a place whose people are so closely connected but who welcomed me and shared their treasured home.
A place where the mountains touch the heavens, and dirt roads lead to home. Suppertime is family time and neighbors always give with both hands.

Where summers mean 4-H camp and sugar maples glow in the fall. Winters test resilience and the sound of spring peepers bring us joy.

It's a place where glass is blown and handmade quilts get blue ribbons. Buckets of blackberries end up in cobblers. Ramps have their own festival and buckwheat does too.

Where doors are held open and smiles are shared generously. Where we call friends "aunts" and "uncles" because they're just like our own.

A state whose pride wells with the crack of the Mountaineer's musket. Who cherishes a university that grew strong out of impossible tragedy.

It's where John Denver sang of misty moonshine and Rocket Boys reached the sky.

Where we know the sound of train whistles and the smell of newly-baled hay in the sun.

Where we raft our rapids and fish our streams. Hike our trails and ski snow-covered slopes. Climb our peaks and camp in valleys.

It's a state where weddings are planned around football schedules and prayers said every night. Kids catch bugs in mason jars and know the state song by heart.

Where friendly small towns make us proud and front porches have swings.

Where veterans are hometown heroes and patriotism means more than waving a flag.

It's a place where hard work is marked by empty coffee thermoses and coarsely stained hands.

Where coal lives beneath our land and underpins a way of life. Steel has been forged and helped build a whole nation.

Where struggle doesn't mean defeat; it inspires us to fight harder. Where tough times bind us together and we shout our successes from the mountaintops.

It's a peaceful place where the mountains hold us close and the view from our window reminds us we're part of a larger story -- of something special.

We ache for it when we're away. And we smile when the words "Wild and Wonderful" greet us at the state line.

On West Virginia's birthday, I am thankful for my state. I found myself at her potlucks and in her hollows. I found my life's passion, a call to public service, in her people -- work I am deeply grateful to have done for 50 of her 150 years.

I found my forever home.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Spring Gobbler Season 2013

As I was sitting here typing up a few new recipe posts, I realized I never posted about how I actually got the turkey. If it was anything like last year's season it would have been from the frozen foods section, but this year was a different story. To be honest, this year I took a more lackadaisical approach to turkey hunting. In years past I have done a ton of prepping and scouting for the season. This year, not so much, I had to work the opening weekend but that wasn't discouraging due to the random weather we were having.

By the time I was finally able to make it hunting it was the second weekend. I met up with Jay early that morning and we headed out to a blind he had taken a gobbler from the opening day, nearly two weeks previously. The day started out amazingly, before we could even make it into the blind we had a few gobblers already gobbling coming off the roost. At that point we dove in the blind as quick as possible to prepare for whatever was coming our way. The gobbling soon quit and so did nearly everything else. Nearly an hour passed before we hear something coming from behind us. We were sure at that point and time it was  going to be those gobblers emerging from a creek bottom to our left. Much to our surprise it was a loan doe slinking through the woods looking for a snack. We watched this deer for a few minutes until it go spooked and slowly retreated back towards the creek bed. Even after we saw the deer leave the area we still heard movement behind us. This was we believed the gobblers were actually circling around behind the blind to enter into the area in front of us on a similar path we came in on. It took the group of turkeys nearly another hour to make their way around us. At that point Jay spotted a smaller gobbler moving in front of us from left to right. Before the lead gobbler could make it past, two larger gobblers came in behind him. These three gobblers came in quick and left just as quick. They never made it in closer than 75 yards ducking in and out of trees. They proceeded to head back towards the creek bed and serenaded us for a half an hour with continuous gobbling. After unsuccessfully trying to call them back in we decided to go run and gun, but that didn't provided to be successful either.

With the previous weekend's hunt ending without being able to get a gobbler in range we planned to hit the turkey blind again the next Saturday. With a little scouting done during the weekend we were hopeful but leery due to the terrible weather forecast we were seeing. The terrible weather came through earlier in the week than we thought, but still has the tail end of it last through Saturday morning. Even with the bad weather we still decided to head out and sit in the turkey blind considering we wouldn't get wet and still thought we might have a chance. Jay and I got the blind just as daylight was/should have been break, but due to the weather it was still dark and overcast. We sat there for nearly two and a half without even seeing a thing. At that point we decided to make a few calls and then come up with a new game plan. We had just began to talk about where to move to due to the rain letting up when Jay frozen mid-sentence saying that he hear something. At that point and time we both saw a lone hen streak across in front of us. With the movement of this hen we both were still silent when we hear the same noise coming back in, yet we knew it wasn't the hen because it hadn't let our field of view more than two minutes previously. Jay grabbed the camera to film whatever was coming in and I grabbed my shotgun in hopes that a big tom was strolling in. As the noise closed in we saw a singe head come into view and then another and another. All and all we had six Jakes come in front of us. At that point we figured it was the best time and opportunity to take my first turkey, plus I had been dying to get some wild turkey meat. Needless to say with the six jakes on the move, trailing the hen, I didn't have much time to choose. I only had a few second to choose and  one bird that was separating from the rest was the lead bird, so I put the head of the shotgun on it , pulled the trigger, and managed to take my first turkey.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Huntography's #DeerTour 2013 On Sale Now!

If you remember back during last hunting season I had a guest visit me on Foggy Mountain, Rudy of Huntography. I was lucky enough to be selected to make an appearance on this past season's #DeerTour and be one of the two people representing West Virginia. This past weekend the new season of #DeerTour and a full Huntography store was released. The store has past season of #DeerTour, #ElkTour, and other great Huntography merchandise. Go ahead over and get your copy of #DeerTour 2013 and grab a shirt and hat while you're there too!

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