Emperor's Table Series: Marcus Ewing

Show Notes

On this episode of Huntavore, Nick launches a new ongoing series, the Emperor’s Table.  A pseudo-ideal event where creators of the Sportsmen’s Empire are invited to share their go-to sharable wild game meals.  First entry on the menu is given to us by Marcus Ewing, host of the Average Conservationist and Michigan Wild podcasts.  Conversation revolves around “average” moments in the field, taking advantage of the outdoors in the winter, and Marcus lays out his rendition of a classic party pleaser, and angler’s go-to that will for sure go over well.  Pull up a seat to the Emperor’s Table on this episode of Huntavore.

Marcus is a Native to Michigan and has a heart for the outdoors.  Marcus tells us about his shortened deer season this year because of a job change, and some of his favorite “average” hunter experiences.  Some of which were captured on trail cameras.  A very cool snapshot of him at full draw on a buck, and then a series of photos we can all relate to; early triumph, sobering realization, and defeat.  Wildgame wise, Marcus finds himself in the basic, unadulterated camp.  Live fire from a grill or smoker, salt, pepper, garlic.  He lets the animal dictate the flavor, rather than try something to fancy that could overpower the taste.  His culinary practice is also in that basic category so keeping things simple and uncomplicated helps him create wonderful meals for his friends and family.

Marcus’ contribution to the Emperor’s Table is Fried Walleye.  A midwest staple fish; white, flaky meat, mild flavor.  Heating oil in a cast iron skillet, going for the shallow fry, Marcus is a wet batter guy, cutting his whole fillets into thirds, coating in a batter that uses a citrus flavored light beer.  Nick adds a tip, by cutting your fillets on a bias, 45 degree angle, to get more surface area and get more crunch.  To take his humble offering to the next level, Marcus says to turn those fried pieces into amazing tacos.  Cabbage slaw, wetted down with crema, lime, and any seasoning that fits your fancy.  Make sure to stop by and grab a listen to Marcus on the Average Conservationist and Michigan Wild Podcasts, both on Sportsmen’s Empire.

Show Transcript

Nick Otto: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Hunt War 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, forking hand, beer, and the other, no status.

A piece of red meat on a hot grill and turn it into a burn offering. Just catch it. Cook.

This is episode one 17 Emperor's Table Series, Marcus Ewing. On this episode of Hunt four, Nick launches a new ongoing series, the Emperor's Table, A Pseudo Ideal event where creators of the Sportsman's Empire are invited to share their go-to shareable wild game meals. [00:01:00] First entry on the menu is given to us by Marcus Ewing, host of the average conservationist and Michigan Wild Podcast.

Conversation re revolves around average moments in the field, taking advantage of the outdoors in the winter, and Marcus lays out his rendition of a classic party pleaser and angler's go-to that. Will for sure go over. Pull up a seat to the emperor's table on this episode of Hunt for.

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Hey folks, beautiful evening here in Michigan. Again, a strange evening. We're sitting here in the fifties now. It was nice to see the sun, but man, I still think I'm ready for the snow. I'm ready to get those temperatures down. We gotta get ice on those lakes and channels because man, I want to get me on some hard water.

Like mentioned in the previous episode, it has been really nice for small game, though it's been easy walking in the woods because you haven't had to worry about deep snow and bunnies digging under [00:04:00] the brush. You can ab absolutely look into where they're hiding, but that's neither here nor there.

Folks. Tonight we're joined with a fellow Sportsman's empire podcaster. In fact, he's a duo caster. He's so talented. He's got two of them. We got the average conservationist host, which is also the host of the Michigan Wild Podcast. I'm here with Marcus Ewing. Marcus, thank you so much for taking some time outta your week to come chat a little bit.

How's. How's your week been outside? Have you gotten a chance to do anything?

Marcus Ewing: First off, Nick, thanks for having me on, man. I appreciate it. Yeah I've been a fan of just everything that you represent, like with Havo and the, the goal to really like, educate people out there on, wild game cooking and stuff like that.

No I'm super stoked to be on the podcast, man. And I guess to answer your question, it's been a funny week. I've just, I've been like so busy that as nice as it was today, [00:05:00] I didn't even get a chance to get outside. I think I like walked to the end of the driveway a few. Went out on the front porch, went into the backyard to yell at the dogs and and that was about it.

Yeah, unfortunately, no, no time to, to get outside yet this week, even though I've got Christmas lights staring me in the face that need to come down outside every time I drive past the house. One of these days, I'll probably wait till it's, that cold weather, that snow that you're talking about, and then I'll really be forced to get out there and have to do it.


Nick Otto: man. The whole Christmas light thing. Hey, Marcus here's the tip. Here's how you get Christmas lights off without a lot of hassle. Is you never put 'em up in the first place. I dug my heels in this year. I wasn't going up there and I won. Now that's not to say that next year won't be . I won't win next year, but I won this year.

Marcus Ewing: Well, kudos to you, man, because I've been fighting that battle for two to three years now, and especially now that our kids are getting a little bit older. , they want to see the lights and, just the grandeur [00:06:00] of Christmas and the, the holidays and all that stuff. So I cave, I'm a weak man.

I say, okay, I'll do it, honey. Like whatever it's gonna take. But it's never as bad as I expect it's gonna. And just like the whole taking it down. If I went out there and got to it, like it'd probably take me a half hour. Like it's not a long thing. Like it's something I'm gonna procrastinate for on three months and it's gonna take me 30 minutes to do.

It's idiot, why don't you just do it now? Kind of thing. But again, like you said, that's neither here nor there, .

Nick Otto: Oh. So since since we did start into this new year, Marcus. What, give us a re a run through of the highlights of your 2022. I know that's you're looking at a whole 365 in front of you.

How did your out-of-state hunts go if you did any of those? And what was your deer season like this year?

Marcus Ewing: Man, this is gonna be a short story. It's gonna be real quick. I hope you got some more questions for me. , it was it was an interesting year. It was I didn't like, I can't even say it was full of ups and downs, like it was just [00:07:00] full of a lot of downs, probably isn't even the right word.

Just a lack of opportunities. And I say that because one, so I started a new job in late October, which is for anyone listening, you're like, why would you start a job in October? And not even like early October, like October 25th was my first day on this new job. I don't have any vacation time or anything like that, or no.

I did have, what vacation time I did have was already earmarked for a trip that my wife and I were taking. So I got out opening weekend of archery season and encountered a, still a bachelor group early in the season. I was hunting on this field edge and. , one kind of started to work out of this corner of the field.

I, I didn't see him come out, but I saw him start to work down. I could just see legs, October 2nd. We're still looking at, lots of coverage, lots of green leaves. So I'm doing, the dough thing in the stand, trying to get a good look at stuff, cause all I'm seeing is legs and this, what I would say was probably a, a nice two and a half year old day point started to work down towards the [00:08:00] door.

I could see it and I'm. I don't wanna sound like a snob, but I knew I probably wasn't gonna shoot that deer. I knew we had a lot, better deer on camera, on our property in the area. So I'm like, and it's October 2nd. I'm like, I'm not gonna, Send one down range here and potentially, this is, still pretty early in the evening too, and I knew that there was still two more deer with it that I could see at least the legs.

And he started to feed down towards me and he got to almost like this shooting window that I had at about 30 yards. And just before he got into it, he started to work back to where he came from. Just, just feeding naturally and just was like, yeah, this is far. I'm gonna go, I'm gonna work back.

And right around the time that he started to really get outta my line of sight, a second buck came out. He was a little bit bigger. He may have still been two and a half. He may have been three and a half, but he was definitely a bigger deer, bigger rack, bigger body, and he. He was a step from that window and I had bow in hand like I was, that at that point I was like, I may have to let one fly here.

And all of a [00:09:00] sudden he just, he does what a deer do sometimes. He just stuck his head up in the air and looked around and something he didn't like something and he took off upwind of me, which didn't make a lot of sense. So it's I know you didn't, my wind didn't blow at you cuz you wouldn't have ran in the direction of the wind kind of thing.

He hightailed it out of there. That first buck I saw he took off. The third deer that was down there was bigger than all, was bigger than either the other two. And I just saw the white flag. I saw him disappear at the other end of the field, and that was it. That was my opening weekend. I saw I think another dough or a spike or something later that evening, and that was it.

And then I didn't get out again until mid. and didn't have any luck. Yeah, I didn't, I don't even know if I saw a deer within 50 yards of me that day. Got out again a week later and came full draw on a God. What was he? He had a 10 point frame, but at that point he was [00:10:00] already busted off from the G two forward on his right side, and I even though he walked out, broadside his head.

Perfectly to where you couldn't see the opposite side. Super clear. And he got right to this scrape. I had this scrape that almost looked like a damn community scrape and where everyone had been hitting it, especially as you're getting later in October there. And I, like I said it, what's super cool is.

Sidebars. I have a trail camera. We have a trail camera pointed right at that scrape. You can see me. When we went back and looked at it, you can see me in the stand up behind it at full draw with him just standing there right on the scrape. No worries. Which is which, yeah, like it's, you have to really zoom in behind me cuz I'm probably 50 yards from the camera.

But since it took the picture of the deer at, like 20 yards from where the camera was if that, It's a really good shot of the deer, and you can, if pinch and zoom in or whatever, you can see me up in the stand there. And once I realized that he was broken off. I was like, . [00:11:00] I don't wanna shoot a broken deer again.

I don't want to try to sound like a snob, but I was like, it just didn't feel right more than anything. So I let down, and, he just, he worked on through, and that was, gosh, I think that was October 17th, maybe. I did not get out again until November 12th and 13th. Had, and this was, we had a good warm spell there the first part in November, which, it's a lot of people kill a lot of really good deer even in the warm weather.

And I just didn't have a ton of activity. The deer that we're chasing were, really young bucks. And that was it. That was the last day I hunted this year, Octo, November 13th was the last day I hunted, so I hunted. I had four days in the field this year just because of timing and work.

And it was disappointing, but. Sometimes that's the way the season goes. You just don't get the opportunities to get out like you would normally, like you normally had. I think last year I had, close to 20 days in the [00:12:00] stand and, same end result except for I, I was able to take a dough during rifle season, but I didn't even get out with my rifle this year, which is super unfortunate.

I had all these plans like, oh, like over Thanksgiving I'll get out. And then that didn't happen with family and stuff like that. And then I was gonna get it one last Torah between Christmas and New Year's. I was off from work and. Nothing, it didn't materialize. And here I sit brokenhearted, freezer, dwindling.

I'm, oh no, I'm holding onto this like bars of gold because I do not want to I'll just, I'll open the freezer out in the garage and I'm like, ah, there you are. Like, you're still there. Thank goodness. , I'll cook you at some point. I wanna wait. So yeah, it was, I think we, we all have those seasons.

You just don't get out. You don't get the opportunities to, to get out, let alone give yourself opportunities while you are in the field and, no out-of-state hunts. It's just, it is what it is. I've come to peace with it. I'm okay with it. I'm okay with talking about it now.

There was a stretch in there where it was a sore subject when my [00:13:00] brother-in-law, who I do a lot of my hunting with on our property was, he was, making trips up there. He was up there during opening day and he's, giving me the play by play all day long that he's sitting out there and he was pretty hard to hear at that time.

But I'm okay with it.

Nick Otto: Good. I'm glad that you've, come to Jesus on all that . That's a bit, I think as much as we enjoy success, as much as we enjoy putting down, or like basically having the quote unquote best hunt where you're actually putting something down.

Yeah. That starts to mean something more, especially when you have seasons like you've had right now, the drama that is going to. off of, a season where, hey, I saw this 10 point frame that was busted off. I gave him the pass. And because of that you didn't shoot another deer. That was your last full draw.

Yeah. Opportunity and to say like, how does that story. Get [00:14:00] richer next year. Oh my goodness. He comes up on the cameras again, like he's, he made it and now I'm gonna see him again next season. So there's still potential out there, Marcus, for this to be, one of these epic stories like we're start telling multi-season stories here.

Chapters if you will.

Marcus Ewing: I hope so. And the thing is like I've listened to enough podcasts or seen enough things on the internet about, guys who have, like Mark Kenny's a great example of having these two and three year long stories with the same deer. And maybe it's just because I'm not, I don't think there's a lot of people that are putting in the time that Mark is in terms of.

Really patterning these deer, a specific deer, nonetheless. And I've always wondered, we'll look at trail camera pictures from year to year and we'll be like, oh, I think maybe this is the deer from last year. But it's ah, who really knows? And it's just we don't really think about it much.

Even if it is, , the prior year, really nice buck who, you probably would've shot him that year. If he gets through gosh, he could really blow up next year. He could be four and a half, five and a half years old. And for Michigan, an age class deer like that.

If he's made it that long, like he's [00:15:00] probably, he's probably a really nice deer and. Yeah, I just I haven't had one, we haven't had stories like that. We found sheds and then the following year seen them on camera, never, on the hoof, but seen 'em on camera and been like, wow, like that, he made a jump.

If it's a very specific, antler configuration, like if their frame is very recognizable. But no, it would be nice to have that a second, chapter. to this story because yeah, he wasn't a huge deer either, but he had a, he had some good jeans with him.

I think he just ran across someone a little bit tougher that day. That's why he got broken off.

Nick Otto: I tell you what, yeah. To have a 10 point frame where you have five on one side and then the other one to just be snapped off. Like what a battle that must have been. Yeah. You've picked up a buck before and you've felt the antlers, like they're not budging, they're not going anywhere.

The force that you need to twist that solid bone is, and of course it doesn't break, at the pedicle where you would think it would wanna break. No. It breaks right in the. [00:16:00] Like what a crazy scenario. I bet that is.

Marcus Ewing: Yeah. It really makes you question the structural integrity of some of those owners when they're doing things like that.

But yeah, he was busted off. He had his brow time, he had his g2 and he had nothing in front of it. Yeah. I, when we get done, you're out to, I'll have to text you that picture because Yeah. It's with me in the background. It's pretty wild. It's it's something cool to look back on, like if you you've seen.

Pictures, or I've seen paintings or whatever you want to call 'em, like in Bass Pro or some of these outdoor shops where it's more of the buck is in the foreground and the deers in, or the hunters in the background, like usually in blaze orange. So you got a really good idea.

But this is, middle of October. So I, my brother-in-law, when he went through the cameras, he's I didn't even see it the first time I looked through it. I was going back through the pictures and I happened to catch, I happened to catch you. Up in up in the corner there, so

Nick Otto: That's awesome.

A cameo there out the, on the camera. That's so neat. Yeah, that's so neat. Cameos I get are usually my brother with my niece and nephew always making faces and acting like deer in [00:17:00] front of mine so that, those are the cameos I usually get, which are always fun to get.

Marcus Ewing: Speaking of cameos I got a really funny story, so two years ago maybe.

So not last season. Maybe this season, maybe it was three years ago. Yeah, three years ago. It was November 7th, which is like my all time favorite day. Like I've just had in, the last five years. It's been a day that. A ton of great activity. I've killed two bucks on that day, and so three years ago, I think, yeah, I'm pretty sure it was three years ago.

Two or three. Anyway we had a really warm day. It was November 7th. I was we had popped up this ground blind, right? Just off it was right on the edge of this, like kind of not even a destination plot, almost like a transition plot, if you will. We had popped this little ground blind up maybe a week prior.

Just because we didn't have anything to hunt that, that area with a certain wind, we got that wind. It was probably like a south wind with that warm weather. And I remember sitting in this tent [00:18:00] I had on, I didn't even have any insulation on I had I think a, like a long sleeve zip up on just for concealment purposes.

And, I'm sitting there and Nine o'clock in the morning or something. All of a sudden this dough just comes barreling into the field out of nowhere. This really nice eight point comes in right behind you. The whole thing lasted probably like 10 seconds and he, cuz the dough immediately ran back out, he immediately chased her.

I didn't have time to grab my bow and really know what the heck was going on or, Kind of compute in my head oh my gosh, like that just happened. And probably 45 minutes later and I'm sitting, this tent is probably like 10 yards. There's a trail that there's this pinch point behind me and that pinch point, there's like this trail that leads right up into this field.

This this little plot that I'm sitting on. And I'm sitting there and you know how it is, if you're sitting in a tent like you can hear, but you can't really pinpoint it sometimes just because everything's echoing inside of one of those tents and I hear [00:19:00] something cuz it's pretty quiet.

And so I just I just instinctually just put my bow in my hand and that same eight point. Comes right up that trail, 10 yards right next to me. And I wasn't, in hindsight, like I should have been at full draw. Worst case I could have let down, if it was a deer, I didn't wanna shoot. So I should have been ready and shot him at, 10 yards broadside.

But I didn't. So he gets, he walks out, I realize it's the same deer I just saw inside of an hour. So I'm like, okay, I get clipped in and now I'm waiting for him to get out away from you a little bit. So he's past my line of, or so I'm past his line of sight so I can get a good drop. So I get a good draw and instead of continuing at his angle, he starts to quarter away from me and I'm like, shoot.

So then now I'm starting to panic because I'm like, pretty soon he's gonna be like ass facing me and I'm not gonna have any type of shot. And you never know how things are gonna play out. But of course in that moment that you're like, I'm not gonna get another opportunity. So I take, I ended up taking a [00:20:00] shot, hard quartering away, thought I made a good shot.

Like you heard the arrow impact, you heard the deer just let out this noise. Like it sounded like I just took all the wind out of his lungs. So I'm like, oh. I was. Probably too cocky at the time. Quite confident

Nick Otto: there that you were like, oh yeah, he's dumb.

Marcus Ewing: Yeah. Yeah. Very confident. He charged and went off of our property like was shot right through this little food plot into the neighbor's like field that kind of is separated by just like a little row of pine trees.

Jumped right in there, saw him make like a hard left back onto our property, inside of two minutes, I'm texting my brother-in-law who's on the other side of the property. Just put an arrow in the same deer I saw this morning. I think we even had a name for him. I don't remember what it was, but we had a name for him.

That's like a lot of people, named Deer. And we do it just more for keeping track. , taking inventory and he's I'm like, I, I saw him run onto the neighbors. I think he came back onto our property. He's sit tight. I'm gonna text the neighbor, say, [00:21:00] Hey, we shot one.

He may have come onto your property. Are you cool if we, just track it through there if need be. Yep, no problem. So I sat tight for probably another 25 minutes. You know how it is every minute feels like an hour. , when you're sitting there in, in that scenario, you literally look at your

Nick Otto: phone 25 times in that 25 minutes.

Marcus Ewing: Yeah, exactly. And there's a camera pointed. Very close to where that deer was standing when I took a shot. So of course, like being like the arrogant dude that I was at the time, like I like walk out and I'm walking in front of the camera and I'm like posing for the camera, like bow in my hand, like a triumphant pose, right?

and. . So that's cameo one. I go over, I find my arrow, I find like the back six inches of my arrow and there's, you could tell like there's blood on it. It's not great blood, but I'm like, it's a broken arrow. Like it probably hit that front shoulder on a quartering away. This is probably a dead deer if found blood immediately.

my brother-in-law climbs down [00:22:00] from where he's at. He comes out, he comes over to where I am. We start investigating. We start tracking this thing, good blood, not great tracking for probably, I don't know, two or 300 yards, and we must have jumped it because we saw where it had laid down blood had pooled up right where he was laid.

Laid down. , nothing. Like you could tell he got up, but not a speck of blood. Oh. We did the whole grid search around it. We searched for probably a good hour and a half, just very tight to where we know he betted, where there was a pool of blood and it wasn't a huge pool, but it was enough to, we're like, okay, he's hit.

We're like, you know what? And it was warm. So we're like, you know what? Maybe we're best to just back. We'll call a dog, get someone in here in case it was a, a worse shot than what we anticipated and

So I end up going back and when I walked back to finish my hunt for the morning. [00:23:00] The defeated look on me walking back past the camera, talk about a complete 180. It was ridiculous. And a lot of guys to minimize their I impact will, they've got like the e-bikes or stuff like that, or guys will just use like fat tire bikes or mountain bikes, whatever.

That particular day I was hunting at the very back of their property and I have to. Walk through a lot of areas where, there's gonna be potentially a lot of, deer activity. So I'm like, all I brought my mountain bike with me, rode the bike all the way out there, and it's, it's like a, it's a mountain bike, but it's not, it's not one of these super high end mountain bikes.

Nick Otto: I, Hey man, there ain't, oh man, I was gonna say, there ain't nothing wrong with a Schwinn .

Marcus Ewing: Didn't know I blew a tire until I got back on it. To go back to the, After the morning hunt, after everything has transpired. So there's also, there's a one right in the field of me just looking completely dejected, completely crushed that I'm not, that we haven't found this deer yet.

And then later on in the [00:24:00] property, there's a picture of me just pushing my bike with my bow in one hand and like ghost riding my bike with the other hand because my back tire is flat like it was the. Like humbling. It was so humbling how I was so sure that I had killed this deer. We didn't find the deer.

I blew a tire. Like everything is caught on camera at different stages. So it's like we, we had a really. A really good laugh about that after the fact long, to wrap the story up, we did end up fighting the deer. The dog came in I think I just made, a worse shot than I thought, and yeah, never recovered him.

The guy who was, who came out tracking that night was like, if that deer was dead, the dog would've found it. And he searched all through where we thought he might be and yeah, never. Never came up with anything. So that was, yeah, that, that's, that was a long way of saying I, I've made some good cameos on trail cameras before ,

Nick Otto: Michigan Legend [00:25:00] average conservationist, average Hunter.

Ladies and gentlemen, Marcus Ewing. Thank you. Thank you for that

Marcus Ewing: keyword word average. Yeah, that's a, and that's a thing is. I'm not afraid to tell that story because I know that you know anyone who's hunted for any amount of time, right? They've had moments like that. They've made bad shots, they've missed, whatever the case is.

That's, that's hunting, that's the way it goes. I'm if people wanna comment and say oh, what the hell are you doing? It's Hey, I thought I made a good shot. I didn't Buck fever got me. Cuz I clearly just jerked, just jerked the shot and. Yep. Here we are.

Nick Otto: Absolutely. No, and you hit the nail ray on the head saying that everybody has incidences. Incidences like that where Yeah if you haven't had one, you either, a, don't take any real risks, or B, you haven't hunted for very long, and those opportunities are gonna come in and you're. You're gonna, yeah, like just like you said, I put a shot on on deer like this before it's been done deal [00:26:00] and everything red done deal on this.

And to find out, now you pass by a camera with three different looks at it. One with triumph, one dejected, and one pushing a bike like. You're gonna have days like those

Marcus Ewing: my all within an hour and a half time span too, like it was. Oh goodness. Yep.

Nick Otto: Luckily I don't have too many cameras that I can walk in front of, but I enjoy my wool clothing a lot.

Especially way late season. Yeah. But we have so many brambles and thickets that are in our woods. It's actually very nice. I have been hung up for 15 minutes in brambles, and I'm a short guy. So here I feel like I am closed into canopy. I can't move because A, I'm gonna lose my bow and I have 50 of these Blackberry bushes just grabbing onto my wool and I can't it's literally the wool's so tough and it won't let me go.

And I'm just like, how do I say that I have a podcast, but yet here I'm gonna sit for 15 minutes. I almost have to, trying to get yourself unstuck. Yeah. I have to undress just to get outta here, . [00:27:00] And it's just one of those things like I think everybody comes to those, like they lose their headlamp, they lose the path, they get stuck.

They have a bad hit. That's why they call it hunting. It's

Marcus Ewing: not grocery shopping. Yeah, exactly. And going back to the point you made, like key word there is average, right? There is nothing special about my abilities to, to kill or to hunt deer like I am. I am just because I have a podcast or you have a podcast like, does not by any stretch of the imagination make us, world class hunters.

But it's fun to, it's fun to pretend sometimes .

Nick Otto: Yes. Hey, looking forward to make ourselves above average. We're also in a great opportunity to jump into some amazing outdoor recreation. Recreation, whether that's hiking or biking or snowmobiling. Eventually, I know up north you can do that. But then even on the sportsman side, whether it be hunting and fishing, there's a lot of things that we can do here during the.

I [00:28:00] know some people like you just came off of deer season and it was a slog. You might have only had a few days in the stand that you didn't see many deer. It could have been your amazing year this year where you put down a ton of deer or your best deer, but we're all a little bit tired after that and we get off the holiday.

but now we're getting that itch again. You were just saying this week you didn't get a chance to get outside and you're feeling that a little bit. Yeah. What are you looking forward to late July, or excuse me, late January, February? What are some activities that you're looking forward to getting out and doing?

Marcus Ewing: Yes, that's a great question, Nick. So one, I grew up ice fishing a ton. I grew up in a pretty rural community and we had two lakes that kind of. We're almost like in the middle of our town. And we would ice fish constantly, whether it was for perch or for walleye. Bluegill you know how it is up north.

It seems like, you throw a rock in any direction and you're gonna hit some type of lake that probably has fish in it. So I was really fortunate to spend a lot of [00:29:00] time doing that growing up and. I took for granted, the fact that, my old man had, he had all the setups, he knew where to go on the lakes.

He grew up in the same town that I grew up in, so he's been there for, 40 years. So he knows the lay of the land, and that's been one of the things that's been hard for me to get back into is just, he had a snowmobile or a four-wheeler. Like the accessibility was just, it was so easy at the time and it's, I don't have those things now.

Like I have my truck and it can get me to a boat launch and I'm gonna have to hoof it out onto the lake somewhere if I even know where I'm going. I'm, we my in-laws have a lake house up by Traver up in that area. And there's a lot of great pan fishing on there, so I'm looking forward to getting to know that lake a lot better.

We've taken our shots at it during the summer, haphazardly, just trying to catch whatever we can, or, where we think fish might. and it's been kind of trial and error type thing. We've had some success, but not a ton. But over the holidays we were up there and I was talking to the neighbor and he was, pointing me in the right [00:30:00] direction on the lake.

Especially come, come come winter and he's said, this end of the lake, this time of year, like you just get a ton of pan fish. I remember seeing it last winter, just the shanny town of ice shanties down at the far end of the lake. I think that's one of the things I'm really looking forward to from like a Phish and game stand.

For other recreational activities. I'm a big skier. I grew up downhill skiing. It's something that I've, we try to, get out west and, my wife and I and some friends at least once a winter. So that's something that I always look forward to. It's nostalgic for me, like growing up, I, I've been doing that as long as I've been hunting, if not longer.

So that's one of the things that I really enjoy doing. And again, now that the kids are getting a little bit older, we're trying to get them involved into it, which is. Whole other ball of wax. Like you wanna talk about testing your patients, take a six year old skiing who's never skied before oh my goodness.

But you made a good point there with the endless opportunities that Michigan has, especially, once winter time, once winter comes if you're running [00:31:00] trap lines, if you want a small game hunt depending on the season. And then ice fishing, the barrier to entry I think for ice fishing is not as high as even, I think I tell myself it is sometimes, right?

I think. , if you can go out and you get yourself a do-it-all, ice fishing rod, you just, it's like anything else. You just need to ask the right people or explore trial and error and just go out and have fun with it. That's, that's how so many of us learn, whatever it is, whether it's, deer hunting or, bird hunting or, foraging like you just you learn by your mistakes that you make and.

As I've gotten older, that's something that I've certainly appreciated a lot more is figuring these things out for myself because as I mentioned, like growing up when you have someone who's saying, Sit here, jig this, tie this teardrop on whatever it is. Like you have someone who's telling you what to do, so that success comes really easy and you don't have to think about it.

But when you you get to that transitional point in your life where you gotta start doing this stuff on your own, that's when I think you, you take a lot more pride in what you're doing [00:32:00] and the successes, no matter how small, feel a lot bigger in the end because, I, darn it, I did that on my own.

Like I figured it out. There is hope for me here yet.

Nick Otto: good. I'm glad that even as an avid ice fishing guru that you are, that there's still, there's the learning curve that you gotta do. I'm, yeah. I did, I got a couple jigging poles. We got tip ups. My, I love my pick my tip ups.

They, I bought the pink ones because I knew nobody's gonna steal 'em. Cuz nobody wants to have pink ones in their bucket. Yeah, everyone wants orange. Yeah. So I took the pink ones and I used the deer popup line. We went out for that. Propane heater and I can take the boys out and I can put holes in the ice.

And here we are jigging. We have no idea where the bottom is. We have no idea if there's fish below us or how deep our jig is. Yet we've, we have a friend who has the velar. It's a video game that I don't understand. I still need to spend some time with that , [00:33:00] but we just have a great time out there.

Yeah they're just Bob and the ice, my. Yeah, my middle boy, he will make sure that every hole is. We will lose the dipper. Without a doubt. I have one always spare in the truck, but we, every hole will be absolutely pristine. There will not be a speck of snow or a speck of ice in anybody's hole, cuz that's his thing.

He keeps everything clean and open and the snack box. I love that term where, oh yeah, you just bring, and it's a good term, you bring the meat and cheese, you have a big craft of beer with ya. And that's one way that I have found information is walking up with jerky in hand, snacks, stick first. Talking with a guy.

He's more willing to tell you about, Hey, there's a drop off right there. If you guys, if you move over 20. Things are gonna go a lot better for you today. And it's all leading forward with what I am bringing to the table. And that is

Marcus Ewing: something edible. You make a really good point there, and I think[00:34:00] I don't know if it's just like the ice fishing culture but yeah, people are a lot more receptive to being approached, when you're out ice fishing, even if you're not coming over to maybe glean a piece of advice or something like that.

If you just walk over to. Chew the fat with them, so to speak. Like just, Hey man, how's your day going? Beautiful day out. See you got the kids out. Mine are in the shanny. Just that small talk right amongst people.

Maybe it's just be like, cuz you're not on a boat, you're a lot more approachable. When you're on foot, when you can actually stand, a couple feet away from someone and talk. But yeah, there, when people are out ice fishing, they're a lot more willing to divulge some of that information that, if you motor up to someone who's, running.

Running planer boards or, their vertical jigging or they're just casting with their kid, or something like that. If someone pulls up to a boat next to me, I'm gonna be like, what the heck you doing here? I'm, we're trying to fish here. You're muddying up the waters here you're getting my kid all tangled up in your prop or whatever it is.

But yeah, with ice fishing people, I think they're in it more [00:35:00] for the. I don't know if camaraderie is the right word, but they're just in it more to, to have a good time. And it's one of those things that it is a lot easier to take your kids out ice fishing. If they get bored, let 'em run around on the ice, like they're not going anywhere.

Absolutely. You know what I mean? And that's I think a lot of that kind of ties into, that culture where it's just, people are a lot more. Willing to participate with other anglers on the ice. And it's, it's a lot easier to drink a beer when you don't have to drive the boat either, right?

Like you just said, like having that crafted beer , like it's gonna keep you warm and it's, yeah, ice fishing is, sometimes it feels it's almost like this lost sport, lost tradition amongst people. But it's a great way to spend, spend a Saturday or a Sunday that's for. And the hooting

Nick Otto: and hollering that happens.

Somebody pulls a big pike out, they let out a war hoop, and I. All the kids will run from the whole lake. They're gonna run to that hole. And I tell you, that guy's gonna beam. He's gonna hold [00:36:00] that fish and all those kids are gonna look at it. Oh yeah, mine went some pride. Yes. Mine went probably 75 yards to go check out a hole that a guy was hooting and hollering.

He had one in. And that dude, he captured their attention. He was showing that fish off the fish stories. I could hear 'em from way over there and it was just so fun to see how excited. Being able to get that fish and just have people to tell about it. People saw him pull up. It was just a witness almost.

Marcus Ewing: Yeah. And that's another thing too, is you know, if you're out on a boat and you pull in a big walleye or big pike, it's it's almost hush, right? You don't want people to know, you don't want people to start, tail piping. You have following your line if you're trolling or something like that if it's ice fishing, it.

Gather around kids. I've got a story for you, kind of thing, and that, that just, it all ties in together. That's one of the beautiful things about ice fishing is everyone wants to be a part of it.

Nick Otto: Yes, they do. Marcus, I'm gonna use my technology here.

We're gonna try something out. We've got, all right, we've come. What you got, we've come to the crescendo of [00:37:00] our show and we're gonna, we're starting a new little series here where, when I'm inter, when I'm interviewing someone from the Sportsman's Empire, the dish breakout breakdown that they're gonna give us is going to be for the Emperor's Table.

Marcus, we are into, Dish breakdown. Okay, this is it.

Marcus Ewing: Steaks cooked. Medium rare. Can I get my steak cooked? Just don't want no question. You hungry? Hey mama. Can we get some meat?

All right. It's not gonna be flashy, it's, I'm gonna kind. Use a really poor pun or lead in here. But I'm gonna set the table by telling you this, is that I love Wild game. I don't, we talked about this when you came on my podcast. I don't I'm not super creative with the way I cook, especially with Wild Game.

Like I'm very. Very traditional. I'm very basic. [00:38:00] That's just, and I think that probably I certainly love to try people who, who have that ability to come up with a really creative dish and, really highlight like whether it's venison or duck or something that like really highlight the flavors that are in that wild game.

I just don't have that culinary ability, give some salt and pepper, some garlic, a grill of any sort. I'll make it work, right? Like I, I can give you a good dish, but one, and I actually just had it this weekend and this is why this is top of. Is fried walleye and I it's so basic, man. I totally get that.

But the way I've been shown to cook it or taught to cook it, like it, it's just, it comes out perfect every time. And I'm gonna let the listeners in on a little secret here and maybe it's not even a secret cuz maybe a lot of people do it this way. You take an entire box of Drake, , seasoning or whatever it is.

You take preferably some type of citrusy type beer. If you're doing it in the summer, take a summer shandy, like a summer ale, something like that. Whole beer. [00:39:00] Mix it in. So it's got a really good consistency, like thinner than, a little bit thinner than maybe like the consistency of like pancake batter, something like that.

Get a cast iron skillet. If you've got, the bigger, the better bunch of vegetable oil or whatever type of oil you want to use, get that thing, not ripping, but three 50 to 3 75, somewhere in that range. Drop a little bit of batter in there, give it a little test run, make sure it's not gonna burn right up.

And then four or five pieces, you take a, 18 inch, filet from like an 18 inch walleye. Cut it into, two to three inch pieces if that four, five, maybe six in the pan. You don't want that oil to cool off too much when you start dropping everything in. You wanna try to keep that temperature consistent and then let her run for, four or five minutes aside, just gently flip it over.

Give another four or five minutes, pull it out, it. I don't even have to set the table, like I'll just eat it right out of the plate that it goes onto when it comes outta the pan. And I know it's a good meal for [00:40:00] the simple fact that my kids will eat it. My nephews ate it this weekend and they're, ranging from anywhere from three to six years old and they were just hammer timing this fish.

So that's how I know that it's probably a good meal. It's gonna be a fan favorite. Yeah, I don't need anything with it. No tartar sauce. No nothing. Like you just eat it the way it is. The hotter, almost the hotter the better. Like you want to, the longer it's gonna sit that, the crust on it the batter, it's gonna it's gonna get a bit soggy.

, it's just, that's what happens. So you gotta get it when it's pretty warm. You gotta get that nice crunch. The texture is a big part of that, cuz you're getting that, that nice bite on the outside, the soft fish on the. and it's a meal that, ah, like when people tell me like, oh, like we use we'll crush up Ritz crackers or something.

I'm like, I don't want to hear it. No. You're a

Nick Otto: wet batter guy.

Marcus Ewing: Go with the Drakes. Yeah. Go with the Drakes. I'm a wet batter guy. That's, and I've had walleye and it's gotta be walleye specifically. I don't know why it is for me that the flavor of that fish just really [00:41:00] shines in that setting.

That's what I'm bringing to, that's what I'm bringing to the potluck. That's what I'm coming with. , it's gonna be gone. I know that. It's it's gonna get eaten up. Cuz it's easy. You can put away four or five pieces and not even bat an eye. Like it's two bites. Oh easy. It's gone.

Yeah. Easy. So yeah, that's what it is. Now, to take that one step further, if I wasn't just bringing if that was gonna be the. Course, right? If walleye, a fish fry, like something like that was gonna be my main course. I may throw a wrinkle in this and it feels almost sacrilegious to say this.

I wanna make 'em into tacos. You've gotta have the good slaw. Like you gotta have, a nice like crema on it of some sort, like something homemade that you concoct up yourself that you don't even know what the heck's in it. You just caught adding stuff. , give it to finger taste. Nope.

Needs more of this, whatever this is. Get that going. You'll never be able to duplicate it. Like it's a one-time, it's a one-time thing. But again, it almost feels, it almost doesn't feel right to, to doctor up that fish and take away [00:42:00] from just, the taste of the fish. But I still want to give it a whirl one of these days.

I've got some in the freezer right now from this past summer that, it's almost like a back strap or a tenderloin I'm just holding onto it. I'm waiting for that perfect moment. Yes. To to fry it up.

Nick Otto: When you're cutting 'em into your two inch pieces, your yeah.

Couple bite, two, three bite pieces. I've heard this from guys that are using, real thick sides of a walleye. That if you just cut it and you're using the full filet, you can really get it. It gets mushy very quickly, or you may not be able to get a chance to get to the inside of that.

I've heard guys go at a bias like they'll, when they cut it at a 45 degrees when they get towards really the thinner or to the thicker part of the fish, because what that's gonna do is it's increasing the surface. So you're getting more of the batter on there. You're gonna get a quicker fry, and you have less of those deep pockets that are gonna end up leaching out that moisture, or they're gonna be not done to what you're going to.

So [00:43:00] when they've got their filet, they're actually coming at it at a 45, they're still getting their two inch piece, but now they've got those thinner ends that'll really crispen up. So you got that real hard crunch before you get to the flaky in. .

Marcus Ewing: Yeah, and that's a really good point. Because yeah, if y what you just said, if you let any of that moisture and if you don't have good coverage from your batter, as soon as I like, take 'em outta the batter, put 'em into the pan, the next batch goes right into that batter like they're.

They're marinating, they're soaking in there, right? Yeah. When I pull those things out with a fork or a pair of tongs or whatever I'm using, like I don't let a whole lot drip off. Like I would rather it be thick and Yeah. With if to, I don't think you could do that with a full filet or even if you have the filet, right?

I think that's just, it's too big. It's gonna take too long to cook. You're the consist, you're not gonna get that consistency from bite to bite that you see it, in, in the smaller pieces and that. Yeah, cutting it at that 45. That makes complete sense based on, my experience doing it.

Nick Otto: I'd like to say I have a lot of experience, but all my flas are the blue gills or the [00:44:00] crappies that they, there's no need for cutting, cutting at 45. The whole thing just goes on in, so I still have to play with. With these big old walleye. I see 'em, but I never get a chance to play with 'em.

Marcus Ewing: Yeah.

And I've been, as I mentioned like early on, like I've been super stingy with what wild game I have left in the freezer and the neighborhood that I live in a bunch. There's one other guy who hunts in my neighborhood. So him and I have become pretty tight. This guy had, he went out to Wyoming this year, had an absolute dream season.

He killed an ante. A monster mule and a Turkey. Like he went on this, guided hunter or whatever, but he punched all three tags that he had. And the mule deer he had was just an absolute stud. But that being said, so him and I'll talk about, eating wild game and stuff like that all the time.

And a lot of our neighbors who, were friends with, Have never hunted. Maybe they've tried venison in passing over the years, so they've never probably had it prepared very well. What I wanna do, I want to get the neighborhood together and get with [00:45:00] my, the other neighbor that hunts and do this big wild game meal.

I want to cook up walleye, cook up venison. I've got some elk that a relative gave to me. He went on an elk hunt last year, so he's, he didn't gimme a ton, but enough to where, you can do it upright and get people to. To try it. And that's what my goal is. I don't know if I wanna do it this winter or wait till the spring where we can be outside and enjoy the outdoors and, stand by the grill and have, multiple beers in the process.

Oh, that

Nick Otto: sounds, that's a great way to bring a neighborhood together, especially if you're gonna host like that. Oh man. We're gonna have to touch back and we're gonna have to figure out how. The average conservationist did his his neighborhood cookout, but your submission to, I would say the Sportsman's Empire potluck, I think that's a great one to start off with.

That might be, it may not get to the main table. This is as people are arriving, as people are getting warmed up. You wanna have that filet nice and hot right now? I think you're gonna be at the pr. You're gonna right there at the gate. Hey, take a couple pu pieces, boys. You're gonna [00:46:00] want these. Put

Marcus Ewing: that thing on a silver platter.

Let someone carry it around. Nice prim and proper. Like in Just, do I need a napkin? Nope, you don't need a napkin. Like you're just going, you ain't gonna have it long enough to need a napkin. And that's, that's the thing. this past weekend when I was cooking it up, I was it was me and my kids and my mom and my sister and her kids.

And, I was out in the garage and we did it a little bit different. Normally I'll, do it on, like a just do it on the stove top or anything like that. But she has one of those big Blackstones, so she just got that thing ripping, put the cast iron right on top of that, and it actually worked really well.

But, I, we, four or five, pieces would come out of the frying pan into the house. I'm standing in the garage like, I've got to eat now because by the time I'm done cooking this, there's going to be none left. So I'm like, I have every batch that come outta the frying pan.

Take one here, next one, take another one. So by the time I'm done cooking, it's been, 40 minutes of cooking and I'm stuffed. Like I don't even wanna sit down and eat because I've. Been a glutton standing over the frying pan for the last half hour.

Nick Otto: [00:47:00] Oh, such the way of the fish fry.

Yep. Half of it doesn't even get to the rest of the people because the cook gets his first dibs.

Marcus Ewing: Yeah, exactly. Have you talked about at all what you would bring, or are you saving that for to, to tie everything together. Cause I know you're gonna come with something really good.

Nick Otto: Just like my Euchre hand, I'm holding this real tight and I won't reveal until the That's fair.

Now I won't, I'm probably gonna be second to last. The emperor himself, Dan the nine Fingers. Johnson, I think is gonna get the cri, he's gonna get the final episode of the series and we'll mash him together somehow. That's, but anyway's, I'm holding my cards pretty close. That's

Marcus Ewing: fair. fair. And I appreciate that because, Knowing, you know what?

Little bit we know each other, Nick. Like I know that wheel is constantly turning, like you'll come up with it, like you'll probably be laying in bed at night. Oh God. Oh, this is a great, this would be a great meal. A week later you're like, that's trash. I would never make that . This is what I'm making.

Like I can only imagine how many times like you're going through that before you finally like land on something.

Nick Otto: My [00:48:00] dogs eat well, Marcus. My dogs eat well. , we have a lot of mis cues. .

Marcus Ewing: No, that's all right. That's how you learn. Yeah, that's how you perfect things.

Nick Otto: Marcus, we're running super short on time here.

Where can my folks from Hunt Devor can they jump over to your two podcasts and where can we follow along with you on social media?

Marcus Ewing: Yeah, no absolutely. Average conservationist is just that, it's the average conservationist on Instagram. Facebook page is the same thing. Obviously you can find that podcast on Sportsman's umpire along with with the Hanover.

Michigan Wild Podcast. Also on the Sportsman's Empire. Just Michigan Wild Pod on Instagram. That's all I have for it. I'm begrudgingly I'm just not great with social media. I just never find time for it or I come up with a good idea and. I've it's, nine o'clock at night and I'm gonna put something out and eight people are gonna see it.

But yeah, that's where that's where you can follow along. The Michigan one has been great being able to talk to people, like yourself, [00:49:00] Nick here in Michigan because Michigan is such a overlooked, underutilized place when it comes to the outdoors. And, being able to talk to people.

Experience it in so many different ways, whether it's bird hunting in the up, it's fishing on the big water here in Michigan, whether it's, hunting the big woods, whatever it is. There's so many, great outdoors men and outdoors women in Michigan here that I feel like even, doing, if I did it for 10 years, I wouldn't be doing the state justice.

Nick Otto: Thank you so much, Marcus, for jumping on. I'm gonna let these folks on out. Folks, I hope we enjoyed our conversation. We're talking about some of the most underutilized things here in January and February. As we get excited for maybe getting onto the ice something a little less intense than what deer season was.

But even if you're on that ice, if you're cutting a hole into it, or if you're trying to get into your snack box, make sure the knife that you're using is. Sharpen.[00:50:00]