I gave up hunting altogether for quite a few years. Lots of reasons why, and beyond the scope of today’s blog. I gave it another shot in the last couple years, and have been really enjoying it. It’s fun to be outdoors with the guys, and culinarily it’s a tremendous opportunity for me.
I just got back from goose hunting down in southern Alberta where my family on my dad’s side has been doing it for over 30 years. Every year, this time of year. I’m appreciating the tradition in it as I get older. There were thousands of geese close to the house down there, and we did well.
A few firsts. I shot my first snow geese. They’re beautiful birds, far smaller than Canada geese, and the flesh is far whiter, and likely more delicate in flavour and texture. I’m eager to try different things with them in the kitchen. Oddly, they’re overpopulated and destroying their habitat in the arctic. And no, that’s not a hunter justifying killing things. www.mb.ec.gc.ca/nature/migratorybirds/dc00s04.en.html. The limit on them is ridiculously high – our possession limit as hunting party of this species alone was 200. We only took a half-dozen.
Another first was shooting once, and seeing two white-fronted geese [speckle-bellied] fall. That doesn’t happen often. Happened to me yesterday. This was the most abundant species of goose down there – usually is. They are also smaller than a Canada goose by a fair margin, and have a bizarre squealing sound rather than a honk. Many argue these are the best tasting goose. I look forward to being the judge of that. We ended up with 30+ of these.
We also got a few Canada geese. The big ones we were shooting around Edmonton last year were 14 lbs, but down south they’re a fair bit smaller.
I have a Snow, a White-Fronted, and a Canada skinned whole, trussed with some of my home-cured and smoked bacon, and ready for a side by side rotisserie or roast comparison. And I’m eager to make sausage from each of the species. For those that haven’t tried, goose has a definite poultry flavour, but because they’re migrating – as opposed to being in a feed lot – their meat is a lot tougher than domestic poultry. These geese were feeding in a wheat field for a couple weeks – which is awesome. Animals that are grain fed before slaughter taste better – domestic or wild. So this year’s brain wave is using most of the meat in sausage as it will have a nice poultry flavour, and the grinder will take care of the toughness issue.
I am sore. Pushing round bales is hard [for cover]. So is squatting for hours [hiding in cover]. And I’m tired – up at 4:45am for the past couple days. Looking forward to going again next year.