Mountain Lion Season Update

According the SDGFP 38 of a 45 lion quota have been taken as of today. 

15 of those are males and 23 females. 

  • This means the season will hit the 45 lion quota and not end early because 30 females lions were harvested. 
  •  No lions have been taken from the Custer State Park unit which has a quota of 5 lions.
  • The three largest lions by size are:
  • 1. 177 pound male harvested January 21st in Custer County
  • 2. 153 pound male harvested January 26th in Custer County
  • 3. 148 pound nale harvested January 1st in Custer County

Remember the season last until March 31st or until the quota of 45 lions are taken.  To get up to date information on harvest numbers Text “SDGFP lion” to 368638.

Deep Sea Fishing

OK, I know the name of the blog is South Dakota Outdoor Adventures but I had to share my experience doing some Deep Sea Fishing while in Mexico this past week.

Myself and eight other family members chartered a 42 foot fishing boat for a half day one morning while staying in Play Del Carmen. Anyone who enjoys fishing and is in Mexico should try to get out on the water because it is absolutely a mind blowing experience.

First off , SALT WATER FISH FIGHT HARD! I was tasked with pulling in a large trigger fish (a reef fish that is relatively small when talking about ocean fish) while bait fishing and I could feel my biceps aching after the couple minute fight. Ultimately, that fish came off the hook as the guide was lifting it into the boat but it was so exhilarating trying to pull this manhole cover of a fish into the boat.

After catching our bait for the day we began bottom fishing.  Our guides told us we were going to be trying for big fish and they weren’t joking.  While we could see other boats around us catching smaller fish with the guides doing most of the work, we were fishing the bottom with cannon ball sized down-riggers.  The guides would hook a fish and then hand it off almost immediately to a family member, who then had the incredibly difficult task of pulling these huge strong fish off of the bottom 400 feet below our boat.  To make things more difficult the fish that we hooked were at least 500 feet out.  In the end, we hooked three big fish while bottom fishing but didn’t get one in the boat. After a struggle that lasted around 10-15 minutes per time each fish bit off the 60 pound monofilament line or spit the hook.

Luckily, we had our revenge while trolling.   My brother commented what we were fishing for walleyes because the set up was very similar.  We were using 5 poles, two on huge outriggers, and simply driving around with bait following a couple hundred yards behind us skimming the top of the water.  After 20-30 minutes of nothing we heard the whiz of line coming out fast while the guides yelled “fish on” and started jumping for joy with fingers crossed pointing to the sky.

What ensued over the next 45 minutes was a 7 person struggle to bring in a 6 -7 foot sailfish that ultimately ended with two guides pulling the massive fish into the boat. We had the fish out of the water for all of 45 seconds, just enough to snap a few pictures before the guides through it back so the fish could live to fight another day.  A shout of “Cerveza” came from one of the guides as we celebrated our catch.

Our Captain, Ivan, said we were very lucky to catch a sailfish.   Sport fish (marlins, sword and sailfish) are almost exclusively caught in March, April and May in that area and he said each boat catches only about one sailfish per season.  

If you go:

Get enough people together to charter a boat.  This drove the cost per person way down rather then pay a set price per person to be on a boat with a bunch of strangers. 

Be ready for a workout, salt water fish have a heck of a fight in them and the aren’t going to come to the boat easy.

While between fish watch the water around you, our group spotted a couple sea turtles and a large number of flying fish during out time on the water.

Wolf shot by Woonsocket

From South Dakota Game Fish and Parks

DNA testing of a sample taken from a wolf-like animal that was recently killed by a coyote hunter confirmed the animal was indeed a wolf from the Great Lakes Region. The hunter who mistakenly shot the animal was hunting coyotes north of Woonsocket, South Dakota in Sanborn County on December 18, 2010. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks law enforcement officials confiscated the 90 pound male animal after being made aware of the incident.

“Minnesota has a healthy wolf population, so it’s not uncommon for young male wolves to periodically wander into the Dakotas,” said Wildlife Conservation Officer Chris Kuntz of Huron. “Young male wolves are often pushed out of a pack and will simply wander across country. They usually don’t spend much time in any one location and generally move out of an area within a few days from when they’re first sighted,” said Kuntz. “Unfortunately in this case, a hunter mistook the animal as a coyote and it was killed,” he said. The hunter that shot the wolf will not be charged with a violation, as he clearly misidentified the animal as a coyote.

Hunters pursuing coyotes in eastern South Dakota are reminded that wolves are listed as “endangered” under the Federal Endangered Species Act. This protection makes it illegal for a hunter to kill or possess such species. “Hunters are reminded to use extreme caution when hunting coyotes to make sure they can identify their target before they shoot,” said Kuntz.

While camping in the North Woods of Minnesota I have heard my fair share of wolves howling throughout the night but never had the opportunity to see one, let along see one in South Dakota.  Have any of your seen a wolf while in South Dakota?  Let us know your experience by commenting on this post.

Mountain lion season so far

The mountain lion season kicked off the first of January and SDGFP is already reporting 9 lions (4 females) have been taken.

Remember the season statewide season runs Jan. 1 to March 31 or when 45 lions have been taken or when 30 females have been taken.

No lions have been taken from Custer State Park so far.

If you are hunting and want text updates on the number of lions taken Text “SDGFP lion” to 368638 and GFP will send them out to you.

Here is the rundown on the lions that have been taken so far from South Dakota Game Fish and Parks.

Mt Lion # Date of Harvest Sex Estimated Age Weight Location of Harvest
SW-1 1/1/2011 M 3-4 127 Custer
SW-2 1/1/2011 M 6 148 Custer
SW-3 1/2/2011 M 3 105 Pennington
SW-4 1/2/2011 F 5-6 90 Pennington
SW-5 1/2/2011 F 3 85 Pennington
SW-6 1/2/2011 M 7 147 Lawrence
SW-7 1/2/2011 F 2 81 Custer
SW-8 1/4/2011 F 5-6 97 Custer
SW-9 1/4/2011 M 1 58 Pennington

My Hunting Year in Review

I may have spent more days hunting in 2010 than any other year. From a spring bear hunt in Montana through waterfowl and pheasant season to a elk hunt in the hills it has been a great, and successful hunting year for me. 

Bear Hunting

My 2010 hunting season really started in May when I traveled with my dad outside Thompson Falls Montana to take in a spring bear hunting. This wasn’t your sit above bait bear hunt.  Hiking over 10 miles a day along logging trails, drainage ditches and hillsides this was hard work but in the end it was worth it.  The second to last day I took this mature brown phase black bear and I couldn’t be happier.  One side note.  Bear ham is delicious. 

Montana, as I said in my last post with the Black Hills, should be on every hunters bucket list.  Whether you are hunting, elk, bear, deer or fly fishing along one of it’s blue ribbon rivers it’s a wild place that anyone who loves the outdoors would enjoy. 

Click on images for a larger view

   

Goose Hunting

When SD GFP upped the early goose hunting limit to 8 this year I knew there was possibility for some great hunts and that is exactly what we had.  Whether it was with Luke, My dad and brother, or Father in law and brother in law we never got skunked when we went out this year.  My most successful day was hunting over a small dugout the geese were using to rest after feeding.

 

 

Duck Hunting

Luke and I spent a lot of days this year duck hunting and we had some great times. I estimate I bagged around 80 ducks this year by myself and I know Luke exceeded that number. Whether flooded corn, sloughs, picked corn or big water if Luke and I had a day off together during the season we were probably out in the field trying to shoot ducks.

Deer Hunting

I didn’t get to deer hunt as much as I would have liked but it was no ones fault other than my own.  I have yet to fill my archery tag and I have doubt that I will.  After passing on some small bucks on my days spent on the stand rifle season was here before I knew it.  I took a respectable buck on the opening weekend. He tastes delicious. 

 

Pheasant Hunting

Pheasant hunting since I can remember has been good.  We took large numbers of birds throughout the season, but perhaps more important than shooting birds is the time I get to spend with my family, great memories are made stomping through the fields every year.

I can only hope my 2011 season is as successful both in game taken and memories made as this year was.

Hunting Elk in the Snow

When my dad, brother and I drew cow elk tags on the second draw for the northern unit of the Black Hills I was pretty excited at the thought of a freezer full delicious steaks and burger.  Mother nature, however had different plans. 

Heavy snows just before Thanksgiving had moved most of the elk out of our unit and to lower elevations by the time the December season rolled around.  Cutting tracks was difficult, as we hiked several miles from the road through knee deep or higher snow only to find old tracks.  On the last day of our hunt we finally found some fresh tracks unfortunately so did the other 10 hunters in that area.  Hiking deep into the woods following fresh tracks we heard a shot ring out over the next ridge sealing our fate of getting an elk by pushing the elk herd deeper into the forest and out of reach for that day.

For me, time spent in the hills is never wasted.  Even though we didn’t bag an elk spending time hiking the same trails I did when I was younger is reward enough.  Hiking miles through snow filled pine forests that open to calm untouched meadows provides a peace that is hard to match.

The variety  and abundance of wild game in the hills is simply astounding.  Every night, after a day of hunting, we would drive to the flats to glass. Watching hundreds of mule and whitetail deer come out of the hills to feed.  Flocks of a hundred turkeys could been seen making there way towards the forest to roost for the night. 

If you enjoy hunting or the outdoors, try for a tag in the Black Hills.  Get out of your truck, out of a tree stand and hike.  Get deep into the forest before first light and glass a ridgeline or better yet listen to the sound of a huge bull bugling through a valley. Fill your tag or not you won’t be disappointed.

Click on images for a larger view

Monster Fish

Check out this huge buffalo* Tyler Hoffmann of Alexandria sent in.  Tyler caught it on Lake Mitchell Saturday with 1.5 pound test and the fish weighed 40 pounds.  Time to break out those augers and warm clothes and get out on the ice.

 

Send your hunting and fishing photos to chuber@mitchellrepub with the title South Dakota Outdoor Adventures to get them posted on the blog.

From Trees to Table, Cooking Wild Game

Going from this,

To this,

-can be a scary journey for most people but cooking wild game should be an enjoyable and flavorful experience.

When I talk to people about a recent successful hunt they often time say what do you do with if once you shoot it.  I instantly say “I eat it” and honestly I enjoy it.

I am lucky enough to be blessed with a wife whom not only cooks wild game on a regular basis but also enjoys eating it.  We usually eat one or two meals a week that have been taken through hunting (usually duck, pheasant or goose but lately a lot of bear)

The stigma that wild game has to be tough or ”gamey” tasting is simply not true.  Wild game can be just as tender and flavorful as prime cuts of beef if it is prepared properly.

Here are some general rules to live by when cooking wild game.

Marinate

This will give your meat the tenderness and juicy flavor that you and your family have grown accustomed to from your typical meats.

We generally marinate wild game meats for at least 3 hours and most times  leave them overnight. 

Don’t Overcook. 

Wild game, such as venison, does not contain marbling so it can dry out and toughen up a lot faster than beef.  Cook till your meat is rare to medium, depending on your preference, but never further unless you are using a slow cooker.  Try to turn your meats while on the grill only once to keep juices from escaping.  This will keep your meats succulant and delicious

Eat What is Fresh

Birds killed earlier that morning are going to taste a lot better then those that have been sitting in your freezer for 6 months.  Just like fresh vegetables, fresh game will always taste better.

In light of filling my Rifle Deer Tag this past weekend I will leave you with my recipe for grilled whitetail tenderloins.

Marinade:

1/2 cup brown sugar

4 tbls soy sauce

1 tsp ground coffee

4 tsp olive oil

1tsp black pepper

a pinch of rosemary

Combine marinade in a small bowl and then score the meat with a small knife (2 inch long 1/4 inch deep diagonal incisions).  Spoon marinade over the loins covering both sides and cover on a plate with plastic wrap.  Leave sit for at least 3 hours, overnight is preferable.

In a large high skillet heat olive oil on medium heat.  Sear each side of the tenderloin for about 5-7 mins depending on how you prefer your meat.  Slice in 2 inch wide cuts. Serve with potatoes or your favorite green vegetable, and a dark beer and enjoy.