A Few Tips for Duck Season

Wood Ducks on the Wing! *


One Way to Pluck Ducks & Geese

Plan to pluck your ducks and geese dry.  According to MDH (my deer husband), they are easiest to pluck soon after shooting.

If you situate your ducks/geese over a bag or deep pot, you can pull the feathers down and into the container.  Pull down with the lay of the feathers.

Another Option

If this sounds like too much work, I have an alternative.  Delta Waterfowl president, Rob Olson has some great videos on cleaning ducks.

Rob Olson’s 3 Pail Cleaning System

Breasting a Duck

Leaving a Wing Attached

Don’t Forget the Drumsticks & Thighs – Great info on how to BBQ a Goose!

Plucking Ducks

Dressing Ducks

Each of these are 2 to 5 minutes and well worth your time!

Tending to Your Decoys

Before storing your duck/goose decoys, spend a little time checking them over for next year.

This tip is from Chuck Barry, President of Texas Hunting Products (in Houston, TX).  To repair shot holes, use a short length of polypropylene rope.  Touch the lit end of a match to the end of the rope.  Dab the liquid polypropylene on the holes.

This operation can seal the holes.  However, if you check the repair before the area cools, you can use all those cuss words you’ve saved up (for just such an occasion)!

* Reflections of Autumn – Wood Ducks Rear Window Graphic used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics!


Our Sunday’s Special this Weekend: Western Rear Window Graphic Photos!  Then come back for a new article on Monday!


REMEMBER:  Deja Moo is the feeling you’ve heard this bull before!


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on December 18, 2010 at 6:18 pm  Comments Off on A Few Tips for Duck Season  
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Cleaning Your Wild Turkey

This video is about 9 minutes long and the young man has an easy style and quick way to clean a turkey.

He has accidently shot a young male (jake) and doesn’t want to go to the hassle of cleaning the whole bird because the jake is spindly (these drumsticks are really sticks!) and most of the meat available is in the breast area.



Notice how well this young man wields his knife … he looks like he’s done this a few dozen times!

Plus, he’s probably the only turkey hunter in America who worries about the left-over turkey feathers, besides my husband! 😉


This blog is a companion to my website: GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on April 29, 2010 at 6:43 pm  Comments Off on Cleaning Your Wild Turkey  

Getting the “Gamy” Taste out of Wild Ducks, Fowl, Etc. (3 of 3)



Avoiding Gamy Taste in Ducks and other Fowl! *

Re-reading the two posts regarding “gamy taste” in wild game, the tone of the pieces seem to be focused on venison.  Perhaps a few words on wild ducks, wild geese, wild turkey, wild fowl, would be appropriate.

Why Wild Duck Tastes Different

In truth, wild duck, goose, turkey, etc., have a different taste than domesticated (the ones you can buy in the frozen meat cases). Wild game has not been ‘fattened up’ for the market, nor has it been fed special foods  – and diet truly does affect a bird’s taste.

A Step on the Dry Side

The ‘wild ones’ symbolize “what-you-see-is-what-you-get.”  And that is the beauty of wild game – no hormones were added – it is just natural food.  Because wild game has not been fed a diet of fats and things you cannot pronounce, it tastes dry.

Tips With Quail

Before freezing, quail may be skinned or plucked. For more moisture and flavor, pluck, rather than skin. Quail can be kept in the freezer (at 0 degrees) for 9 – 10 months – if placed in vapor/moisture proof containers or wrapping.

Fried Quail

4 quail, 1/4 cup flour, salt and pepper

After dredging quail in flour mixture, fry in hot fat. Brown on both sides. Cover skillet and reduce heat. Cook slowly until tender, ~ 20 minutes, turning once to brown evenly. Serves 4.

Ideas for Marinating Ducks & Birds

If your ducks are fish-eating animals, it is best to marinate in wine, buttermilk or vinegar. If the game is an older goose or duck, marinating your animal in the refrigerator for 4 to 12 hours will improve flavor.

These older birds respond well to 1/2 tsp. salt and 1 Tbsp. vinegar per quart of water. This mixture will improve flavor and tenderize the flesh.

Dining on Duck

Wild duck, which is a dark meat, is most flavorful when served rare. I’ve found that roasting a duck in a closed pan – after adding a few strips of bacon (across the carcass) – really makes a difference with large and less-tender birds.

The only way I cook ducks is with bacon (strips) and/or in gravy.  They need the moisture provided by these, plus a closed pan.

Wild Goose

Young wild goose  is wonderful: little waste, the meat is rich, dark and lean. Unfortunately, older geese don’t seem to get better in moist heat.  Given a choice, tell your hunter to aim for the youngster. 😉


One thing I forgot to  include with the venison info: Venison does not freeze until it cools down below 28 degrees.


* Reflections of Autumn used with permission of Vantage Point Graphics


This series includes:

#1 of 3: Can You Take the Wild Taste Out of Venison?

# 2 of 3: Removing the “Gamy” from Wild Game!

# 3 of 3: Getting the “Gamy” Taste out of Wild Ducks, Fowl, Etc.


This is a companion to my website: EasyOnlineOrdering.com

Amazing Stories of 2008 – Published by (Gasp) Others!


What a Rack! What a Story!

What a Rack! 30 Points of "Oh, My Goodness!"


Yep, I hate to admit it. Others have produced some really great posts. Some were outrageously funny, some are just outrageous! All of these are worth your time….


Most Important Choice

Probably the ‘YouTube’ show,  “What’s the Difference Between Assault Weapons & Sporting Rifles?” Leroy Pyle does more to dispel the emotion from these words than anyone else I’ve seen to date.

This video lasts less than 12 minutes and demonstrates the items under discussion.  His language is clear and low-key; just what is needed.

Most Useful

Without a doubt, learning how to clean a duck from a master hunter is wonderful. Don’t be put off by the fact this series (of 5 short videos) was produced with young hunters in mind.

Oh My Gosh!

Eat Your Heart Out: Amazing New MS State Archery Record!  is another jaw-dropper!  Congrats to Michael Burkley!

Good Grief! A 30 Point Deer! ** Update on 10/10/2010:

Snopes has an interesting story about the photo(s).  It seems the Amish community (and a few other hunters) were aware there was a huge deer in Adams County, Ohio.

John Schmucker, an Amish adult, killed the deer on the first day of bow hunting season. This deer is the largest ever taken by a crossbow in Ohio and the 2nd largest in the state — ever.

When measured, the final Boone & Crockett score was 291 and2/8 from a gross score of 300 and 6/8.

Click on the underlined Snopes for the whole story.


The Year Isn’t Over

“Well, it ain’t over till it’s over,” sums up this latest story – just noticed it a few minutes ago on Rocky Mountain News.

Randy Goodman of Sedalia, Mo., reminds us all why Missouri is the “Show Me” State.  He went to collect the 240 lb. deer he’d just shot – twice.

Getting ready to pack his – obviously dead – 9 pointer back to camp, Goodman made a small mistake.  He forgot to make sure the deer was completely dead.

The deer took offense,*  jumped up and attacked the veteran hunter with his antlers and bulk.  The rest of the story is at: http://www.livescience.com/strangenews/081202-ap-deer-attack.html or @ http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2008/dec/02/wounded-deer-attacks-hunter-who-shot-him/


A Sadder & Wiser Good Man!

A Sadder & Wiser Good Man!


* The deer seems to have been offended that Mr. Goodman didn’t SHOW ME I’M DEAD!’ (Even the deer are into the “show me” mindset!) Sheesh!


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com


Guess What I Found? Duck Cleaning Video Online


Click Here for More Info

These are More Fun to Shoot Than to Clean!


Probably the most popular (single) article I’ve written has been about duck cleaning.  It’s surprising how many people want to learn this important skill.

Perhaps more hunters are coming to the same conclusion: After paying so much money for the hunt, it seems a shame to give the meat away. Remember:  It is absolutely critical to get your game on ice ASAP.

I plan to go back and rewrite my duck cleaning article, with more information — soon.  However, last night, while trolling the Net I found a bonanza!  Rob Olson demonstrates how to clean ducks. Incredible! He makes it look SO easy! Please click on this. It’s a series of 5 short videos.  Take a look!  🙂

  • Plucking Ducks I
  • Plucking Ducks II
  • Breasting Ducks
  • Wing Attached for Transport
  • Don’t Forget the Goose and Duck Legs!



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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on October 21, 2008 at 11:25 am  Comments (1)  
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What Do ‘Blood Feathers’ or ‘Pin Feathers’ Look Like?

In 6 October 2008’s post: Turning Wild Birds into Fine Dining (Recipes), I mentioned the following: “You know you have an old goose when you see: pinfeathers, very large wing spurs and overall -rather coarse feathers.”



Photo of Blood Feathers, Pin Feathers Thanks to Sebastian Ritter


Unfortunately, I neglected to explain what these are; thank you to the readers who asked for a clarification. You keep me on my toes!

Pin Feathers

A pin feather is an under-developed feather; it occurs during the time ducklings and young fowl are growing feathers and when they moult. These pin feathers are sometimes referred to as “blood feathers,” because the feather shaft has a blood supply in it. Thus, if the pin feather is damaged, the fowl/duck/goose can really, really bleed. Pin feathers are more sensitive than regular feathers.

Once the feather is fully developed, the blood is only in the shaft’s base (tip). According to Wikipedia:  “The tip of the shaft encases the feather itself, in a waxy coating. As molting birds preen, they remove the waxy coating, and the feather unfurls.

When the blood has receded, the term “blood feather” is no longer synonymous with ‘pin feather'” — now it is just called a pin feather.

One way of explaining this is that duck taxidermists generally refuse to mount a duck caught early in the season (especially September), because they have too many pin feathers. It gives the bird/duck/goose an unkempt, scruffy appearance.  To hear taxidermists talk about this issue, go to:


Essentially, you don’t want fowl with lots of pin feathers because they are so very hard to remove before cooking. If you get one, the easiest way to handle this is by skinning the fowl. As previously stated in another article, skinning reduces moisture in the fowl. Why this is unfortunate is: The skin is what keeps the dry meat from drying out further.

Why are they ‘Wing Spursif Fowl Only Have One?

I also mentioned “wing spurs.”  Several types of ducks and especially geese – have a spur in the bend of the wing (like having a sharp claw or talon on the outside of your elbow), which can deal some real damage. Usually, the fowl with the “wing spurs” only have one. Go figure.

While discussing this issue with MDH, Richard reminded me that teal season (in this area) is only in September. So many hunters just ignore the caution against pin feathers and skin the teal.

Hopes this clarifies things.
This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

“Bird Cleaning 101” for Hunters

By the time you have paid to hunt, purchased everything you need, traveled to the site, etc., you may have spent a couple of hundred dollars. So when you look down at your “catch” and see a couple of birds/ducks/whatever, you are looking at some high-priced meat!

(These directions are the same for most fowl.) Often, hunters tell me that they discard the wild birds because of the “gamey” taste. That is a shame! Perhaps a review of some of the tried-and-true methods of preparing freshly caught game would help.  Wild birds are gourmet fare and some careful handling will ensure that your birds have eye appeal and superior eating quality.

First Steps in Bird & Duck Cleaning

Field dress your birds immediately.  Remove the head, bleed and remove entrails. Wipe the body with a clean, damp cloth.  While tending to your next bird, you should leave the cavity open on the cleaned duck for good air circulation. If the outdoor temperature is not cold, it is important to get the birds into a cooler as quickly as possible.

Aging Your Waterfowl

To reduce gamey flavor and develop tenderness, aging is the next task. How you do this is based on whether or not the bird has been plucked at this point. Many prefer to skin the fowl; it’s easier. However, by plucking, you retain moisture and flavor.

If your bird is unplucked, hang it at a temperature between 40 – 45 degrees for 3 or 4 days. Fully plucked birds can be safely aged under refrigeration (between 35 – 40 degrees) for 3 to 4 days.

Rough Pickings

Remove the wings (at the joint nearest the body) and feet (at the first joint above the feet). Now that you are sure that your duck won’t fly or walk away, let the plucking begin. 😉

Most hunters prefer to pick ducks dry, rather than when they are wet. Keeping your fingers moist will help speed the process.  Holding the carcass firmly in one hand, use the thumb and index fingers to pluck feathers.  Remove the down feathers by rubbing the thumb firmly across the bird.

Pluck that Duck

Pin feathers call for a different technique. Use a knife’s edge and your thumb to pull those pesky pin feathers.  Another way to get the downy feathers from a bird is to singe the carcass. The flame will burn off the down.

Another way to remove feathers is to remove as many feathers by hand; then submerge the outer skin of the fowl in melted paraffin. Remove the wing and tail feathers before repeatedly dunking the bird’s skin into the hot wax. You should have a bird or duck thickly coated in set wax. As you pull off the wax, the downy feathers come too.

Final Words – Packing, Freezing, Using

After this much effort, it is important to wrap your birds in quality, moisture and vapor-proof, freezing paper (or plastic).* They can be stored 9 to 10 months at 0 degrees. To thaw, place package in refrigerator for 12 to 18 hours.  According to our nutrition specialist for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, Frances Reasonover, “This slow thawing will tenderize the meat.”

* A friend, with a lot of freezer space, puts his birds/ducks in a empty milk cartons and fills with water. He never has to deal with freezer burn.

Now your ‘catch’ will be safe, clean and delicious!


Where do I get paraffin? Hardware stores; Wal-Mart; look on grocer’s shelves next to the canning supplies!


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on September 30, 2008 at 10:43 am  Comments Off on “Bird Cleaning 101” for Hunters  
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