This past weekend Pheasants Forever hosted their annual Pheasant fest in Minneapolis. It was three days of seminars, demonstrations and more vendors then you could imagine. From one side of the convention center to the other there were shotguns, dog breeders and hunting outfitters all focused on upland game birds. I don't do a lot of upland bird hunting, mostly becasue I don't have a dog anymore. I used to spend a lot of time out chasing pheasants when I had my brittany/english springer mix but had to give him up when the US Army decided to send me on a tour of unpleasant vacation spots. Since then the only pheasant I have shot, walked up to me while I was squirrel hunting.
I didn't really go to pheasant fest because of a fondness for pheasants, I went because one of the attractions was the wild game cooking stage and one of the presenters was Georgia Pellegrini. Georgia is a chef and hunter who wrote a book called, Girl Hunter, which tells the story about how she became a hunter and got into the outdoors. I came across her book at the end of last year and was fascinated by her story. During her presentation Georgia stated that she believes that women are the future of hunting. This is something I believe as well, mostly because I have a 3 year old daughter who can't wait to go out in the woods with me.
Every year I try to take someone out in the woods who has never hunted before and introduce them to hunting and eating wild game. I have introduced dozens of people to the outdoors and all of them had been men. Two years ago a friend of mine that I reintroduced to hunting asked if we could take his daughter out hunting. We took her out squirrel hunting and she shot her first squirrel then cooked it up and ate it afterwards. She was hooked from that point forward, since then she has shot two Minnesota whitetails and a Wyoming Antelope. After getting her started I decided that I should try to get more women involed in hunting.
The first women who came to mind was my mother, she very eagerly volunteered, for most of her life she had always had kind of a bad taste in her mouth for hunting and eating wild game. I figured if she would be willing to do it she would probably see that some of her biases came from the people who had taken her hunting in the past or had refused to take her hunting. We started off squirrel hunting and ended up deer hunting and mom did beutifully. She is now very excited to get back out there and do some more hunting. I had written a couple of posts for another food blog about moms hunts and a friend of my wife read them, she decided she would like to get out and give it a try. She is currently doing her hunter safety course online and hopefully this fall we will get her out hunting.
Pheasant fest has reignited my desire to go out and shoot birds, and after reading Georgia's book I almost can't wait to get out and shoot coots in the swamp this year. It might be a little late for a New Years resolution but I think my goal this year is to spend more time hunting and coking birds. After pheasant fest I went home cooked cooked up some pheasants that a friend of mine gave me, here is a simple recipe for Sesame chicken all I did was substitute the pheasant.