Tod's Blog

Adventures with family & friends and other things I'm passionate about…

Archive for November, 2008

Grouse Kabobs

Posted by todblog on November 19, 2008

November 19, 2008


Here’s a kabob recipe to try after your next successful gamebird hunt. The great thing about kabobs is that you cut up the meat into bite-size pieces and that gives you more surface area to soak up the marinade and also helps you find any stray shot pellets that you might have missed when cleaning the birds. The assorted veggies you skewer along with the meat adds great color and flavor to the mix. It’s also an excellent way to stretch a two-bird sage grouse bag limit into a bigger meal. This is an easy recipe and it’s a real crowd pleaser!

2 pounds of boneless game bird breast and thigh meat

assorted vegetable chunks (broccoli, bell peppers, tomatoes, sweet onions, zucchini, squash, etc.


-1 cup soy sauce

-3/4 cup sugar

-1/8 cup water

-1 inch fresh ginger grated

-2 cloves garlic, crushed

-1 Tbsp sesame oil

Combine all marinade ingredients.

Cut up meat into bite size chunks and soak in marinade for an hour or longer (I usually leave it overnight in the fridge).

Skewer meats and vegetables and cook on barbecue grill or broil in oven until done. Caution: control consumption of kabobs. They are very tasty however, eat slowly and always bite gently on the meat in case any shot pellets escaped detection in the kitchen.



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Clearwater Cast & Snake River Blast

Posted by todblog on November 2, 2008

October 15, 2008

The last time Jeanine and I took a vacation together was in the spring of 2000 to visit friends and family in the southeast corner of the U.S. and to do a little spring turkey hunting. That was eight long years ago and we were way overdue for another getaway…

Each year we try our best to be locavores and this past spring we were successful at drawing controlled hunt buck tags for Oregon’s Snake River Wildlife Management Unit. It would be Jeanine’s first time hunting deer in eastern Oregon. The deer season ran from October 4th to the 15th and we wondered when we could make the 11 hour drive to the hunting area after juggling work schedules along with kids school and sports activities. We wondered if we could even make it work at all.

Several weeks later we received an invitation from Neil Canine, a friend and longtime fishing mentor, to join him on a trophy steelhead fishing trip down Idaho’s famous Clearwater River. These steelhead are known as B-run fish that spend a couple of years in the ocean before returning to their freshwater place of birth. These fish are large and feisty fighters and the average annual run size is 40,000 fish.

It was a super opportunity to hook up with good friends and trophy fish and it would only be a few hours from our Snake River buck huntin’ spot in Oregon. Things were shaping up for a perfect week long fishing and hunting combo vacation. We just had to make it happen but, what about the kids…

Our wonderful neighbors, the Lehnes, stepped in to help out with the kids and took over parental duties for a week. We hugged the kids and said goodbye, left Roseburg and headed east for the famous potato state of Idaho. It was a long overdue getaway trip that we both looked forward to doing.

Ten hours later, we rolled into Orofino, Idaho where we would spend the next three days at the Best Western Lodge at Rivers Edge. It was a beautiful lodge right on the bank of the Clearwater River. The lobby was always buzzing with anglers swapping fishing tales. We fished with guides from Clearwater Drifters for two full days and they did a great job of getting us into fish each day. We caught fish by side-drifting salmon eggs and we also hooked fish using hot shot and wiggle wart plugs. The guides really knew the river and how to fish it. The steelhead ranged in size from 14 to 20 pounds and made great runs while performing aerial acrobatics and stripping line off the reels. We turned loose all of our fish as regulations required all steelhead be released prior to October 15th.

Jeanine and her guide Adam with a nice Clearwater River steelhead

Adam with Nalin’s steelhead caught side-drifting eggs

Our guide Greg and Neil with a steelhead duped by a “Michael Jackson” plug

While in Orofino, we got to catch up with Bill and Marji Morrow, who formerly owned and operated Ironwood Custom Framing in Waimea. The Morrows sold their business and relocated to Orofino a few years before we left Waimea. They always told us about the beauty and great outdoor activities that surrounded them. It was clear to see why they chose the area and it was great seeing them once again.

imgp3603View from the drift boat along the Clearwater River

It was good to be out on the river again with Neil and reminisce about old times. My first real exposure to the great outdoors in the western states was with Neil in the summer of 1975. We spent a few weeks in Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho fishing for trout in a number of lakes and rivers. There were very few fishermen and boats on the water back then. It was before Robert Redford’s movie “A River Runs Through It” popularized flyfishing for trout and rivers received labels like “Blue Ribbon”. As a teenager, it was an eye-opening trip for me and had a profound impact on my career path and my decision to work in the outdoors. Recently, Jacob has been wondering about careers and asked me when I knew what I wanted to do. I can honestly say my days on the water with Neil were an influential point in my life. It was then and there I knew I wanted an outdoor career and to be poor. Yes, in many ways it was Neil’s fault.

On Thursday we left Orofino and headed back to Oregon for our hunting segment of the trip. The drive was very scenic as we passed through Washington and re-entered Oregon through the Grande Ronde River. The rugged mountains were deeply dissected and beautiful.

Rattlesnake Grade- the route we took from Washington (where we’re standing) into Oregon (behind our heads) through the Grande Ronde River below.

dsc_0159A view of the Eagle Caps from Joseph, Oregon

It took three hours to reach the Snake River Wildlife Management Unit where we would spend the next few days hunting for bucks on Bitsy Kelley’s Diamond Head Ranch. It was late afternoon when we rolled into hunting camp and the weather was starting to turn on us. The skies were collecting dark heavy clouds and leaves began to rustle. We quickly got our gear together and headed for the field to see if we couldn’t locate some deer in the area.

I wanted to get Jeanine lined up to take her first eastern Oregon buck as we slipped into a field we had permission to hunt. We crawled to the edge of the field and ran out of cover. From there, we watched a pile of mule deer make their way downhill to a neighboring field we didn’t have access to. There was a nice large 4 point mule deer buck in the group but, he was about 305 yards away and about to jump into the neighboring field. It was a little too far for Jeanine’s comfort and she couldn’t settle into a solid position to take a shot. So, we watched the group of deer mosey across the fence and into a lush alfalfa field for their evening dinner. We opted to fill our bellies too and headed back to camp and called it a day.

The next morning we were greeted by a cold lonesome breeze with big flaky white stuff spitting sideways. It was cold enough to snow but, not cold enough to accumulate on the ground. We looked around for an hour and decided the deer were smarter than us, were kegged-up out of the storm, and that we should do the same. We figured things would improve once the weather broke so we went back to camp. Around 3pm, the storm cleared and things calmed down a lot.

Jeanine and I headed back out to see if the deer were on the move again and we found small groups here and there emerging from brush patches. It was encouraging to see activity picking up. We decided to take a walk up a dirt ranch road that paralleled a brushy creek bottom. There were lots of tracks in the road and some were very fresh and large too. As we inched our way up the road in full stealth mode, I scanned along the right side of the road looking into grassy openings across the creek while Jeanine focused on the left side of the road. Suddenly I felt a series of rapid taps on my thigh…

“There… deer!”, she said in an excited whisper.

We instantly froze and slowly sank to our knees in the middle of the dirt ranch road and hoped we weren’t just busted. I grabbed my binoculars and put ’em up to my eyes and slowly rose up enough to see eartips and heads of deer through the tall grass. There were 5 deer milling around on a grassy hillside 60 yards to our left and the good news was they weren’t spooked…yet. The late afternoon sun was directly behind us and probably made us hard to see from where the deer were. However, we were stuck in our position. To advance along the road would mean spooking the deer and perhaps others in the area. We decided to sit tight and wait for a while and see what else happened. Jeanine settled down in the middle of the dirt road and steadied her rifle in a pair of shooting sticks. I sneaked another peek at the deer to see if anything had changed. Turns out one of the deer was a spike buck and the others were does. I relayed my findings to Jeanine and told her the spike was legal if she wanted it but, she opted to wait.

imgp3607Jeanine sets up waiting for an opportunity…

The wait took only a few minutes before Jeanine spotted a large mule deer buck walking down the dirt ranch road towards us. He was heading towards the group of deer to our left and angled off the road towards them. Jeanine was borrowing Jacob’s .260 Ruger rifle and had the buck centered in the Burris scope crosshairs when she squeezed off a shot. At 70 yards away the buck jumped up and lurched forward and I knew she did a good job delivering the 130 grain Barnes TSX bullet where it counted. The buck ran less than 50 yards and dropped.

Jeanine with her 3×3 Mule Deer Buck

While we were focused on watching the large mule deer buck, a second pair of bucks showed up on the road where the first buck appeared and they didn’t know what all the commotion was about. I scrambled and grabbed my rifle and a pair of shooting sticks and zeroed in on the closest of the pair of mule deer bucks. At 103 yards the .30-06 Browning rifle sent a Nosler 150 grain AccuBond bullet to its mark and our Snake River buck hunt was over. It was 4:30pm and still plenty of time to field dress the deer and get them back to camp.

2008 Deer Season ends for us with this 3×2 Mule Deer Buck

Our last few days together at the Diamond Head Ranch were a great finale to a week long fishing and hunting trip that we both thoroughly enjoyed. Driving across the state provided lots of time to talk and get reconnected again with each other without worrying about the daily deadlines and interruptions that life throws at you. It certainly didn’t hurt having gorgeous country surrounding us each day and catching steelhead and mule deer was also an added bonus. It was time well spent as a couple and just what the doctor ordered. Hopefully it won’t be another eight years before we do a trip like this again.

I believe there is an axiom that says: “a family that fishes and hunts together stays together” or maybe it was a camo bumper sticker I saw… If not, there should be one.

Thanks Lehnes, Neil & Nalin, Bill & Marji, and Bitsy for providing us such a wonderful trip!

Posted in 2008, Hunting, Stories | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments »