Thursday, November 29, 2012

Savory Bacon Stuffed Venison Roast

The problem with venison is that it can be very dry. This recipe is self basting, meaning that as the venison cooks it will be constantly basted by a steady stream of wonderful bacon fat. This roast ended up being so moist and flavorful that even the picky lady eaters wanted seconds!

Savory Bacon Stuffed Venison Roast

  • 1 Venison Roast - A flat roast from a hind quarter is best
  • 1 Pound of cheap Bacon - Get the cheap, fatty stuff. We want the fat, not the meat.
  • 1 Stick of Butter
  • 1 Cup of Red Wine (more or less)
  • Butcher String
  • Toothpicks

Pre-heat Oven to 350.

Butterfly your roast. This is not as hard as it seems. If you can fillet a fish, you can butterfly a roast. Can't fillet a fish? Well....that sucks. Go fishing. Fillet a few fish. Then make this dish.

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Start with a long, thin, razor sharp knife

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Slice through the center, stopping before you cut all the way through

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Lay open

After you have flayed open the roast like a ninja, place one layer of bacon over the opening.

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Roll up the roast, keeping as much of the bacon inside as possible. Trim the bacon that sticks out....or don't. It won't change how it tastes. 

Tie it up with Butcher String. I placed string every two inches.

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Put the roast in a greased roasting pan. Cover roast with bacon, using toothpicks to keep the bacon in place. If you do not use the toothpicks the bacon may fall off as it shrinks.

Pour the wine over the roast.

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Slice the butter and stack it on top of the roast.

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Cook until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees. I can't tell you how long yours will take as all venison roasts are a different size and thickness. Mine took about 30 minutes. 

For best results, baste with drippings every ten minutes. 

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Remove the string and slice in thick pinwheels. We discard the internal bacon as it is probably not fully cooked and is only needed for seasoning. 

Serve with Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, and Sugar-Glazed Carrots for a great meal!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My Attempt At Gyotaku

I have recently been inspired to try Gyotaku by Rob Choi over at Angling Addict. Gyotaku is fish printing. Basically, you paint a dead fish and rub a piece of paper over it. The resulting print is your artwork.

It is a LOT harder than it sounds.

A few weeks ago I had a small Bluegill swallow a hook. Since I knew it was going to die anyway, I decided to try and make a print of it.

This was my best one out of about nine tries.

Gyotaku is a really cool art form and a great way to continue enjoying fishing, even when you are not actually fishing. I plan on practicing and learning how to do it.

Now to just catch something larger than a 6" Bluegill.....

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Textbook Perfect Hunt

Sometimes the stars align and everything goes exactly as planned. This happened on my last deer hunt.

I was again invited on an early black powder hunt with my friend, Buck, near Martinsville, VA. We spent the first day without seeing a single deer, which is very unusual on the land we were on. So, Buck recommended we try another plot of land. Since he is the expert in the area, I gladly agreed and we moved our stands.

The land he recommended was as close to perfect as you can get. It consists of about 40 acres of poplars and pines surrounding a small field. The field is on the top of a hill. This property is adjacent to several hundred acres of woodland that is managed by a hunt club. The hunt club land closest to the land we could hunt on looked to be used as the deer's sanctuary. There are no roads, trails, or stands that we could find.

Deer come off the hunt club land to feed in the field. We found a few obvious routs that the deer were using to access the field and set up our stands there.


My stand was in a textbook perfect spot. It was halfway down a ridge in a nice open area. The hunt club land was to my left (my strong shooting side) and there were heavy log jams behind me and to my front. I was expecting the deer to come off the hunt club land and be funneled by the log jams directly to me. To my right I had a clear view of a thick bottom with a creek. The entire bottom was in range, so if something decided to work its way around me, I still had it. I had a good shooting lane on all sides, so if a deer came within 70 yards, I had a good chance.

The only downside was that it was raining. Not a heavy rain, just a light drizzle. Just enough to get your powder wet.

 At about 7:30 three does came busting down the ridge, angling away from me. I tried to stop them with a call, but there was no slowing them. They stopped in the bottom about 90 yards away, but I was unable to get a clear shot. It dawned on me that they were probably being chased by a buck.

The moment that thought ran through my head a deer came over the ridge at a steady pace. It was headed directly for me.

I stopped it with a loud NA-AA-AA and placed a 50 caliber, 300 grain bullet one inch behind its left shoulder. A perfect broadside, double lung shot at 18 yards.

 It ran down and then back up and away. I saw it try to jump over a log jam and fall backwards.

It was surprisingly difficult to find. There was a very clear blood trail, but the rain was washing it away. I found where I saw the deer fall, but no deer. This is where the blood trail ended.

After about 20 minutes of circling I found it at the bottom of the ridge. After it died it had rolled all the way down.

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It was not until I began the short drag to the creek for field dressing it that I noticed it was a buck! A small buck, but a buck nonetheless!

Most experienced hunters would not be excited by such a small animal, but this one was special. I have hunted for years, spend countless hours in the woods and have never killed a buck. Plenty of does, but never a buck. Finally, my first buck!

It may only have 1 1/2 points, but those little antlers are going on the wall!

Oh, and to make it even more perfect, the buck rolled down the hill to within 30 yards of the truck. No long drags this time!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sand, Surf, and Redfish

Youtube is full of lies! Lies I say!

After watching hundreds of videos on Youtube of people surf fishing, I decided to give it a try. On Youtube everyone either caught tons of small fish, or a few really, really big fish. Plus, it looked very easy. In one video a 5 year old girl caught what looked like a hundred fish! In another, this guy caught a dozen large shark in one night.

Easy, fun, productive, why doesn't everyone do it? Because it is freakin' hard that's why!

I already had chest waders and a 10' pole and matching reel, so I really didn't have to spend too much to get started. I did spent a little money and outfitted myself with a large frame spinning reel to match a 15' pole that was given to me. The only tackle I needed was weights, so I purchased a variety from 3 to 8oz. I made a couple sand spikes out of scrap from my workshop.

The plan was for me to fish for two days, find the fish, and then my Dad would drive down and we would spend a day together fishing.

Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate. A nor'easter blew through creating very high tides and crazy surf. I tried fishing those first two days, but even my heaviest weights would just roll right back to shore. I'm talking 8oz hurricane weights.

I wish I took pictures of the crazy surf, but I guess I was just too awestruck to even think of it.

Needless to say, all I managed to do was tire myself out.

Thankfully, the day Dad came down was much nicer. The surf died down and we could actually keep our baits out on the water.

We even caught fish!

We both ended up with a 17" redfish and several smaller ones. Cut finger mullet was the bait of choice, with mole crabs coming in at a close second.

Dad and a nice redfish
It wasn't the fishing extravaganza I had hoped for, but we did end up having a lot of fun.

And by the way, one thing Youtube never mentions is how sore you will be after a day of surf fishing. My shoulders and arms ached after casting those huge rods and heavy baits. My legs and back were sore from fighting the surf. It was an amazing workout!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

My Fishing Phone

Those of you who read this blog frequently know that I love my iPhone. I've written several posts on apps and accessories that an outdoorsman can use. These posts are some of my most popular.

I generally take my iPhone with me hunting and fishing. I have a Plano waterproof case that is made for it. This case is bulletproof and my phone is 100% safe while it is in it. However, to use the phone I have take the phone out of the case.

Therein lies the problem. Those few seconds that I take it out to check the time, weather, or my messages are perilous. Many times my iPhone has almost been lost or damaged while I had it out of its case. Also, the main reason I keep my phone with me when I am on the water is for safety. It occurred to me that if I fall overboard I will not be able to call for help. My phone will not work when wet.

So, I have started using a second, waterproof phone when I am out in my kayak or boat.

I use Verizon and adding a second line only costs $10 a month. A good, used waterproof phone only costs about $25, so it is kind of a no-brainer. Especially when you consider that it would cost several hundred to replace an iPhone and a waterproof phone adds another layer of safety.

I use a Casio G'zOne. It is a very tough phone. I have thrown it across the parking lot at work without more than a scuff and I have confirmed that it can receive calls while under water.

An added bonus to this whole thing is that my workplace does not have my fishing phone number! How many relaxing fishing trips have been tainted by an "urgent" text, voicemail, or email? Too many. Way too many.

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