Traveling to Canada

      I just got through watching “Survivor” on TV. Any “Survivor” fans out there? Anyway, I saw a commercial about passports, and BAM! (I am a chef and a Chef Emeril fan as well as an avid hunter) I thought that I should write a blog about traveling.

      Each year thousands of hunters travel to Canada to hunt big game and waterfowl and Canada has some of the best hunting and fishing in the world. Canada is quick to get to and you have an abundance of outfitters to choose from. However, crossing the border between Canada and the US is becoming increasingly difficult, regardless if it’s by air or by land. The rules have changed dramatically in the last few years so there are a few things that I would like to discuss with my hunting and fishing friends before they embark on their next Canadian adventure.

      Until recently, all that was needed to travel to Canada was a current US driver’s license or a birth certificate, but that is no longer the case. All hunters entering and leaving Canada now have to have in their possession a valid passport. It’s relatively easy to get a passport and can be obtained at most Government Offices but it does take about 6-8 weeks, so don’t wait till the last minute to try to obtain one.

     A Canadian gun registration form must also be filled out when going through Canadian Customs, accompanied by a $25 fee and is valid for 60 days. You will want to complete the paperwork ahead of time but don’t sign the document until you go through Customs. You can download it off the internet. Just fill in the proper information and remember, it must be with you and your firearm at all times.

     Hunting license regulations also vary greatly from province to province so be sure to follow the instructions supplied by your outfitter. License information can also be found on the internet by going to the fish and wildlife agencies for each Canadian province. Getting into Canada isn’t much different today than it was 10 years ago but the preparation takes a little longer. A good hunting broker like Outdoors International will take you by the hand and walk you through the process so all you need to worry about is how big will my trophy be. If you are planning a trip and need help, I have lots of connections in the world of hunting and fishing, so shoot me an e-mail and I can help you get started. I love to discuss the outdoors. I hope your next adventure to Canada is a memorable one.

     Good hunting and God Bless,

Soul Food “Outdoors Style”

     Do you remember the homemade meals mom and grandma used to labor over for hours in the kitchen? The house was filled with the unmistakable aroma of love. These meals are the kind of meals my childhood memories are made of and they set the standards for the meals I eat today.

     For those of you who follow me and my blogs, you know that I am not only a hunter but I am also a professional chef. Chicken fried venison with milk gravy, pheasant pot pie, turkey tamales and venison pot roast are foods that comfort my soul. It is these foods that bring back memories of family and friends around the dinner table.

     Families today have extremely busy schedules and eat outside the home more than ever. Even fast food restaurants are now offering foods that resemble those home cooked meals of old. But nothing for me really stands up to what I like to call redneck soul food; and there is no better place to enjoy foods like braised elk short ribs, pan fried rabbit or duck jambalaya, than on a cold damp day in a hunting camp.

     So the next time you are stuck in camp and waiting for the weather to clear think about enjoying a great home cooked meal and instead of beef or chicken substitute game meat. Cook it slow and let the flavors permeate the lodge and bring back some childhood memories of grandmas cooking. Here is a great recipe to try.

Venison Round-Pot Roast

2 lbs. venison round roast
1 tablespoon salt
1tablespoon of cracked black pepper
½ cup flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup butter
1 cup diced onions
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
2 cups diced potatoes
1 cup red wine
½ cup tomato paste
One bay leaf
1 quart brown gravy

     Heat a 4 to 5 quart stockpot to medium high heat. Add olive oil and sear the venison roast on all sides. Take the roast out of the pan. Now add butter and lightly sauté all vegetables in your stockpot. Add wine and cook on a medium heat until wine is warm then slowly add flour stirring constantly. When flour is thoroughly mixed add all other ingredients and continue stirring for 1 minute.

     Now rub meat with spice blend. Place meat in your stockpot pushing it down through all ingredients and add all remaining spices to the mixture. Cover and place on a stove on medium low and cook until fork tender (approximately 6 to 8 hours).

      Imagine the aroma that will permeate the entire lodge after hours of slow cooking. These are the kind of memories that make a hunt truly memorable. Eating and thinking of mom and grandma mixed in with the memories of the hunt. Memories will stay with you for a lifetime. Create a real “Soul Food” memory.

      Happy eating and God Bless,

Addicted to Hunting

     I am addicted to hunting. I don’t golf, play tennis or hang out in the bars with my buddies – I hunt. When I am not hunting, I am thinking about hunting. When I am doing something, my motives are simple. It is either doing something that will make a better life for my family (with me God and Family are always first) or to promote my next hunting adventure.

     It’s my opinion that men were made to hunt. God put it in our DNA. Tell me the truth, have you ever been driving around and saw a cow in a pasture and thought to yourself, wow, the way he is quartering away with his front leg a little forward… would make a great bow shot, and if that was a Bull Elk could I make a stalk? Or walked out of a store and when you felt the wind in your face, you instantly knew it was from the Northwest and it would be a good day to be in your favorite hunting blind? Or have you ever agonized over which Brodhead to use, fixed blade or expendables, or should I use my 308 or my 300 WSSM? Now, let’s throw a trip to Africa into the mix. You think you’re obsessed now, wait till you have Africa to think about. My cousin Monte, my son Mike and I are

going to Africa in May. We have been there several times but its Mike’s first trip. He is so screwed; he will never get over it. Tell me! Is this kind of thinking normal?

     Yes, I am addicted to hunting and no, I don’t need help. I live to hunt. I crave a meadow full of Elk or a snow covered mountain with Bighorns working their way up the canyons. When I make it back to my dusty truck, I love to sit on the tailgate, light up a good cigar and ponder about some of Gods wonderful creations that have been so thoughtfully placed here for us hunters to enjoy. Whether I kill or not, is not important. I have given everything to my passion and my passion is hunting and if your passion is like mine, it’s a passion to be shared with friends and family. So, to my son Mike, let’s go to Africa!!!!!!

     If you share the same passion that Cory and I have and hunting consumes your every thought we encourage you to follow our blog. We would also love to exchange stories of obsession, so keep us posted on your thoughts.
     May God Bless,

Hunting Beginners

     Sometimes as a hunter I have to wonder what a new guy must think when he decides to try to break into the hunting game. He has to wonder how successful he will be if he doesn’t have all those new gadgets on the market today. You and I started hunting in hand me down clothes, with grandpa’s second generation gun, a box of cartridges from three different manufacturers with different grain bullets and an Old Timer pocket knife. But these days we have to have the newest and best, it seems like these days our passion runs through our wallets and not our veins.

     Before you jump out of your chair, pump your arm and say “hell yes”; understand it’s not that simple. We can blame the TV shows that only show the biggest bucks and magazines that talk about all them new-fangled gadgets that make us better hunters. We all know that the newest and biggest sells, so that is what advertisers target. When is the last time you bought a copy of “Small Buck” magazine or bought a new bow that makes you shoot like a beginner? Newer and bigger sells!

     Should we be happy shooting something other than the biggest buck with the best bow or fanciest rifle? In the last few years I have seen some really strange thing come on the market that they say you have to have if you want to harvest the biggest buck. Things like rear view mirrors for our tree stand or little plastic butt hole extractors that we have to have to be great hunters. You’re probably saying “Come on Doak, that’s a ridiculous analogy”, but there have been some really good hunters in the past that never dreamed about spending $100 on a pair of scent lock pants or $10 on a lighted arrow nock. Our hunting numbers have dropped over the past several years. Could it be because any potential new hunter feels he has to spend thousands of dollars to get into the sport?

     I am writing this blog while my Son-In-Law is driving my grandchildren and me to Texas so my 14 and 15 year old

grandsons can shoot a sheep. They are going after a Corsican Ram with a 30 year old 308 rifle. Yesterday while preparing for the hunt I nearly panicked. I realized that my Swarovski Binoculars were at the factory for a bit of a tune up and I didn’t think it would be possible to hunt without them. Then I realized I have hunted a lot of animals without a $1,800 pair of binoculars, so I just grabbed a 20 year old pair of Bushnell binoculars and I was good to go. You don’t have to have the best of the best to be a good hunter and have fun.

     So grab your children, your grandchildren, your friends and their children and all that 20 year old hunting and camping equipment and go out and enjoy the great outdoors. If our hunting numbers continue to decrease we will lose our sport to the tree huggers. God made the Great Outdoors to be enjoyed and his renewable resources to be harvested and eaten. So throw a back strap on the grill and indoctrinate a new hunter to the wonderful sport of hunting.

     God Bless you and your hunting family,

Hunting Camp

     Hunting camp is more than just a place you gather while hunting. It’s a place we gather and reconnect with lifelong friends. A place where we do our male bonding, enjoy adult beverages, have a good cigar and recall memories and lies about hunts of the past. It’s a place to share a good peanut butter sandwich and plan our strategies of the upcoming hunt. Or maybe it’s a place where you helped drag a buck back to for an elderly hunting buddy that time and age has made the chore too difficult. A place to share laughter and a hearty meal of back straps and ranch style beans prepared by the glow of the campfire and for those of you that have hunted with me, you know the night brings on the snoring that could wake the dead

and wouldn’t be tolerated anywhere but deer camp.

      We could hunt alone, but it wouldn’t be the same. Who would you tell the story to about the way two giant whitetails that spared in front of your blind and you didn’t get a shot because you were so caught up in the moment? How hard would you laugh at yourself when you tripped and drove your gun barrel 6 inches in the mud and spent the next half hour cleaning it out? Who would razz you when you whiff an arrow over the back of the biggest buck you ever saw because of your excitement? Or when the morning coffee is full of grinds, someone has to take a little ribbing. Hunting camp lures us because it includes everything that hunters hold so dear – the jokes, the pranks, the trophies and commiseration over missed opportunities. Who could explain the excitement in camp when the son of your best hunting buddy takes his first whitetail buck?

      Most of us have countless stories that are relived year after year at hunting camp. Stories that never grow old. In hunting camp we learn something very dear to us. From the best deer story to the most humiliating moments, it’s just that much better when it’s shared with good friends at hunting camp.

      May god bless all your hunting camps this year,

Should I take the shot?

     A big part of bow hunting is knowing your maximum range. What is a legitimate test to discover your maximum shooting range? Before you would consider that 40 yard shot you should be able to produce four-inch groups at 40 yards. That is 4 arrows in a 4 inch circle at 40 yards every time.

      Your ability should be based on your worst groups on your worst day. In other words if you ever put an arrow outside a 4 inch circle at any distance you should not consider that your maximum range. This may seem harsh but most bow hunter’s skills are drastically reduced in real hunting conditions. Are you as good on game as you are on paper? Do you practice in awkward positions with your hunting clothes on? Your 4 inch groups will probably be more like 8 inches in the field!

Here are some tips to help you extend your range in the field.
1. Practice most of the time at ranges well beyond your comfort zone. If most of the time you practice at 60 yards your 40 yard shot will feel like a chip shot.
2. Practice in hunting clothes, gloves, hats and facemasks from awkward positions. Positions used in the field.
3. Focus on the alignment of your bow and watch the bubble level on the sight. Proper alignment is crucial for distance shooting.

4. Follow through. At short distance you can get away with and try to remain motionless until the arrow hit’s the target.

      Be ethical and take your sport seriously. If you hunt, eventually you will make a bad shot, but it shouldn’t be the norm. Lots of practice doesn’t make you perfect, but it will make you the best you can be.

      Hunt hard, hunt safe and may God bless your next hunting adventure.

Africa Hunt and Trophies

     Well last night was the night. After over a year, my Africa mounts have finally arrived. I was excited as a kid in a candy store. In this age of instant gratification, we all want it now and my Africa Trophies were no exception! For those of you who have ever dealt with a taxidermist, you know they march to a different drummer. You can’t rush an artist… and a good taxidermist is truly an artist!

      Just to set the stage for my blog in September 2009, my cousin Monte went to Alaska on a Brown Bear bow hunt and on the last day of the hunt he was able to harvest a nice 500 pound bruin. About a mile from my house in Apache Junction lives a world famous Taxidermist by the name of Kent Gardner and he specializes in Bears. So after getting him and Monte together, Monty decided that this was the guy to mount his bear. His work is incredible. In May of 2009 I went on a 10 day African Safari with Africa Anyway Safaris and the world famous professional hunter Wolma Kemp. His friends just refer to him as Kemp and after hunting with him for 10 days we created a bond that I am sure will last a lifetime. I am sure all his clients feel this way but he sure has a way about him that draws you back to Africa and Africa Anyway Safaris.

      After harvesting 12 animals including a Kudu, Gemsbok, Blue Wildebeest, a pending world record Red Hartebeest. My wife Darla also took the first two animals of her life, an Impala and a Springbuck. We then went with Kemp to deliver our trophies to Karoo Taxidermy (South Africa’s largest) to make preparations for our trophies to be mounted. It is more economical to have your trophies mounted in Africa than in the States because you get a better price on the mounts and shipping costs are close whether mounted or just skins and horns. You also must consider shipping cost from the port to your taxidermist and from your taxidermist to you. South Africa

Taxidermists also know what African Animals really look like so you get a more realistic mount and usually turnaround time is quicker.

     It generally takes about a year to get your trophies from a good taxidermist and in June of this year I received a call from Karoo letting me know that my mounts were ready a would be shipped air freight to Los Angeles and when they cleared customs they could be picked up. Most of you know from reading my blog that I am a Chef by trade and during the summer I travel around the country and do cooking demonstrations to help pay for my hunting habit. I leave in June and don’t get home until the end of September.

      This is where my cousin Monte comes in. Monte lives in California and he agreed to pick up my trophies at the Airport and store them until I got home. It was killing me not seeing those trophies for 4 months knowing they were so close. As luck would have it, Monty’s bear was finished and he was coming to pick it up and he offered to bring my Africa mounts to Arizona. When Monte arrived Saturday afternoon we quickly unloaded my 6 foot square crate and headed to Kent Gardner’s place to pick up his bear and we weren’t disappointed. It was breathtaking. Thank you Kent for the great work! After loading the bear in Monty’s trailer, we headed back to my place to unpack my trophies. We then spent the next 5 hours unpacking and hanging mounts. Look at the pictures and let me know what you think. The wall looks like I had been to Africa several times but it was just one trip with Africa Anyway Safaris.

      For more information on Africa Anyway Safaris just click on the Africa link on our web site and to contact Kent Gardner Taxidermy call me or Cory and we will put you in touch.

     Happy Hunting,
          Doak Worley

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