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About Speedy

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    Traditional bowhunting, geology, motorcycles

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  1. Speedy

    Res vs NR Archery Deer

    Covid has increased deer hunting license sales everywhere, even in WI where we just reversed a decline trend. So while they are going up it's not clear how much or how long that will continue once we get past this pandemic. I also can't wait for it to be over so all the urban campers and hikers go back to the malls and coffee shops. Not easy finding a camping spot or parking at trailheads either.
  2. Speedy

    Smoked Javi ham

    Good write up. I just killed my first javi too and was contemplating smoking one of the hams, but bone in. I have a great brine recipe I use for deer with the sirloin tip roast (which requires injecting brine as it's too thick). I smoke them to 140-145 and there is never an issue with dryness. I figure keeping the bone in with the javi would help. I see no reason to smoke javi to a higher temp? This is what the venison looks like. It's fully cooked, the brine has sodium nitrate just like a comercial ham which gives it a pink color.
  3. Speedy

    Midwesterner Heading SW

    LOL. I might have to steal that!
  4. Speedy

    The Myth of the Corn Fed Deer as Good Eats

    Pronghorn is one of my favorites too. Moose tops my list though. This Meateater podcast interviewing a meat scientist is a good one and dispels a few myths (like bleeding). https://www.themeateater.com/listen/meateater/ep-227-red-cutter
  5. I joined the club a few weeks ago when I finally was able to connect with a javi (story is on the AZ forum). I located them by smell which was quite strong. I killed a nice sow but she had hardly any odor at all, so was it the boar that stunk? The next day when I went to get the skull there was still a strong lingering odor in the area. I did the gutless method with several pairs of gloves, not my best work but the meat (what little of it!) seems fine. I pan fried a piece of backstrap as I never had javi before and it was delicious. No unusual odor cooking either. I'm kinda wondering what the fuss is all about. Or did I just get a good one?
  6. You guys have a secret. I'm a big fan of cooking wild game, especially for those who have never had it before or had a bad experience in the past. It's (mostly) all about meat care and prep, and cooking properly. A rutting buck is the exception, and is why I don't shoot bucks back home unless they are a wall hanger, then I generally turn the meat into sausage. My favorite is a yearling (small) doe which can be unbelievable table fare. If you read my recent adventure in the AZ forum I finally got my first coues. A nice mature rutting buck with the odor you'd expect from one. I was concerned with how it tastes given that it's #1 a buck and #2 they eat who knows what. But now your secret is out. This deer is phenomenal despite the age and rut status. The deer police may come for me after saying this but it's probably the best deer ever! The myth of the corn (or soybean, alfalfa, etc.) fed Midwestern deer is just that. It's definitely leaner than MW deer, but most fat on whitetails is external. It hardly tastes like deer at all, it almost has a nutty flavor? And it's tender too. Whatever I'll shoot another one just to eat it! I can't imagine what a doe would be like if they were legal to shoot. One big tip is to allow the meat to cool slowly, the worst thing you can do it throw it straight into an ice filled cooler. I killed this deer in the mid morning and let the quarters hang in the shade until dark even though the high was 60F. It was cool to the touch at that point (evaporative cooling helps with low humidity too). Then I put it into a cooler with ice. Anyway don't let anyone tell you that MW farm country deer are better table fare, or better yet don't tell anyone coues are delicious!
  7. Speedy

    Midwesterner Heading SW

    Every year near the end of the hunt I force myself to make peace with the fact it's not going to happen. It's not something I relish but time is running out so it's really just a coping mechanism. By the beginning of week 3 the forecast is looking sketchy so I decide there's only 2 days left to hunt to avoid bad weather on the way home. My neighbors and I have also been debating if it's better sitting in one stand the entire time or keep moving. Now that we have game cams it's frustrating to know you were in one stand and deer walked by another which is what happens too many times, so I've been waiting it out in the stand with all the action this year (now called the coati stand) under the theory one will walk by eventually. However I'm bored to death looking at the same scenery so I break with my new strategy and decide to try the other stand for the last few sits despite low deer activity. On Monday morning 1/18 (day 15) I'm back in the other stand not expecting much so my mind turns to the trip home. I took a javi this year which was a goal but coues will have to wait yet again. I'm looking at the weather forecast trying to figure out if I want to leave tomorrow night or Wed morning when I hear something. I slip the phone into my pocket and grab my bow. And just like that it's a buck and he's headed right down the primary trail that will be a 12 yard chip shot. I get to full draw right before he hits the shooting lane and not sure if he heard me or decides to change course but he stops, and then makes a hard right turn. I have to ease down to 1/4 draw trying not to spook him then he starts walking at a good clip so I'm back to full draw. But now he's moving too fast to try and hit a gap between the trees so I bleat to stop him. This is a very risky move, but for some reason he doesn't look at me, he just stops. Oh yeah, he's in rut mode. It's a 15 yd shot and based on past experience I aim low, but he doesn't duck so it looks like low hit in the chest, just behind the heart. He trots off like nothing happened. I know it's fatal, but I'm not taking any chances so I get down and look at the arrow which is stuck in the ground. White hairs confirm a low hit likely just 1 lung, which can make tracking difficult. I force myself to get back in the tree and wait an hour, which feels like the longest hour in my life. After that I take down the stand, realizing either he's dead or I'm done. Then I nervously take up the track. I don't see any blood but I'm not sure of the exact path as it's been almost 90 minutes. I went about 30 yards still not seeing any blood when I'm started by movement as he tries to get up 20 yards further away. Another arrow and it's all over. I hate less than perfect shots but waiting ensured it wasn't prolonged any further and a potential loss. Holy crap I finally did it, one of the biggest coues I've seen, a wall hanger for sure! Everything I hoped for! Funny how success after that much effort can be almost anti-climatic, but I was happy and the work ahead was satisfying. I want to sincerely thank everyone here who help me figure this out, and those who offered words of encouragement. This was by far the most challenging critter I've hunted, and will be my most cherished trophy. I can chase much bigger bucks back home anytime, but you guys have something way more special to hunt. Only those who have experienced it will really know just how special these little deer are.
  8. Speedy

    Midwesterner Heading SW

    So all that fun was just the first week! I started seeing a few deer again so I dropped by my neighbor to find out how he was doing - his response was 2 does and 12 illegals! He was not happy. The illegals walked 30 yds behind his tree stand all wearing cheap Walmart camo, but they never saw him. I thought they mainly moved at night but this was around 1 in the afternoon. He figured since they were different sizes and not all were carrying backpacks they weren't drug importers, but they were still moving like they had some place to be. He tried to call border patrol but never was able to find a live person. I also found this recently occupied site near where I shot the javi. I'm guessing a pickup was nearby. Pretty sure I didn't scare them off as I would have heard something. When I first came here 5 years ago there was a lot of illegal activity in the Santa Ritas, then it seemed to wane but the locals tell me there's a lot more now. I remember the first time I found this killer deer trail, only to realize it was an illegal trail. I finally saw my first buck, a little 3x3. He came in to check out 2 does and and I almost made it to full draw before he decided to follow the does that he just ran off. This was a positive sign and the first indication of the rut. The next day I had a spork (1x2) come by and give me every possible shot opportunity, but I respectfully declined. Didn't think it was possible but that was one ugly coues. While spork is off to my left still trying to tempt me a big coati walks up to my stand, nose in the air. He's looking my direction which had me baffled, then it got even more interesting when he decided to join me in the tree. So here I am waving my right hand by my hip to keep the coati from coming up the last 2 feet while trying not to spook the spork on my other side. The coati is looking at me like why are you not following the program? Then I realized yesterday I put the crust of my PB&J sandwich in a hollow, rather than toss on the ground under the impression I was feeding the birds. It was cleaned out this morning so I put in a refill. Turns out coati love PB&J as much as I do for breakfast. Great, now the coati associates me with food. Eventually the spork walks off leaving just me and the coati to fight it out, who's now back on the ground staring at me. Figuring it best I tossed the crust down to him, which he happily ate. Then he tried a different approach to climb the tree again. Some stern arm waving on my part convinced it the feast was over. Dang, I'm like Dr Doolittle with everything living out there. Hold on it's not over yet...
  9. Not just a western thing prickly pear cactus grow in some of the sandier areas of southern Wisconsin! Had more than a few flats on our dirt bikes from them.
  10. Speedy

    Midwesterner Heading SW

    OK, back to the hunting. My new friends and I discussed the real challenge with hunting coues out of tree stands is burn out. It's hard to keep a positive attitude when you haven't seen a deer in days, then to be ready when one appears is another ballgame. In the past I only had 7-8 days to hunt so felt compelled to grind it out no matter what. My hope was to shoot one early then explore new country but that never happened. Most days I'd come back for lunch then go back out, which is a lot of work. Otherwise I'd pull an all dayer. But now I had 3 weeks, no need to push that hard. So at the end of the first week I decide to go check out new country and refresh my spirits. Besides, I also had a javelina tag so I took the afternoon off and went to an area that might have them. I went up a hill to glass and saw 8 coues does come out of a creek bottom. Despite the date (1/11) no bucks ever materialized so where's the rut? But that gave me the idea to go check it out. It was about an hour till dark and on the way back to the truck so off I went. When I got down there I got a whiff of skunk, hey that brings back memories. But then I thought, why would a skunk spray here, and now? Then the light bulb went off, this could be javis. So I worked my way upwind. I found it fascinating to be stalking by smell like a coyote. Suddenly I hit a wall of stink. Man, I don't think they smell this bad. Three steps later I round a bush and jump a big boar. He runs about 10 yards then stops and woofs at me. I know they have bad eyesight but this was ridiculous. I'm in the open. So I take a few steps, his head pops up and woof! I stand still for 30 seconds and he goes back to shredding some plant. I move closer draw and try to shoot several times, but he never gave me a clear shot. Eventually he walks further away. Since I was on the opposite side of the creek I jumped down and started rock hopping. As I tried to get further downwind I came across one bedded, which turned into a stare off. Eventually it got up and wandered away and then it turned into shooting gallery. Javis were moving up and down the far bank so I got the the edge and waited. Two little ones run by and all I can see over the bank are floppy ears, that made me laugh. Too low, need more height. I found a rock that would give me more elevation and a decent sized javi comes by. It's not the boar but the light is fading. As I drew it turned quartering towards me but I know what my setup is capable of. To me I was shooting giant woodchuck so put my aim right on it's front shoulder. The arrow flew true and it piles up after 10 yards, by the time I got there it was stone dead. Wohoo, my first javi! Broke the front leg going in and poked out just behind the last off side rib. Perfect! That attests to the power of EFOC weighted arrows. So now the fun starts, what was that I read about field dressing these things? I really wanted to get one to eat it, just like shooting a recurve I enjoy a challenge in the kitchen. What was odd is this sow didn't stink at all, so was it the boar that reeked? I took my time with the gutless method. When I got done and looked at what I had for meat I was like wow, these really are a big woodchuck. The next day I fried up a piece of backstrap. It smelled normal and it tasted great. If anything it was very mild. I was happy, and my hunting mojo was back to 100%. The story continues...
  11. Speedy

    Midwesterner Heading SW

    But wait, there's more - As you guys know it's a very dry year. All the typical water sources I know of were gone so I have no idea where deer or any of the other critters are watering. I suspect this had an impact on deer distribution but I was seeing deer right away (all does). However I've come to know that with coues a good day might be seeing 3 deer, and movement tends to run in streaks, so one could go 3 days before seeing another which is exactly what happened. I got to know 2 guys camped next to me from Colorado that were also hunting, one was also crazy enough to hunt with a recurve like me! Turns out he'd been hunting there for 20 years. So it was fun every night to chat, compare notes and commiserate at the difficulty of hunting the gray ghost. I think it was on day 5 that I came back to camp, ate dinner, rinsed out the bowl and tossed it into my camping box (it's the black box just outside the door in the photo above). I wasn't tired so sat in my truck listening to the radio for about an hour. By now it was bedtime so as I walked around the back of my truck I noticed something rooting around inside my camping box which I had left the lid off. Then it hit me it was a skunk! Again my first reaction was to yell "Hey get out of there!" The skunk, now startled promptly jump out of the box and ran into my tent, because, of course, the door was open. I can still hear myself saying "Son of a bitch, now what!" There wasn't any food in the box, he was just licking my bowl perhaps for water. Anyway this presented a huge dilemma as all my clothes and sleeping gear was inside so if that dude unloads my hunt would be over (as well as my new tent). All I could think to do was try and scare it back out, so I went around the back of the tent where the skunk was scratching to get out and gently tapped on the tent and made some encouraging words to get the F out. After about a minute or so all went quiet so I gingerly walked back to the front and carefully peered inside. Whew, no smell and no skunk. Stuck my head in a bit further to check closer and about soiled myself when my arm brushed the door. After I regained my composure I stood still listening and it seemed like he left, but something inside said you better be sure as there were huge consequences to being wrong. The only way to do that was to empty out the tent. I carefully opened and secured the other door like I was disarming an A-bomb and then slowly pulled out my duffel bag while holding my breath, but all was clear. Humm, the next thing was my sleeping bag which required further intrusion into the tent. So I reached way in and grabbed a corner and slowly pulled it back and HOLY SH*T he's still inside! You can see him behind my cot in the pic. Great, back to how the heck do you get one of these out of a tent? Well he didn't spray yet so that's good even though he's now exposed, so I went around the the rear again and tapped on the tent with more encouraging words to get the F out as now he had a clear shot to freedom. So back around I go to the front and I smell skunk, not real bad but definitely noticeable. Looked inside and he was gone, and the stink wasn't inside the tent so it felt like I dodged a bullet. He just gave a little parting shot headed out of camp to warn the foul mouthed creature not to follow. By the next day the smell was gone and therein lies rule #2 of camping in the desert - zip up the door anytime you're more than 10 feet from it and keep all camping boxes closed. AZ has 4 species of skunks but there's only 1 in WI (the striped, this one was a hog nosed). Not sure if that means 4x as many but I see them all the time out here, compared to maybe 1 per year back home. To be continued...
  12. Speedy

    Midwesterner Heading SW

    What an adventure. I think most of us hunt to get closer to nature, but I don't ever want to get that close again! And I'm not just talking about the game I was hunting. This could be long so I'll write it in stages as I get time. First let's start with my inexperience camping in the desert. In the past I've slept in the back of an SUV so in anticipation of driving out this time I bought a new tent and tested it out in elk country last Sept. It's an Oztent which claims a 30 second setup (it's more like 5 mins with the awning and guy lines). It's really nice, I also have panels to enclose the entire awning but didn't need it out here with just 1 person. Since it has a tall bathtub floor I got lazy and didn't bother to zip up the bottom of the door. Besides snakes and other creepys are not out now so what's the worry? Around 2 am the first night I wake to hear something inside my tent, of course my reaction is the yell Hey! and in the moonlight I see a kangaroo rat jump out the gap in the bottom of the door. I tell you what, from a nearly ground level position they look pretty formidable! But it was some time before I could sleep in peace as the next night one was banging on the side I think trying to get in again. More yelling and tapping on the side of the tent finally convinced it to go away. OK, rule #1 in the desert zip up the tent fully at night.
  13. Speedy

    Midwesterner Heading SW

    I’m headed back, not even COVID can keep me away this year! But this time is different, I’m driving and this will be my longest solo haul ever, 25 hours! My new Ranger should be up to the task as it already survived an elk hunt in CO. Sleeping in a tent rather than the back of an SUV will be nice too. Plan to leave early Saturday Jan 2 arriving Sunday night in time to pick up a Rid A Rat thing and a deer license at Wally World (already have a Javi tag). I have 2 weeks and hoping starting a week earlier will be better. My wife, 2 dogs and I were planning to rent a house and spend the entire winter there but that didn’t work out this year, but next year for sure. I’m just excited to get out of the house and hang out in the desert again. Hunting back here in WI and MN has been excruciatingly slow. What rut we had was way early and short. I’ve been trying to kill a doe for the last 4 weeks (5 days with a muzzleloader, rest bow) and I’m embarrassed to say my freezer is still empty. Might not have to be so picky and just take the first legal deer that wanders by. There’s no problem bringing meat home so there’s no excuses!
  14. Speedy

    Sinewy/Tendon Meat?

    Make Osso Bucco out of the shanks and you'll never grind them again. It's really easy - https://www.themeateater.com/cook/recipes/braised-shanks-osso-bucco-recipe
  15. Speedy

    Rid-A-Rat Pack Rat solution?

    Thanks, that's the recommendation I've been looking for! Of all the things I've read the Rid-A-Rat seems to be the way to go. Although there are some who swear it doesn't work, as well as moth balls, lights, etc. If not there are the rat traps but I have to think I'll be up all night with those going off!