Emperor’s Table Series: John Hudspeth

Show Notes

On this episode of Huntavore, Nick’s sights turn southward as he is joined by John Hudspeth, Host of the Oklahoma Outdoors Podcast.  John may be the pickiest eater on the show, yet resides in a true sportsmen’s cornucopia of species to chase.  One in particular is the feral hog, an animal that brought a lot of attention to itself in the past several years.  John paints a picture of what Nick is to expect when he travels down and faces off against these formidable beasts.  To top it all off, John lays out a couple dishes for the Emperor’s Table that even picky eaters will enjoy.  Lots of great conversation on this episode of Huntavore.

John Hudspeth, AKA “The Voice of Oklahoma” , coined by one of his listeners, invited Nick and the Sportsmen’s Empire crew to a hog hunt.  Biting at the chance, Nick wanted to have John on the show to lay out what was to be expected when chasing hogs.  John gives some details on how to approach hog hunting, like feel free to take off in the morning, since the pigs in his area tend to be active evening and night.  Also, pigs are heavily motivated by food this time of year.  Put out the best grub, you’ll find the pigs.  Speaking of grub, John lays out some great dishes to be presented at the Emperor’s table.  John and the Oklahoma Outdoors Podcast can be found on Mondays on Sportsmen’s Empire Network.

Show Transcript

[00:00:00] Welcome to the Hunt Ofor podcast, powered by Sportsman's Empire, where we celebrate the hunting and fishing lifestyle through the utilization and consumption of our wild game. No egos fork in hand, beer in the other, no status, a piece of red meat on a hot grill, and turn it into a burn offering. Just catch it.

Cut it. Cook. This is episode 1 21 Emperor Table Series, John Husk. On this episode of Hunt Devor, Nick's sights turn southward as he is joined by John Hus Smith, host of the Oklahoma Outdoors Podcast. John May be the pickiest eater on the show, yet resides in a true sportsman's [00:01:00] cornucopia of species to chase, one in particular the feral hog, an animal that has brought a lot of attention onto itself in the past several years.

John paints a picture of what Nick is to expect when he travels down and faces off against these formidable beasts. To top it all off, John lays out a couple dishes for the emperor's table that even picky eaters will enjoy. Lots of great conversation on this episode of Hunt Avo. And before we get started, I wanted to say that word of mouth advertising is the best way to get any message across.

And podcasts are no different. If you'd be willing to press pause even for just a minute and give hunt Devor a five star rating, that would help leaps and bounds getting the message of using more of our wild game across to folks. And if you feel like leaving review, that just encourages more to join in the conversation.

I wholeheartedly appreciate every action that you do take. Oh, and before I [00:02:00] forget, a bonus episode will be coming out next Monday. It'll be my recap of the Oklahoma hog adventure. Anyway, enough outta me right now. Let's get onto the show with John Husk.

Hey. Oh, beautiful evening here in Michigan. I tell you what it's like spring has finally arrived. I'm not sure when this is actually going to drop, but we just went through the time change. Here we are now into daylight spending time. We are spending time now with some sunshine and some clear skies.

So man, it's still tough in the morning trying to get the kids up an hour before they're ready to get up. But at the same time, it's actually turning out way better because shoot, it's now [00:03:00] daylight till seven. And man, are we loving it? But that's neither here nor there. I am joined tonight by another fellow Sportsman's Empire Podcaster.

I am here with John HUDs Smith of the Oklahoma Outdoors Podcast. John, thank you so much for joining me this evening. Tell me what is it like down in Oklahoma? Are you guys in shorts and t-shirts down there? Just about, actually I could make you really angry if I wanted to. Talking about the weather we had a cold front come through today and it, it only hit I think 58 today.

We've had a few, we've had a few 80 degree days already. But ma down here, this is a it, every year it's the same. It's always a weird time of year. You just never know what to expect when you step out the door in the morning. Like I, I think one day in March we hit 86 which that's, a little above average.

Like I said, I think last night it got down to 37 though. And yeah, [00:04:00] we're just kind, nothing like you guys up there but we're all over the place. Hey, if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes. I've heard that phrase before and it sounds like it's a bit the same down there.

Yeah, John, again, thanks for coming on tonight. Yeah, we wanted to have you on. I'm just doing the tour of the Sportsman's Empire and one question that I've really enjoyed hearing from is as we're leading off, John, how did you find yourself into creating a podcast like hunting and fishing and being outdoors is already your thing.

What made you decide to have a hobby that all you do is talk about another hobby? What got you started? That's a great question. It was a threefold really. A buddy of mine that he's a childhood friend of mine somewhat responsible for me getting me into hunting in the first place.

He actually had the idea. He said he and I should start a podcast. I ended up doing it by myself, not with him, nothing against him. He just, [00:05:00] he didn't have enough time. And then Dan was a big part of it the Emperor. I was on his podcast I think twice, and the second time I was on it I mentioned to him that I had thought about it and and nothing really came from it.

And then I was on his podcast a third time and he actually reached out to me. That's when he was starting the Empire and everything and looking for, more states. And so that was part of it. But a big reason, like my desire for starting it was I honestly didn't really have a hunting mentor.

I don't really come from a hunting family. I just got super lucky in that I came from like an ag family. So my, my family had land for me to recreate. Sorry, I got a cough here. Excuse me. Oh. So yeah, a perfect storm. Actually that the guy that I was first talking about, he is actually my brother's age, my older brother's age.

And when they were younger, they had a deer lease and he would [00:06:00] invite my brothers to go out there and hang out with them and everything. And I was always the younger brother that never got to go. And honestly, I think that's why I am so into hunting now was because I I wanted to, I had that desire, but I wasn't able.

And so a little later in life, I got my driver's license, I had all this land at my disposal, and I just, I got after it. But, a lot of the stuff that I've learned over the years, I had to learn myself. It was pre podcast the internet was a thing, but you couldn't just get on YouTube and learn anything you wanted back then.

And so a lot of it, I just had to learn myself. And so when I first discovered podcast, it w it blew my mind. Like I, I learned so much, so quick and I was like, I want this for others. And so that, that was the long story short or long story long I should say, of how I got into this.

Wow. John I resonate so much with that story, just being a non-sports man, family and then having to make your way into [00:07:00] basically trying to learn everything on your own. That is a great story. Do you do you miss being on that ranch, or excuse me, that, that lease or do have you enjoyed being able to learn stuff on your own at that point?

You're like, I don't need the lease at this point. So I, I never got to go to the lease. That was a buddy's lease that my brothers got to go to. I did. However, so growing up, my, my grandpa who's passed away now, he had a huge farm on the Red River, which is the border between Oklahoma and Texas.

And I actually grew up in Texas. My dad's side is from Texas. Mom's side was from Oklahoma, and he had I'll, he had 12,000 acres on the Red River. Some of the best. Deer hunting you could possibly imagine. They no longer ha he passed away. They ended up selling it later on. And man, I would give anything to have that back because, I got, I had free reign of it.

I had the whole thing to myself, but I just didn't know enough about hunting and growing up in more of that Texas culture, I [00:08:00] thought how you deer hunted was you sat in a box blind over a feeder. That's all I knew. And being a high school student and from a non, hunting family I had one homemade makeshift feeder and so on 12,000 acres that I had access to, I was hunting about three, and half the time, I, half the time, I couldn't afford the corn to put in it, I'd put one bag of corn in it and expect that to last for, weeks at a time.

And man, knowing what I know now and having broadened my horizon, I would give anything to have access to all that property again. Try that all over again. Oh. Being from Texas I do gotta, I gotta poke the bear and I gotta ask her opinion. Chili beans. Oh, no beans. No beans. Beans. I be where you're going already.

No beans.

Man, as a staunch bean user we'll just I'll hold back my judgment and we'll continue on because I don't know a brother from the other side who [00:09:00] who will hold the beans. That's fine with me. As long as it's delicious. I'll roll with it. All right. I will be, I will say this though I think I have a few buddies that I'm gonna send this to after we record it.

I think it's very funny that I'm on a cooking based podcast because you will not meet a pickier eater than I am. So we'll get into that later. Oh. Yeah. It's gonna be, it's gonna be good. Just a picky eater. Now when you're like, growing up. When you would go to Thanksgiving or you would go to a big family dinner, did you return?

Did did, could things touch or would you have like this? Oh no. Hoax out of a wheel. Oh, these two things and I can eat up to this line and I dare not cross it. Is that to do you live your life with the the separated plate? The little sections that are there? To this day. My buddies joke that when we go places together, they're gonna bring the little animal plates where the face is the main dish.

And then the ears are little individual [00:10:00] sections. Yes. To this day, my buddies gimme a hard time about that. It all mixes together in your stomach. You do realize this. Yes. But that it's after your taste buds after that point. See that's my argument. There you go. Fair enough.

Fair enough. Oh, this is gonna be fun, John. Oh yeah. Let's do a quick flyover of what your 2022 season was like here in the fall and even into the winter. Cause I know yours extends later into our season. But you don't just taste chase deer. You chase a lot of different species down there in Oklahoma.

Tell me about what were some of the big celebrations from this year? Was it a deer, was it landing a big fish? And then how did you celebrate that? Was it with a meal from that animal or what was it, what was the first thing that you did with your venison or even your fish that really just got you excited about that whole adventure?

Yeah, so I honestly got extremely lucky this year. I had a little bit different season. So I, my [00:11:00] wife and I had our first child in July, and so that changed things up a lot. I had. A decent amount of freedom in the spring and a little less freedom, in the fall. And I actually had a few spring adventures that were really cool.

In Oklahoma there's about three places in the entire state that you can catch trout. Usually it's two warm down here. There's one spot where they have introduced them and it's cold enough that they naturally, can breed and everything. And then there's two places where they introduce them.

In the wintertime they stock them. And basically when it warms up, they all die pretty much. So I did a little trout fishing, which was different. And then my wife and I as a baby moon before the baby came, we went on a crappy fishing, a guided crappy fishing trip, which was awesome.

And that is gonna play into the meal part later. And then we also, with the same guide we took my dad, my brother and brother-in-law for Father's Day. We took my dad fishing with that same [00:12:00] guide. He's getting older. I think he's 68 now. Getting some arthritis and stuff. So he loves being outside.

He obviously he doesn't have many hobbies, but fishing is, you could say one of his hobbies. So we went, took him crappy fishing and then I got to Turkey hunt one day and I got a Turkey, the whole man, pretty awesome. One day singer. I love him. Uhhuh. It was actually I had to work on Friday and I had a wedding Saturday evening and I was able to kill a Turkey on my way to the wedding Saturday morning.

So that was super lucky. And then kind of transition into the fall. Summertime was shut down pre-baby and post-baby and all that. This fall I hunted the least number. I had the least number of sits in the deer woods that I've had in several years. But I was fortunate I was still able to fill both my buck tags, which is awesome.

The famous, I don't know if your listeners, I'm sure you're aware of it, I also, I tried to go to Colorado on a elk hunt. I famously [00:13:00] had my truck stolen out of the hotel parking lot before the hunt. Still was able to go on the hunt, but did not get a elk. But because of that, because I knew that elk hunt was coming, that's part of the reason I get didn't get to do as much deer hunting was because basically I was saving my brownie points, for my wife.

And so I did a lot of one day hunts instead of a full weekend, like that type of thing. But like I said, was still fortunate and lucky. Killed two great bucks this year in Oklahoma. Did not get a buck in Texas. I only got to hunt Texas two or three days. So yeah, overall for the amount that I got to hunt with the baby and everything, extremely lucky.

So yeah, that, that was my season in a nutshell. You want me to go into the celebratory meal? Yeah. Shoot the ups and downs of that hole. To yeah. To start out and be like, Hey, this is like babymoon, like we're getting very excited. Your first child coming along. And it does, you talk about changing everything when it comes to Going from, yeah, basically just a husband to now being a [00:14:00] husband and a father, I've done that three times over and yeah, like scraping together time is something I now fully understand and so for you to be able to get out even with a little young one there, that's some great opportunities to be able to do and then be successful with that, which has been good.

The crappy sounds like a great time. You should have seen the guy's face when my wife walked up to the dock seven months pregnant, he's that's a keeper right there, John. Do not let her go. Oh yeah. He was like, please don't have a baby on this boat.

Yeah, get into of that being such a successful season, other than losing a truck, all of your hunting gear, not getting an elk, having all this freezer space that then you gotta fill up with with whitetail that you don't have time to go for. What was a couple of those big celebrations from this year though?

So there was two of 'em and both of 'em actually revolved around those crappy fishing [00:15:00] trips. So after my wife and I went on our trip, that was just a week or two before the, I got the Turkey. So they're, pretty close together. And my wife actually loves wild game. I'm lucky in that I have a lot of buddies who love to hunt and their wives care.

Nothing about the meat, but mine does. And We we're actually currently living in her grandparents' barn. We're about to, we, within the next few weeks we're gonna start building our house, which we're very excited for, but we're living with them for now while we build that. And and so she's Hey, it's a thank you.

We should make dinner for them. And she suggested having some of the crop that we caught. I was like, okay. And her family not being a hunting family, all of a sudden it, me, her and her grandparents turned into also her brother-in-law and sister-in-law and their kid, and just all of a sudden it grew more than we had enough for.

And so I was like, Hey, like the only way we can make this happen is if I do Turkey and the fish, the crop. And a lot of these recipes are gonna be very southern [00:16:00] inspired, which I hope you're okay with, so Oh absolutely. So years ago a good buddy of mine, we actually did a hunt trade.

And so we had some guys from Louisiana come up and go deer hunting with us, and then we went down and went alligator hunting with them. And so when they came up, they very southern hospitality type thing. They asked us if there was like something that they wanted us or we wanted them to cook.

And one of the things I said was frog legs. I'd never had frog legs. And so they brought up frog legs and just in case we didn't like it, they also brought up a bunch of catfish and they taught us how to cook it. And so he uses, a fish batter, but in order to, he help the batter stick, he covers the fish first in mustard, which I do not like mustard, I don't like really any condiments.

And so I was like, I don't know about this but the acidity it did help. So he did a little mustard and they had also, being Cajun, he had to put some Louisiana hot sauce and he was very adamant that it had to be the Louisiana brand hot. [00:17:00] And so basically he used that. Oh yeah. And so he used the mustard and the hot sauce, and that was his basically coating.

Then he put it into the batter and then fried it. And so I, oh man. The frog legs, by the way, were delicious. I was like, screw catfish. I have catfish all the time. I ate my weight in frog legs. So anyway, so I have, I've since stolen that recipe, and that's how I always cook my catfish now. But I have never done much crappy fishing.

That's part of the reason we chose to go crappy fishing. And so I was like, you know what? I'm gonna use the same recipe. And then we had the Turkey too, and I was like, you know what? I'm just gonna do the Turkey that way also. Yeah. And so I had all my piles and I usually do two batches. I do one with the hot sauce and one without, for people who don't like the spice in kids and stuff.

And yeah, rolled it and put it on the mustard on it, even though I hate mustard hot sauce. Used, I used fish batter on the fish, and then I used like a [00:18:00] chicken fry batter on the chicken. Deep fried it because we love deep frying. Everything around here made some homemade french fries that were also fried, obviously.

And yeah, I got to get my wife's family around who again, none of them are hunters. None of them to this day is, have ever killed an animal. They've done a little fishing. So that was really cool to, get to share that with them. They loved it. They really loved the Turkey, which I was surprised.

I thought they were gonna the fish more than the Turkey. But they loved the Turkey. I cut it up in the smaller chunks so that, when you fried it was all nice and crisp. And very similar story with the other fishing trip we took my dad on. Same thing. We caught a bunch of crappy with the guide, went back to their house.

My brother's whole family came over, so we had their family, my dad, my mom, everybody there. Same recipe and everything. Cause I already knew it was a winner. And yeah, two, two occasions kind of same story. And that was definitely a memorable one for me. Hot dog man, that [00:19:00] is a great story. Where it starts out with, oh, let's just do something for the in-laws.

And it turns into a whole gathering. And I like the binding. Cuz there's a lot of times where either go wet batter or Right. With a larger piece of meat. If you were to do like a Turkey schnitzel where you actually do the three, you go flour, you go egg, and then you go into your breadcrumb or your, whatever.

You want your outside to be, but to go for just the binder being the hot sauce and the mustard, that's such a great idea because you're imparting flavor into the meat As it gets hot, it's gonna work its way in. But at the same time, you don't really taste the mustard after you go through the deep fried that deep fried kills all that that mustard flavor, that's probably a turnoff for you.

And then everything else sings there. That vinegar goes to work. But other than that, like I'm sure you didn't taste the frenches as you, you were eating those legs or those that piece of Turkey. So that's a great preparation. And that's that's really from the, that's really from Louisiana.

That's deep [00:20:00] Louisiana. Yeah. And, usually fish is wet enough just in itself to, to help the batter stick. But the Turkey, Turkey, you pat it off, it's very dry. And yeah, the mustard and the hot sauce really helped that breading stick. I assume that was the breast too. You didn't happen to do the thigh or anything?

No, that was just cubed up breast. Yeah. Gotcha. Yeah, you can't go wrong with a deep fry on, on all of those light white meats. They just respond so well. You get some screaming peanut oil and Oh yeah there's nothing better. Great meal there. John, I also, I think we're gonna switch gears here a little bit and we're gonna talk about the giant pig in the room, and that is the hogs of Texas and Oklahoma and all across the south and all across the MI or the the southern west area.

These things. All I've been able to do is understand from talking to folks like you on what kind of damage that they're doing and [00:21:00] what kind of a nuisance they are. We have no idea what's even going on, or at least this North Woods boy here from Michigan. I'm so tight here into The Pines.

I don't even know what's going on in other states. So run through with me. What is the impact that these animals are having on your property? Man I should have looked up the the dollar amounts before we got on this podcast, but it's in the hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

When I was a little kid, mid nineties hogs were seen as an annoyance, not necessarily a problem, but an annoyance. And then as you got closer to 2000 and the early two thousands, that's when things really kicked into high gear. And all of a sudden people are like, How do we stop these things?

Because they, they saw the numbers from the nineties and then all of a sudden you see the numbers in the two thousands and you're like, where does it stop? How far does this go? Yeah. And again, growing up in a ag family, my grandpa he farmed again, he had that land right on the Red River, which is just prime hog [00:22:00] habitat.

They would have 70 acre fields completely torn up in one night from hogs. They'd plant corn, and corn was always the worst. They love corn. And it's the craziest thing, unless you've seen it. They would, the pigs would get in a row and they'd run their snout down that row and it would look like a tractor had gone down because they'd just stay in that one row and just eat every kernel going down.

And they would eat the entire 70 acre field in one night. It got so bad that my grandpa at one point actually constructed a huge electric, miles and miles of electric fence that had, I wanna say it had 10 wires and the highest wire was only about two feet off the ground. These things are just inches apart.

Yeah. In order to try to keep the hogs away the state would come out with helicopters. He, hired a full-time trapper. This was before thermal night vision were so readily available. But, we, he like that's what I would do in my spring break. Cause I was usually around planning time.

I'd go up there with some of my buddies, we'd have spotlights. The farm [00:23:00] manager will be out there. We'd split the place up into grids and we'd just be out there as late as we could stand with spotlights, looking for 'em, shooting them, we'd shoot a bunch, they'd go to the other guy and he'd shoot at 'em and, it was just a big circle.

And then more recently, in our life my family wore cattle ranchers. I was full-time rancher up until about two years ago, no longer doing it, but my dad and brothers still are. And for us, it was our hay fields. We had some property also right along the Red River very lush ground, and that's where we would cut all our hay to feed our cows.

The hogs would get out there and just, wallow and make, and so it was terrible like hay season, you're cutting hay that's a couple feet high so you can't really see the ground. You're driving the tractor and then all of a sudden your head hits the cab of the tractor because you drive through a hog wall that's, a foot and a half deep.

Oh my gosh. And they would tear up acres, like we'd have to, we'd have to go around five to 10 acres at a time cuz for, so for whatever reason they they pick a spot and like one night they'll hit that spot. The next night they'll come to that same area and, move over a little bit and hit that [00:24:00] spot.

And so you wind up with like craters all, all over the place. And we're, there's like acres at a time that we can't cut hay off of, which is obviously costing us money cuz to either replace or just hay that we don't get to feed our cows. And it's a huge problem.

Oh my goodness, I can't even begin. And that's on the ag side. As a conservation side, as somebody who's probably in the natural resources department in Oklahoma they come through these areas. If they're, if they can wipe out a field, I'm sure they're going through all of your ground nesting birds like wildfire.

I'm sure that, if it's small enough to chew on, there are second, whatever that is, and taken off with it. So now it's not just shoot an ag thing. Now it's a whole ecosystem thing. And, also, on that steel just from like a hunting aspect, like I cannot plant a corn food plot.

One of the most popular food plot seeds there is corn. I just don't even attempt it because, if I'm trying to [00:25:00] plant, three acres of corn up against woods, where deer would want to come out, into that food plot, there's just no use. Cause I know the hogs are gonna tear it up.

We're a bait state, we can have corn feeders and everything. The hogs, they will take over a feeder, they'll knock it over. Actually this last weekend when I was filling up feeders for something we're gonna talk about here in a little bit One of my feeders had been knocked over.

And so then the only way to fix that is you have to fence the feeders. They actually make, they're called hog panels. They're about 32 inches tall, woven wire panels, big, heavy metal. But those now, especially now after Covid with the prices of everything going up, those run about $18 a piece.

And for a good size pin, you need 10 to 12 of them per feeder, per location. And so yeah it's a huge annoyance. If you've ever listened to the MER podcast, one thing that always talk about with hogs is the snap your fingers thing. I don't know if you've ever heard that, but they Yeah.

Anytime they, they magic aand and yeah, [00:26:00] anytime they have somebody, Yeah. If, if you could snap your fingers and all the hogs be gone, would you do it? And everybody's kinda ah, I don't know, dude I'm snapping get him outta here. He's waving the magic wand. He's making voodoo dolls that are in the shape of piglet and he is just poking them.

Get him outta here. That's a yes. And that's a perspective again again, we don't have that here in the north. Although I did hear that there was a field in stream article that was talking about pigs coming from Canada. I don't know if it's a, I don't know how. I didn't see a whole lot of data pieces that were in there, but at the same time, I guess there's boars roaming in into the Dakotas and into Minnesota, and they're worried about the Great Lakes.

And I was like, all let's not worry about that. Let's hope that the big, that the yeah. The Great Lakes at least hold them to the up, leave them out of yeah. An lp we don't need those things here at all. But to hear that and to know that, yeah, you've got a firm stance on get rid of these things is yeah. It's something I've just, I'm completely novice to. And yeah, if I'm gonna let the cat out of [00:27:00] the bag, I'm gonna have to get educated on all of this, because hopefully, I'm thinking probably the time of the dropping of this episode. John, me and you are hanging out down on a property that you have in Oklahoma, and I'm gonna try to help by smoking some of these po some of these hogs.

I wanna shoot some of these hogs with you on this trip. What am I to, what am I, should I expect down there that I'm going to encounter? What is the setup? What is the style that I'm gonna be trying to chase after these hogs? Just explaining that, and if I got a couple corn kernels in my pocket, I'm probably gonna have one already sniffing my sniffing my pants.

So first off, before we get into the hunting aspect, I wanna make one clear thing here. When you're talking hunting, if I'm a deer hunter, if I shoot a deer and it runs off and I just leave it, I'm considered the scum of the earth. Like I would never do that.

And that's generally accepted you don't do that. If I [00:28:00] shoot a hog, it runs off and I leave it, I'm considered a hero. We're not ta we're talking to eradication here. That is the point. We are trying to get rid of these things at whatever cost necessary. It's a to, to, people from up north.

That may sound kind of a foreign concept because even down here with most gay animals, that's just not a thing. But when it comes to hogs it really is just get rid of them if possible. And so I just want to, as we get into this, I kind of wanna make that clear as we talk about these different methods and things that we're about to be doing.

Sounds good. This is, as much as it's like we're, these are big animals, we can almost categorize them as far as the love for these animals is almost rodent aspect. We are it really is. They're, we are, they're environments and shaking rules just to, I shouldn't say we are bending and shaking rules.

We are bending and shaking there. Perceived ethics. Yes, exactly. There, there aren't, there are no rules if that tells you anything. And yeah, ethics, [00:29:00] I'm not gonna say necessarily take a backseat. Are different. So first off, hogs typically are mostly nocturnal. Whitetails, I believe the term is crius.

They move more morning and evening, low light conditions. Hogs are really more nocturnal. Rarely do you see them in the morning. You can't see them in the evening. That's, if you're gonna shoot one during daylight, it's probably gonna be in the evening. And so most likely, the average day that we'll have.

Is take it easy in the morning, hang out midday and I have already got a few feeders, bait locations basically set up. And so typically we'll go out early afternoon, we'll be in an enclosed blind, most likely. We'll have a feeder in front of us. Anywhere from 20 to 80 yards.

I try to keep it fairly close. Just for ease of everything. Weapon choice we can get into that in just a second. There, there's a lot. But so just starting with the setup. So [00:30:00] again, yo know, enclosed blind hogs, their main weapon is their nose. I believe they actually supposedly can smell better than a whitetail.

Their vision not so great. Their hearing's kind of so average. They can hear you, but you don't have to necessarily worry about it too much. Their main thing is their nose. And we'll pick locations based on wind direction. I know the dominant winds down here, so most of my locations are set up for that anyway.

And so I mentioned earlier that, all my feeders are fenced off from the hogs on purpose. So basically this last weekend I went up, I filled the feeders and I opened that pin. So I am inviting the hogs in for this occasion. Only in, yes. And so yeah, so again, evening we'll be in the blinds.

Hopefully some hogs come in, but that's the best situation if possible, a feeder situation because they, we're still a few weeks away, they'll have time to get Condit. They'll get used to coming in there. A [00:31:00] pig is very smart, if you, even if you watch like the Discovery Channel or something, domesticated pigs, wild pigs they're problem solvers.

Absolutely. And those pi, those pigs will learn what time that feeder goes off. And it's like a dinner bell. It goes off and a lot of times within a few minutes you hear 'em coming. And so again, the advantage to a feeder, they're there, they're relaxed, they're situated. You can be a little bit more selective.

You can get a good shot opportunity. Again, we'll talk about that in, in a little bit. And you can take your time. So that's the big advantage to that. Usually, the later it gets just like with deer hunting, the later it gets the better it gets, because the closer you get tonight, the more likely those things are gonna come out and play.

Depending on how many guys end up coming down, we are gonna have some thermal. And so I, I'll be running cameras on these feeders. If the pigs are coming a little bit after dark, we may hang out in the blinds a little bit, even after dark, use the thermal. If not, usually [00:32:00] what I like to do is once it gets dark, we take a little break, we go, get some dinner hang out a little bit, let things calm down.

And then at night we're gonna do some night hunting. We're gonna do some thermal. And the way I go about it is I try to go complete darkness. So the thermal that I have, it actually clips on and off the gun. And so I black out my truck. I may get to where when you open the door, the lights don't come on.

I know our property well enough that I can usually drive without the headlights, depending on the moon. If I need to, I'll use the thermal. And so you just, you drive around, you scan I'll, if you've ever looked through a thermal it's amazing how far away you can, find these things and you can tell, you can tell if it's a cow or a hog or whatever.

Sometimes you gotta get a little closer. But basically once we find a group, if we can drive a little closer, great. If not, we hop out, we walk and basically you just get the wind in your favor and you just walk straight at 'em. And and ho hogs don't really [00:33:00] have any natural predators. A human is the closest thing they have to a natural predator.

So you can get. Pretty darn close to these things. They're not, as long as it's dark, you don't have any lights on. They're really not that worried usually. So I'll usually walk within 50 yards or so of 'em, and then you Oh my clip. Goodness. The thermal back on the gun. Yep. You have to, we'll do some walkthroughs, so if you have more than one gun, obviously you have to be very careful.

Typically, our process, I don't think I've ever gone with more than four guns. I really don't like to go with more than three. Just the more guys you have or more people you have, the absolutely the more dangerous it gets. But typically you form a line, you get five or 10 feet apart and you do the O 1, 2 3.

So you get some ti you get everybody set up. I carry it. I have a tripod that you can, stand up. You count, do you count 1, 2, 3, and you lay into him. And again, always go over kind of rules of engagement before we get out there. If the hogs are running [00:34:00] right, the guy on the right keeps shooting.

If the hogs run left, the guy on the left eventually, if the hogs run right and you're the guy on the left, you just get the short end of the stick. You get a few shots, but then obviously you don't wanna swing into Absolutely. And the big thing. It, it's all dark.

And so the big thing I tell people is you have to stay put. Even in that excitement, if you're the guy on the left, you can't just take your gun and go run into the other side of the line because those guys don't know you're there. And so you gotta be careful. But I'm already getting like the shakes, like the cold slot right now.

John, think about that. Dude, this sounds so fun. Dry age steaks used to be a steakhouse only indulgence. An old world charcuterie was pricey due to being imported or created at a small batch specific scale. Thanks to my dry, their synthetic dry aging bags and casings allow you to create these meat crafting treats in your own kitchen, working in tandem with your fridge view.

My dry bag material allows moisture and air to pass through, making it [00:35:00] possible to dry age large cuts of steaks or roasts. Paired with their curing and seasoning kits, along with safety and easy to follow instructions, salamis and dry sausage are well within your grasp. Use the link of the show notes and sign up from the newsletter to receive 10% off your order.

Who I drive helping us elevate our wild game from the home kitchen. When in the field, accuracy and precision count, that's why we switch our slug guns to rifle barrels, tune our arrows and use a fish finder on the water. But why should our drive for control? And there, the taboo line of meat probes gives an instantaneous look at the temperatures of our prized meals, both internal and in the cooking chamber.

Tapu uses sturdy hardware made and assembled here in the US along with their user-friendly, sophisticated software that connects to your smart device. Whether it's a traditional corded probe or the new cordless air probes that give you a wealth of freedom where wires would just get in [00:36:00] the way. Adding a tapu meat probe can significantly help in getting to that medium rare on venison or waterfowl, ensuring your upland bird stays moist or even charting your long cooks on a smoker.

Visit tapu.com or find the link in the show notes and use the code hunt. 10 all uppercase. At checkout to save 10%, adding a probe to your kit can make you one tap away from your Kia. Ah-huh. Yeah. So yeah it's again, like I've done enough at this point to where it's. I know the process and so we'll, we will go through it and run through it.

And yeah, and, nighttime, it's as late as we wanna stay up, as late as we see things moving. And that also feeds into the morning, usually the hogs aren't that active. And so usually I'm more of a stay up late sleep in, relax in the morning, get your rest so you're not just dying the next day and then do it all over.

This is, this sounds epic. And you know what, yeah. Staying in bed a [00:37:00] little bit later, slowly drinking a cup of coffee and making a big breakfast so that we can be fueled up for the nighttime That I'm an early riser, but at the same time, like that whole mindset, I am, I'm okay with, this again, this is spring break for me.

So this will be the break that I have been dying for. Wow. This encounter that that we're gonna be in box blinds, and then we're gonna be going out and then shooting 'em at night. It. It sounds incredible. And just like you were saying too, as far as firearm setups, I'm sure shoot, spin the wheel.

If we can have howitzer, if we can have RPGs fresh out of those, darn it, but otherwise I will bring them down. The weapon that I'm gonna be most confident in other than my bow, I would love to take a a hog with a bow, but I think that's gonna be a different tail of a different time.

We're going down, I want this to be a culinary venture. I want to be able to have something to play with. But at the same time, I wanna be able to put stuff down quick, put stuff down right in its tracks. And so [00:38:00] I'm bringing my my tried and true 12 gauge shotgun. I got Rifled Barrel on it. I'm a slug shooter.

I like to put SABTs through it. Is that going to with five in the tube, is that gonna be enough oomph? On those little tanks, am I gonna be able to drop and roll one with a single shot? And then is five in the tube gonna be helpful? If we're on the black line there walking up in the dead of dark, is that gonna be, is that gonna be a tool that'll be useful?

At night, probably not so much, but I, you had asked me previously about it and, asking if it was okay and everything, and I was actually, this last weekend, I was telling my brother, I was like, yeah, one guy has a rifled 12 gauge that he is bringing down and he got this huge smile.

He was like, that is going to be awesome. So again, in these blinds with the feeders, some of these are set up for bow hunting, so if you're talking close range like that, that 12 gauge is going to be [00:39:00] awesome. Very awesome. Absolutely depending on where the pigs are at, if we have.

A little bit further shot. I personally, as odd as it sounds, I actually love a bolt action rifle for daytime pig hunting. Everybody think, everybody, even guys down here they're like, oh, I want, the AR 15 with the 30 round mag and all that and stuff. And I used to also, but I've hunted enough pigs now, you really, you get one good shot and then it, everything breaks loose.

They're gonna be right, and I, again, like I I've done this a lot. I'm more on the eradication than the sportsman side of it. My typical, if I have a group of hogs coming in, I'm confident they're gonna be. I'm gonna take a bolt action rifle. I've killed a lot of hogs with a 22,250, which is a pretty small caliber.

Nowadays I really my preferred, I have a 300 win mag that I just absolutely love. It's a big caliber, so I'm carrying that most of the time. [00:40:00] And if they're like in a bait situation, I'm gonna be patient and I'm gonna wait for two of those hogs to line up and give me a double headshot. So I wait till two are facing each other.

Basically one walks behind, so I'm gonna get two on my first shot. And then typically I can at least wound get one more once the chaos ensues. So for daytime, if they're at a further spot, I have some rifles you can use. Shop placement is something I definitely wanted to touch on.

Yeah, because I think part of what gave the hog this crazy reputation of being so hard to kill was actually had a lot to do with How their vitals line up in their body. So most people, myself included, a lot of people they're used to whitetail deer. And what everybody is always taught on whitetail is, right behind the shoulder, broadside shot right behind the shoulder.

And on a whitetail, that's great. You're usually getting double lungs. If you hit a little back, you're getting liver [00:41:00] double lung shot. That deer's gonna run a hundred yards and it's gonna be dead. And that's great. But hogs, their vitals actually sit a little further forward in the body cavity compared to a whitetail deer.

And so instead of being behind the shoulder, it's more directly in line with the shoulder, like between their legs if that makes sense. Yeah. And so when people were aiming behind the. They were really getting, maybe back of the lungs into liver. Which is, usually lethal in, in most animals, but not the best.

But the other thing about hogs is they have very tough, thick skin. And so when you're talking about a situation where that hog or that animal's gonna be able to run a long way to begin with, then you tie that in with that thick skin. A lot of times, even if the animal dies, they're gonna go a really long way and they're not gonna leave a blood trail because that skin's gonna close up and they're gonna stop bleeding.

So I think people probably were killing the pigs they were shooting. They just weren't finding them. Oh. Cuz they were half the [00:42:00] county on the other side. Yeah. So that's, that's my personal opinion. That's not scientific. So again, so I, I learned a little bit later in life that they sat more forward.

So for me, I ac I actually prefer if, especially on a, a feeder situation or a bait situation, I really prefer a headshot. And again, a lot of people when they hear headshot and they're used to deer hunting, they think unethical. Because a deer's head is not very big. A hog's head is huge.

They don't have a neck. It's just like giant head straight into the shoulders. And so if I aim below the ear and you really have a pretty big. Mess up area, whatever you wanna call it, big area to where if you're off a couple inches each direction, it's still gonna be a lethal shot aiming at that head.

So I really prefer a headshot. If I have somebody who's maybe not used to, shooting as much guns, never hunted before, that type of thing, then I'm gonna tell them, look at that front leg and go straight up center mass. Don't go behind the shoulder, just go right through it.[00:43:00] And again, I don't know how familiar you are with hog anatomy or rumors or whatever.

When I was a kid, you always heard about like the iron plate hogs behind their shoulder. They have this big it's really cartilage. But they have a real thick piece of cartilage that covers their shoulder. And it's true, but. Again with today's firearms, it's not a problem to get through that.

Again, I've killed a lot of hogs with a 22, 2 50, which most people would consider pretty small. Like I, I wouldn't recommend somebody deer hunting with that necessarily. It'll kill a deer if shoot it. But for, a 2 43 is great for Hawks two 70, great. 30 out six, great. Two 70.

Great. Whatever. Again I just, I have a 300 win mag that I really love. That's usually what I shoot, and I hate tracking. And so that, that does the job right there. Good. We're on the same page that we don't like tracking. Yes. You bring the high velocity and I'll just bring the haymaker with Oh yeah, the the 12 gauge.

And when you were talking to you wait for two hogs to line up I was talking with a buddy and I was like at one, if [00:44:00] we get an opportunity to sit and we're in the box blind and they line up if I can go like. Let's say I get three shots off and I end up going four for three, like to get two, two in one shot.

That would be, that would be such a trip and that would be so cool. So yeah. I'm glad to know that, shoot, that is possible. That in fact, that's the John setup. He says, I wait for him to line up so I can take two with one. That's true. Sustainability, if we're gonna try to take this out, really maximizing the shot that's.

Yeah. And I mentioned still on the weapons topic, I mentioned in daytime, I love a bolt action rifle at night when you switch to the thermal, I, that's when I do a ar at night. Because in that situation, a lot of times you're having a group of pigs that are way out in the open, like we're in cattle country here.

It's not even, it's not even farms, it's cattle country. The county we're in is one of the top cattle producing states or counties in the entire country. So it's a lot of wide open fields. That's when you [00:45:00] want the ar and at night, they can't hide, and so you get 'em in a wide open field, you're getting close and you're able to keep shooting for a long time because as they're running.

A lot of times, they're not making it to the woods anytime soon. And so you just keep plinking and keep plinking again, you're not like, honestly, you're not super worried about wounding. I would never I, I, we don't do deer drives down here. I would never dream of taking a shot at a full running white tail.

But hogs, it's like, Hey, just do it. You'll go Yeah. If, hey, if you slow 'em down, great. We'll drive up there and finish 'em off. All right. This is yeah, this is gonna be somewhere where I will definitely be novice. I will be absorbing as much information as I can.

Not to say that I'm gonna have full expert on this second portion but again, I am, I've been putting my research in, I've been putting my my due diligence now when.[00:46:00] Knock on wood, we get some of these hogs down in good clean shape that we're able to get a couple of the head shots where we're taking it right behind.

I think you had mentioned earlier in a talk that we were doing just under the ear. That was a sweet spot to put it. We put a couple there, we dropped these hogs right there. Now it comes chance to process these things as much as we've, that you elaborated that you are not a fan and you'd rather see them all gone.

This is our opportunity to help out. Both to eradicate them, but at the same time put their put their flesh to use, because now I'm looking to harvest as much as I possibly can off of one of these kills. And that's where it's led me down through a lot of research looking into hog anatomy, looking into how do they differ from a whitetail, how do major producers, or how do custom butchers end up butchering hogs and trying to adapt some of this into the new [00:47:00] challenge of getting this wild hog that has lived off the landscape.

And to get that to taste I don't wanna say, try to get that to taste. I want it to taste the wild pork for what it is. And John, you've even talked about that you've had the opportunity to enjoy the wild pork. And you even said you're a picky eater. These things can be super delicious when treated correctly.

Am I right? You are. And that's something that has really come to light, honestly, just in the last five to 10 years. And I think the meat eater crew, and if you're familiar with Jesse Griffith, he's been on meat eater several times. He actually has, he, it's called the Hog Book, which I sadly do not own.

I, I need to buy it, I just haven't yeah, it's on the short list. I know the exact book. Yes. Man, growing up, just I'll be honest, I told hundreds of people, you can't eat a wild hog without ever even trying to eat [00:48:00] a wild hog, because that was just the narrative. Everybody said it. It was a little bit more popular down south, way south Texas, you get more of the Hispanic influence, you put enough chilies and jalapenos in there with it.

It's gonna taste good. That tastes like chili J jalapeno, but you like it. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. But yeah, most people, I'd shoot 'em, I'd drag 'em off, never even attempted to because again, everybody I talked to said it's not good. I really have my brother to think my older brother who's not as, not near as big a hunter as I am, he hunts some.

But it actually, even him, it was really his buddies. Two things led to our discovery of it. One he's, he was in the army and he had some army buddies down and one of them had never hunted before. And so he took 'em to my grandpa's place. They shot a hog, and this guy was just, again, new to hunting.

He was like, Hey I want to eat it. I killed this thing. I've never killed anything. I want to eat it. So my brother cut out I believe the back straps [00:49:00] and brought it home to my mom, who, my mom is a fantastic cook. And she knows a lot about it. She tried grilling it. And it was not good, super tough.

And then I think she might've even tried half of it in the crock pot and it didn't turn out so good. And so that just again that just re-upped our thought okay, they're no good. Years later so my brother went to college at the Citadel Military School in South Carolina. And then he met some guys in the Army who were from like Georgia, I think.

And there they, they eat hogs all the time. They do the pit, they hang them and everything. And he had all these buddies like, Hey, if you smoke hog, it's really good. And so he was home for a holiday one time. I just so happened to shoot, actually I remember now it was Thanksgiving because we had Thanksgiving at my parents' house.

I just so happened to shoot a hog and my parents had an old smoker, an old brick smoker in the back yard. The old tried, we had s I love it. Yes. So we had probably never even used the thing. [00:50:00] And so we didn't try very hard. We just wanted to try, so we skinneded it, cleaned it. I don't think we even seasoned it.

We just threw the whole thing on this smoker, halfway we rolled it over. It got done. We checked it, the temperature, make sure it was cooked thoroughly. We cut it up and then we put barbecue sauce on it and we all ate it and we're like, man this is okay.

This is actually pretty good. And and then he, it was about that time, like I said, the mer thing started getting popular and we kinda learned like, Hey, it is possible to make this good. And a few years ago, actually it was Mother's Day, another holiday. We again, just so happened to shoot a.

My brother decides he's going to smoke a ham for Mother's Day. You know how romantic for your mom? Oh yeah. So I'm gonna go kill this animal for you, mom. Yeah. Yep. And so he cut off and it was a bigger bore too, which again, that's what you always hear is a no-no. You, they say you always want the small sal cut this back ham off.

Actually took his [00:51:00] time, did it right. Took care of it, got in and, cooled off and everything. Seasoned it, smoked it, and man it was delicious. Again, even after that experience, I haven't eaten much hog. It's a hassle if I'm being completely honest with you, just, so you're prepared.

It's a hassle. Man, their skin is, It's tough. Yeah, they're big, they're hard to handle, they're smelly. Like hog is one of the few animals, like if I'm dragging one off, I'll actually put gloves on. Deer. I never mess with gloves. I usually put some work gloves on if I'm dragging a hog off.

But all that to say I am very, actually, I'm very excited for you to come down because you have asked, also inspired me like I need to be better at this. I need to learn this. And so I'm very excited to learn together. Good. I'm gonna lay out three things that I am. I am so like gung-ho for my big motivation right now is my gut is leading me.

My literal like stomach is leading me on this [00:52:00] quest. I am, yeah, I feel like a buzzard or like a raccoon. Like I've just, like any and every opportunity I'm gonna take, like this is gonna be something I'm being a part of. And so now that we're gonna be chasing hog and knowing that it's gonna be a challenge, I think it, that's the other part too, is like I am, I'm getting into some uncharted territory here.

At least I know there are some, like we talked about Jesse Griffith and he's got a whole book dedicated to it. And if I had that at my side, if I had that at my disposal, which I should have that here soon, hopefully be able to break that down. But to be able to face this head on, I've got three real things that I want to do.

And the first one is I want to see if we can't keep the skin. On the hog. And the reason I'm saying that is, is because these deer are created differently, and this is my research, deer created differently than pigs. Believe it or not. When you take the hide off of a deer, the skin and hair will come away.[00:53:00]

And it, in fact, the fat will stay given. You know how hard you know where your knife nicks are at. If you pull hard enough that fat is going to harden up and is going to stay on the animal, it's attached to the animal versus hog fat will come away with the skin. So if you grab and you pull, it's all gonna come off together.

And yes, these aren't necessarily fed on the highest quality grain. There's gonna have a funk, it's gonna have a skunk to it, but at the same time, Pork fat is an amazing culinary tool that it can take many different flavors that you apply to it, be it smoke, be it a marinade, be it whatever, without a whole lot of heat that is going to render out and it's gonna give you a glorious bit of oil in that pan, or it's just gonna be able to moisten up whatever cut that's on there.[00:54:00]

And so to use that as a tool, hopefully it's gonna be one of those that it's palatable. We're gonna be, we're gonna be playing with it, but essentially what I want to do is torch these animals with the skin on. So we're gonna dispatch the animal, we're gonna kill it. And then before we even. Try to hang it up, scrape off as much of the mud and gunk that's on there, even to the point of if we've gotta hose it off is fine.

But we're gonna then take a yard torch. I'm gonna bring a 30 pound propane tank down with me from Michigan, and we're gonna put this sucker to work. And what you essentially do is sing the hair, do a first scraping of all the singed hair, then you turn up your BTUs, and then you really put the heat onto it and you're taking the hair all the way down to the skin itself.

So now that it's at the skin level and you're actually bubbling out that outside layer, and then you do a second scraping, at that point, [00:55:00] it's gonna look like an animal that you literally just put into an inferno real quick. But what I'm finding is, I thought this was just a couple, like rednecks getting, starting to get, use their ingenuity and do this.

But this is a practice second to scalding. This is a traditional method used in Eastern Europe. In fact, they would use dry straw. So when they would slaughter the farm the pig on the farm, they would take dry straw, put that down, put the pig in there, torch it off, and then throw a whole bunch more star straw on top, essentially doing what we're doing, but with a propane torch.

And then they come by and they scrape it. The last thing is, what you follow up with is you got yourself a hose with some water and a good Jetta water and a Brillo pad, and then you just scrub down all of the ash from the hair and you scrub, as and then that's gonna clean the animal up and it's gonna take its presentation from, ugh, throw this thing into the dumpster [00:56:00] to, hey, We have our something with something that's starting to look palatable.

So that's the direction, that's the first challenge that I think I'm gonna take you on, John again. Is it something I've done? Nope. I'm gonna be just as fresh with you doing it, but I think we're gonna be able to get a, some better transport out of this meat. I think it's gonna last better in the cooler because if I put that ice directly onto the skin, I'm not worried about it damaging the flesh at all at that point.

Plus at that point, just, cracklings wild pork cracklings, is that a thing that has been attempted? And if it isn't, let us be the first to give it a shot. Second is, I do know the belly can be super thin as far as that's going to be the true Bacon winner of this whole thing, like domestic pork has a ton of fat and ribbons in there and.

I've heard that as far as belly goes, it's good to be, it's good to use that in some fashion, but you're not gonna get necessarily your thick slab of [00:57:00] bacon that you're looking for. So I have a couple approaches. I want to do one where instead of, or I take the, we're gonna make bacon, but instead of keeping it as a slab to actually roll it like European or Italian panchetta.

And if we roll it, I'm gonna end up with more of a pinwheel on there. So we do the curig process, we smoke it, I keep it wrapped up in this fashion. I let it set. And then instead of basically cutting off a a strip of bacon, I'm hoping that I can cut off a round of bacon so it's like a little pinwheel and then that is what I'll fry in the pan.

But anyway that's the second venture that I wanted to try to do. And then last is in the neck they have a muscle that runs up in there a NEC filet off of a lamb. I think they call it Piccola. They've got a name for it. But anyway, I've heard really good. Stories of capa cola being dry grind and then cured, and then that creates just an amazing [00:58:00] charcuterie second to like prosciutto.

We're talking though at that point, and I've been toying with some long aging of venison, and so now like getting after some pork, I'm like, this might be the next thing to play with. So those are the three things, John, that I am just dying to try out. On top of, every part we're gonna, we're gonna get after the backstrap, we're gonna get into the shoulder and the the hind and doing a ham and all this stuff.

But I'm hoping to bring down a couple tools and arm you with some new artillery for the post kill. So as we're putting things taking things out of the field, hey, maybe we can take a portion and at least get it into the freezer. Does this sound like a venture that you'd be excited to be on, John?

Absolutely, actually, and I talk about being a picky eater meat when it comes to meat. Hey, I'm all about it. So that's one good thing. I have two thoughts as you were talking there. One, you and my brother are gonna become best friends because he is the exact opposite of me.

[00:59:00] You could cut off a slice of the tail, dip it in blood and say, Hey, try this. And he's gonna try it. So he's your yeah, he's your your edible, whatever. You wanna try it, the guy who's gonna try anything. Oh, good. But the other thing, the little bit more serious topic that I thought of is, I think you might be a little bit pleasantly surprised with the fat content on these hogs, because I think.

As you're talking about, a lot of the, and again, what I always heard growing up is that hogs, wild hogs don't have the fat content. They, nothing like a domestic or anything like that. And I think where a lot of that came from because where kind of the wild hog thing started again, south Texas, it's a much drier climate.

They're eating snails and who knows what else? They're, they have a much different diet here. We have a, we're in a much more lush area and honestly add to the fact these hogs that we're gonna be hunting, they are currently right now eating our [01:00:00] cattles grain. Because, we go out, we feed the cattle, eat some, and at night, and that's why we have so many hogs at this moment is because it's wintertime.

We're feeding all our cows and at night those hogs come and they're picking up the pieces. Like I promise you at some point we will see a group of hogs right in amongst the cows. And it's because they're going in there and they're eating the leftover grain. Like I said, in a good way, I think you're gonna have a little bit higher fat content than you might think.

So you're telling me, John, there are free, furry crit. That are finishing themselves on top quality grain. Is that what you're telling me, Dylan? That's, that is, I'm talking about professional rationed grain. Yes. Oh, man. I am gonna be the hog in the wallow when we're down there. I am, we're maybe my crosshairs and my rifle skills and my marksmanship may not be the biggest asset.

[01:01:00] My knives and my yard torch, I'm gonna put them to work for you, John. That is gonna be where I'll shine and we'll get ourselves some of this thick factory. I'm looking forward to it. Looking forward to it. Oh my goodness. Hey, John, this has been great. I've come down to, we're at the crescendo of our episode here, and I want to finish with your submiss.

To the Emperor's Table. This is a made up scenario where we are getting together as the Sportsman's Empire crew and everybody is bringing a dish to pass. This dish is gonna be resembling just a little bit of your regionality, your originality, and it's gonna speak about your culinary venture. If you're basic, stick to basic.

If you are way out there like Paul Camp Bell, go like with Paul Camp Bell, I tell you he had a Turkey recipe that just blew my shoes off. Man, it was really good. But you are gonna [01:02:00] be coming up with this dish and it's gonna be something that's gonna be your submission. To the emperor's table. Okay, this is it.

Steaks cooked. Medium rare. Can I get my steak cooked? I want no question. You hungry? Hey mama. Can we get some meat?

So John, what is your submission to the table? All right. Kinda, I don't know, I guess somewhat similar to earlier. And hopefully this one isn't overdone, but I'm going to be doing chicken fried backstrap or really any deer meat. This works with any dear meat. Doesn't have to be backstrap. This is my mother's recipe and this is also how she makes her chicken fried steak.

And So growing up, my mom's chicken fried steak was famous again. My mom fantastic cook. I am her shame. I feel so bad that I am [01:03:00] a picky eater because it is not her fault. And her chicken fried steak was so good, in fact, that one of my brother's friends was arguing. He's no, my mom's is the best.

And so my mom cooked it one night he came over and in front of everyone, he was like, okay, your mom's is better. So she does deer fried's steak the same way. My wife now does it this way. I do it this way. And so here we go. Very big key is you want to have tenderized meat. Again, whether it's backstrap off the ham, whatever you want that meat to be tenderized, even if you're just pounding it with a hammer on the counter, it's gotta be tender.

And then you're gonna have your egg wash, which is just egg and milk. And then you're gonna have your your batter. Now for batter, she does not do a store bought batter. It has to be saltine crackers. So she takes saltine crackers, puts 'em in a gallon, Ziploc crunches 'em up if you use other, she's experimented with other crackers.

And my [01:04:00] dad and my brothers and sisters and I, we said, no, it's gotta be the saltines. So you have your salting crackers, your egg wash and your meat have, has, she tried the RITs and she turned the RITs down. She actually has tried RITs. RITs were okay. One time in particular, I think they were sold out, it was like after a ice storm or something, and she bought some kinda like Japanese cracker and ma without knowing my dad took one bite and he was like, What is this?

And and yeah, I mean it, that, that big of a difference. So yes, saltines saltines, straight up. Stick to it. Good. Yes. Yes. And then what she claims is her fame or what makes her so good is you actually season all three. And so you season the meat, you season the egg wash and you season the batter the breadcrumbs, after they're smushed up.

So you got your seasoned meat, you do the double dip into the egg wash. So it's egg wash batter, and then fry it. [01:05:00] Again, super simple but I'm telling you, it will make. I don't know. It'll make you do something stupid that you wouldn't normally do. So super simple. Again, I'm picky.

I don't do anything too crazy about, as crazy as I get is I wrap bacon around my tender loins when I cook it and put, throw it on the Traeger. So yes, that if I was going to bring some kind of wild game dish, that would probably be that or the crappy that I talked about earlier. Both. Both equally good.

Gotcha. Gotcha. No, the chicken fried is always, that is when you're in the mood for it. There are times where I come home and it's I need a shallow fry. I need the triple dunk. Whether it's cuz I, I usually end up going the flower The egg and then into whatever cracker or panko or whatever that is.

It's been a while since I've done saltine. Maybe I've gotten away from the true ways. John, I need to go back to Saltines. But man, something about being able to get that outside crunch and then to get into the chewy meat. Not too chewy, because again, you want to [01:06:00] be tenderized, but just to be fork tender, to chew that up and to have that crunch on the outside, that's a home run that I think as people are walking down the line, you're gonna wish you were in the front part of the line, because as you get back, things are gonna start disappearing.

I think the I think the country fry's gonna go quick. Yep. Yep. John, this has just been a ton of fun and Yeah, it's gonna continue. I know we're, I'll be down there here soon enough. I've already man, I'm thinking about that 15 hour trip coming down to ya. It'll be, is that all it is?

That's all it is. But no, that's not too bad. As a dad of three kids, I'm thinking, listen, I get to sit in quiet for 15 hours. I'm already tearing up a little bit, John, this is gonna, so I'm looking forward just the trip up and trip down. But yeah, that's all it's gonna take to get down there to you.

But I am just gungho on this. This is gonna be my first r like I shouldn't say my first reel. I did go out to Montana to try. I looked at elk, I chased after elk, but I [01:07:00] didn't get very close to him, or at least close enough to fling an arrow into him, or good chance to. But now we're we're gonna be doing my next out-of-state trip, so I'm real excited about it.

Good man. I'm excited. Hopefully hopefully we can get some in daylight. That's the challenge. It's just, it's so much easier, such a, controlled environment. Everything's a little bit more calm. Usually guys are more comfortable. Nighttime it's a little different.

Oddly enough I've found, cause I've taken a lot of people hog hunting in a lot of different scenarios, I've found that non hunt, like somebody who's never hunted before, usually does better at night. And I think it's because it's more of a video game. The thermal, it's black and white, it's not all this color and all this stuff going on.

Usually they usually, they don't really see it until you're there and it's time to go. But if, obviously if you can do both, that's just the best of both worlds. Like I said, br bring up, I'll my like middle school and 64 golden eye days. I will try my best. Yes [01:08:00] that's right. And bring that bow just in case because I do have some bow setups and it's really just going to depend on how many guys end up coming down.

If there's just a couple bow's gonna be a lot more doable. Gotcha. Gotcha. No, I yeah. We'll see what I bring down. I'm toying with it. I've got my, I've got my long bow that has yet to kill anything. And that that's another one of those things like it might have to be a white tail for the long bow.

It's only a 45 pounder, and I gotta be dumb near, right there next to the animal. So maybe not to be, I maybe not to be right next to a hog for the first time with with the stick and string. Maybe. We'll stick to the firearm. I have a tree stand set up for a long bow, because I was trying to get into it this year.

I ha it's 15 yards and only about eight feet off the ground. Man, bring whatever you want. Bring whatever you want. I'll throw it in the backseat. How about that? We'll throw in the backseat. There you go. There you go. We'll see what happens, John. John, this has been awesome. Can you just enlighten our listeners?

We know we are on [01:09:00] Sportsman's Empire, but where can we find you, where can we engage with you and where can we find out more about Oklahoma Outdoors Podcast? Absolutely, yes, I am on the Sportsman's Empire. Obviously, I also have my own individual feed. Wherever you find podcast at Oklahoma Outdoors Podcast.

I am on Instagram. I'm really good about Instagram. I have a Facebook not as good on that at Oklahoma Outdoors Podcast. You should be able to find me. And yeah, that's about it. My episodes drop every Monday. I think I'm up to 116 or 17 episodes. Have yet to miss one yet, so pretty consistent.

And man it covers a little bit of everything. It's not, it's, I would say mostly deer related. But we talk hogs, we talk fishing. Yeah, a little antelope, a lot of people don't know. Oklahoma has a lot more stuff than you think. We have antelope season, we have a bear season, we have a elk season.

So there's a lot to discover down here. So yeah, check it out [01:10:00] sometime. And man, Nick, thank you. Yeah, I love doing these podcasts with all the guys from the network. You were on mine recently. We got to talk some cooking, and I cannot wait to come down and share some hogs with you. Beautiful.

Well, John, hold on for just a second as I let the listeners on out. Folks, I hope you were excited just as much as I was about this episode. I know chasing elk for my first year outta state, going over to Montana, like that was an episode that I did a while back. Just had an amazing time, and I just see this in the same light.

The hog, the humble hog doesn't get as much of a nostalgia about it, but at the same time, like I'm approaching this whole situation as something super cool and John has just got a wealth of knowledge and I'm so excited for him to be our guide while we're down there. So folks, as you go on through this week and you're thinking about a new species, if you're thinking about trying a new protein, do a little bit of research, figure out how that critter [01:11:00] moves, what it does, try to make yourself an expert before you actually see the animal.

But just like an just a good butcher would and someone who's gonna be going after a thick hide on a hawk, make sure that those knives are very sharp.