Sunday, November 3, 2013

The hot summer days have started to wane throughout Coastal Georgia.  In fact, the hottest thing this time of year is our beloved Georgia Bulldawgs .  In the Low Country, the cooler weather brings locals the hottest shrimping.  Here is a great recipe for the casual buyer, the Saturday tailgater and the weekend net thrower.  Caution........over consumption should be expected!


"Georgia Pickled Shrimp"

2 tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 lb. (26–30 count) medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ tsp. celery seeds
¼ tsp. allspice berries
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. crushed red chile flakes
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
12 dried bay leaves
½ medium yellow onion, thinly sliced lengthwise

1. Bring Old Bay and 8 cups water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan; add shrimp, reduce heat to low, and cook until shrimp are pink, about 2 minutes. Drain and transfer to bowl of ice water to chill; drain again.

2. Finely grind celery seeds and allspice in a spice grinder; transfer to a bowl and stir in oil, juice, parsley, salt, chile flakes, garlic, and bay leaves. In a 1-qt. glass jar, layer shrimp and onions; pour over oil mixture. Cover with lid; chill overnight before serving. 


Sunday, January 27, 2013

"It Begins And Ends With You"

My dearest friend,

I write this not knowing if I will ever have the courage to give it to you.  Maybe I am just writing you in hopes that the weight will be lifted from my heart or maybe it's my way of trying to ensure my future sanity.  I fear that what I write will be laughed at by others, but am willing to accept such ridicule.  Your loss has forced me to a place that most men aren't comfortable talking about, nor am I comfortable being here.  Truth be told, these words will probably end up locked in a box, in the closet, only to be forgotten

I'm not sure where to begin.

For 15 straight years, I have unconditionally given myself to you.  Actually, that isn't the truth.  The truth is that even though you haven't been my top priority, I have given you the best of me.  I have sacrificed more in life than I care to admit, just to spend every possible minute with you.  In fact, I have not attended family holiday's, skipped friends weddings and taken more than a few days off of work. Maybe I was wrong to scoff at those who had such strong opinions about our relationship but, only a few saw the happiness that we shared along our tumultuous path.  I did all of those things in effort to foster a deeper relationship between us.  What did you give in return?  You chose to stand silent and offer nothing in return!  Didn't you see how much effort I put into our relationship?

Without you, I feel empty.  At times, I feel like I wonder aimlessly in this world.  The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer.  Before long, life will become one long night.  Maybe that will be a good thing!  During the night, it's not so bad. The mornings are the toughest!  Every sunrise brings back a flood of memories that should be comforting but, they aren't.  While the memories are divine, they are cloaked in black, knowing that you're gone.  Did I not tell you how much you mean to me? For the life of me, I can't understand what made you leave.  Of course, I couldn't understand why you left the 14 times prior to this one either.  Selfishly, I think that knowing the reasons might make me feel better about the ending this continuous saga.  I just don't understand........I am begging you, please help me understand! Do you not love me enough to at least give me an explanation?  Until then, I guess that I'm stuck with neglected memories.

I don't have to try very hard to remember every time we met.  It didn't matter if it was an early morning or just before dark, you always looked the same.  I can still picture the warmth your skin brought to an otherwise insensate dark sky.  If you aren't deserving of a fine canvas, no one is!  I can feel your warm breath on my neck as you whispered secrets in my ear every September.  At years end, your breath always seemed colder and signaled the pending end to us.  Year after year, I could never understand why you weren't honest when the end was near.  Why didn't you ever tell me that you were unhappy?  When I close my eyes, I can still smell you in the wind. Once, I even thought that I tasted your tears in the rain, only to realize those tears were mine.  The more I sit here an write, the more difficult all of this becomes.  I want the hurt to go away!  More times than not, your silence comforted me like an old blanket.  Maybe your silence was a clue to your unhappiness and I just failed to see it?  When this relationship started, I never said that I could be perfect!  I only promised you that I would try to be the best that I could.  On the other side, maybe you took comfort in silence or maybe you took simple pleasure in my happiness with my friends?  I do know that you were the first to let me be me......all day, every day.  For that, I am forever indebted to you. I guess that it really doesn't matter anymore.  You got exactly what you wanted!  It always has been and will be about you!  That's great, but then there is just me! 

How does it feel to harden the edges that hide this tender heart?  Did you finally get what you wanted?  I HOPE SO!!!  I am left here.........a shell of a man.  I don't know where to go!  I am broken, torn and tired!  While I don't regret a single moment we spent together, I don't have the time, energy or courage to do this anymore.  I shall grieve again this year, like so many before. Maybe one day, my heart will heal and I will love another.  I hope not!  I don't want to let go because, secretly I know that come September, we will be together again.

Duck hunting, please know........It Begins And Ends With You.

Always Yours,


Monday, January 7, 2013

"Duck Hunters Are A Strange Breed"

Occasionally, when I find myself in a pensive sort of mood, I’ll sit around thinking about duck hunting and what there is about it that can make a person crazy. Just what is the psychological nature of a sport that annually causes otherwise sane, normal human beings to go so completely berserk?

Consider the cost, for example. With the possible exception of nightly bar-hopping 365 days a year, waterfowling has to be among the least cost-efficient activities going.

I have an acquaintance up north who owns a chain of discount hardware stores. The man is a nice enough fellow and normally a pleasure to be around. Except during duck season.

During that time of year he virtually lives and breathes ducks and can bore on to tears with his incessant lecturing on bag limits, quotas, calling and foolproof methods for identifying waterfowl in flight.

This same man is a strict fiscal conservative most of the year: He is, other than my spouse, perhaps the tightest tightwad I have ever encountered.

Yet, here is someone who thinks nothing of spending thousands of dollars on duck boats or buying decoys in lots of two hundred at $50 per dozen. Not to mention the small mint he doles out for shooting clothing, shotgun shells, dog food and other assorted waterfowler’s paraphernalia. As near as I can figure, each duck he shoots over the course of a season come to approximately $214.93 per pound.

Other than capital outlay, another prime factor in the absolute absurdity of duck hunting is the horrid weather conditions one must endure to participate. The majority of waterfowlers are quite familiar with what is or isn’t “duck weather” but, in case you are not, just close your eyes and imagine any weather conditions which would justify canceling any other North American outdoor sporting event. That’s a perfect duck day.

Someone long ago forgot to tell this continent’s waterfowl that creatures blessed with good sense stay home when the wind chill factor is 40 below and the rain and sleet fall hard enough to cause a mildly serious brain concussion. Of course, there is some evidence that brain damage might be the reason for one being a duck hunter in the first place.

Clinical psychologists tell me that the average duck hunter harbors masochistic tendencies and derives perverse pleasure from the suffering he experiences. Deep down, he hopes every shot he fires misses so he can add to the fulfillment of these warped desires.

Well, I don’t think I’d venture to go that far, but I agree that duck hunters are indeed a strange breed. They spend too much time, money and effort in an attempt to shoot a limit of birds. They regularly risk frostbite, pneumonia, hypothermia, and drowning and then have the audacity to call it fun. How weird can you get?

Well, I’ll tell you.

Years ago, before age and joint pain seriously limited my waterfowl adventures, a buddy called and invited me along on a big-reservoir duck shoot. The weather forecast called for freezing rain, low pressure and intermittent wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour.

You wan weird? I went. Though I’d die if I didn’t.

Yep, strange folks indeed. I know. I used to be one of ‘em.

Bob Kornegay

Reprinted from The Albany Herald 2005

Monday, December 17, 2012

"You Can't Eat Those Birds"

Hunters from around the country will say that a mallard duck is among the best table fair mother nature has to offer!  An equal amount of hunters will argue that a wood duck eats better and some people think that any species of teal are even better yet!  Having hunted more than 20 states and Canada, I would contend that everyone is right! Waterfowl are a staple around my house in the winter and spring and while I prefer a cast iron dutch oven packed with teal, I don't ever turn my nose up at the opportunity to eat a few snow geese.  Most weekend warriors will swear that the taste of a snow goose isn't tolerable, even by the neighborhood dog.  When I hear that kind of sheepish nonsense come out of someone's mouth, I always ask the same question......"Have you ever even eaten one?"  More often then not, people studder and say, "  But, I've got a buddy that tried to cook them one time and he said that they were terrible!"  Truth be told, I would bet my meager paycheck that most hunters wouldn't even be able to taste the difference between a snow goose and any puddle duck.

Wanting a clear conscience, I can't personally take credit for the following recipe.  The recipe below disrupts the contemporary notion that the Lessor Snow Goose isn't fit for a table of kings.

Pluck-A-Duck Lodge Snow Goose Rumaki


1.  Snow goose breasts
2.  Soy Sauce
3.  Cooking Sherry
4.  Orange Blossom Honey
5.  Fresh Garlic Cloves


Cut the breasts into small chunks.  In a bowl, combine soy sauce and cooking sherry at a ratio of 2/3 soy to 1/3 sherry.  Dissolve 4 to 8 tbs. of honey into soy/sherry mixture.  Crush and add 3 cloves of garlic to the mixture.

To marinate, place your snow geese and marinade in a gallon zip lock bag.  Force all of the air out of the bag and press down with weight (we use a plate) to ensure all of the goose meat is covered.  Marinate approx. 4 hours.


After your snow geese have finished marinating, place a slice of water chestnut on each chunk and wrap with a thin slice of bacon.  Skewer each chunk on a wooden skewer and grill to medium rare. (over cooking will result in dry tough meat)

To finish, sprinkle with brown sugar immediately after removing from the grill.

Most people will say, "You Can't Eat Those Birds," but I say you can!


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

"Lone Oak's Ebony Ace"

When I volunteered to author an article spotlighting a single retriever in Arkansas, my mind was flooded with a thousand questions on what would make one retriever worthy of such recognition. Do I write about one of the more famous retrievers like Chris Akin’s dog Boomer? Maybe I should write about the “common mans” dog who faithfully works day in and day out for his owner. What about a dog that retrieves 500 birds in a single season? How about a Hunting Retriever Champion or National Field Champion? The questions were endless! After thumbing through a list of contacts that I have made in 14 years of water fowling, I realized that I knew a dog that was worthy of such a spotlight.

Lone Oak’s Ebony Ace or “Ace” is owned by Pat Pitt, a lifelong Arkansas hunter, former guide and founder of the L’Anguille Lounge Duck Club. Born in July of 2000, Ace is the son of a HRC/MH female and Abe’s Ebony and Ivory, a National Champion male. Ace spent the first two years of his life in training with Chris Akin of Web Footed Kennels, located in Bono, Arkansas. When asked about Ace, Chris Akin said he could remember exactly what Pitt said when he called about a dog, “I want a dog that likes to retrieve birds as much as I like to kill them.” Ace retrieved his first bird for Pitt in 2002 and since, the team has been relentlessly pursuing every species of North American waterfowl. Ace hunts every day Pitt does excluding Pitt’s occasional trips to Iceland, Mexico and New Zealand. Hunting with Pitt translates to between 90 and 100 days on the road each season ranging from Canada to Arkansas. With 6,066 lifetime waterfowl retrieves, Ace is a hunting dog. “I never cared anything about running retriever tests and trials with him” Pitt said. Pitt was also quick to note that all of Ace’s retrieves were on waterfowl, as he does not use Ace to retrieve doves. While most hunters hope their retriever has the opportunity to retrieve 500 ducks or geese in a lifetime, Ace regularly exceeds that mark and has had more than one season retrieving over 1000 birds including a single season high of 1176 retrieves. Although 6,066 retrieves is certainly amazing, what is more astonishing is the amount of banded birds the team has harvested over the last 7 years. After a quick look in Pitt’s detailed log book, he noted that since 2002 he has been with 131 harvested birds that were banded including 5 neck collared geese. Over half of those banded birds were harvested by Pitt himself and three quarters were retrieved by Ace.

If the sheer number of days hunted each season and total retrieves were not enough to qualify him for time in the spotlight, his retrieving work for well known waterfowl artists, authors and conservationists certainly make him the clear winner!  Since 2002, Ace has hunted with more than his fair share of water fowling celebrities. When asked about Ace, author Doug Larson said, “It is almost as if Ace is of a different species, a stronger, more determined, brand of dog with a singular drive to bring ducks back in a way that will get him to his next duck as quickly as possible.” If being glorified by a well known author was not enough, consider the fact that Ace has hunted under photographers like Delta Waterfowl’s Fred Greenslade, wildlife photographer Gary Zahm and most recently, Ace made an appearance in the October 2009 issue of Field and Stream. Just in case the previously mentioned were not enough, Ace has also retrieved harvested birds for Federal Duck Stamp winning artists Dave Maass and Scott Storm and waterfowl conservationist Rob Olson and John Deveny, both of Delta Waterfowl. The reality is that we have all knowingly or unknowingly hunted over Ace. In 2007, Ace was immortalized by Cynthie Fisher in her painting “Cache River Mallards.” Both Fisher and Ace received one of the highest awards that can be bestowed upon any artist or retriever when “Cache River Mallards” was chosen for 2008 Arkansas State duck stamp. There is no doubt that a retriever of Ace’s caliber is deserving of a spotlight in this publication!

At the end of day, Ace is more than just a retriever to those of us who have had the pleasure of spending time at the L’Anguille Lounge Duck Club. Ace is the dirty, tired dog that stays in the corner of an old block camp house, he's the dog that doesn’t want his owner to have a mid-day nap in his old blue chair and Ace is the dog that wants nothing to do with anything other than retrieving waterfowl. More than anything, Ace is the beginning of a smile from a demanding owner, the source of pride for a hunting family and the subject of quiet jealousy for those who witness his ability.

 (Written By Stephen Shepherd and Featured In the 2009 Arkansas Life Hunting Resource Guide)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"Words Say It All"

How many things can one person excel at in a single lifetime?  While I don't know if any answer is truly correct, I do know that the simultaneous pursuit of perfection across multiple subjects at one time can drive a person absolutely mad!  As someone who is a little OCD, a lot ADHD and who's brain probably looks similar to a fall carnival, complete with loud music, horses bobbing up and down and colorful fireworks, I feel completely qualified to make such a statement.  Having confessed to how "jacked up" I really am, I do believe that we all wish that we were better at many things in life.  While the business owner probably wishes he was as good at hunting as he is at accounting or the professional baseball player wishes he was as successful at catching fish as hitting the clutch single, I secretly wish I was as good at writing, as I am at selling stuff.  As I type this blog, I can't help to think that what I am typing is complete garbage and doesn't do justice to the 10,000 thoughts that are going through my head.  Anyway, I digress.  Below, I have listed some of my favorite quotes and hope that one day I can be as eloquent with the written word as the men that penned them.

"Thus we see that the lot of the duck hunter is not a happy one. He is the child of frustration, the collector of mishap, the victim of misfortune. He suffers from cold and wet and lack of sleep. He is punished more often than rewarded. Yet he continues. Why? Because one great day-- and great days do come, days when the ducks are willing and the gun swings true-- repays him many fold for all the others." -Ted Trueblood

"I pity the duck hunter who goes for ducks alone. I pity the duck hunter who has not filled his being the dawn magic. I pity the one who cares not, or knows not, what he has killed...There is a great deceit in duck hunting by which men count their sport in terms of 'limit bags' and 'good shooting.' Be not fooled. These same men would great the rising sun in season though they knew their chances of killing even a single duck were very, very poor indeed." -Field & Stream, December 1937

"I have always had a soft spot in my heart for marshes. They challenge me to come and look. Their capacity for mothering wild life is far greater than the drier uplands, no matter how beautiful they may be. It seems to me that no man is closer to the beginning of things and the eternal motherhood of the outdoors than when he is familiar with a marsh." -Field & Stream, December 1936

"When you have shot one bird flying, you have shot all birds flying. They are all different and they fly in different ways, but the sensation is the same and last one is as good as the first."-Ernest Hemingway

“There is a solitude, or perhaps a solemnity, in the few hours that precede the dawn of day which is unlike that of any others in the twenty-four, and which I cannot explain or account for. Thoughts come to me at this time that I never have at any other.” –George Bird Grinnell

“All the sounds of this valley run together into one great echo, a song that is sung by all the spirits of this valley. Only a hunter hears it.” –Chaim Potok

“In a civilized and cultivated country, wild animals only continue to exist at all when preserved by sportsmen.” –Theodore Roosevelt

"We keep our memories in the same place we bury dogs and pals who are no longer with us. We keep these treasures in the vaults that hold the sights of geese pitching into a set of field decoys and quail buzzing out of a brushy corner by a split-rail fence. And when the time comes, when it’s easier to remember old times than to gather up new ones, it is to this place that we go, you and I, to watch for the flight at sunset." – Steve Smith

"A goose represents the rebel in all of us and because they’re wild and free, they have a certain quality that shines out and makes us wish that we were not bound to labor in life, but rather that we could drift as they do with the seasons." – Paul Bernsen 

"There is much to be said in behalf of the solitary way of fishing and hunting. It lets people get acquainted with themselves. Do not feel sorry for the man on his own. If he is one who plunges into all sorts of work, if he does not dawdle, if he does not dwell upon his aloneness, he will get many things done and have a fine time doing them."

"Time is probably more generous and healing to an angler than to any other individual. The wind, the sun, the open, the colors and smells, the loneliness of the sea or the solitude of the stream work some kind of magic." – Zane Grey 

"Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in." -Mark Twain

“We cannot but pity the boy who has never fired a gun; he is no more humane, while his education has been sadly neglected.” –Henry David Thoreau