Pan-Fried Bluegill

| February 24, 2022
Pan Fried Bluegill
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.

Bluegill are referred to as panfish for a reason, they fit in a pan and taste great fried. We recently harvested some bluegill from our living room aquaponic system and decided to cook them up minutes after they came out of the tanks.

We kept the preparation incredibly simple, which is the best way to treat any fresh and clean fish. We choose to cook our fish whole because when properly cooked, fish should pull away from the bone easily.

We also do not dredge our fish in anything, and still end up with a firm, clean-tasting fish, with crispy skin and natural flavors enhanced by seasonings, not masked by them.

Preparation Time

20 minutes

Cooking Time

10 minutes

Total Time

30 minutes




4 – 8 Bluegill
Lemon Pepper
Garlic Powder
Olive Oil
2-4 Lemon Wedges
1 Bunch Parsley (optional)
Cleaned Bluegill Before Cooking

Freshly harvested bluegill, are descaled, cleaned, and and ready to fry.


  1. Slice 2 – 4 Lemon wedges.
  2. Mince Parsley, if you intend to use it as a garnish later.
  3. Descale Bluegill.
  4. Remove heads just behind the gill plate.
  5. Rinse Bluegill.
  6. Pat Dry.
  7. Heat olive oil to about 350F.
  8. Season fish, inside and out, with Salt, Lemon Pepper, and Garlic Powder.
  9. Carefully place fish in hot oil.
  10. While the fish are cooking, squeeze some lemon juice over them.
  11. Cook until the skin becomes crispy and well browned, and the flesh turns white and firm, then remove from oil.
  12. Let rest on a plate for a few minutes, and pat any excess oil dry.
  13. Garnish with parsley.
  14. Serve with a lemon wedge.
  15. Enjoy!
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Spring Turkey Hunting 101

| February 18, 2022
Spring Gobblers in a Field
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.

Are you ready for the spring turkey season? It’s really not that far away, so if you want to successfully harvest a gobbler this spring, then you need a game plan and a few pieces of gear.

Develop A Game Plan

Scouting is the biggest part of any hunting success, whether it’s a predator, moose, dove, or turkey. All spring turkeys are very limited in their focus and priorities. They aren’t exactly concerned with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, they are simply trying to avoid predators, eat, and breed.

They roost at night and descend to the forest floor in the morning, going through routines of feeding, and moving around looking for partners. With their focus so limited, they will respond to predatorial sounds, challenges from other gobblers, and hen calls. Although, from experience, they will quite literally respond to almost anything at least once. So locating them is not too difficult.

Fifteen days before the season starts is a great time to scout an area you intend to hunt. You should look for food, shelter, and water, and try to locate birds as they roost, so you know what nearby fields they will be on early in the morning. Fifteen days is close enough to the start of the season that whatever birds are doing, will likely be the same thing they will be doing at the start of the season.

The Gear

At a bare minimum, you will need good camouflage, a turkey call, and a shotgun. Some states allow rifles and even airguns as a legal method of take, so check your state’s rules and regulations because they may open up some additional hunting opportunities for you.

Turkeys have excellent vision and a keen ability to detect shapes and movement, so it’s critical to wear camo. Good camo will break up your pattern and allow you to remain undetected. At a minimum, your camo should include a quality shirt, like the First Lite Phantom Top, and a face mask or balaclava, like the First Lite Phantom Balaclava. Adding camo pants, versus solid tan or olive drab colors will also improve your concealment, but isn’t completely necessary. Although, others might argue differently.

First Lite Phantom Balaclava | First Lite Phantom Top

You will also need a turkey call. There are a ton of options, and you can use whatever you want. A box call is a good choice, so is a slate, or a reed call, but we prefer a reed call because it lets you operate hands-free, and requires no movement. Movement is a sure way to get busted by a turkey, so a reed call is an ideal choice.

Lynch Box Call | Primos Slate Call | Woodhaven Reed Call

A shotgun is the standard weapon of choice for turkey hunts. You will want a 12 gauge or 20 gauge, and quality ammunition. Of course, if you already have archery equipment, or your laws allow you to use a rifle or air rifle, then you should consider those options as well.

Another piece of equipment to consider is a tighter, extended choke for your shotgun. We use and recommend Carlson's chokes, and do all of our longer-range shotgunning, whether it’s waterfowl, dove, or turkey with them. They pattern well with a wide range of ammo, and outside of a heavier and hotter load, and knowing how your shotgun patterns can have a significant impact on your shooting.

We don’t typically use them, but a sitting pad or turkey seat can be a nicety. Some turkey vests, like the Knight and Hale Run and Gun include an attached butt pad, but sitting pads like the ALPS Outdoorz hunting seat, can be picked up on their own. Either will make sitting dead still a more comfortable endeavor.

You don’t need to hunt over a decoy. However, many people do, as it can visually guide birds into a desirable kill zone, or simply draw in a bird that is more visually driven. The Primos Gobstopper Jake & Hen decoy combo is a good choice for static decoys, and the MOJO Scoot-N-Shoot Max is another great option for a more aggressive style of hunt.

Pattern Your Shotgun

If we’ve made it sound like turkeys are rather un-complex creatures, it is because it’s true. Turkeys evolved to breed, eat, and avoid predators, but not do a whole lot else. As such they have a small brain, which means you are shooting a small target.

No two shotguns will pattern the same, and the same is true with different types of ammunition, so it’s essential that you pattern your shotgun. You should, at a bare minimum, shoot your shotgun with the load you intend to hunt with. Shoot it at a couple of distances and know if you have any holes in your pattern, or any left or right bias of a concentration of shot.

If your shotgun patterns heavily to the left of your point of aim, you may end up aiming to the right of a turkey’s head to ensure the concentration of shot lands on a turkey’s brain or brain stem.

If you add a new choke to the mix, you must pattern the gun with the new choke!

Turkey Down

A gobbler successfully taken with a 20 gauge CZ over and under.

Final Thoughts

A successful turkey hunt is going to be more fun than an unsuccessful one, and it’s really not too difficult to prepare for the turkey season. When you are successful, or if you simply want to increase your level of safety when you are not actively hunting, bring and wear some blaze. At a minimum, if you are carrying a turkey out of the field on your pack, tie a blaze handkerchief to your pack, or wear a blaze hat. The blaze should help, even the most trigger happy beginner, to identify a dead turkey on a human and you’ll avoid getting shot.

Be safe, have fun, and good luck!

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Ben and Buck’s Wild Pursuits

| February 2, 2022
Sportsmans Magazine Waterfowl 2122
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.

We published a short film, recapping some of the shots that we were able to capture on film, during the 21/22 California waterfowl season. Check it out.

Watch it on Youtube

We originally intended to publish as a mini-series, titled Ben and Buck’s Wild Pursuits, but life and weather had other plans.

We had a frustrating start to the season. Warm dry weather turned into cold dry weather, keeping the duck numbers downs. We finally got a massive snowstorm rather late in the season, and it absolutely dumped on us. While the weather was good for moving birds around, the snow on the ground seriously impacted access and made it difficult to get to our hunting normal hunting spots.

Freeze ups and snow made decoying and concealment difficult, but we did our best, and harvested birds.

Buck also relocated out of California before the weather became favorable for waterfowl hunting, so most of the season was filmed solo on DJI Osmo Action Cameras and a Tactacam 5.0 Hunting Action Camera.

We also hunt with Beretta A300s and a Benelli Montefeltro, and use Carlson's Ported LR Chokes

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Crawfish Porcini Fettuccini Alfredo

| February 1, 2022
Crawfish Porcini Fettuccini Alfredo
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.

We made a Crawfish Porcini Fettuccini Alfredo out of the unique ingredients the eastern sierra mountains have to offer. Our recipe makes use of fresh crawfish meat, and wild-harvested porcini mushrooms, but you could substitute another shellfish and any other varieties of mushrooms that are more available in your area. In addition to the ingredients for fresh pasta and alfredo sauce, you will want fresh parsley and cracked black pepper for garnishing.

While our version requires a significant amount of effort, from catching crawfish to cooking and peeling crawfish, harvesting mushrooms, and making pasta from scratch, the level of effort can be simplified by substitution and using already made pasta.

Preparation Time

~1 hour

Cooking Time

~30 minutes

Total Time

1.5 to 2 hours


4 to 8 servings

Fresh Pasta

Freshly Made Fettuccini Pasta

Freshly made fettuccini pasta ready to cook.


2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
3 Eggs
1 Tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ Tsp Sea Salt


  1. Make a well in a mound of flour on a clean countertop.
  2. Add eggs, EVOO, and salt to the well.
  3. Using a fork, slowly whisk wet ingredients. Try to maintain the integrity of the well. Slowly incorporate the flour until you have a shaggy dough.
  4. Knead the dough for 5 to 6 minutes
  5. Cover dough with a towel, let sit for 30 minutes.
  6. Roll out dough
  7. Let sit for 10 mintues
  8. Cut to desired pasta size
  9. Boil until cooked ~10 minutes

Porcini Mushrooms

Foraged Porcinis in a Lodge Cast Iron

Foraged wild Porcini mushrooms sauteing in a 12 inch Lodge cast iron, with a little butter.


¾ – 1 lb Porcini Mushrooms
3 tbsp butter


  1. Slice mushrooms into small pieces
  2. Sautee mushrooms until cooked, and soft
  3. Optionally increase heat and crisp outside of mushrooms for a stronger texture later.

Alfredo Sauce


½ cup butter
1 ½ cups cream
½ tsp Salt
¼ tsp black pepper
2 cups grated parmesan
2-3 tsp minced garlic
½ -¾ lbs. crawfish meat
Fresh Crawfish Meat

Fresh crawfish meat, ready to be mixed into an alfredo sauce.


  1. Simmer butter and cream for 2 minutes.
  2. Add salt, black pepper, and garlic.
  3. Simmer for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. While stirring constantly, add Parmesan cheese.
  5. Continue stirring for 5 to 6 minutes, or until sauce has slightly thickened.
  6. Pour sauce over pasta and mix until pasta is evenly coated.
  7. Add crawfish meat and porcini mushrooms, gently mix so that distribution is even.
  8. Serve Immediately.
  9. Garnish individual servings with chopped parsley and freshly cracked black pepper.


Garnish with parsley and fresh cracked black pepper, enjoy with a glass of great wine. We recommend a crisp dry white, something with good minerality, or a rosé.

Plate of Crawfish Porcini Fettuccini Alfredo

A fresh plate of Crawfish Porcini Fettuccini Alfredo, garnished with parsely and fresh cracked black pepper.

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