30 December 2008

Kiji in the fields

This morning this huge Green Pheasant "Kiji" was scratching for food in the field next to the house, so SK-1 snapped these pictures. Enjoy!

Here is a look at one of the same birds taken by SK-2 earlier this year during the spring mating season. The color change is amazing!!!

14 December 2008

First Snow!

Last night it started raining and this morning we had our first snow in our hunting area on the slopes of Mount Fuji! As soon as the snow stopped, I was in the mountain. I clicked a few photos before the other members of my hunting group arrived. Enjoy!

A view of a snow covered tree with the clouds opening up over Subashiri Town, taken from Gotemba 5-Gome. Fresh snow at Ju-Hachi-Ban, one of my favorite hunting areas:

12 December 2008

Tractor Time

Getting ready to disk in the weeds. This is the first time in many years that anything has been done in this field, except cutting the weeds a few times per year.
The tractor just needed the water drained from the fuel.

Traditional Wisdom Meets Scientific Theory

"Traditional Wisdom Meets Scientific Theory"...What the heck are you talking about?

Let me explain: Traditional wisdom tells us that the 30 minutes before sunset, and the 30 minutes after sunrise are excellent times to hunt and fish. Why? Probably since during this time many animals/fish are seen traveling. Some may be headed to their food source, while others may be headed to their bedding areas. Some are beginning their "day", and others are ending their "day" (nocturnal/diurnal). Theories abound but all most of us know is that animals are active.
Many people also consider the moon cycles as having some influence over the actions of animals and people, with particular emphasis being attributed to the full moon. Again, there are lots of theories out there. Some are quite bizarre!
I first became interested in this subject while spending a lot of time night spearfishing along the shores of Okinawa, Japan. I noticed that many creatures were active 30 minutes before and after sunset, and again 30 minutes before and after sunrise. I was obviously not the first person to notice this but, in an effort to improve my catch, I did more research. I noticed that there were also active times related to the tides (2 hours surroundings the slack tides, for example). I also noticed that there was a vast difference in activity levels on different days, which appeared to be possibly linked to the moon phase so I started more research. I hit the books (not many available) and the 'net. I finally landed on material detailing the theories around the solar and lunar tables being used to actually predict favorable fishing/hunting times. I started looking at the game movement times published by the major outdoor sports magazines, and the ones available on the web. While each company that produces these calendars makes different predictions, they are often very similar. I started comparing the times that were supposed to be high activity levels with my personal observations. Guess what, I really started seeing a correlation! Soon the fish activity predictions and tide charts became a mainstay of my spearfishing scheduling and I felt that they were extremely valuable. So valuable in fact, that I would actually decide not to dive if the charts predicted low activity.
Fast forward about 5 years and this convinced fisherman moved to the mountains and resumed big and small game hunting. I took a closer look at the solar and lunar charts, and the updated information available, and began to compare them with my personal observations afield. You guessed it, the charts and my personal observations matched almost exactly! I tested the charts for several hundred days afield over the next few years and then started sharing this info with my close friends. I started with my Yabanjin Wife, SK-2, and would take her on "safari" during the non-hunting season to check tracks, trails, and possibly sight animals. I could virtually predict if we would see animals or not. Some afternoons/evenings we would not see a critter in 3 hours, and on predicted high activity level days we would see 10 or more animals in the same locations at the same time as the day before. One one extremely memorable occasion we saw more than 40 deer and a huge inoshishi on one grass slope eating together and they ran right in front of my super-Jimny jeep. She was convinced and now the wife is also a believer in these tables.
Don't forget all the local conditions that affect game/fish activity that are specific to your area. These include current weather, inbound weather, vehicle/hiker traffic, and other things that affect your quarry.
How to find out more info? I recommend doing some research independently. With so many companies out there making "Solunar" tables and movement predictions, it is best to keep an open mind and use the ones that make sense to you, based on their stated research and your personal observations. I used the ones from the North American Hunting Club magazine as a reference but these are hard to convert to Japan times. I also used John Knight's Solunar Tables which appeared to be more accurate but also cumbersome to convert. I finally hit pay dirt with a simple Casio "Hunting Timer" watch. A few pushes of the buttons set it for my geographical area and it has been amazingly accurate. I also adjusted it for 3 hunting trips to Hokkaido with equally good results. This watch is also available as a "Fishing Timer" (same watch, different color, blue vice brown). They run about $39 US and are available in Japanese too. I am not selling a product here but this one has worked for me for the last 7 years.
I found a copy of the Casio instructions on line and used them to help me explain this to my hunting and fishing buddies. I have a few more believers now.
While all of these charts try to make you believe that they will tell you to the minute when you will see game, please apply your own common sense to this. I use it to make general decisions such as: still hunt from my stand or conduct drives, get up super early and sit in my stand, or sleep in late. I ESPECIALLY LIKE THE SLEEPING IN LATE OPTION!
I know this is long, but I hope it is helpful to you if you have never heard of this. Remember, the most important thing is to spend the time in the field, on (or under) the water, and learn as much as you can about your quarry. These tables might help make more efficient use of your time, or put more food in the freezer, but true success should be measured by the time/experiences you have afield!
See you in the Yama!

09 December 2008

SK-1 to the world...

One of the first items I needed to install in my new guy's shack (aka Super House) was my musen. This is actually an amateur HAM Radio. In Japan, US-style CB radios are not used but rather various HAM frequencies are used. We use both the 455.XXX band and the 144.XXX bands. Some are used for hunting, others are set aside for disaster management, and for the Mount Fuji Rescue Team. Now I can communicate with them all!
My set up is actually a mobile (for use in a vehicle) transceiver with an electric power supply. The secret to this set up is the 2 meter antenna I installed outside on the 4 meter pole. This gives the radio a full band to send and receive through (The frequencies we use are considered as 2 meter bands).
I actually obtained my US HAM radio operators' "Technician" level license while here in Japan! KI6IBR is my true call sign (but we use the SK designation symbolizing the combination of my wife's and my last names). I took the test in Nagoya 2 years ago with the Nagoya HAM club. This is now accepted in Japan and only a small amount of paperwork to get your Japanese license (always remember this is Japan so...)
Today I did an operations check in the pouring rain and communicated with my wife at from my kei truck parked outside my office (full time job) and she used the base station. it went something like this:

-"SK-2, this is SK-1. Radio Check, Over-"
-"SK-1, this is SK-2. Reading you Loud and Clear-"
-"Roger, Reading you Lima Charlie as well-"
-"SK-1 OUT!"

2m antenna on a 4m pole attached to the Super Shack...

the "Super House"

The "Super House" (in Japanese Katakana in the photo below) is my new shack! Since our property was devoid of all structures when we took over, everything must be raised from scratch. With a proper garage a year or two in the future, I needed a place to house my tools and field gear right away! The tools in the walk-in closet and laying around the house were actually getting on my nerves.
Enter the "Super House". This nifty little box is actually a portable construction office. The brother-in-law founds us a great deal on this (25 man Yen, or about $2500). He also delivered it and set it up with me. Not bad! about 8 feet by 18 foot interior with almost 8 foot ceiling, windows and doors, electrical hook up with breaker and outlet and fluorescent lights, and a vent. I already installed a secondary floor of particle board to supplement the fairly thin floor. This way my tool chests will not crash through! I am working on the interior shelving, work bench, and other items to make it a guy's shack (all my old-timer hunting buddies have their shacks to hang out in and talk trash! I'll post more pics when I finish the interior (it is still a work in progress!)

06 December 2008

Got him!

Well, the naysayers are quiet tonight! I get a lot of strange looks and head shaking when the Japanese hunters realize I spend way too much time in the woods, studying tracks, trying to pattern the game, and sitting in my blinds and tree stand. It payed off this afternoon with this monster 9 or 10 year old buck that I was able to locate about 50 meters from where I sat last week. I am sure he is the one I saw on my way out of ther woods last week. Sure as clockwork, he rolled in about 45 minutes before sunset. After 2 long minutes of him freezing behind a clump of small trees, and me frozen behind the bush, he made the mistake of taking a step forward. I had his shoulder in my scope the entire time, waiting for him to give me the clear shot. That 20cm step was all it took. He dropped in his tracks and was dead before I made the slow and cautious 30 meter walk to him.
He got some revenge though, as my lower back is killing me from hoisting him into my "monster kei truck" by myself.
I am off to my buddy's garage to do kaitai (butchering) in a few minutes, after I eat my dinner but I was so excited I had to share the pictures below!

See you in the yama!


03 December 2008

Ma-Jika vs. Nihon-Jika, vs Ezo-Jika

I was recently asked the difference between Ma-Jika and Nihon-Jika. I hope I can clear up the subject. Here goes:
The difference between Ma-Jika and Nihon-Jika, as I understand it from my research is:
Ma-Jika ( literally "original" + "Deer") is the species of deer that populated most of Japan, particularly the main island of Honshu, since ancient times. It was virtually hunted to extinction like most deer species of North America. This species has recovered and it now thriving.
Nihon-Jika ( literally "Japanese" + "Deer") was created when the government feared extinction of the Ma-Jika due to market hunting. Their response was to import deer from Hokkaido and Russia (all of these share a common ancestor, the Ma-Jika) and set them free. These animals thrived in Honshu and became the most prevalent species. For the last 100+ years, these have been the most abundant species and most commonly used as the image of Japanese deer. It is common, in my area, to see both Ma-Jika and Nihon-Jika in the same areas, sometimes in the same groups.
All Japanese deer share a common name of "Shika" or "Deer" in combination with an additional word to distinguish the actual species. Another example is Ezo-Jika (Ezo/Yezo Deer from Hokkaido). They are all called Sika in English, which is probably a bastardization of the Japanese "Shika" which is sometimes Romanized as Sika vice Shika.
The taxonomy of these animals varies depending on the source but the most common convention I can find is that they are all:
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Sub-Phylum: Vertebrata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla (even toed ungulates)
Family: Bovidae
Sub-Family: Cervidae
Genus: Cervis Nippon
Species include: Nippon-Jika are Cervus Nippon-nippon, and Ma-Jika are Cervus Nippon-centralis. Very slight differences. Ezo-Jika are Cervus Nippon-yesoensis. There also several other species/sub-species in Japan and more throughout the Pacific. These include: Cervus Nippon keramae, Cervus Nippon yakushimae, Cervus Nippon pulchellus, in fact there upwards of 16 different variations, depending on the source of the taxonomy research.
All of these species make for excellent table fare, particularly when fol owing standard wisdom in animal selection, harvest methods, butchering technique, and cooking style. Stop by and we would be glad to grill some up for you!
As for size, coloration, habits, and such, the are basically the same. The only difference is the size of the antlers. Both, when full grown, and perfectly formed, are 3 basic points with a 4th brow tine on each side. Ma-jika max out about 35cm, while Nihon-Jika can be as tall as 75cm. Ezo-Jika can exceed 95cm, but are never like the Sika that have been exported and now thrive in New Zealand and other exotic preserves, as these are often inbred with mutated antlers. They still make awesome trophies but I still prefer a finely balanced "All Japanese" Deer!

I hope this helps!

See you in the Yama!

I hope this helps!

02 December 2008

Hunting Season 2008: "the first 2 weeks"

Hello all!

Hunting season snuck up on me this year! I was spending a lot of time with our move into our new house, and several trips to the states, so I was not as ready for the season as I would have liked to be. "All is well that ends well" is a quote that definitely describes the first 2 weeks of this hunting season:

13 Nov: took a power walk in the woods to check my still five different hunting blinds from last year, cleared the dry leaves and trimmed a few branches, and fortunately saw a lot of fresh tracks. Scouted an area I have been meaning to set my tree stand in, and made a plan to hang it on the 14th.

14 Nov: went with the wife and daughter to hang my stand and realized that there was a major horse riding event on opening day just 150 meters from my stand! Normally I hunt on the weekdays so the horse stable is closed. Looks like no tree stand for opening day!

15 Nov: Opening day came and went with me only getting 2 hours in the afternoon in my blind.

16 Nov: 3:30pm a nice 5 1/2 year old "Ma-Jika" (Original Japanese Sika Deer) made the fatal mistake of strolling across the creek about 40 meters east of my stand. One slow and easy shot stopped him in his tracks! Fresh meat in the freezer!

17 Nov: 4:00pm I spotted a monster Nihon Jika (modern Japanese Sika Deer) about 85 meters west of my stand. With the sun setting behind him I kept losing him in the glare and he appeared to turn around and walk away. About 10 minutes later he reappeared on the top of the slope almost directly across the creek from my stand! I instantly recognized him as one of the two brothers that had eluded me all last season! After a few anxious moments and several false starts toward the creek, he made the mistake of thinking it was all clear...1 carefully placed hydra-shok hollow point ended his journey. Now the hard part began..after field dressing him, and saving the heart in a bag for the BBQ later, I needed to call one of my hunting buddies to drag him up out of the creek bed. I sat in the dark for about an hour before my friend to arrive then we did the double drag up the hill and another 150 meters to the nearest trail my mini kei truck can negotiate. This was a very late night with us not finishing kaitai (butchering) this huge deer and packing the meat for freezing nut it was well worth it! Since I took a high neck shot, not a scrap of meat was wasted! BTW, he will make a nice trophy as soon as I finish my garage!

18 Nov: The family and I traveled to all our neighbors' homes delivering fresh venison to all! Everyone was please with our gift, but I was but I was the happiest seeing all this meet help out so many people!

19 Nov: Another afternoon in the lowest blind along the creek, less than 200 meters below where I took the huge buck 2 days earlier, a huge buck appeared from my blind spot on the left and had already crossed the creek and was on my side! A closer look indicated that he was definitely a shooter about 4 1/2 years old so I loaded a round in the chamber and shouldered my gun. After about 5 minutes of him meandering around behind some thick brush, he started toward the scrub oak stand behind me and stepped into a shooting lane I had cleared 2 years back. Big mistake! He joined his older brother in my freezer. The perfect broadside shot exploded his heart but ruined very little meat, ribs on one side and a small piece of shoulder on the other.

20-28 Nov: 2 dozen hours in the woods and only spotted a dozen deer. Since it is either sex season, any of them could have been shot but I do not want to waste any meat, and am very cautious about killing a doe that may have a fawn with her.

29 Nov: Hunted with the local hunting association for one of 5 group hunts we will have this year. 18 members, 4 missed shots by other hunters, and I closed the day with a single neck shot and put a nice 4 1/2 year old Ma-Jika on the butcher block. After the meat was divided up everyone got a few kilos, that's it.

30 Nov: I thought I had figured out the pattern of a big buck that has been spotted several times in a lower area of our range, between t creek beds. I sat in my stand until sunset and saw absolutely no animals except one crow headed home. I packed my gear and trekked back to my truck. While I was driving home, on a tiny trail about 150 meters from my stand location, a horse jumped in front of my truck and then jumped into the brush! Well, that's my story!!! Actually, it was a huge bodied, heavy racked buck with a super dark coat. He scared the life out of me! I set my mind on it and I will be hunting for him specifically until the last day of the season! It is an obsession!

I'll keep you posted!

See you in the Yama!


04 September 2008

Autumn Haiku

Autumn is coming! There is a slight chill in the air just before sunrise so...Hunting season is on the horizon!

Haiku is one of the classical styles of Japanese poetry. Haiku typically are 5-7-5 syllable works that contain a Kigo or word that indicates or implies the season. There are some excellent Haiku written or translated in English that compliment our Yabanjin Lifestyle. I have taken the liberty of posting my favorite from Gabi Greve, penned in 2004. Enjoy:





Romanized Text:

botan nabe - 

hatake arashi no 

batsu no kana


wild boar stew -

devastating the fields

you end up here!…

Botan is the word for Peonia flowers, since the thinly sliced meat of the wild boar is arranged to look like such a flower on a big plate. I wonder how real peonia stew would taste.

Botan Nabe, wild boar stew by Gabi Greve, 2004

During the Edo period, (1603 to 1868), poor country people started eating the meat of this "whale of the forest" and called the meat peony (botan). The meat of deer was maple leaf (momiji) and that of the horses was called cherry blossoms (sakura). Thus the pious Buddhists could pretend to eat vegetarian. The raw meat is arranged on the plate to look like a peony flower. It is then put in a broth and boiled together with vegetables.

For more of Gabi's great works, and an excellent resource for Haiku, please check out this link to a great website: http://worldkigo2005.blogspot.com/
See you in the Yama!
SK-1 OUT !

16 August 2008

"Camping" Test Run

We took advantage of the great weather and did a camping test run yesterday. We introduced Uribo to easy camping a week before her first birthday. We set up at a great little campsite called "Katsumata Camping Jo"...actually it is in our backyard! Not too 'wild' but fun nonetheless!


14 August 2008

Subashiri 5-Gome

Today we (SK-1, SK-2, and SK-3) decided to go to the Mount Fuji Subashiri Climbing Trail Station 5 for lunch. This was SK-3's first visit. Traffic is horrible this time of year due to the Japanese Obon season so our 30 minute drive took 80 minutes! It was worth it though because it was nice and cool, and we had a great lunch!
The entrance of the climbing trail was very busy, due to the nice weather. We paused at the 2,000 meter elevation marker for the obligatory photo then headed in for lunch.
Lunch was at the mountain hut restaurant and souvenir shop called "Yama Goya" (translates appropriately to Mountain Hut). The owner of the shop is an expert in the field of wild mushrooms and has published an official guide to the wild mushrooms of Mount Fuji ("Fuji San No Kinoko-Tachi). He also hand picks mushrooms every morning on the slopes of Mount Fuji, near a point called "Ko-Fuji". The first taste we get is when we are served a cup of hot "Kinoko Cha" (Mushroom Tea). There is no tea, just mushrooms, and it is awesome. We always buy some for the house whenever we visit the Yama Goya.
Lunch was an awesome plate of fresh mushroom cream pasta. This is the very best mushroom cream pasta we have ever eaten, and all our friends agree! Check out the pictures, you can hardly see the pasta because there are so many fresh wild mushrooms!
See you in the woods!

10 August 2008

Kintoki Yama Climb

The whole Yabanjin Crew (SK-1, SK-2 & SK-3) challenged Kintoki Yama yesterday. The day started with nice weather and our biggest concern was sunblock. Everything went well for a while and SK-3 was not too heavy in her backpack but...we heard thunder in the distance, echoing off the surrounding mountains. When we made it to the final trail checkpoint just below the summit we ran into a bunch of climbers scurrying down the trail. The Kintoki Musume (the 80+ year old lady who runs the mountain hut on the top of the mountain, and calls herself the mountain's daughter) had told everyone to evacuate as she predicted a dangerous squall to come through. It was to be a very bad electrical storm.
We weighed our options and decided to take her advice. It started pouring we made sure SK-2 and SK-3 were weather tight and kept moving. We flew past some slow pokes who were obviously not concerned with the inbound lightning. It got dark as night...good thing we had our light!
We made it to the bottom in record time, wet and tired but safe! Everyone else on our trail made it down shortly after us...all were safe.
Unfortunately, lighting was striking all around Mount Fuji and several people were injured on the big mountain during this squall, with one climber killed by lightning on Mount Fuji!!!
The Kintoki Musume was right!!! We will be back to climb Kintoki Yama soon!

06 August 2008

Mount Fuji Summit

31 July 2008: Summiting Mount Fuji. The Yabanjin ascended the Fujinomiya trail and descended the Gotemba trail. Today a large group of US Marines from nearby Camp Fuji tackled this fun but challenging climb. The Yabanjin and his buddy Jay Ogawa jumped in with them.
The climb up looked like it was going to be miserable with heavy rain at the house at 0315 but it cleared up as soon as we arrived at the Fujinomiya trail head (Station 5 entrance) at 0545. The sun blazed for most of the ascent but we did get some relief when the clouds rose up and surrounded us. The summit was clear and breezy for my third summit. I choked down some of the worst cup-o-udon I have ever had at the summit mountain hut then headed down towards Gotemba. The trail is always long and boring and this year we were also hindered by some "Pea Soup" quality fog and intermitent heavy rain. After the perfectly straight torture of the 9km of Gotemba trail ash slide, we made it to the 5th station! Not too bad for a couple of old guys!

21 April 2008

Chinkaba Pizza!

Chinkaba Pizza...East Meets West Redneck Fusion Strikes Again!

Tonight we dined on a fantastic new creation, Chinkaba Pizza. Here is the quick recipe:

-Pizza Dough brushed with Olive Oil
-Tomato paste and fresh cut raw Tomatoes
-Grated pizza cheese mix and fresh Mozzarella Cheese
-Slices Mushrooms
-Thinly sliced Chinkaba (Deer Salami)
-Spices (basil, oregano, black pepper, red pepper, and rosemary)
We baked these in our oven for 9 minutes and served with a fresh Dandelion salad, and red table wine.

Try it, we are sure you will love it!

SK-1 Out!

19 January 2008

Hunting Update 19 Jan 2008

Saturday 12 Jan 2008: I did not plan on hunting, and we had a steady rain. One of my "52 Big Game Hunting Club" buddies called around lunchtime and said they had found a great set of fresh boar tracks in a decent hunting area and were assembling a hunting party. I rushed out to the woods (of course!) and we set up a track & drive with standers hunt. 3 hours later and pouring rain/sleet the boar had escaped out in the south side of the tract they were in. I had chills all night from the cold/rain!
Sunday 13 Jan 2008: I made an early start and found some reasonably fresh tracks. I was the team leader so we set up another hunt. We had only 7 hunters. 3 of us tracked and I jumped 3 medium sized does. One of our standers took one of them as part of this year's management plan. Nice day hunting but not very productive.
Saturday 19 Jan 2008: We all made a late start but were able to quickly locate fresh tracks due to an inch of fresh snow last night. With 7 hunters we set up with one tracker and 6 standers. Our morning hunt produced no animals but narrowed down the possible area the boars were sleeping in to a very small but extremely thick area. We started with a track of mixed woods 2.5km X 1.5km and narrowed it down to a smaller (800m X 600m) but with an impenetrable block of bamboo-like trees called Sassa. The afternoon hunt started quickly and the boar escaped between the standers. We regrouped and they outsmarted us again. Our third set up was not much better with one of our members making a poor shot, minor wounding a sow in the front leg. We tracked her for 2 more hours. I took a chance and moved to an area where I thought the pig might run. Luckily we almost ran into each other. I took a risky shot as she began to run away and connected, but not well. I ran about 50m to get a second shot and the pig turned and charged me. All I could think of was the story of one of our hunting members who had been charged by a boar, knocked down, and bit on his upper inner thigh! This sow was one of the full white cheeked variety (known in Japanese as Hoojiro Inoshishi) and had a pretty fierce look in her eye. My bullet struck in a cheek and turned her about 10 feet from me! A final shot ended her misery promptly.
Field dressing was done in the traditional manner in an ice cold river of water from Mount Fuji. All (and I mean ALL) of the innards were removed and cleaned thoroughly, rubbed on river rocks to remove all of their contents. We hung the pig to age for the next 3 days and will have a feast on Wednesday night! We will make a very tasty soup using all of the innards (chitterlings and more) as well as a soup made from the bones after we de-bone it and share the meat. More to follow on this process in another post (along with a recipe and photos).


08 January 2008

Venison Teriyaki REDNECK FUSION

East Meets West - REDNECK FUSION
Authentic Teriyaki Marinade Recipe
“Conjured Up” by SK-1 & SK-2, Gotemba City, Shizuoka, Japan 2001


Shoyu (Soy Sauce) 3 tablespoons (low sodium is recommended)
Lemon Juice (fresh or bottled) 3 tablespoons
Cold Water 4 tablespoons
Mirin (Japanese sweet cooking liquid) 3 tablespoons (may substitute with Karo syrup)
Pineapple Juice 1 tablespoon
Olive Oil 1 tablespoon (may substitute with vegetable oil)

Fresh Ginger (minced or crushed) 1 tablespoon (Don't add too much!)
Fresh Garlic (minced or crushed) 1 tablespoon (Don't add too much!)

Salt ½ teaspoon
Black Pepper ½ teaspoon
Sesame Seeds (dried) 1 teaspoon (should be crushed with mortar & pestle, or ground)
Brown Sugar 1 ½ teaspoon
Corn Starch Powder 1 teaspoon


1. Mix all liquid ingredients in plastic bowl with wire whisk
2. Mix in all crushed ingredients
3. Mix in all powdered ingredients and whisk very well, until thoroughly blended
4. Add the meat of your choice and marinade as normal. Mix often and keep refrigerated.
5. Marinade for a minimum of 30 minutes. Overnight is great but 24 hours is ideal!

-This marinade was originally designed for venison, but can be used for Beef, Lamb, and Chicken, as well as some types of fish, pork and other wild game. Try it and modify it to your particular taste!
-Minced onions can be added if you like (1 – 2 tablespoons). Don't add too much!
-A few spoonfuls of “Liquid Smoke” seasoning make this perfect for a BBQ!
-Recommendation for deer meat is to use backstrap cut into thin steak ¼ inch or thinner. Grill over open fire, flat grill on the BBQ, or in a pan on the stove. DO NOT OVERCOOK VENISON, SERVE IT MEDIUM RARE !
-Any cut of deer meat can be used just be sure to cut across the grain of the meat and cut it thin. Also remember to cut off all the fat, sinew, and silver skin since these contain the strong “gamey” flavor some folks don’t like.
-If you have a vacuum sealer, marinade inside the vacuum packed bowl or bag and cut 90% of the marinade time. One hour is all it will take!
-If your going camping or to the beach, marinade the meat the night before and take it in the cooler in double ziplock bags! You will be the start chef on the beach!
-If you pan fry meat with this recipe, be sure to deglaze the pan to make gravy. Add corn starch to thicken it. Be sure to add some Jack Daniel’s whiskey to dramatically change the flavor of the gravy. Serve with mashed potatoes.
-Marinate a few slices of fresh apple in this marinade and lightly pan fry for 2 or 3 minutes and use as an edible garnish!
-For the squeemish, nervous about trying wild game, try this: After slicing the meat, before marinading, soak in very cold clear water for 5 minutes to wash away any blood. Drain. Soak in Japanese Sake for 5 minutes (presumably to kill any germs), drain all the sake and put meat in the martinade as described above. The Sake will definately kill any germs and also helps to tenderize the meat. And it adds a great additional flavor!

05 January 2008

Holidays with NAS-1

Welcome back from the holidays! What a hectic holiday season it has been! I hope everyone had memorable and safe holidays and that everyone managed to make it to the woods, even if only for a day.
My son, "NAS-1", came to visit for the holidays. Even with all the holiday shopping, traveling and visiting with family, we still made it into the woods a few days. With no significant snowfall yet, and temps below zero C. we have not had any good wild boar (inoshishi) yet, but deer (shika) hunting has been very good though. NAS-1 and I had a few uneventful days in the field going over track recognition, hunting safety, and firearm safety. These were great days, hanging out together!
On Sunday 30 Dec 07 NAS-1 joined me on a group hunt on the foothills of Mount Fuji. We found a nice fresh boar track in the morning but it gave our group the slip. I will be looking for him the rest of the season. In the afternoon hunt, we sat on a hill overlooking a bend in a creek and the edge between the pines and hardwoods. My partners jumped a deer about a mile below us along the creek and thought it had ran out where we had no hunters. I heard some motion in the thick brush below us and moved uphill about 10 meters to see if I could listen better. White Antlers! That is all I saw swaggering between the bushes approaching the treeline. I signalled to NAS-1 and took up a kneeling shooting position. When I pulled up my gun, all I saw was bushes with white antlers sticking out. Talk about buck fever all over again! I knew I had only a tiny space between the trees to get a clear shot on this big buck, but only if he continued walking in the same direction, and did not see or smell us. I saw his shoulder come into clear view about 70 meters below me and I let a slug rip. The bullet penetrated about 1cm in front of his right shoulder and exited about 1 cm into his left shoulder. He dropped in his tracks (thanks to Federal Premium Vital Shok 12ga 3" Magnum!).
NAS-1 saw his first monster buck taken, and first ever Sika taken. He then helped out field dressing, and later, butchering this fine animal. Check out the photos of us with this monster Sika.
I think NAS is hooked and he is already planning his next visit!
Well, it is back to work for me on Monday so I better sign out now.
See you in the woods!