Since it is Opening Day for (rifle) deer season, I thought it would be appropriate to share a recent episode of Michigan Out of Doors that Spencer Stegenga, Proprietor of Bowers Harbor Vineyards and Doug Koch, Owner of Boathouse Restaurant, were featured on. If you’re not familiar with the show, it airs all over Michigan and highlights all things outdoors from hunting and fishing, new gear and apps to recipes with local chefs. It’s a well-put-together show with charismatic and knowledgeable people in the forefront and behind the scenes.
The particular episode aired in October and covered Spencer and Doug hunting pheasants at the Thundering Aspens Sportsman Club, a private hunting club in Mesick, MI. They offer pheasant, grouse, quail, waterfowl, turkey, Hungarian partridge and woodcock. They have over 600 acres and are in their 30th year of business, opening in 1987. There are currently 220 members and they have a growing waiting list. Their personal goal is for the pheasants to make it through the winter and hatch out chicks in the spring, so they stop shooting hens in December. 300 – 400 are expected to make it through the winter and are native-hatched. Spencer said the hunt was a lot of fun, they got about 19 birds that morning, mostly roosters and a few hens.
I also learned all about the HuntWise app during this episode, a sportsman tracker where hunting meets high technology. HuntWise developed the strongest hunt algorithm, HuntCast, which offers 14 different species to choose from and predicts the optimal kill time for each. It was designed to help hunters improve their success in the outdoors by utilizing advanced tracking and technology. It’s also helpful in “hunting down” (see what I did there…) the property lines and other land owner information so you can contact them to ask if you can hunt on their property. This app also connects hunters to a community of dedicated sportsman to seek and share advice. You can learn more and download the app here.
Looking for something different to do with the venison in your freezer? Try this delicious recipe by Chef Jim Wood from Antlers Fireside Grill, located just outside of Big Rapids, MI. We suggest pairing this meal with a bottle of Bowers Harbor Vineyard’s spicy and complex 2016 Claret, Wind Whistle, which is a 50/50 blend of Cab Franc and Merlot.
Venison cutlets with Biscuits and Gravy
2 venison loin medallions cut half an inch thick
1 cup flour seasoned with 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder and ½ tsp mustard powder
3 tbsp butter
salt to taste
1. Pound venison medallions until they are thin like a cutlet
2. Melt butter over medium high heat
3. Coat venison in seasoned flour and season with salt to taste
4. Once pan begins to barely smoke and all butter is melted add cutlets to pan and cook to desired doneness
5. Remove from heat and set aside
4 tbsp butter
½ an onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 tbsp flour
1lb breakfast sausage
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup chicken stock
Salt to taste
1. Over medium heat melt butter
2. Add onion, garlic and sausage
3. Break up sausage into small bits until completely cooked through
4. Add flour and whisk to incorporate
5. Slowly add cream and stock whisking vigorously
6. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer
7. Simmer on low for 10 minutes
8. Add salt to taste
1. Top with venison cutlet
2. Ladle sausage gravy over venison cutlet
3. Place top of biscuits over gravy
4. Ladle more sausage gravy over top of biscuits
Michigan has so much to offer! In just one episode we learned about salmon fishing on the Betsie River, bird hunting with Thundering Aspens Sportman Club, how the HuntWise app makes it easier for hunters to pursue their passions and learned a new way to cook venison to boot! Huge thanks to Michigan Out of Doors for sharing these experiences with us!
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