Bob St. Pierre

Bob St. Pierre is director of marketing and public relations for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. A lifelong bird hunter, he chases upland birds each fall from Michigan to Montana with his German shorthaired pointer. He's often on the FAN Outdoors show, 6 to 8 a.m. Saturdays on 1130 AM.

Posts about Birding

Recipe: Pheasant Harvest Soup

Posted by: Bob St. Pierre Updated: November 27, 2013 - 3:39 PM

 

I realize pheasant breasts are the “Holy Grail” of wild game succulence, but don’t overlook a rooster’s thighs and legs. And for goodness sake, don’t just breast the bird and garbage the remainder. Pheasant legs are certainly tougher to cook, but a rooster’s legs and thighs actually produce quite a lot of tasty dark meat when handled with care.

Perhaps the easiest way to put those pheasant legs to good use is in soup.  As I’ve written before, I enjoy spending my summer in the garden. Consequently, I find great pleasure in marrying early season roosters with late harvested garden veggies.

While I’m not skilled in making my own stock, this soup recipe is tasty and simple.

Ingredients

  • 2 sets of pheasant legs
  • ½ cup of wild rice
  • 3 cups of sliced carrots (I am a fan of planting multi-colored carrots in my garden)
  • 2 cups of diced potatoes
  • 2 sliced jalepenos
  • ½ cup of Petey’s original seasoning (substitute your favorite soup seasoning or boullion cubes)
  • 1 cup of broccoli
  • 1 cup of Brussels sprouts

Steps

1)      Start by slow boiling the pheasant legs in water for roughly 15 minutes / or slow cooking in a crock pot for an hour.

2)      Remove the legs from the broth and let cool.

3)      Reduce the remaining broth to simmer.

4)      Cook wild rice for 45 minutes in broth on medium simmer.

5)      Add Petey’s spice to broth.

6)      Add carrots and potatoes to the broth after wild rice has cooked for 30 minutes.

7)      After the pheasant legs have cooled, pick the meat off the bones being careful to remove any BBs, feathers and tendons from the lower leg meat.

8)      Add the pulled leg meat to the soup.

9)      Simmer the soup on low, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes as the flavors mix together.

10)  Dish the soup into bowls on top of fresh broccoli and Brussels sprouts.  This will ensure these green veggies stay crunchy and retain their color.

11)  Serve with your favorite soup cracker.

This preparation is definitely not fancy, but it’s certainly not difficult.  And I promise, you’ll be surprised at how much you’ll begin looking forward to saving the legs from future roosters.

 

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever's Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre and listen to Bob and Billy Hildebrand every Saturday morning on FAN Outdoors radio on KFAN FM100.3.

BOOK REVIEW: “A Bird Hunter’s Table”

Posted by: Bob St. Pierre Updated: November 13, 2013 - 2:11 PM

 

I seem to collect wild game cookbooks these days in the same addictive manner I once accumulated baseball cards. The newest addition to my pantry bookshelf is “A Bird Hunter’s Table,” by Sarah M. Davies.

During the day, Davies is the Senior Director for Western Development at Trout Unlimited.  Although in the same conservation industry, I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Davies.  However, after consuming the pages of her new game bird-focused book, I do have a sense of who she is and I’m certain I’d like her in person. Her passion for dogs, bird hunting, and festive game bird dinners with friends are all easily relatable to me.

While the book is a celebration of pheasants, quail, grouse and ducks as the table’s centerpiece, the pages are truly an ode to her father. In fact, she writes the following:

“I dedicate this book to him and know he will always be with me. Dad had a wonderful way of seeing and painting the sky, and I see his skies nearly every day. His art is infused throughout this book.” 

Ms. Davies can be proud of this book as a worthy tribute. It’s filled with her father’s stunning artwork, as well as beautiful hunting and bird dog photography. Likewise, the recipes are straightforward and consumable for the “want-to-be-a-chef” guy like me. My single wish would have been for a greater number of photos of the dishes next to each recipe. I am a visual learner and always appreciate knowing what my end goal is supposed to look like when in the kitchen.  However, the book stands on its own without those photos.

Davies’ first book successfully captures the connection between the land, dogs, birds and food. In fact, Howard Vincent, Pheasants Forever’s President and CEO wrote the following endorsement which appears on the book’s back cover:

“In the spirit of Aldo Leopold’s classic writings, it’s important for all of us to remember where our food comes from – the land.  Wise conservation of our natural resources protects our outdoor heritage, water resources and the food on our tables.” 

I’d call that a ringing endorsement. It’s also worth noting that Davies plans to donate a portion of all book sales to Trout Unlimited and Pheasants Forever. Thank you, Sara!

Learn more about the new book and order a copy: “A Bird Hunter’s Table”

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever's Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre and listen to Bob and Billy Hildebrand every Saturday morning on FAN Outdoors radio on KFAN FM100.3.

BOOK REVIEW: Hank Shaw’s “Duck, Duck, Goose”

Posted by: Bob St. Pierre Updated: November 1, 2013 - 8:41 AM
The author, Hank Shaw, will also appear at National Pheasant Fest 2014 in Milwaukee
The author, Hank Shaw, will also appear at National Pheasant Fest 2014 in Milwaukee

Over my careers working for Pheasants Forever, in the front office of a minor league baseball team, and co-hosting on KFAN radio, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some relatively famous people.  (WARNING – NAME DROPS COMING)  I’ve had the good fortune to pitch baseballs to the likes of Bill Murray and Andrew Dawson, play catch with Alan Trammell and Rollie Fingers, manage press pools for President George W. Bush, organize meet & greets with Billy Joe Armstrong of Green Day and Michael Stipe of R.E.M., and interview four different members of the Swamp People. Out of all those experiences, I’ve come to value a person’s genuine friendliness above all else.

 

While Hank Shaw doesn’t yet have the name recognition of a Grammy winner, he recently added a James Beard award to his resume as the country’s best food blogger. More importantly, Hank is a guy anyone could drink a beer with while talking about the day’s bird hunt and becoming fast friends. Hank has a way of emulating your oldest drinking buddy.

 

Much to Hank’s chagrin, I always attribute his friendliness to the fact he served as a political reporter while Jesse “The Body” Ventura was Governor of Minnesota and then as beat reporter for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger before embracing his culinary career. Anyone having to endure those tenures as a journalist was bound to come out the other end either jaded by the world or able to see the good in humanity under any situation. Thankfully, Hank escaped as the later.

 

Over the last couple of years, I’ve gotten to know Hank through his appearances at National Pheasant Fest where he speaks on the event’s Cooking Stage. During the show when he’s not speaking, Hank hangs out in the Press Room with me and my cohorts. He tells us of his favorite hunts, evening’s dining plans and the scuttlebutt across America’s wild game food scene. More importantly, he jumps in and helps whenever he can. On a moment’s notice, he’s helped me do a live pheasant cooking demonstration for a television station and then the next moment he’s helping haul boxes to a special banquet event upstairs. Want to grab a beer after the day, Hank’s buying.

 

And did I mention, he won the James Beard Award this year as the country’s best food blogger. Basically, he’s the MVP of food writers. And his new book Duck, Duck, Goose lives up to the standard you’d expect coming from the Heisman of honker cooking. Duck, Duck, Goose is filled with exciting recipes featuring wild edibles like morel mushrooms and ramps, as well as fun new approaches like duck sliders and buffalo duck wings.

 

However what I found most interesting was Hank’s review of different species of ducks and geese as table fare. Did you know a specklebelly goose is nicknamed “ribeye in the sky” for its exquisiteness on the plate? I’ve heard the sandhill crane called the ribeye or “flying fillet” before, but never the speck. Hank’s favorite waterfowl for dinner at his own home, the canvasback.

 

Duck, Duck, Goose is a marvelous addition to any bird hunter’s collection. It’s filled with beautiful photography and a good mix of both simple and complex dishes. It’s hard bound and perfectly suited as a gift for the upcoming holiday season. Equally as important, Hank is an independently employed good guy. Your purchase of this book doesn’t furnish a beach house in the Bahamas or a bank account in the Caymans. Your purchase of this book helps a guy like you pay for his hunting license, a box of Prairie Storm and a six pack of suds to wash down a dinner of roast duck.

 

Hank Shaw on a diver duck hunt
Hank Shaw on a diver duck hunt

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

 

Hank is slated to speak on the cooking stage again at National Pheasant Fest 2014 in Milwaukee on February 14, 15 & 16, 2014. His topics include:

  • Happy Hour: Pairing beer & wine with wild game
  • Getting the most from your upland birds
  • Wild game sausage and other curing techniques

 

And lastly, you can listen to Hank with me this Saturday morning on FAN Outdoors. “The Captain” Billy Hildebrand and I will be interviewing Hank about the new book and his fall hunting & book tour across the country. I’ll also do my best to persuade Hank to begin writing an upland-oriented book for his third hardbound endeavor. So far, he’s refuted my advances, but we’ll see if 100,000 watt radio can change his mind. Tune in at 6:30AM this Saturday on FM 100.3 or anywhere in the world at www.KFAN.com.

 

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever's Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre and listen to Bob and Billy Hildebrand every Saturday morning on FAN Outdoors radio on KFAN FM100.3.

Wild Game, It’s what’s For Dinner

Posted by: Bob St. Pierre Updated: October 18, 2013 - 2:32 PM

Hunt_Meat_Graph1

“Hunters are increasingly motivated by meat,” that’s the headline of a report released on Wednesday by Responsive Management, an international survey research firm. According to their findings, the percentage of hunters identifying “for the meat” as the most important reason for hunting participation rose from 22 percent in 2006 up to 35 percent during this year’s study.

The report attributes the 13 percent climb to three factors; 1) the recession, 2) the locavore movement and 3) the increased participation of females in hunting. Summarizing the findings, Responsive Management concludes our country’s economic downturn has reinvigorated people’s food acquisition through hunting because of its relative affordability (they obviously haven’t accompanied me to Gander Mountain). Their research also indicates women have a slightly greater propensity to choose “for the meat” as a motivation over their male counterparts.

While I agree the economy and gender have played a role in the rise of wild game meat motivation, it’s the “locavore movement” I believe has had the most influence in this quest for game meats. As I look across “pop culture;” from television to magazines to books to restaurants.  I see prime time shows featuring Andrew Zimmern on a squirrel hunt, I see Hank Shaw’s books climbing Amazon’s best sellers list, I read about Lily Raff McCaulou leading Elle magazine on a rabbit hunt and I see restaurant menus featuring quail eggs.  Further, almost every episode of the hugely popular Duck Dynasty series ends with a family dinner around a plate of frog legs or mallard breasts. In fact, I believe this new embrace of wild meats is fostering a greater understanding of hunting across society.

While I’m certain Aldo Leopold never would have imagined Zimmern’s propensity for bug-eating, I do think Zimmern and today’s other locavore leaders can attribute their local food roots direct to Leopold’s 1949 philosophy from A Sand County Almanac:

“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm.  One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.” – Aldo Leopold

The obvious hope of organizations like Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever is today’s locavore trend will take one additional step toward Leopold’s writings – wildlife habitat conservation. Whether you favor beef or venison, chicken or pheasant, the common connector is our land. It is my belief society’s need for food and water will someday soon change our seemingly insatiable appetite to tile our uplands and drain our wetlands.  Or to put it more plainly, local food will lead to local conservation.

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The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre and listen to Bob and Billy Hildebrand every Saturday morning on FAN Outdoors radio on KFAN FM100.3.

The Dogless Pheasant Hunter

Posted by: Bob St. Pierre Updated: October 17, 2013 - 3:41 PM
Plain and simple, the dog work of a pheasant hunt provides a very high percent of the enjoyment for me in the field.
It's hard to hunt pheasants without a good bird dog, but not impossible.

A fan of Pheasants Forever on Facebook recently posed the following question:  "Is it hard to hunt pheasants without a dog?"  I believe the answer to this is as easy as adding 2 plus 2.  There is no doubt hunting pheasants without a dog is harder; simply no doubt in my mind.

 

However, there is a question I think provides greater room for debate: "Is it even possible to successfully hunt pheasants without a bird dog?"

 

First of all, I am a dog guy.  Plain and simple, the dog work of a pheasant hunt provides a lot of enjoyment for me in the field.  That being said, I do believe I'm unbiased in saying a dog is more important in pheasant hunting than in any other bird hunt.  Unlike virtually every other gamebird, a pheasants' first survival instinct leads them to run rather than fly from danger.  Consequently, pheasants can run circles around a dogless hunter without providing any indication of its existence.  Pheasants are also tough birds to kill in the air.  Personally, I am an average shot, and I believe my dog saves at least 90 percent of the birds I cripple from going completely unrecovered.

 

So back to the question.  My answer is a qualified "yes."  Here are the four instances I think you can successfully hunt pheasants without a dog:

 

1)      Walking linear cover.  Roadsides, drainage ditches, and fence rows create linear habitat a pheasant hunter can walk without a dog until he/she pushes a bird out the end or squeezes one out the side.

2)      Small Patches.  Same basic principle as walking linear cover.  If you can push a small piece of habitat completely surrounded by plowed fields, then your odds of boosting a bird multiplies.

3)      The Big Group Push.  If you have enough guys to walk close together, it's possible to push a big field and jump the young birds that lack the elusiveness of running around your footsteps.

4)      Game Farms & Preserves.  There is no doubt that pen-reared birds lack the survival instincts of a wild pheasant that has evaded predation its entire existence.

 

I'll add two caveats.  First, in all four of these scenarios, it's possible to flush a rooster without the assistance of a dog; however, finding a winged bird without a dog is another story all together.  Any ethical pheasant hunter entering the field without a bird dog should take great care in making high percentage, quality shots.  Second, I would wager a good bird dog will lead to twice as many birds flushed walking these same scenarios as hunting without one.

 

I'm sure there are dozens of dogless pheasant hunters reading this blog who have harvested wild roosters in vast expanses of cover without the aid of a canine companion . . . Where are the holes in my opinion?

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre and listen to Bob and Billy Hildebrand every Saturday morning on FAN Outdoors radio on KFAN FM100.3.

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