Air Fryer Jerky

| January 29, 2021
air fryer duck jerky
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

The air fryer is one of my favorite countertop appliances in our kitchen. The waterfowl season in California is wrapping up, and I have a lot of duck breasts to turn into jerky.

Making jerky in an air fryer is easy. Preparation of the meat is the same, but the actual drying and pasteurizing is much easier and faster than using most traditional dehydrators. I used our PowerXL Air Fryer Pro oven just once for jerky, and the Presto Dehydrator I had been using for years, has been in storage ever since.

If you are tight on space, and are going to have just one countertop appliance for dehydrating, I heavily recommend an air fryer. For the space they take up, they are much more versatile than a dehydrator. Good options include the 6 Qt. PowerXL Air Fryer Pro, the 5.8 Qt. COSORI Electric Hot Oven, and the 4 Qt. Ninja Air Fryer.

Preparation Time

24 Hours 45 Minutes

Cooking Time

75 Minutes

Total Time

26 Hours


6 to 8 Ounces


16 oz. lean meat, we are using duck, but a flank steak would work.
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ginger powder
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp red pepper flake (I like heat, and sometimes I’ll double this)


  1. Place duck breasts, or meat of choice in the freezer for 45 minutes. This will help firm up the meat, and make it easier to cut consistently thin slices for drying.
  2. Slice the duck, or meat of your choice into ⅛” to ¼” thick strips. Cutting thicker slices with the grain produces a chewier jerky, while cutting thinner slices across the grain will make the jerky more tender.
  3. Combine all the ingredients, except for the meat in a ziplock bag.
  4. Add the thinly sliced meat to the marinade, and toss to coat.
  5. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
  6. Arrange the meat in a single layer on each air fryer tray, and place in the air fryer. Try to place the meat with space between each piece for more even dehydrating.
  7. Duck Jerky on Air Fryer Racks

    Duck Jerky on Air Fryer Racks

  8. Heat the dehydrator to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  9. Leave the dehydrator at 165 degrees Fahrenheit until you are certain all the meat has reached an internal temperature of at least 160F.
  10. Once the internal temperature of the meat has reached 160F, back the temperature down to between 130 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
  11. Leave the air fryer running until the meat is sufficiently dry. Depending on your air fryer, this could take 60 minutes to 2.5 hours.
  12. Flip the cuts of meat near the midway point, and return to the air fryer for more even drying.
  13. Let your jerky cool before serving or storing.

Duck Jerky Tips

Duck requires a bit more cooking care than almost any other meat. Overcooked duck tastes a lot like liver. Thinly sliced, heavily marinated duck, that is thoroughly dehydrated, tastes like any other jerky. However, thicker cuts of lesser dehydrated duck jerky will taste a little bit like liver. So to avoid a livery taste, thinly slice the duck, marinade a full 24 hours, and dehydrate thoroughly.

Store the jerky in an airtight container or vacuum sealed bag. It will last about 2 weeks in the refrigerator, but can last as long as 6 months in the freezer. In our home, jerky rarely lasts an hour on a counter or kitchen table.

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6 Best Survival Rifles Under $500

| January 26, 2021
Six Best Survival Rifles Under $500
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

Survival rifles were originally designed to give downed aircrew a survival weapon for harvesting game. Original notable designs date back to the M4 Survival rifle, developed shortly after WWII, chambered in .22 hornet. For the modern sportsman, survival rifles are less about surviving unplanned punchouts over remote wilderness and more about having a lightweight firearm that can fold down and fit in a pack or kayak dry bag, is reliable, and accurate.

Survival rifles are a perfect choice for backcountry travel where hunting isn’t necessarily the main focus, but where you might encounter a diverse range of small game species and want the option to harvest them. We’ve chosen 6 versatile options, available for under $500, to help you choose the best survival rifle for you!

Henry AR 7

Henry AR7 Survival Rifle

Henry AR7 Survival Rifle

Full length | 35 inches
Pack length | 16.5 inches
Weight | 3.5 pounds
Caliber | .22 LR
Capacity | 8+1
Magazine Type | Detachable
Sights | Adjustable Rear, Blade Front
Price | $269

See It At Cabelas
See It At Bass Pro Shops
The Henry AR 7 is an extremely portable, highly reliable, semi-automatic 22lr rifle, designed for and used by Air Force pilots since 1959.

It’s the first rifle that comes to mind when survival rifles are the topic of conversation. It packs into its own stock, floats, and is treated with a Teflon coating for durability in all weather conditions.

One of the better AR 7 features is that the dovetail rail on the receiver is cut with Picatinny slots, so it’ll accept both Picatinny and Weaver style optic mounts/optics.

It’s affordable, accurate, and lightweight. It’s hard to be critical of the Henry AR 7, but if one had to nitpick, it isn’t highly customizable. Unlike a Ruger 10/22 Takedown, which offers the potential for unlimited amounts of upgrades, including exceptionally crisp aftermarket triggers, the Henry AR 7 hardly has any aftermarket options.
See It At Cabelas
See It At Bass Pro Shops

Marlin 70PSS Takedown

Marlin Model 70PSS Takedown Survival Rifle

Marlin Model 70PSS Takedown Survival Rifle

Full length | 36 inches
Pack length | 21 inches
Weight | 3.25 pounds
Caliber | .22 LR
Capacity | 7+1
Magazine Type | Detachable
Sights | Ramp Front &
Adjustable Rear |
Price | $249

See it at Sportsman's Warehouse
The Marlin 70PSS Takedown is an accurate, blowback operated rifle, chambered in .22lr, and has a full length 16.25” barrel with the micro-groove rifling that Marlin rimfires are known for.

While the 70PSS isn’t the cheapest survival rifle on our list, it is the cheapest semi-automatic on the list. It also sports a durable stainless steel finish and can be field stripped with a hex key set.

The 70 PSS has some aftermarket parts available but certainly doesn’t lend itself to customization like the Ruger 10/22. There is a trigger kit that drops 2 pounds on the factory trigger, but that seems like one of the very few upgrades available for the 70PSS.

Given the other options, like the truly bare bones Henry AR 7, or the highly customizable Ruger 10/22, the Marlin 70PSS Takedown falls somewhere in the middle. Depending on your needs and desire for customizability the Marlin might just hit the sweet spot.
See it at Sportsman's Warehouse


Savage Model 42 Takedown

Savage Model 42 Takedown Survival Rifle

Savage Model 42 Takedown Survival Rifle

Full length | 34.75 inches
Pack length | 20 inches
Weight | 4.65 pounds
Caliber | .22 LR (top barrel), .410 (bottom barrel)
Capacity | 2
Magazine Type | Single-Shot, Break Action
Sights | Open Adjustable
Price | $429

See it at Sportsman's Warehouse
At first glance, the Savage Model 42 Takedown, a single-shot rifle, priced at $429 doesn’t necessarily seem like a great value. While this is about twice the price of the single-shot Chiappa Little Badger, you must consider that the Model 42 comes with an additional barrel, offering a much wider range of game harvesting opportunities.

The Model 42 is an over-under style firearm. The top barrel is chambered in your choice of either a .22 LR or .22 Magnum, and the bottom is a .410 gauge shotgun barrel. The two barrels give you a lot of options. Whether you’re taking small game with the .22lr, dispatching predators with a .410 slug or buckshot, or harvesting ptarmigan and grouse with .410 birdshot, there are few situations where you will find yourself lacking the right tool. Yes it’s a little bit weighty, but given the versatility, it provides, the Model 42 is an exceptional option for a backcountry survival rifle.
See it at Sportsman's Warehouse

Ruger 10/22 Takedown

Ruger 10 22 Takedown Survival Rifle

Ruger 10 22 Takedown Survival Rifle

Full length | 37 inches
Pack length | 20.25 inches
Weight | 4.67 pounds
Caliber | .22 LR
Capacity | 10 + 1
Magazine Type | Detachable
Sights | Fixed
Price | $379

See it at Bass Pro Shops
See it at Cabelas
In the category of lightweight backpacking or wilderness survival rifles chambered in .22lr, the Ruger 10/22 Takedown is a little bit of a heifer. Being very similar to the standard 10/22 model, it does accept standard 10/22 magazines and many other drop-in upgrades.

Some folks have criticized the 10/22 for being inaccurate. That hasn’t been my experience. In fact, I use a standard model 10/22 that I’ve accurized for all my small game hunting. I bedded the action, re-crowned the barrel, added a , and the result was an incredibly accurate firearm. That being said, the stock versions shoot very well and the accurizing was done primarily out of my interest in tinkering. It isn’t picky when it comes to ammo and shoots non-match ammo without any issues.

The 10/22 takedown is accurate enough for hunting small game, and while it is a little heavier than other models in our roundup, it’s incredibly reliable, easily serviceable, and many aftermarket products exist to personalize the 10/22 to meet your needs.
See it at Bass Pro Shops
See it at Cabelas

Kel-Tec SUB2000

Kel-Tec Sub2000 Survival Rifle

Kel-Tec Sub2000 Survival Rifle

Full length | 30.5 inches
Pack length | 16.25 inches
Weight | 4.25 pounds
Calibers | 9mm or .40 S&W
Capacity | 15+1 (.40 S&W)
Magazine Type | Detachable
Sights | Fixed
Price | $449

See it at Sportsman's Warehouse
Kel-Tec, known for its innovative firearm designs, designed the Kel-Tec SUB2000 as a very versatile, full sized, pistol caliber carbine. It has a full length 16” barrel, is compatible with Glock and other magazines, and is offered in either 9mm or .40 S&W.

It also features a forend with Picatinny rails, allowing it to accept all kinds of tactical accessories. While it folds down to a minuscule 16.25” inches and will fit into a small pack, it still weighs 4.25 pounds, unloaded, and without tactical accessories.

I can’t say I’m exactly enthusiastic about the aesthetics of the Kel-Tec SUB2000, but given its innovative features, perhaps I could turn a blind eye to it.

Where I have a more legitimate criticism is in its practicality in the backcountry. While it may kill a coyote, neither the 9mm nor .40 S&W are ideal calibers for ethically harvesting a deer, and are even less practical for rabbit hunting.

Also worth recognizing, is the increased size and weight of pistol-caliber ammunition, compared to 22lr ammunition. Weight and storage space for pistol caliber ammo doesn’t excite me when compared to the hundreds or thousands of rounds of 22lr I could carry into the backcountry instead.
See it at Sportsman's Warehouse

Chiappa Little Badger

Chiappa Little Badger Survival Rifle

Chiappa Little Badger Survival Rifle

Full length | 32 inches
Pack length | 16.5 inches
Weight | 2.9 pounds
Calibers | .22 LR, .17 HMR, or .22 Magnum
Capacity | 1
Magazine Type | None, Break Action
Sights | Fixed
Price | $179

See it at Sportsman's Warehouse
Unlike the plastic Nerf gun look of the Kel-Tec, the Chiappa Little Badger is crude and in a way elegant. The Italian made single-shot has a break-open action and a full length 16.5” barrel. It has a reputation for being one of the more accurate backcountry survival rifles, in any of its 3 offered calibers.

The Chiappa Little Badger weighing in at just under 3lbs is lightweight. This is a simple, no-frills firearm. The Little Badger has no commercial aftermarket accessories available for it. Lots of folks, however, do some DIY customization, including attaching things to the wire stock or wrapping them in 550 paracord.

While you don’t plan on missing your small survival quarry, if you did, the Little Badger isn’t going to help you with a fast follow up shot the way a semi-automatic will. With fewer moving parts and no magazine to speak of, the Little Badger shaves both weight and cost. Thankfully, it doesn’t shave down the receiver completely. Instead, it boasts a 4 sided Picatinny rail, allowing for the mounting of optics, lights, or any other accessories.

At $179 it’s a great value, and could serve as a backup survival rifle, if it doesn’t serve as your primary one. It could also be an easy way to add a caliber, like .17hmr for harvesting coyote furs, while primarily using your .22lr for your small game hunts.
See it at Sportsman's Warehouse

Let Us Know!

If there is a survival rifle that you think we forgot, and belongs on this list, let us know in the comments.

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First Duck Season

| January 13, 2021
Mallards and Green Teal
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

Three and a half months ago I had never shot a shotgun. Fast forward to today, and now not only do I own a semi-automatic 12 gauge, but also chest waders, a layout blind, a dozen decoys, and am newly the proud owner of a used sneak boat I found in the local classifieds. To say I fell hard for waterfowling would be an understatement. What initially was a passing interest has become an obsession.

While I grew up around hunting, it wasn’t something I was ever wholeheartedly interested in, and after my family moved to the suburbs of Southern California, it wasn’t something that felt easily accessible.  As I got older, my life became more and more centered around the pursuit of rock climbing. My passion for the mountains grew in tandem with a concern for the conservation of wild places and sustainable food systems. Then at 30 years old, I found myself living in Bishop, California, smack dab in the middle of the Eastern Sierra, unknowingly primed to fall in love with hunting.

After reconnecting with an old climbing partner, who’s since hung up his shoes and harness in favor of his .270 and 12 gauge, I was convinced to join him on a quail hunt. While I unsurprisingly missed every quail we flushed, I did manage to bring home a hefty jackrabbit. That day spent wandering around the sagebrush in the shadows of the looming Sierra, was enough to convince me I needed my own gun. After some serious deliberation, I landed on purchasing a semi-auto 12 gauge that ended up in my hands just a few days after duck season had started. 

While the Eastern Sierra might be known for its excellent deer hunting, nobody is writing home about the amazing opportunities for waterfowling, quite frankly, because there aren’t any, at least not any easy ones. That’s not to say there aren’t any ducks here, there definitely are, but it’s not like hunting Midwest cornfields. We mostly hunt small high desert lakes that sit between 6,500 and 7,000 feet in elevation.

The biggest challenge for us is concealment. The high desert is sage country but unfortunately, the sage typically stops a few hundred yards away from the shoreline which is typically just barren and unvegetated frozen mud. Through trial and error, we’ve eventually landed on small brushed in layout blinds being the best option. Other hunters in the area seem to rely on dragging over large piles of sage to the shoreline, but now towards the tail end of the season, birds won’t get anywhere near them.

The biggest takeaway for new hunters is that hunting, like most things, is a game of learning. I’m sure I’ve learned something new about ducks and duck behavior every time I’ve gone out this season. Don’t expect to get it right immediately and be prepared, just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, the weather will change, your go-to spot will freeze up, and it’ll be time to relearn everything. I’ve spent uncountable hours reading about ducks and scouting potential hunt spots. Putting in the leg work will be key to your success and as long as you bring an eagerness to learn and a willingness to fail, it’s truly never too late to start.

Buck with a Mallard Drake in his first duck season

Buck with a Mallard Drake in his first duck season

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Asian Inspired Duck Bites

| January 1, 2021
Asian Inspired Duck Bites
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.
Preparation Time

30 Minutes

Cooking Time

5 to 10 Minutes

Total Time

35 to 40 Minutes



If you are looking for an easy way to cook a duck for friends, or a family gathering, then Asian inspired duck bites are a great way to go. Asian inspired duck bites are quite simple to make. They are essentially just a duck breast, seared to a rare or medium rare in an chinese 5 spice blend, garnished with a bright pickled radish and greens, plated onto fried wontons.

Our favorite duck breasts to use are Green Teal breasts, skin on. Green Teal has a fat that melts in your mouth, like the fat from a high quality beef steak. However, we’ve also used Gadwalls, Widgeons, Mallards, and Buffleheads. The trick is to avoid overcooking your ducks. Overcooking ducks, regardless of species, will change the flavor of a duck from mild, to livery.

Ingredients: Duck Breasts

4 duck breasts, 4 ounces each
1/2 tbsp. chinese 5 spice
1/2 tbsp. sesame oil
freshly ground salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 tbsp. freshly grated orange zest

Ingredients: Pickled Garnish

2 cups boiling water
2 cup microgreen mix, or baby arugula
1 cup halved, then thinly sliced radishes
1/2 cup quartered, then thinly sliced red onion
1/2 tbsp. freshly grated orange zest
2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. chinese 5 spice
freshly ground salt to taste

Ingredients: Wonton Crackers

One package of Wonton wrappers. Approximately 50 wrappers.
sesame oil, enough to fry 1 to 2 dozen wrappers.
freshly ground salt to taste

Ingredients: Plating

1/2 tbsp. freshly grated orange zest

Directions: Duck Breasts

  1. Thoroughly season breasts on both sides with Chinese 5 spice blend. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
  2. Zest duck breasts with orange zest.
  3. Sear breasts skin side down, until the outer layer of the skin and fat crisp, and release from the hot pan, flip over to sear the skinless side. Only cook the breast to a rare or medium rare. DO NOT Overcook!
  4. Let duck breasts rest, then slice into 1/4″ to 3/8″ slices.

Directions: Pickled Garnish

  1. Quarter, then thinly slice red onion, no larger than matchstick size. (½ cup)
  2. Halve, then thinly slice red onion, no larger than matchstick size. (1 cup)
  3. Place onion and radish in a pyrex mixing bowl.
  4. Boil 2 cups of water.
  5. Pour boiling water over onion and radish in the pyrex mixing bowl, to lightly blanch.
  6. Let onions and radish cool.
  7. Once cooled, drain all the water off of the onion and radish.
  8. Add 1 tsp. sugar to the bowl.
  9. Add 2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar.
  10. Add 2 tsp. sesame oil.
  11. Toss the onion, radish, sugar, vinegar, and sesame oil until everything is evenly coated.
  12. Add 2 cups of microgreens, or baby arugula.
  13. Season with fresh cracked black pepper and salt to taste.
  14. Season with asian 5 spice blend.
  15. Zest with orange zest.
  16. Toss all the ingredients until everything is evenly coated.
  17. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Directions: Wonton Crackers

  1. Heat a frying pan.
  2. Fry wonton wrappers in sesame oil until crispy and golden brown. (season lightly with salt if desired)

Directions: Final Prep

  1. Plate sliced duck breasts on a serving platter, use a little bit of the pickled garnish to garnish the breasts, and zest with orange zest.
  2. Put remaining pickled garnish in a serving bowl.
  3. Place fried wontons in a separate bowl.
  4. Let your dinner guests assemble their own bites, and find their own preferred balance of acidic garnish and savory duck.

Your guests should love your Asian inspired duck bites, even those that don’t typically enjoy duck. Acid and orange zest help cut any gaminess, but a rare or medium rare duck breast should taste more like a beef steak than a calf liver, if cooked correctly.

Have anything to add? Do something a little differently? Let us know in the comments.

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