Backyard deer hunting

Inexpensive food from the outdoors

Archive for August 2009

Choosing among today’s crossbows

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Since I wrote Crossbow Hunting there has been increased interest in

Barnett RS 150. This inexpensive crossbow killed this deer with a single arrow at 20 yards.

Barnett RS 150. This inexpensive crossbow killed this deer with a single arrow at 20 yards.

this hunting tool, particularly in states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas and Rhode Island where they have recently been legalized for most residents  during the states’ archery seasons.

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As I took an entire book to write about the subject, I cannot provide complete knowledge  in a few paragraphs. I can say that you do get what you pay for whether you spend $239 for a Barnett RC 150 or $2,000 for a tricked out TenPoint Phantom, both of which I have used to kill  big game. The difference is basically ease of use. The more you pay, the easier the instrument will be to use, the more options will be available and generally, the more reliable the instrument will be.

Most hunters will do very well killing deer-sized game with a 150-pound pull crossbow. These will kill out to about 40 yards, with from 3-6 inches of holdover,  when they are zeroed at 20.  

A TenPoint Phantom with a nice GA hog taken at 25 yards. This crossbow was received one day, sighted in with three arrows and used to kill a hog that night.

A TenPoint Phantom with a nice GA hog taken at 25 yards. This crossbow was received one day, sighted in with three arrows and used to kill a hog that night.

The arrow will make clean pass through kills on deer hit through the lungs at 30-yards or so. A pull weight of 150-pounds is comparatively easy on strings, pulleys and limbs. Such crossbows can be expected to last for decades with minimal care requiring only  waxing the string, lubricating the deck and putting a little oil on the steel parts.  These are also less costly that the higher-poundage crossbows.

It is difficult to go wrong with crossbows by Barnett, Horton, Excalibur, Parker, Darton and TenPoint. I have used several different crossbows from each of these makers and all have performed well.

The new reverse-draw crossbows by Horton and Scorpyd have nice balance and are very pleasant to shoot. I am sure they will be very effective on game. I also like the simplicity of the new generation of recurve crossbows now sold by Horton and TenPoint. Other comparatively new makers are Eastman and Crossman. I have only shot these at the ATA and other trade shows, but they appear to be adequate.

 Crossbows provided by Barnette and Ten Point.

I would advise staying away from Chinese imports sold for under $200. I have tried a couple, but was disappointed. If you must go cheap, go with the lowest priced Barnetts and Hortons.
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Written by hoveysmith

August 30, 2009 at 1:43 am

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Cooking Wild Pears

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Canning pear tree breaking down with fruit

Canning pear tree breaking down with fruit

In every state south of Virginia, almost every farm had at least one pear tree planted in its yard. The particular pear that I am speaking of here is a canning pear that when ripe remained hard enough to resist boiling and making pear preserves without cooking to pieces. Now, in mid-August in Georgia, is when the fruit is starting to mature and drop from the trees. The fruit on the trees will continue to grow until frost, although it gets “pithy or punky” later in the season.

Canning pears may be simply made into poached pears by cooking themCanning Pear Tree heavy with pears

Poached pears and pear sauce can be easily cooked. These pears may also be used in pear relish and preserves.

Poached pears and pear sauce can be easily cooked. These pears may also be used in pear relish and preserves.

 in an oven in water at a temperature of about 350 degrees until they soften and start to brown. Pear sauce can be made by boiling the pears and then canning them in jars. Pear bread and pear pie are also possibilities.

When selecting the pears there may be some brown spots that can be cut away and the remainder of the pear will be fine to use. These pears may be occasionally bird pecked, but are usually bug free, unlike softer fruits. Deer, squirrels and rabbits actively feed on these, so if you want them you had best be after them before the critters get them.

If you see such a tree, ask if you can have a 5-gallon bucket of pears. Most people will have already harvested as many as they wish to use, and will be glad to give you some.  This is free, high-quality, fruit for the asking.

For additional cooking instructions and pecipes consult the recipe section of my book Backyard Deer Hunting: Converting deer to dinner for pennies per pound.

Written by hoveysmith

August 19, 2009 at 2:03 pm

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Video: Salvaging Road Killed Deer

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This 4-minute video discusses, complete with photos, the cleaning and processing of a road-killed deer. I published these photos to allow those who are considering eating road-killed animals an honest look at the process. These photos are not suitable for young children.

These are the same photos that are shown in my book, Backyard Deer Hunting: Converting deer to dinner for pennies per pound, but are shown here in full color without any attempt to conceal parts that some viewers might find objectionable.

If you are going to clean and use road kill, you need to have an honest a view of the subject as may be had, and these photos will provide that perspective.

In this economy all states that have laws restricting the use of road-killed deer for human use, should repeal these laws. Any family in North America who has the desire should be able to drag a dead deer off the road and consume it – particularly now when equivalent-quality meat is very expensive and out of reach for many unemployed.

Written by hoveysmith

August 18, 2009 at 11:47 am

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Why I Wrote Backyard Deer Hunting

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This 2-minute video was recorded as part of a presentation that I  gave at the Rosa Tarbutton Memorial Library in my home town of Sandersville, Georgia, in August, 2009 about two weeks after Backyard Deer Hunting: Converting deer to dinner for pennies per pound was published.  

Written by hoveysmith

August 18, 2009 at 9:01 am

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T-Shirts Available for Backyard Deer Hunting

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New T-shirts are available in a “Backyard Deer Hunting” printing with

Backyard Deer Hunting T-Shirt.

Backyard Deer Hunting T-Shirt.

the book cover printed on the back and “Backyard Deer Hunting” across the front. The new Ts are available in M, L, Ex. L and XXL. The price for a single shirt is $20. Send check to Fulfillment, 1325 Jordan Mill Pond Rd., Sandersville, GA 31082.

  This T-shirt is intended, like my book, for those millions of hunters for whom taking a trophy animal is of secondary importance compared to harvesting deer, and other game, for food. This T-shirt also says that the person who wears it advocates hunting to improve the environment and improving  the  health of the deer population by reducing their numbers in urban areas.

Written by hoveysmith

August 13, 2009 at 12:33 am

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Eating Wild Hogs

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Feral, or wild, hogs are becoming an increasing large part of  America’s hunters big-game hunting activities. Not only does taking E-mail Boar s Head Brunswick stewon a big boar with a knife, spear, muzzleloading pistol or single-shot rifle become an interesting hunting challenge; consuming the animal raises its own questions.

The fist question is usually, “Is it good to eat?”

The author's first attempt at roasting a boar's head.

The author's first attempt at roasting a boar's head.

  The answer is, “It depends.” A characteristics of wild pork fat is that it takes on the flavor of  whatever is the major part of the animal’s diet. There is a French dish that is the heated, and not too much cooked, fat from a wild hog that has been eating on acorns. I am willing to concede that it has an interesting taste, but I had rather have my wild hog meat be at least 70- percent lean.

I commonly hunt Georgia’s coastal island. If a hog has been feeding in the uplands, primarially on acorns, its meat is fine. But, if it has been feeding on crabs in the salt marsh,  nothing I can do to the meat has thus far made it eatable. It stinks to bad to eat.

However, hogs from the interior of the same island are fine to eat, and do not have the marsh taste that their brothers possess.

I cook wild hog tenderloins, backstraps, hams, ribs, liver and  heart.  On  animals that have been feeding on vegetation, these are all fine eating.

Beware of  whom you choose as a life partner, like some of  these hogs, they can look good, but have a bad aftertaste.

Written by hoveysmith

August 7, 2009 at 1:31 am

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Friend. Take a Friend Hunting program launched

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As good as my new book, Backyard Deer Hunting: Converting deer to dinner for pennies per pound,  may be nothing is better than a new hunter being taken out for the first few trips by someone he already knows. In this economy almost every hunter will know some friend, relative or former co-worker who is out of work. Many of these people, for perhaps the first time in their lives, have time to hunt and see America’s abundant game as potential food for their families.

The smile on Paul Presley's face as he shows off his first duck tells it all.

The smile on Paul Presley's face as he shows off his first duck tells it all.

Sure, they can purchase my book and learn from it, but the increased confidence gained by being personally escorted into the woods, put on stand and “looked after” cannot be gained by  reading a book. The “Friend” program is to encourage existing hunting and shooting organizations to mentor these new hunters. If a club does not have a present program they may adopt the “Friend. Take a Friend Hunting” name and approach at no charge.

If they send me  information on what their program is, where it is located and the services they offer, I will ultimately post it on a separate site that is organized by state. It makes no difference what organization your club is affiliated with. This will be a free, universal posting service. What is required is that the club have members who can, and will, take new hunters into the field with them; rather than only be a listing of shooting clubs from around the nation.

The advantages of this approach will be that we will have safe, well-taught hunters in the field with us, local clubs will be able to gather new (and largely younger) members and these new members will be ardent supporters of hunting and the club because you were able to help them during a time of real need.

Friends, do good.  In these troubled times, take a friend hunting. Everyone will benefit.

Initial postings have been placed on a new blog http://takeafriendhunting.wordpress.com.

Written by hoveysmith

August 6, 2009 at 10:49 am

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