Something Fishy

Something Fishy
t Doesn't Get Much Better

Monday, September 15, 2014

Missy enjoys the warm Sunday afternoon sunshine

      Missy, our new rescue dog, is a pure joy. 
    She loves to explore the back yard, but also loves the sunshine. Yesterday was cool, the sun was warm on our back deck.
     While it seems there almost was no summer, fall is one of the best time of the year whether you are a hunter, fisher person, hiker, or a dog.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Fall isn't just for hunting; it also is the season for some of year's top fishing


It’s been a cool summer and hot weather didn’t arrive till the end of August, and the TV weather guy says we still have hot days ahead. 
However, leaves are beginning to swirl to the ground. Their color is changing. Particularly, the change is starting in my two Walnut trees out back. It may be part that fall is coming. 
It has been an unusual summer. Until the last few weeks, it has been quite cool. My grass never turned brown. It still is bright green and constantly in need of attention from the mower.
Fall probably is my favorite season. However, I have very little enthusiasm for what follows. Winter. 
It is true, Winter has some virtues, although the old mind struggles to enumerate many. It seems the number shrinks as my age increases.
However, summer really isn’t over. There will be more warm days and the water temperature is still warm. It is a time when big catfish are feeding prior to winter months. There isn’t a better time to land a big catfish. Their feeding frenzy, especially in rivers and big lakes, usually lasts through the middle of September when the water begins to cool.
And when the water begins to cool, it marks a time for crappie fishing action to pick up.
Crappie fishing can be as good in the fall as it is during the spring spawn. In fact, it can be just as much fun and productive as there are fewer people and boats on lakes and streams making noise and spooking the fish.
Fall crappie fishing can be a bit more challenging than spring action because often the fish are more scattered. They are harder to find. They also may be more unpredictable.
During fall, the water temperature eventually becomes about the same at all levels and crappie can be found at most any depth. However, once you find them, they can be caught.
During fall, a day in the outdoors can combine squirrel hunting and crappie fishing. My old friend Bayou Bill Scifres used to call it “squirrelshing”.

Ground cherry pie, not your typical pie from a tree Washington whacked


Recently our family gathered for a cookout and to celebrate my son’s birthday. My daughter insisted he must have a cherry pie--one of his favorites.
After a relatively cool summer, the weather had finally turned not warm, but hot, so neither me or my wife were anxious to heat up the oven and bake a cherry pie for the event. The grocery bakery came to mind.
By chance, I stopped by a Dutch country store where the folks there sell bulk foods, meats and a number of home grown products. The store has a greenhouse and gardens for fruits and vegetables.
On Saturday, the store usually offers baked goods. When I looked into a cooler, there was a ground cherry pie. I picked up a bag of buckwheat pancake mix as well as several other items and took them to the checkout area. I also retrieved the ground cherry pie. It was already baked and ideal for Erik’s birthday.
“Is a ground cherry a particular type of cherry?”, I asked the young woman wearing a long dress and bonnet behind the counter.
“Yes,” she replied, “but maybe my mother could explain it better.”
A minute or two later, the mother appeared.
I asked her the same question. She indicated a ground cherry is much different from the regular cherries I know.
“They grow on a bush,” she said. “We plant them in the garden. Someone came in this spring and wanted ground cherries, but I told them they wouldn’t be available until fall,” she explained as we unloaded several boxes of tomatoes.
When I asked what they taste like, she explained they were somewhat like a cross between a cherry tomato and pineapple.
Although I knew we would still need to bake a regular cherry pie, I decided to buy the ground cherry pie and try something new.
“When you come back in, I’d like to know what you think about the ground cherry pie,” added the lady.
I haven’t had a chance to offer a review, but must say it is different. The cherries look a bit like orange colored gooseberries, and I can’t say they taste just like any other fruit or vegetable. The pie was good, but I would prefer any good, cherry, apple or peach pie.
Ground cherries more frequently can be found at farmer’s markets in late summer and early fall.  Apparently, they grow wild in some areas along the edges of fields and fence rows, or can be planted and harvested. They also are known as husk tomatoes, strawberry tomatoes and dwarf Cape gooseberries. They are about the size of a blueberry.
Ground cherries and not cherries or gooseberries. Their papery husk looks a bit like a small Chinese lantern. Like tomatillos, they are members of a family that  produces peppers, eggplants, tomatoes and potatoes.
They taste a bit like a super sweet cherry tomato with a hint of pineapple, but it is difficult to describe. And, no, they don’t taste like chicken.
According to one internet site, harvesting ground cherries is easy. The cherries usually fall off the bush. Gather the ground cherries that have collected on the ground, avoiding those with husks that are dark in coloration
The husks should be beige, with a dry, paper-like quality. The fruits should be a rosy yellow color  when removed from their paper-like wrappers.
If the fruits are still tinged with green, let them sit in their husks in a cool, dry place for a few days and they will become sweeter.
Although those who tried the ground cherry pie at Erik’s birthday gathering gave it a passing grade. It may be a dessert that needs an acquired taste.
P.S. The regular cherry pie won the family taste test contest.

Monday, September 8, 2014

KDFWR, QDMA offers Nelson County beginning deer hunting, prep class


Kentucky’s Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources staff and members of the Derby City Branch of the Quality Deer Management Association will team to offer a hands-on course designed to give first time hunters basic instruction in deer hunting.
The course also will provide information on preparing venison for the dinner table.
According to KDFWR’s Jason Nally, the course includes one night of classroom instruction followed by a day-long field course. 
The cost of the course is $30 and includes a 2014-2015 Combination Fishing and Hunting License for Kentucky residents. This fee will be waived for Kentucky residents who show a current annual Kentucky combo hunting and fishing license.
The classroom portion of the workshop will be held at the Nelson County Cooperative Extension office and will cover a variety of topics including deer biology and behavior, the history of whitetail deer in Kentucky, finding a place to hunt and basic hunting strategies. The class room portion of the course will be limited to 30 participants. 
The field portion of the course, will be held at the Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area in Meade County, and will include an introduction to firearms and archery equipment, deer processing and preservation, tree stand safety, hide tanning and the identification of plants and habitats important to deer.
All workshops are recommended for ages 16 and up and participants are encouraged to attend both the classroom session and field portion of the workshop.
        To register for the course or for more information, contact Jason Nally at (502) 477-9288 or e-mail him at jason.nally@ky.gov. The deadline to register for the course is Sept. 26,.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Indiana dove season opens Labor Day; season expanded by 18 days


Indiana’s dove season opens Labor Day, Sept. 1, and will be expanded by an additional 18 days.
The 2014-15 season not only will have more than two additional weeks of hunting opportunities, it also will be broken up into three sessions.
To accommodate these additional days, the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife has added a third period for dove hunting, in December and January. 
Additionally, the DNR extended the first period, and modified the second period to avoid conflicts with the firearms deer season.
The 2014-15 mourning dove hunting season is comprised of three sessions:
- Sep. 1 – Oct. 19 
- Nov. 1 – Nov. 9
- Dec. 13 – Jan. 11
Hunting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise until sunset. The daily bag limit is 15 with a possession limit of 45.
“Most mourning doves are harvested in September, but great dove hunting can be found later in the season with a little scouting,” said Budd Veverka, DNR farmland game research biologist in a recent news release.
 “Looking at data from the past five years, I would expect to see approximately 11,000 dove hunters harvest nearly 214,000 mourning doves in 2014. With the extended season, the harvest could be even higher.”
The expansion is based on research by the Indiana DNR and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Since 2003, Indiana has partnered with the USFWS to place leg bands on more than 1,000 mourning doves each summer in Indiana. The banded birds help biologists determine hunting harvest rates, estimate annual survival, and provide information on the geographical distribution of the harvest. 
“Doves are found throughout the state, but will concentrate in areas associated with farming,” Veverka said. “Recently harvested grain fields with water nearby are typically hotspots for dove hunting.”
To hunt mourning doves, Indiana residents must purchase the annual hunting license for $17 ($7 youth consolidated license) and the game bird habitat stamp for $6.75. 
Nonresidents must also purchase the game bird habitat stamp in addition to the $80 annual hunting license or the $31 five-day hunting license ($17 annual youth hunting).
Federal regulations require all licensed dove hunters (including lifetime license holders) to register with the Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP) and carry proof of registration while hunting. HIP registration is free and available at wildlife.IN.gov/3567.htm or by calling 1-866-671-4499.
Hunters using state fish & wildlife areas or state-owned reservoirs are required to use non-toxic shot when hunting mourning doves. 
Hunters who harvest a banded bird, should report it at 1-800-327-BAND (2263) orreportband.gov. Hunters may keep any bands they recover.
Information on regulations and licensing is available at wildlife.IN.gov.
# # # #
Doves are a dark meat with a flavor somewhat like liver. Some people say they don’t like the meat, but properly prepared, doves are great eating.
My favorite way to prepare them is to marinate the breasts overnight. You can make your own or buy a commercial marinade.
The next day, wrap them in in bacon like rumaki, and cook them on a charcoal grill. They make a great meal-starter, or if you have enough, a main course themselves.
Another good recipe comes from Uncle Russ Chittenden’s book, Good Ole Boys Wild Game Cookbook or How to Cook ‘Possum and Other Varmits Good.
Russ calls for a limit of dove breasts (or whatever you can scrounge), salt and pepper to taste, two eggs (Dominecker preferred), Italian bread crumbs, 3/4 cup cookin’ oil, Ritz crackers (or something similar).
Remove the breasts with a sharp boning knife like you would those of a duck or goose. With luck, you’ll have 30. Salt and pepper to taste. Dip in beaten egg stuff, and coat with bread crumbs.
Fry in oil until brown, turning several times. Drain for a minute or two on paper towels. Serve “hot” on crackers.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

New Indiana DNR course helps deer hunters get started in sport


Deer hunters who get into the sport are fortunate if they have someone--maybe a relative or friend--who can teach them the basics of whitetail hunting. 
However, people who think they might want to take up deer hunting, may find it intimating to start without a mentor. That’s the primary reason the Indiana Department of Natural Resources has started a new program called Hunt, Fish & Eat.
A new four session free class starts Wednesday, Aug. 27 in Bloomington. It’s a bit of a drive from far southern Indiana, but could be well worth it for folks who want to learn about whitetail hunting,
Registration is open for the free DNR program that teaches participants how to hunt white-tailed deer in Indiana. The program is a four-session series, with an optional fifth session. Sessions are once a week in the evenings and offer hands-on learning in a safe environment.
Hunt, Fish, Eat helps new hunters ages 18 and older to improve their self-reliance skills and to learn to harvest a delicious source of fresh, local meat.
The sessions will focus on laws and regulations, firearms and safety, archery, locating a hunting spot, tracking and field dressing your harvest and handling and preparing your venison for the table.
Each session includes an opportunity to sample venison recipes from instructors and examine a variety of hunting gear and resources.
Participants should attend all sessions. All equipment is provided. A hunting license is not needed. Register for the Bloomington sessions at dnr.IN.gov/fishwild/7548.htm.

Kentucky dove season opens Sept. 1 and there should be plenty of birds


Sept. 1 marks the opening day of dove season in Kentucky. It’s a day anxiously awaited by bird hunters, and also ammunition manufacturers.
Doves are fun to hunt, good to eat, and the weather usually is good, However, they aren't’ easy targets. They zig, they zag, and hunters should have an ample supply of shells on hand.
Most of the birds available during early dove season are those that stay in the area throughout the year. It takes a cold snap up north to push migrating birds into the state later in fall.
In Kentucky, dove season opens on Labor Day, Sept. 1 statewide. This season, hunters have an additional 20 days to pursue doves, with most of those days scheduled for the last two segments of the season.  The opening segment of dove season closes Oct. 26. Dove season opens again Nov. 27 and closes Dec. 7. The third segment opens Dec. 20 and closes Jan. 11, 2015.
“The crops are on time and on schedule and everything is teed up and ready for dove season,” said Rocky Pritchert, migratory bird coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, in a news release issued by the department.
“The outlook for dove season is positive. The habitat is looking really good,” he said.
Pritchert reports seeing early silage and tobacco harvest, which is a good sign for the upcoming season. “The one negative may be with the habitat so abundant, birds may be less likely to concentrate,” he said.  “Whenever you have an abundance of habitat, the birds could spread out after opening day to areas undisturbed by hunting.”
The public dove hunting fields on both private lands and on department wildlife management areas are in great shape for the upcoming season, Pritchert said. 
Fields on private land open to public hunting on Sept. 1 and close Sept. 2 through Sept. 5 and open again on Sept. 6 (fields hosting mentor/youth dove hunts don’t open to public hunting until Sept. 6). 
Dove fields on wildlife management areas open to public hunting Sept. 1, but those hosting mentor/youth hunts open to public hunting Sept. 2. All of the public dove fields on private lands close to hunting Oct. 24.
Consult the 2014-2015 Kentucky Dove Hunting Guide available online at fw.ky.gov for a list of public dove fields. Printed versions of the guide will be available in a few days wherever hunting licenses are sold.
Scout the dove fields you plan to hunt, whether public or private, before the season. Study how doves enter the field. “Look for any tree lines, power lines, fence lines or brush lines doves are using for flyways,” Pritchert said. “Position yourself along those flight lines. Place your back to the sun so you are not looking into it.”
Pritchert also recommends finding a position in the dove field with some sort of backdrop. “You don’t want to be silhouetted on an open hillside,” he said. “Find cover or a rise behind you.”
A 12 or 20-gauge shotgun loaded with shotshells containing No. 7 1/2 or No. 8 shot work well for doves. 
After opening weekend, hunting pressure often causes doves to change their behaviors and they don’t come to prepared fields with the same frequency. “Silage or harvested corn fields are good places to start later in the season,” Pritchert said. “Also, farm ponds can be really good late in the day when doves are coming for water.”
Target these areas in the additional days afforded during the second and third segments of dove season. “Those last two segments can be great hunting,” Pritchert said. “There are still a lot of doves in the state in late November, December and January.”
In addition to a valid Kentucky hunting license, dove hunters also need a Kentucky migratory game bird – waterfowl hunting permit. The bag limit is 15 doves per day.