Posts Tagged ‘Camping’

This is a photo I took of the lake we camp on

It’s almost here! One of my favorite times of the year, grouse hunting! For a long time now, every year at the end of September we pack up the camper and head even further north for two weeks of camping on the lake, and stalking the woods for grouse. Of course we haul the fishing boat up with us as well, and spend time on the lake catching pan fish for fish fry.

The Star Stream

We camp in our 21 ft camper. (We used to be hardcore tent campers, and we still tent camp occasionally.) These days we enjoy a nice elevated bed that doesn’t involve an air pump, so some time ago we bought a camper. It’s not a big fancy job with slide-outs etc. It’s a nice, simple camper that we’ve enjoyed immensely since we purchased it. Mostly that’s my doing, as my back pretty much hates me if I sleep on the ground. Also, my husband is a long time Army soldier, and he says he’s spent enough time in tents over his career without doing it on his vacation as well. I can understand that.

The in-laws' Cougar

During grouse hunting we camp with my inlaws. (They have a large 5th wheel type camper. They say they are too old for “roughing it” anymore! Haha…I can understand that though.) They also camp with their two cats, who, just happen to hate the OCP. During grouse season we make sure to get two side by side camping sites, and face the campers towards each other. We initially did this to maximize our privacy, but the truth is, the campground is generally deserted when we’re up hunting anyway. I love this particular area as it’s quite remote, and the sites are huge. I don’t care for the campgrounds that stack the campers on top of each other like cordwood! It’s like being in town, and not camping at all. My favorite type of camping is pack in, pack out, but unfortunately with the demands of the homestead there just isn’t enough time for those type of trips much anymore.

He went back

Last year we had great success in getting both grouse, and fish. We had plenty to eat the whole time we were there. The lake we fish there is chock full of Northerns (Northern Pike) which is ok, but they are a bony fish and can be a pain to clean. Besides the Northerns, we usually end up with a fair amount of blue gill, black crappie, and the occasional perch or walleye. I prefer the blue gill myself, as the crappie can be a bit soft of flesh for my taste. The colder the water, the better they taste. I’m a little picky about fish I guess. Other than catfish, I don’t care for the softer flesh varieties. Catfish is soft, but when it’s fried, it’s awesome! Especially when it’s blackened. I even managed to convert my husband, who at one time claimed he’d never like catfish since it “tastes like mud from hanging out on the lake bottoms all the time.” It’s true that it can taste like mud, depending on the water source and time of year, but as long as you’re aware of that you can avoid the mud taste pretty easily.

Some grouse from last year

As I’ve said before, grouse is my favorite meat. If you’ve never had it, you’re missing out! It’s fantastic! Usually we crockpot it with creamed mushrooms. Sometimes we coat it and fry it in the Nesco as well. Either way it’s terrific, and I look forward to it all year. Last year, as we gutted the birds we discovered they were eating mostly clover, which seems to give them an especially agreeable flavor. You are what you eat, right? Anyone who deer hunts can attest to that old adage. A deer that’s been eating mostly acorns can have that same bitter acorn flavor in its meat. Especially if you eat the neck, the neck seems to really retain the acerbic acorn flavor.

So as always, I’m really looking forward to our trip! It’s a great getaway. This year I’ll be bringing the new EcoZoom along and cooking on that as well. I’m excited to give it a try with charcoal instead of wood. I’ll take my netbook along, and if I get the chance, I’ll make some postings when I head in to the nearest town. I always go into town at least once, since during our trip the town has a local festival with tons of great food, music, and handmade items for sale. Another great time!

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Around the OCG homestead, few things get us as excited as getting ready to go hunting. Each Fall we drive North to the same place, set up our camper and spend two blissful weeks hunting grouse. If you’ve never eaten a grouse, you are missing out! Grouse is by far my favorite meat. Though they are tiny little critters, they are so tasty! I love heading out into the woods and hearing the sound of grouse drumming. For such a tiny bird, they can make a big noise in the quiet of the woods.

Here is the part where I make a confession. My husband is much better at getting grouse than I. He’s a terrific shot, and as such, he is much better at bird hunting than me. I personally prefer deer season, where I can hunt with my Ruger M77 .243 rifle. (GREAT gun by the way, and yes, I know folks think of .243s as a “ladies gun” but my husband hunts deer with one as well. The long, flat trajectory, low kick back, and small bullet work wonderfully. It doesn’t tear up the meat of what you’re shooting at!)

Next month we will start prepping the camper  for our yearly grouse hunt. I’m already anticipating it! This year we will be taking our fishing boat with us (as usual), since where we camp is situated on a beautiful lake chock full of delicious pan fish. Usually while my husband is out looking for grouse, my mother-in-law and I go fishing. Between the grouse and the fish, camping is a time of good and plentiful wild foodstuffs!

After a day filled with hunting and fishing, we usually retire to the glow of the campfire, roast a few marshmallows and listen to the sounds of the lake lapping at the shore, the breeze in the trees, and the crackle of the fire. Once we all start dozing, it’s time for bed…after all, tomorrow will be another busy day!

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