Sunday, August 28, 2016

Our third cookbook: Buck, Buck, Moose

Twenty years ago when I decided to start cooking in earnest, I fell in love with cookbooks. Those that taught techniques, I studied rigorously; those that offered mouthwatering recipes, I devoured with my eyes. One in particular - The Essential Asian Cookbook (Murdoch Books, 1997) - sparked a bizarre collecting habit: chopsticks, ramekins and Asian dishware.

As a politics reporter, I dreamed that someday I'd be able to ditch nasty world of politics and write about food for newspapers (a coveted position, by the way - everyone wanted to be a food writer). But never in a million years would I have envisioned that I'd become a food photographer, and that many of the items I'd been collecting for fun would appear in cookbooks enjoyed by tens of thousands of readers.

This week marks the release of the third cookbook featuring my photography: Buck, Buck, Moose: Recipes and Techniques for Cooking Deer, Elk, Moose, Antelope and Other Antlered Things, written by my partner Hank Shaw. And I'm pleased to say it is BOTH types of cookbook that I fell in love with 20 years ago: It contains detailed and accessible instructions on technique - both butchering and cooking - and what I hope you'll find to be beautiful photography showcasing mouth-watering dishes.

There's something extra special about this book. The first, Hunt, Gather, Cook: Finding the Forgotten Feast, was published by Rodale in 2011. The second, Duck, Duck, Goose: The Ultimate Guide to Cooking Waterfowl, Both Wild and Domesticated, was published by Ten Speed Press in 2013. This one, we are self-publishing - made possible by an immensely successful Kickstarter campaign.

If you are a deer hunter, or you know someone who is, I hope you'll check it out. As someone who ate everything I photographed, I can tell you you'll be glad you did. Cheers!

© Holly A. Heyser 2016

Monday, June 27, 2016

How to choose a shotgun for hunting

Oh, the things I wish I'd known when I bought my first shotgun.

The only real piece of advice I got was to buy a 20 gauge because I'm a chick, which really did me a disservice. I'm sorry, there's absolutely nothing about being a woman that makes a 20 gauge a better choice. I ended up upgrading to a 12 gauge within a few years, which made me much happier. It's a duck hunter thing.

After meeting a lot of hunters who used a variety of shotguns, I came to realize that the type of shotgun that's best for you really is first and foremost a function of your personality, so I created a personality test to help prospective gun owners see what might be best for them. I blogged about it back in 2012, and I recently updated that blog post to hand out at a California Waterfowl workshop for new hunters.

Click here to view a printable PDF. Feel free to share it with friends, but if you'd like to reprint it in a for-profit publication, please get in touch with me.

© Holly A. Heyser 2016

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Video: How much to lead a moving target

I work with a lot of new shooters and hunters, and one of the hardest things to explain is how much you need to lead a moving target with your shotgun. It seems everyone perceives it differently.

A while back I told my pal Phil Bourjaily I wanted to use a shotgun-mounted POV camera to examine lead, and he said that was the wrong choice of camera. "What you need," he said, "is a ShotKam."

He was right. Using a wifi connection to your tablet or smartphone, you can align the ShotKam's reticle, then get footage where a red dot (or some other marker) shows your exact point of aim. What an awesome invention! Bonus points: Playback is at 1/4 speed, so you can see clay breaking in glorious detail.

I'll do a thorough review of the ShotKam down the road, but for now I wanted to share a video that illustrates lead at all the stations of skeet. And if you can't wait for the review, run over to the ShotKam website and learn more about it there. Tell 'em I sent you!

© Holly A. Heyser 2016

Saturday, January 23, 2016

On teaching women to shoot shotguns

The headline says it best: "Most New Female Shooters Learn From Men. Here’s What Both Need To Know."

My pal Phil Bourjaily - one of Field & Stream's two Gun Nuts - worked with me on this story. It's one of my favorite subjects!

Read the full story here.

© Holly A. Heyser 2016

Monday, November 30, 2015

Video: How to render duck fat

At long last, I've finally made the video duck hunters have been asking for: How to render duck fat!

The process is really easy, and it gives you a jar of duck flavor that will last long after you've rid the freezer of your last bird of the season.

So next time you get a delicious, fat bird, save the bits of fat you might otherwise throw in the trash, and try this.

© Holly A. Heyser 2015