Friday, December 17, 2010

Cool Gifts

Gift Guide: A Wild Chef’s Christmas
By David Draper
I’m not sure how it happened, but somewhere along the way I became the guy shopping for gifts the week before Christmas. So it stands to reason, I’m also the guy who gets his wish list to Santa late. Which maybe explains the lump of coal I find in my stocking every year. I mean, it couldn’t be because I’m naughty or anything. Right?
So, with just over a week left to get your shopping done, here’s a list of gift ideas for the Wild Chef in your life. Some I have and highly recommend, and others I would love to find under my tree on December 25:
Chef’s Knife: Like Uma Thurman, I prefer Japanese steel and since Hattori Hanzo is retired, I turn to Al-Mar. I’ve been using an Al-Mar Ultra-Chef Gyuto knife for about the last four or five years and don’t think I could go back to using a cheap knife. It’s scary sharp and takes an edge well. Worth the investment.

French Skillet: A French skillet is a good compromise between a straight-sided sauté pan and traditional frying pan. I currently use a 10-inch, non-stick Anolon pan, but I’d love an All-Clad 11-inch version.
Cookbooks: There are a lot of good cookbooks out there, any of which that would make a great gift. Joy of Cooking and How To Cook Everything are great reference tools. I’d love to find a copy of Eileen Clarke’s Slice of the Wild or the L.L. Bean Game and Fish Cookbook under my tree.
Boning Hooks: I’ve wanted one of these cool little tools ever since my advanced course in deer processing from Gary the Meat Cutter. Pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to wield them as deftly as Gary, but if nothing else I can walk around the butcher shop talking like a pirate.
Foodsaver Quart Bags: Like socks and underwear, this is one of those gifts you’re kind of disappointed in getting, but know you really need. Plus, I swear, the local Cabela’s is out of stock every time I go in there, so I always try to have plenty of quart-size bags on hand, especially during hunting season.
Cook’s Country: While Cook’s Illustrated provides a master’s-level education, this country-fried version from “America’s Test Kitchen” is one of my favorite references. I’m constantly adapting recipes from Cook’s Country for use with wild game. A subscription makes a great gift.
Pizza Stone: A friend raves about the pizzas he makes on his Big Green Egg, so I want try my hand at them on my trusty grill. Weber makes a kettle-specific version , but I think any inexpensive pizza stone, like this one from Bialetti, would do.
Lump Charcoal: I’m going to get a lump in my stocking anyway, so might as well put it on my list. Maybe this year I’ve been bad enough for a 20-pound bag of hardwood charcoal from Cowboy Charcoal.

Hamburger Press: After years of borrowing a buddy’s, I finally broke down and bought my own hamburger press. This is great for venison burgers that come out assembly-line perfect every time.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Atlantic snook harvest closes Dec. 15; catch and release still OK

News Release from the FWC

December 13, 2010
Contact: Lee Schlesinger, 850-487-0554
The recreational harvest of snook will close in all Atlantic coastal and inland waters, including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River, beginning on Dec. 15.  The annual winter harvest season closure of snook in these areas, which normally ends on Feb. 1, has been extended until Sept. 1, 2011, by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) due to the prolonged cold weather that impacted snook in Florida earlier this year.
The extended harvest closure will help protect snook populations this winter when they are most vulnerable to cold weather and give snook added protection during next spring and summer's spawning months.  All other Florida waters are already closed to the harvest of snook until next September for the same reason.
Anglers may still catch and release snook during the harvest closure, and the FWC encourages everyone to handle and release these fish carefully to help ensure their survival upon release.
Snook regulations apply to snook harvested in both state and federal waters off Florida, and no person may possess any snook caught during snook closed seasons.
For more information regarding the management of snook in Florida, go to (click on "Fishing - Saltwater").

Sunday, December 12, 2010

FWC wants public's input about more daylight alligator hunting

News Release: from the FWC

December 9, 2010
Media contact: Tony Young, 850-488-7867

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) wants to know what Floridians think about providing more daylight-hunting hours to alligator hunters. The public can comment via an online survey.
The FWC is exploring the idea of additional daylight-hunting hours for the state's recreational alligator hunting season, which runs Aug. 15 - Nov. 1 each year.
Currently, legal hours for alligator hunting are from one hour before sunset to one hour after sunrise.
"We've received input from the alligator hunting community and are now looking for input from anyone who is interested in this issue," said Harry Dutton, FWC alligator-management program coordinator.
People can provide input by going to  The Commission will take this input into consideration when deciding whether any change is warranted. Anyone with additional questions regarding this issue may call Dutton at 850-488-3831.

Tide page has been removed

This post is to let everyone know that the tide page is no longer available in the top menu.  To better accomodate different locations tides can now be found using your specific location by clicking the link on the right hand side of the page under Hot Spots.