Friday, February 27, 2015

Hunting Feral Goat and Foraging for Greens

“You know, we’re probably the only guys in the whole state walking into a Trader Joes after doing what we just did…actually, we’re probably the only guys in the country!” – My brother Justin after the successful goat hunt.
I got the lowdown on a population of feral goats on some local public land. According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, feral goats are extremely distructive to local ecosystems (just look at what they’ve done in New Zealand and Hawaii) so they are open year round to take by hunters.

I headed out for a bit of rabbit hunting with my brother and enjoyed every minute. We saw a few hares and drew a bead a few times, but no shots were fired. After a time we passed an area with ample sign of beaver activity and headed into the dense forest switching out rabbit loads for buckshot.

Following trails through dense understory and lush patches of stinging nettle I finally found what I was looking for. A young white goat stood and hi-tailed it out of a wooded patch on my right. He paused just long enough in a small window through the trees for me to make a successful shot.

I retained the heart, liver and kidneys and though I could hear my friends in Mongolia telling me to waste nothing, I did make the decision to leave the guts…next time they will be cleaned and eaten Mongol style.

My brother and I got together some ingredients and ate the liver the first night.


The second evening I used foraged mustard leaves for my go-to staple saag.

Justin took a leg home and made a nice curry as well.

With much of the rest of the meat I made sausage, chili, and some other exquisite meals…but that’s another story.

The bones and hide will be used in the coming weeks.

Keep the old ways alive!

Monday, February 9, 2015

My One Hundredth Post: New Foragers, Old Stories, and New Skills

Over the past few years writing this blog I have had the pleasure and honor of taking part in countless adventures in amazing places with wonderful friends. This post is dedicated to my Dad who taught us to hunt, fish and dive, to my mom who taught us not just to cook but to appreciate cooking and quality of food, to my brother who has had my back every time I have ever needed him (and continues to teach me), to my dedicated readers from Ukraine, France, Canada, Singapore, Russia, Australia, Brazil, and the US, to the experienced foragers who have accompanied me on so many forays, and to all those rookies who I have had the pleasure of helping become self sustaining foragers themselves!

So this post will be a blend of past photos and a few great recent ones too!

Whether it was on a beach in northern CA with my dad, spearing black rockfish and cooking them over a driftwood fire, or lobster diving with my brother in southern CA it has been great!

Spearfishing with the “Sea Dogs” Evian and Ahmed at the Quicky Mart and cooking up seafood feasts with Gigi…

Or showing Mitch and Reilly the ropes and celebrating their first fish…

Gathering the fruits of the urban harvest or desert delicacies with Nicolas (one of my most talented bushcraft buddies)…

Or foraging for fungi with my girl in the mountains…

Enjoying figs with Houston, Nick and Kate…

Eating the best meals in the greatest places with my best friend Alex…

Or taking Andrew on his first rabbit hunt (he now has his hunting license!)…

The past few years adventuring through the wilds of California, hunting, fishing, and foraging have been great!

And now some new material…by Justin Smith (my brother)

“Two weeks ago when I looked at a fallen tree alongside a county road I saw a log.  Now I see tool handles.  In an afternoon you can rescue a neglected tool by carving a new handle from green wood split from a fallen tree with limited hand tools and limited skill. 
There is some utility in resurrecting these old hand tools.  The quality of many of the older hand tools are superb and rival all but the most expensive modern day hand tools.  Vintage hand tools that are missing wooden handles fetch a fraction of the price of fully intact hand tools, but are otherwise perfectly functional.  Items that can be quickly put back into service by carving new handles include axes, chisels, hammers, and saws. 

There are many craftsmen who have written better tutorials on how to fashion these handles than I could.  I will say that these items are surprisingly easy to make and cost nothing but your time if the wood can be salvaged from a freshly fallen tree.  Selecting the proper type of wood for a handle is important in order to get satisfactory results.  The proper type of wood will vary by tool type and should be researched before starting your project.  Here are a few items I put back into service over the last few weeks.”

We can't wait to tell you about our recent successes with Flint and Steel fire making and feral goat hunting but for all of our friends here and abroad we say “Keep the old ways alive!”