Posts filed under animals

To Kill a Turkey With a Turkey Wing, Bone Hunting Call

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The beautiful, if somewhat goofy, Wild Turkeys are residents of my part of the country.  Apparently they are relatively recent immigrants, but they are well entrenched and seem very well adapted to the country.  In spite of the name, the Turkey is a native of North America.  They are a popular game bird, fun to hunt, and delicious to eat.  The feathers could hardly be surpassed for use as both quill pens and as fletchings for arrows.  I also use the tail feathers to make quicky disposable paint brushes of two different kinds.  All in all a very useful creature in traditional living.  One of the most fun crafty things to do with a dead turkey though is turkey wing bone calls.

It seems a poetic injustice that you can call a turkey in with a call made from a turkey, but these calls are quite effective.  I get the majority of my turkeys by calling them to me with these calls.  Others I just locate with the call, or failing to call them in, I am able to sneak up on them, or head them off as they travel.  The call is meant to imitate a turkey hen.  They don't sound exactly like a hen (at least not when I'm using them!) but hey, the proof is in the pudding and if they didn't work, I'd eat a lot less turkey.  No doubt I could refine my technique, but I lack incentive, because my technique is effective enough for the time being.  A horny turkey that has been working itself up into a turkeystosterone fueled frenzy for weeks is often less than discriminating when something resembling the plaintiff cry of a Turkey hen in need a of a good mating pierces the air. 

The calls are made from three of the wing bones on one side of the Turkey.  There are three sections to a bird wing. The outermost, smallest, pointed wing tip section is discarded.  The middle section contains two of the bones used and the large base section contains the third bone.  I have never used domestic turkey bones to make one of these, but I imagine you could make one well enough to at least bag a wild turkey to make another.  No doubt a mature wild turkey's bones will be more developed and substantial than a young fast grown turkey fed on a diet designed to achieve eating size as quickly as possible.  Same as a chicken.  You can eat the ends off of a domestic chicken bone and crush the remainder with your teeth, but try that with one of my mature free range chickens and you'll break a tooth.  If domestic turkey bones would work, this could make a great project for kids.

 12 years ago when I first moved here.

12 years ago when I first moved here.

Foraging for Gourmet Wild Mushrooms, coccora, porcini, oysters, puffballs

I've been putting up large quantities of dried and frozen wild mushrooms for a few days.  These are some of the mushrooms I grow and a few other things I ran into running around in the woods having a good ol' time.  Right now the good stuff that's out are lions mane, coccora, porcini and a few oysters.  Also some puffballs, which I'm very fond of, especially browned in a skillet.  Be careful out there if you decide to take up mushrooming.  I highly recommend it, but it takes a while to get comfortable with identifying and eating stuff when there are always the possibility of eating something that will make you sick or kill you.  What I do is mostly eat what I already know.  This is a staple subsistence activity for me.  I ignore lots of mushrooms I don't know and get on with finding what I do know and have already proven safe.  If you live on the west coast I can pretty much recommend David Arora's books without hesitation.  I use his small book All The Rain Promises a lot, but also own the large one, Mushrooms Demystified and use it quite a bit.  I don't think I even own any others anymore.  Once I got those two, I got rid of the rest.   http://amzn.to/2fTRxzP

Dealing With Meat Under Varied Conditions, Heat, Aging, Spoilage Prevention

I filled my second deer tag recently and had a carcass to deal with just on the very evening that we entered into a heat wave in late September, with warm nights on top of it.  Fortunatley, I have dealt with this sort of thing enough to know not to panic.  My deer is all in the freezer now and I've been chowing down on delectable venison for days and will be for months to come.  Last night I was chowing down on raw venison that had hung through a warm night with no chilling right after being killed and then through most of a day that reached 103 in the shade, delicious!

For anyone of a homesteady mentality that will be planning to raise and slaughter animals, or who hunts much could probably be helped by this information.  It takes time to build confidence doing this sort of thing and to begin understanding boundaries, but it's great knowledge to have. Everyone used to know this exact type of stuff, because that is what everyone needed to know.  people used to get fresh meat from the butcher and needed to keep it without refrigeration or know how long they had to use it all up before it went bad.  I was looking through a cookbook recently from way back and it had a section on judging meat at the butchers to suss out how fresh it was.  Important skill to have at the time and also now if you choose to put yourself in positions where you need to make due under varied conditions.  I have more to say about this whole subject and things I'd like to expand on or that got missed in the video, but I have to go get ready for rain this weekend.  This video will have to do for now.  It's not a how to kind of thing as much as an expansion of what are probably most people's perceived boundaries regarding this subject.  It is certainly micro-niche information, but very important when you need it.

I also tagged in some neat footage at the end of a couple of yearling bucks play fighting near my house.  Very lucky to have the chance to capture that!

Super Close Footage of a Rattlesnake, 4 inches Away!

I found this little snake in the woodpile.  Judging from the size, it was probably born last year. There is a rattlesnake den very close by where they congregate in the winter. This one is probably working it's way toward hibernating there.  I found it the evening before and went back in the morning while it was cold to shoot some macro footage.  Not an opportunity that you get every day!  By the time I was finished, he was a lot warmer and more feisty.  I'm a lot more nervous thinking about it now than I was at the time, but I played it pretty safe.  At one point I was focusing the lens with a stick :)

Tripod: Vanguard 263 AGH.  Been through lots of dirt and moisture and still works perfectly.  The head is not a video head.  You can make pans with it if you shoot them multiple times until you get a good one.  I also make tilting moving shots which works if you get all the tensions just right and have a steady hand, but it's not made for any of that and no substitute for a good video head.  But I don't own a video head and I get by tolerably well with this.  The pistol grip is really great for setting up still shots quickly.

The lens is a Nikon 55mm 2.8 MIcro-Nikkor.  The very close ups also use an added extender tube to reach 1:1 magnification.  I love this lens.  It has great color and it's nice and sharp.  My favorite all around lens so far out of the ones I've owned.  Built like a tank.  The camera is a Sony NEX5T.  It has issues, but it's been pretty great really and will take any lens if you have an adapter.

Posted on September 13, 2016 and filed under animals, Wildlands and Plants-- and Animals and Stuff.