If you’ve got a “significant other” who’s not quite sure of this whole hunter/gatherer thing and turns up their nose at even the best cut of venison or your latest walleye recipe, search out a nearby game dinner and let them graze through the buffet. Granted, wild game isn't for everyone, but I guarantee that you can find some recipes out there to please even the pickiest eater. And chances are, at a good-old local wild game dinner, you’ll find some tasty concoctions… and down-home chefs more than willing to share their secrets.
One of the perks of this job, I guess, is that Steve and I get invited to a fair number of dinners. Some are of the “banquet hall chicken” variety, but sometimes we get lucky and sit down to an old-fashioned game dinner, as was the case recently when the good folks at the Loch Sheldrake Fire Department invited us down for the day.
It’s only fitting that Mike and Bruce, whom we met on a Newfoundland moose hunt nearly 20 years ago, would send out a call to join them at a special department now fundraiser in Sullivan County for the children of a deceased fire chief. We shared a lot of laughs and meals in that remote Canadian camp and it was great to see them once again in what I’m guessing may become an annual affair.
And what kind of species wasn’t represented at the dinner? Not many, although oddly enough there was no moose (my favorite). Mike’s summer salmon catch was the featured appetizer – smoked, marinated, sausaged, and wrapped in bacon and broiled. For dinner there was bear and venison in chili, sausage, stew and marinated. And what would be a game dinner without fried perch? It's Steve’s favorite.
It’s the best place to try a number of different dishes and find a favorite that could start a new trend in your household. And, of course, don’t forget to check out the Outdoor News feature, “Taste of the Wild,” in each edition of the paper. For each one, our featured chef takes fin, feather or fur and turns it into something the average cook can make and enjoy.
On a bit more serious note, those of you with canine family members should take some time today and go over your dog… really check him out for lumps and bumps. Our two Labs rarely go a day without a good once-over, if for nothing else than just to spend some quality time together.
But twice in this last year, the daily dose of attention has potentially saved their lives. In March it was Maddie, who had sprouted a mysterious lump on her front leg. A week later she was recovering from surgery to remove a Grade 1 mast cell tumor.
Now it’s Hailey, our youngest at 7.5 years, who is dealing with cancer. I found it just last week on her tail. When I noticed it on Wednesday, it was pretty big. By the time we got to the vet on Saturday for a checkup, it was small again… this is one of the telltale signs of mast cell tumors as the histamine in them causes inflation and is then absorbed into the body.
She had it removed ASAP and now we’re waiting for the test results to decide our next step, although it’s likely tail amputation.
But I wouldn’t have found it (hopefully in time) unless I checked her frequently. Take that time with your pup today.