Archive for the 'howto' Category

Field Dressing Game

Monday, January 15th, 2018
Tagging legally harvested deer.

Tagging legally harvested deer.

This is Passport to Texas

Lee Smith comes from a hunting family. This longtime Austin resident and avid home cook, says from the start, he’s hunted for meat not trophies.

Once you’ve pulled the trigger and you’ve got an animal down, the work really begins.

As soon as the animal’s down, the clock starts ticking; field dressing the animal is a race against spoilage.

Meat spoils due to three things: heat, moisture and dirt. Getting those internal organs out is going to immediately start to let that carcass cool. Second thing is: the skin. Taking that skin off is going to get that animal cooler, and also allow it to dry quicker. Once you’ve got it back [to camp], and taken the skin off, you rinse out the interior chest cavity, and get it into that cooler.

If you’re hunting on public land, or there’s no walk-in cooler at your lease, after field dressing and skinning the animal, quarter it.

That’s taking off the four quarters, the two backstraps, and the rear legs. That’s what you are legally bound to take. If you don’t take that, you can be ticketed for waste of game.

Put the quarters into tall kitchen garbage bags, and then into coolers with ice. How to handle game when you get it home – that’s tomorrow.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Learn to Cook Fish that Everyone Enjoys

Monday, January 1st, 2018
Preparing red snapper at Central Market Cooking School in Austin. Image: Bruce Biermann

Preparing red snapper at Central Market Cooking School in Austin. Image: Bruce Biermann

This is Passport to Texas

If one of your resolutions for 2018 includes catching, cooking and eating more fish, we’re here to help.

Freshwater and saltwater fish and shellfish are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, something most of us lack in our Standard American Diet…the acronym for which is SAD.

In Texas, we have fishing opportunities statewide. But once you’ve caught them, then what? Some of us don’t have much experience preparing fish. So we steer clear.

However, this month’s Texas Parks and Wildlife cooking class collaboration with Central Market cooking schools, will help get you past this aversion. It’s a hands-on class that will have you preparing fish like a pro—with a citrus twist.

The menu for this class includes Fried Oyster Tacos with Citrus Salsa; Roasted Red Snapper with Citrus & Pistachios; & Blackened Redfish with Quick Cabbage & Lemon Butter. Happy New Year, right?

Classes are Tuesday, January 9 in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Plano and Southlake. Historically, fish and seafood classes tend to fill fast.

Find registration information at passporttotexas.org [click on the links above to the school closest to you].

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Barrington Living History Farm Goes Whole Hog

Friday, January 6th, 2017
Butchering and curing workshop at Barrington Living History Farm.

Butchering and curing workshop at Barrington Living History Farm.

This is Passport to Texas

They’re going whole hog at Barrington Living History Farm January 14 & 15. That’s when they’ll present a hog butchering and curing program to the public.

Butchering is just one part of many things that we do seasonally throughout the year.

Barb King is a park interpreter at the farm, located at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site. The program takes place outdoors in January just as would have happened in 1850s rural Texas.

So, all the meat that will be produced, and the sausage and the fat that we will save for soap or cooking all needs to be at a constant temperature, which is cold—like your fridge. So that we can start the curing process without worrying about it spoiling.

Staff will dispatch a heritage breed hog before visitors arrive. Barb says the rest of the process is for public view, which is mostly a demonstration…

People are able to do a tiny bit if they choose—like helping us scrape the hogs. But cutting up the carcass into specific portions of meat is only done by staff. A lot of people come right at 10, and we normally have a big group waiting. And then on Sunday, we focus on more of the preservation aspect.

Visitors who return Sunday will observe how staff cures the meat for storage. The butchering and curing program at Barrington Living History Farm is January 14 & 15, from 10am – 4pm both days. Admission fees apply. Find complete details at texasstateparks.org.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Learning to Hunt

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016
Hunters patiently waiting.

Hunters patiently waiting.

There is a registration fee of $50 for the New Hunter Workshop to cover costs, which includes lunch.
For more information or to register for the workshop, contact Bill Balboa at bill.balboa@ag.tamu.edu or call 979-245-4100.

This is Passport to Texas

A growing interest in the origin of the food they eat led some people, who’ve never hunted before, to seek out hunting opportunities.

And so what we’re trying to do is get them started from the very basics.

Bill Balboa, of Agrilife Extension, says a New Hunter Workshop, October 15, in collaboration with Texas Parks and Wildlife, will introduce interested foodies to hunting basics.

There’s not going to be any hunting, but there will be some firearm safety and some target practice with some .22s that Texas Parks and Wildlife Hunter Ed is going to loan us. And, they’re going to have some of their Hunter Ed safety instructors out there to help us. But there won’t be any hunting at this point. But, people will be provided all the information they need to sign up for public hunts in Texas.

Minimum age to participate is nine, accompanied by an adult.

What I’m hoping is, all folks who have the desire to do the field to table experience—we’re looking for those new hunters that don’t have much experience—particularly with the processing with the animal. The seminar is going to be heavily slanted in that direction. So, we would like to get those folks out—anyone who would like to come out and do that. New hunters in general.

The New Hunter Workshop, October 15, is at the Nannie M. Stringfellow Wildlife Management Area in Brazoria County. It’s limited to 30 people. Find a link to registration information at passporttotexas.org.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

How to Sight Your Hunting Rifle

Thursday, September 8th, 2016



This is Passport to Texas

Bring a properly sighted rifle into the field this hunting season. You may have your own method, and here’s another to consider:

With an unloaded firearm, make initial adjustments on the scope by bore sighting with a device or the naked eye. Yet, a shooting range is where real adjustments occur.

Practice with the same ammo you’ll use when hunting. Different brands and cartridge weights vary in performance. If you sight in your firearm with one kind of cartridge but hunt with another, you risk missing your target.

At 25 yards and using a paper target with a one-inch grid pattern, shoot three rounds, aligning the scope’s crosshairs at the exact center of the target. This three-shot group will reveal how far off center your scope is set.

Based on the average of your shots, use the scope’s dials, to make adjustments. For vertical movement adjust the elevation. For horizontal movement, adjust left and right, called windage. At 25 yards, you can adjust for windage, but for proper elevation, it is best to move the target back to 100 yards and shoot three more rounds.

Depending on the average distances you shoot at game in the field, you may want to center your group either at the bulls-eye or at one inch high at 100 yards.

Find a sighting demo video at passporttotexas.org.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.