What to give your friends or family members who are active hunters or fishers for Christmas is a recurring question each holiday season.
This year I’ve settled on gifts that keep on giving and offer a return reward to the giver. I’m talking about memberships in an outdoor organization that have a monthly member’s magazine. The gift I get in return is knowing that I’m doing something positive for wildlife and our outdoor heritage.
By giving one of these, my friends are reminded with each magazine that someone recognizes and understands their passion for the outdoors. They also realize that the gift also supports an organization of like-minded individuals who strive to support conservation efforts to enhance fish, wildlife and habitat projects while supporting programs benefiting current and future sportsmen, sportswomen and sportskids (How’s that for coining a new group term?) Sports Kids, I like it.
This sporting organization membership gift benefits us all and it’s one of the easiest to give either online or by telephone. The organizations will even send a welcoming gift card and many are offering special incentives for the holidays. Give yourself one too; you’ll enjoy the magazines and help maintain and preserve our sporting tradition.
Here are a few of my favorites: Safari Club International (SCI), National Wild Turkey Foundation, Wild Sheep Foundation, Grand Slam Club Ovis, Ducks Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Dallas Safari Club. Information on all of these is available online.
A magazine subscription to Sports Afield, Outdoor Life, Field and Stream or Sporting Classics (my favorite) also makes a memorable gift and all offer holiday gift specials. You can even pick one of these up at the newsstand, gift it with a greeting card and send in the subscription insert. This is great for last-minute giving.
Books always make a great gift if you know the recipient’s favorite interests or passions. Amazon makes it easy, but equally easy and more interesting are choices from Safari Press or Sporting Classics books. If you’ve been following this column you may enjoy Sportsman’s Quest, the book, with stories of adventure with wildlife recipes to go along with them. Go to www.sportsmansquest.org .
Then there’s the ultimate sportsman’s gift. What hunter or fisher wouldn’t appreciate the gift of hunting or fishing at a favorite destination? A fishing trip out of H&M landing in San Diego or a guided Lake Mead Striper/Bass experience could be quick and easy, while a Sailfish and Marlin trip to Mexico or Central America could be the trip of a lifetime.
A young lady named Deavon Hurt was gifted one of these hunting trips, a “Ladies Only Turkey Hunt” at California’s Tejon Ranch, a 270,000-acre historic land grant ranch.
Her host was Marian Hinebauch, the SCI Desert Chapter president interested in introducing young people to the hunting tradition.
Marian was not disappointed as she sat with Deavon, and guide Ron, as the turkey came even closer. All were in full camo and Ron gave the occasional call, encouraging the bird to continue coming in full strut. The turkey would stop, turn and raise its head and neck while staring directly at them. They were motionless, but Deavon was afraid it would hear her heart beating as she sat motionless. At fifteen yards the bird knew something wasn’t right, but with a short “cluck” from Ron’s call, it turned and came cautiously closer.
Deavon’s new 20-gauge shotgun was ready. At ten yards Ron whispered, “Shoot it,” and the hunt was over, but not the excitement. As Deavon released her pent-up adrenalin and tension she exclaimed, “I never thought hunting could be so thrilling.” She was hooked and has become an enthusiastic hunter. The turkey weighed twenty pounds and is now mounted in full plumage on her living room wall and the bird was also enjoyed at the Thanksgiving table.
The ultimate gift would be a big game hunt or African Safari and may be more affordable than you think, but requires more planning. A good place to start is at one of the sporting conventions in January and February (More on that in the next Sportsman’s Quest Column).
Here is one of Marian Hinebauch’s Safari Club specials. It would be well received at a banquet or a candlelight dinner for two, and she has experience at both. She is always front and center at their banquets. My hat’s off to Marian and I’ll look forward to her preparing this for me when I bag my next wild turkey.
Marian’s Turkey Cutlets
Four 8-oz boneless, skinless turkey tenders; 2 tsp seasoned salt; 2 tsp cayenne pepper; 2 tsp garlic powder; 2 tsp dried rosemary; 2 Tbsp grated asiago cheese; ½ tsp salt; ½ tsp ground black pepper; ½ cup flour; 2 eggs, beaten; ½ cup milk; 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs; olive oil and butter for frying; juice of one lemon; 2 Tbsp cold butter; lemon wedges.
Pound the turkey cutlets with meat mallet to Â¼ inch thickness; stir flour, salt and pepper together; combine seasoned salt, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, rosemary, asiago cheese and bread crumbs, set aside; mix eggs into milk; dredge turkey in flour; dip in egg mixture; coat with bread crumbs; fry cutlets in oil 2 to 3 minutes per side until nicely browned; pour oil mixture out of pan leaving coating of breadcrumbs; return pan to heat; pour in lemon juice and stir to remove browned bits from pan; add butter stirring quickly until sauce thickens; pour over turkey and serve immediately; serve with extra lemon wedges, garlic mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.