Getting Into Hunting

country huntress

So, you want to learn to hunt and don’t know where to start?  That was me a couple of years ago.  It can be hard as a female to break into the men’s world of hunting if you don’t have a man helping you along.

I started my hunting journey with a boyfriend, but when that ended, I decided to continue to learn more on my own.  It meant a lot to me to be able to do it on my own, so I found myself seeking other women to learn from.  Read below for my tips to meet other female hunters and get more involved with hunting!

I’ve tried to meet as many women as possible to help me, but I’ve also gotten help from men along the way too.  Through researching and pushing myself out of my comfort zone, I’ve learned a lot and met some really great people in the process!

First things first, take a hunter education course if you haven’t already.  You can’t start hunting without getting your hunting license.  The class is easy and incredibly informative.  At the end you should know if hunting is really something you want to learn more about or if it’s not really for you.

There will also likely be other women in the class you can meet.  Just be sure to look into classes early!  I was on a waiting list to get into mine.

If you know you like hunting and want to learn how to get more involved, click below to read my 5 ways to connect with other women to learn more about hunting.

Continue reading

Waterfowling Workshop!

After constantly checking their website to see when this would happen, registration finally opened for the Washington Outdoor Women’s Introduction to Waterfowling workshop!

I’m so excited! I’m planning to attend with a girl I met at the last retreat. I’m looking forward to meeting more women that love hunting too. Hopefully enough women sign up! They had to cancel last year’s event because not enough women signed up. 

I’ll be knocking out two goals in one weekend, this workshop and my 5k the next day. This year’s off to a busy start but it’s doing things I enjoy!

Can’t wait!

2016 Hunting and Fishing Goals

Country Huntress Goals

Another year means another set of goals!  It’s a little late, but here are my  hunting and fishing goals for 2016.

01. Get in shape
Like last year, this is my main goal.  I’m already off to a good start!  I signed up for a 5k in March that has kept me training consistently.  I also plan to get into weight lifting to help me build arm strength for bow hunting.

02.  Buy a bow and practice weekly
I’m hoping to be able to buy my first bow in the next month!  I have a friend who is willing to join the same shooting range with me so we can go practice together.

03.  Shoot my first buck
Last year, I shot my first deer which was a doe.  This year, I hope to shoot my first buck!

04.  Hike and scout more
Living in a new area, I have a lot to do to learn the land around me.  I plan on looking into public land around here to then go out and hike/scout.  Hopefully I can find some decent public land spots around me.

05.  Learn how to use my elk call and get out for elk season
One of my presents for Christmas was an elk call which I’m so excited about!  Now I need to learn how to use it because I’m sure the sound I’m making is NOT right.  I hope I can get out for an elk hunt too!

06.  Cook more wild game recipes
I’m going to steal from the Deerslayer’s Wife here and add that I want to be more adventurous in my cooking!  I’ve got a good chunk of deer meat left that I need to think of great recipes to cook it with, I’m excited!

07.  Find a good, local spot to fish
I really want to get out fishing more this year.  My goal is to find a spot near me that’s good for fishing that I can go to often.

08.  Go duck hunting and get my first duck
I’m hoping to attend a Waterfowl class this year, put together by Washington Outdoor’s Women.  Since the timing never worked out last year, my brother has promised to get me out a couple times this year.

09. Go upland bird hunting
This may require me to head back toward the area I used to live, but I’d love to get out for grouse or pheasant hunting this year.

10.  Get involved and volunteer with a conservation group
I’m really hoping to get more involved with conservation groups this year.  I’m attending some events, but I’d love to be able to volunteer and help out with their conservation efforts.

Hopefully I’ll be able to mark the majority of these off at the end of the year!  My main goals are to get into bow hunting, go elk hunting, and volunteer with a conservation group.

Most importantly, I just want to enjoy the year and get out to enjoy the outdoors more.  I can’t wait for it to be spring so I can get back outside!  I miss the sunshine!

Do you have any big goals you’re hoping to achieve?  Share them below!

Easy Venison Chili Recipe

Country Huntress Venison Chili

This past weekend, I cooked up a batch of delicious and easy venison chili!  With the cold winter months, nothing is better than a warm bowl of chili.

I love chili that’s simple—meat and beans.  Add in peppers, corn, and celery and I feel it begins to border on becoming a stew.

This is an easy recipe with only 7 ingredients.

Country Huntress Venison Chili Ingredients

Country Huntress Venison Chili

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 5
Calories: 333 per serving

What you’ll need:
  • 1 lb of ground venison (beef or turkey could be used too)
  • Four 10 ounce cans of diced tomatoes and green chiles
  • Two 14.5 ounce cans of pinto beans (or whatever bean you like best, kidney or black beans would work well too)
  • One large onion (chopped)
  • Three cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1-2 tablespoons Chile Powder (Depending on how much heat you like, add to your preference, I love spicy food so I use 2)
  • 1/2 tablespoon Ground Cumin
Directions:
– Heat a large pot over medium heat, add olive oil and brown one pound of ground venison
– Add in the chopped onion and minced garlic once the ground venison is browned. Cook until the onions are soft (about 5 minutes)
– Drain the liquid from the two cans of beans and rinse with water.  Add those into the pot and the tomatoes with green chiles
– Add in 1-2 tablespoons of chile powder and half a tablespoon of cumin
– Mix all the ingredients together and bring to a boil
– Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for at least 20 minutes

You can simmer anywhere from 20 minutes up to an hour.  I think the flavors develop more the longer you let it simmer.  But if you’re rushing to get dinner on the table, 20 minutes will do!

Venison Chili!

The chili definitely has a kick to it from all the chile powder.  I love spicy food.  If you don’t, maybe add only a tablespoon of chili powder.  I’m definitely an “eyeball” the measurements cook, so feel free to change what you’d like to your preferences.  This is a great base chili you can really make your own.

Venison Chili Sour Cream

To top it off, I add a nice dallop of sour cream.  This helps cut down the spicy heat when you’re eating it.  You can also add cheese, green onion, or olives.

Try it out and let me know what you think in the comments below!

2015 Goals Revisited

Country Huntress

2015 went by in a flash!  I made goals at the beginning of 2015 for hunting and fishing.  Some were accomplished and some weren’t.  So here’s a look back at the goals I set and if I achieved them.

1. Get in shape
This didn’t end up happening with a move across the state and a new job shaking things up more than I expected.  But I’m back to working on this goal now with a 5k coming up in March.

2. Shoot first deer 
Yes!  This one was accomplished with a doe shot on Decatur Island during late season.

3. Hike and scout more 
Again, with the new job and move this didn’t really happen.  I’m in a new area so this year I’m hoping to get out more and scout.

4. Go duck hunting
Nope, unfortunately.  I tried several times to set up a weekend to get out with my brother but our schedules didn’t line up.  He’s promised to take me out next season!

5. Go upland bird hunting 
Nope — same reason as above.  I feel like a broken record!

6. Fish More
Yes!  I caught my first salmon and tried out surf fishing.

7. Cook Game Recipes
Yes, and I cooked  some delicious ones!  Meatloaf and steak oscar!

So the year didn’t quite go exactly as I wanted.  But a new job got me back around friends and family so I’m happy with that!

Next week I’ll be posting my 2016 goals.  Some 2015 ones I’ll try to make happen again and some new ones.

What were your 2015 goals?  Did you accomplish what you wanted?

Huntresses United

Click to Join!

Victoria over at A Texan In South Africa created a great new group called Huntresses United.  It’s for women who are passionate about the outdoors, educate others about conservation through hunting, encourage and support women in the outdoors, and embody being an ethical hunter.

I love her idea and gladly joined!  Even as a female hunter, it can be hard to find other outdoorsy blogs written by women.  Huntresses United is a place to easily find other blogs by female writers sharing their outdoor experiences, be it hunting or fishing.

Check it out here!  Find other great blogs to follow or join the list yourself!

Thanks for putting this together Victoria!  It’s great you’re bringing huntresses together!

Venison Meatloaf Recipe

A few weekends ago, I made my first venison meatloaf and it turned out incredibly delicious!

I hosted a “Friendsmas” dinner with several friends and made a feast of venison meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole (my personal holiday favorite).  Meatloaf was one of my grandma’s specialties and I’ve always liked it.  So I was excited to try out this recipe because I hadn’t eaten it in years.  It didn’t disappoint!

The feast!

The feast!

To make the meatloaf, I first needed to grind up some of the venison in my freezer.  This meant I got to use my new meat grinder for the first time!  I took out a couple packs of stew meat to thaw out so they’d be ready to grind.

country huntress deer butchering

I read the manual, it seemed easy enough so I started grinding the stew meat.

wild game meat grinder

I ran it through a coarse grinder plate on the first pass through. Then, I switched it to the fine grinder plate on the second.


When it was all done, I was left with over a pound of venison! So cool and really easy to use.  I can’t wait to try out the sausage stuffing setting on there.

Over a pound of ground venison!

Over a pound of ground venison!

For the meatloaf, I followed this recipe. The venison weighed out to around a pound and a quarter, so I increased all the ingredients a bit.

Egg, crushed saltine crackers, barbecue sauce, onion, sage, steak seasoning, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce

Egg, crushed saltine crackers, barbecue sauce, onion, sage, steak seasoning, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce

Like my grandma always said, the only way to mix meatloaf is to get in there with your hands.  I combined all the ingredients together and then filled a small loaf pan. It smelled amazing, but to make it even better you add some bacon strips on top.

venison meatloaf
Mine took almost twice as long as the recipe said to cook. An instant thermometer was a life saver cooking this one!  Make sure the inside temperature is at least 160 degrees.  I poured over the BBQ sauce mixture and viola!

venison meatloaf
Not everyone at the party knew they were eating venison.  But they all said it was one of the best meatloafs they’ve had!  Definite success!

One delicious venison meatloaf dinner!

One delicious venison meatloaf dinner!

I think the next time I make it, I’d form the meat into the rectangle shape on a baking sheet. That way you put full slices of bacon over the top and sides.  And the entire meatloaf will be covered in the sauce that everyone said was their favorite part.  I think the sage adds a really great flavor to this recipe so don’t skip that ingredient or swap it out!

Writing this post makes me want to cook this again, it was so delicious!  This meatloaf is also great the next day between two white slices of bread with mayo.  But it’s not likely you’ll have leftovers!

Try it out and let me know what you think!

A Look Back At 2015

Happy New Year!  I can’t believe it’s already 2016!  I don’t know about you but last year went by in a flash.  I hope everyone had a great holiday with family and friends!

It’s crazy to have my first year of this blog in the books.

Country Huntress 2015

I thought it’d be fun to do a look back at the 10 most popular posts from the last year… so here we go!  (Click any of the titles to read the posts!)

  1. The Value of Female Hunters
    Remember when a man working a booth at a hunting expo ignored me and focused his attention on my male friend?  This was an unexpected post I never thought I’d be writing, but I loved all your comments and learning about the experiences other females have gone through being in the male dominated hunting world.
  2. Huntress – What’s In A Name?
    The word huntress — surprisingly debated in the hunting world.  I personally like it, how else would you know a lady ran this blog if I just called it Country Hunter?  Again, it was great to see how other women view the word and what they like being called!  Regardless if you love it or hate it, we should support all female hunters.San Juans Sunrise
  3. Salmon Fishing in The San Juans
    This was a lovely trip to the San Juans and I was lucky enough to catch my  first salmon.  The backdrop was absolutely gorgeous!  I actually have several pictures from this trip framed in my room.
  4. Washington Outdoor’s Women – Duck Hunting
    One of my posts from the women’s retreat I attended last year.  I learned so much about duck hunting and met some great women.  I’m looking forward to going to their duck hunting workshop this spring!Oregon Coast Surf Fishing Sunset
  5. Surf Fishing on the Oregon Coast
    This was a great experience learning about surf fishing.  Not sure when I’ll get the chance to do it again, but it was definitely cool to see.  It was another weekend that had gorgeous sunsets for the backdrop.
  6. Washington Outdoor Retreat – Day 1
    What a great weekend, I encourage any women in Washington to attend this next year.  If you live in another state, see if there’s a similar retreat for women that takes place!  I’m definitely planning on going again this year!
  7. Shooting My 1st Deer
    I’m so happy I was able to make this post this year.  I shot my first deer and learned so much that I’ll carry with me every hunting season forward.From Field To Plate
  8. From Field To Plate
    My delicious first meal I cooked with the venison meat that I was taught to butcher myself!  I promise I’m posting that recipe next, it was so good!
  9. Failure To Launch: Learning How To Fish
    This makes me laugh this is one of the more popular posts I had last year.  My somewhat embarrassing first moment of learning to fish at night.  I’ve grown a lot since then and now enjoy night fishing!
  10. Taking A Woman Hunting?  Avoid These Mistakes!
    A great read for men who plan on taking a woman out to hunt for the first time!  I’ve definitely had my own experiences that sound like what’s listed in the article.  How you act on a woman’s first hunt can definitely shape how she sees hunting and if she’ll keep her interest.

Thanks for reading along as I continue to learn more about the world of hunting.  Thanks to everyone who helped make some of these posts possible!

Here’s to a great 2016!

What was your best hunting moment of 2015?  Share below!

From Field to Plate

 
When my interest in hunting first started, the idea of providing meat for my family is what pushed me to sign up for the hunter education course.

This past weekend, I served my first meal from the doe I shot weeks earlier.  It was a great feeling!

I used my new meat grinder to make ground venison for a delicious meatloaf recipe.  I’ll share it later this week, everybody loved it!

Everyone has their own reasons for why they hunt.  Providing meat to eat is probably my biggest reason. I can’t wait until I have my own family and I’ll know exactly where the meat they’re eating came from.  It’s feelings like this that make me so happy I got involved in hunting. 

Butchering A Deer

When I got back from my hunting trip, I had four deer quarters to butcher.

country huntress butchering deer

Meat to butcher!

My family has always hunted with farmers so they’ve harvested and processed their own deers for decades.  Thanksgiving morning my brother came over and taught me how to butcher the meat.

We both started with one leg.  He showed me how to work the filet knife between the different muscles to start separating the meat.  He said the knife will do the work, just follow where the tension is.  It was interesting to see how it was all connected.

He also showed me how to use your hand to feel where the muscle goes.  Eventually, we got out our first big steak.  Then came what he said was the most important part—cleaning the meat.

Our workspace for butchering the deer

I got off all of the film that keeps the muscles together.  Then I worked to cut off all of the silver skin, that part wasn’t easy!  If any of the meat had fat left on it, I also cut that off.  It took awhile, but when I was done we were left with really nice cuts of meat.

The reason he said this step was so important was all of those parts added to the gamey taste of meat.  So the less of that on the meat, the less gamey it’ll taste.

It took us a couple of hours but we finished butchering two of the quarters.  We were left with steaks and stew meat mostly.  I learned a lot, my brother was really helpful at showing me how to do everything.  It was nice being able to learn the family tradition of what they do after someone gets a deer.

He took two pieces of meat we’d cleaned and grilled them in a cast iron skillet.  With only salt and pepper to season it, it was a delicious piece of meat!  Not too gamey at all!

The first steak from my deer!

The first steak from my deer!

A few days later, I finished butchering the last two quarters.  It took me a few hours.  It probably wasn’t the best butchering ever done, but it was a good feeling to do it myself.  It’s a lot of hard work, but rewarding to see all the meat you’re left with.

For Black Friday, I purchased a meat grinder from Cabelas.  I’ll be using it for the first time this weekend as I grind stew meat to make a venison meatloaf.  I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

country huntress deer butchering

Do you butcher your own deer or take it to be processed at a wild game butcher?  Share your family’s tradition below!