Archive for the 'Dove' Category

“Citified” White-winged Doves

Monday, September 24th, 2018
White-winged dove

White-winged dove hanging out in a suburban backyard.

This is Passport to Texas

White-winged doves, originally associated with the Lower Rio Grande Valley, have expanded their range. Changes in land use practices sent the species farther north into urban areas. Suitable habitat kept them there.

Probably 80-85% of the white-wing dove population in Texas is associated with urban and suburban areas.

Nesting white-winged doves prefer established residential neighborhoods with large live oak, pecan, and ash trees. The availability of consistent food and water sources (birdbaths and bird feeders) make the living easy. Owen Fitzsimmons, Texas Parks and Wildlife’s web-less migratory game bird leader says Texas Parks and Wildlife staff conducts yearly urban dove surveys. He encourages citizens to share their observations of the species, too.

That being said, there are a number of citizen science information collection methods—things like eBird. That’s something that is not run by states or by fish and wildlife service, but it’s something I guarantee, that everybody looks at. It’s a very valuable information source. So, while we don’t have citizens of Texas doing the urban dove survey, I encourage them to report whatever they find on eBird. You know, because, that information is looked at as well.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series and funds research on White-winged Dove Density, Distribution, and Harvest.

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

Dining on Dove Carnitas

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

Dove Carnitas a la Killer Chefs. Photo: Jesse Morris.

This is Passport to Texas

With dove season underway in the north and central zones, bacon wrapped dove breasts will soon show up on the tables of hunters everywhere.

People don’t really like eating doves, they like eating bacon, if that’s the only way that they cook it.

Jesse Morris is a hunter and chef with Killer Chefs in Richardson, Texas. He says there are more inventive ways to enjoy dove—including carnitas.

Everybody’s go-to recipe—and there’s nothing wrong with it – is bacon wrapped dove. It’s nice to actually use all the bird. So, you can use the heart in the carnitas, and the legs, and the breast meat, and everything. Cooking that down low and slow; finishing it off, letting all the sugars come out in the product. It’s something good.

If you’re a new hunter and longtime foodie, you may be tempted to “go gourmet” when preparing dove or any game. Jesse recommends to start simply.

People get off on wanting to cover them in sauces or gravy, and things like that – when they’re really not tasting the bird, or whatever game that it is that they’re eating. When you’re first starting out cooking wild game, cook it simply: grill it; salt and pepper. See what the flavors that the actual game is, and then work with that.

We have Jesse Morris’ dove carnitas recipe [below] at Passport to Texas dot com.

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

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Dove Carnitas Recipe
Jesse Morris, www.killerchefs.com

One of my all-time favorites and go to recipe is carnitas. They are flavorful and easy to cook. My version of the recipe is not totally traditional. I like to lighten it up and use things that I can find around me in the late August early September months. If you don’t like the idea of using real sugar cokes, then don’t use it.  You may substitute piloncillo, an unrefined sugar, and water.

Ingredients

1 pound salt pork, large cubed

Pig skin or pig ears, you may use the skin from the salt pork

1 white onion, rough chopped

6 cloves garlic, peeled

1 pound block of lard

10 dove plucked and cleaned doves quartered and hearts (trust me)

1 bunch fresh thyme, whole

1 bunch fresh oregano, whole

2 sticks Mexican cinnamon

1 Meyer lemon (or small orange), peeled, rind and juice

3 Mexican real sugar cokes

Instructions

In a deep, heavy bottom pan or Dutch oven brown the salt pork.

Add onions and garlic to pan and sauté for a few minutes.

Then add lard and allow it to melt and begin to slightly fry ingredients in pan.

Next add dove and remainder of the ingredients and simmer for about an hour on medium/high heat until meat is tender and the cloudy look of the coke and lard turns semi clear.

Pick all the meat and some of the lemon peel out. Pull apart the meat to prep for serving.

Finish off on flat top or cast iron pan till caramelized.

I prefer to garnish with charred jalapeno, chimichurri and a slice of lime or Meyer lemon.

The Hunt for Flavor

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018
Jesse Morris of Killer Chefs.

Jesse Morris of Killer Chefs.

This is Passport to Texas

Jesse Morris is a hunter and professional chef; he traded his chef’s jacket for a new career that allows him to spend more time with his family.

I felt that I needed to have a creative outlet to continue food. Two of my greatest passions were food and hunting, so I decided what better way to celebrate what I was doing than to put those together; and that’s how Killer Chefs was born.

He shares these passions through the Killer Chefs website. Dove season is underway in the north and central zones, and Jesse says: don’t expect this bird to taste like chicken.

When people think about wild game, the thought in their head is it tastes “livery”. That’s the word that they use. It has a flavor to it. But, what will give it that “off taste” is not handling it properly.

Dove has a pleasing flavor, but because it’s delicate, it needs proper handling to ensure full enjoyment.

The very first thing in terms of food that you really want to think about, especially it being as hot as it is, is getting that animal cooled down. I always put the birds in a cooler right after they’re shot. Getting that body temperature cooled down as quickly as possible – that’s the most important thing.

That one act alone can mean the difference between delicious and disaster. Tomorrow: beyond bacon wrapped dove breasts.

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

Dove Banding

Friday, August 31st, 2018
Dove banding.

Dove banding.

This is Passport to Texas

Among the methods Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Fish & Wildlife Service use to collect data on mourning doves is banding.

Banding is an incredible resource. It’s been around a long time. Originally it was a way to mark birds and see if those same birds came back to an area.

But that’s not how Texas Parks and Wildlife uses banding today, says Owen Fitzsimmons, Texas Parks and Wildlife’s web-less migratory game bird leader.

We can band a certain portion of the population; we can determine where they’re harvested, harvest ratios. We can look at age ratios, because when we band these birds when we capture them, we can age them, we can sex them, and we can determine some population demographic information.

All that information goes into the adaptive harvest management plan. If you harvest a banded dove this season—report it.

Yeah, it is critical that people do report that. So, when you are out dove hunting and you do harvest your birds, take a real close look at the legs, because they have small legs—these bands are small—and a lot of times people just miss them. You get to keep the band. The USGS bird banding lab will send you a certificate or email saying where the bird was banded and who banded it. And hopefully, everyone that does harvest a bird with a band will report it.

Report your banded dove at reportband.gov.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series and funds Mourning Dove Density, Distribution, and Harvest surveys in Texas.

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

Dove Data Collection

Thursday, August 30th, 2018
Opening Day of Dove Season.

Opening Day of Dove Season.

This is Passport to Texas

The US Fish & Wildlife service works with state wildlife agencies to survey dove. One method involves Texas Parks and Wildlife field staff driving set routes. Stopping at various points, getting out of the vehicle and documenting what they see and hear.

Along with that, we have our banding program, which is a nationwide banding program for mourning dove. But Fish & Wildlife Service also does a parts collection survey, which is where they send a random sample of hunters across the US envelopes, and they ask for wings from birds that they’ve harvested.

Owen Fitzsimmons, is Texas Parks and Wildlife’s web-less migratory game bird leader. Regarding the parts collection…

We compile all the wings, and later in the year we get as many people as we can to go through all the wings in a week or so. We call that a “wing bee” kind of like a spelling bee. And we can look at the wings, and you can tell whether they’re a hatch year bird—meaning they were hatched that year. Or, they were an after hatch year bird—meaning they were probably breeding adults. And based on that, we can get age ratios; we can tell what age ratio was harvested. How many young birds were harvested versus adult birds.

And how is this information used?

We gather all this information from surveys to banding to parts collection surveys. We look at it from every angle. That’s ultimately Fish & Wildlife Service does to set the population parameters and look at possible changes in bag limits and season lengths and things like that.

Tomorrow Dove banding.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series and funds Mourning Dove Density, Distribution, and Harvest surveys in Texas.

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