Am I the only one that has seen a resurgence of the “basic” lifestyle as portrayed by reality outdoor shows such as Duck Dynasty, Sons of Guns, Swamp People and several others?
I am of the opinion that many modern day families turn to these shows not only for entertainment but also for a glimpse of a lifestyle that intrigues them. Possibly the shows take them back to a place where many of them have never been.
How many folks today have the time away from work to spend a few weeks during alligator season to shoot their “quota” down in the Louisiana swamps or spend several days blowing up beaver dams on their own property?
As an outdoors writer, radio show host and part-time hunting guide for elk, ducks, deer and wild hogs, I am exposed to a great deal of what serves for “wilderness experiences” in today’s world. Granted, there are still truly wild places in the Continental U.S. such as the Bob Marshall Wilderness that remain virtually untouched by man.
But for most of us, wilderness takes on a whole different meaning. For me, it is the secluded ranch in northern Colorado a partner and I lease to guide archery elk hunters each year or, maybe a few backwoods duck marshes that see very few people down in deep eastern Texas.
Today, it’s possible to jump on a jet one morning and be hunting plains game a couple days later in Africa or just about any other place on the planet.
But many of us remember how life was 50 years ago, back when a big pot of squirrel and dumplings was not something seen on a reality TV show, it was supper.
Or when roast mallards with dressing, shot along the creek behind the house, was a real treat on a cold winter’s evening. Or the aroma of a pot of rabbit stew bubbling on the stove.
Today, those of us that live, at least to a small degree, the outdoor lifestyle are classified as “rednecks.” I used to take offense to the term, thinking it derogatory. No longer, I only wish my annual salary was a fraction of what a group of self confessed rednecks earn.
Yes, the Duck Dynasty family, at least the men, proudly embrace their heritage as backwoods, backwater outdoors people. Even Miss Kay, the matron of the family, gets excited when she thinks her boys or husband is bringing in a “mess” of squirrels, crawfish or duck for her to cook.
Most, but not all my really good friends will classify as rednecks. I most certainly qualify. In the past week, I’ve hunted duck, hogs, snipe, deer and even managed to put a couple of rabbits in the freezer. I’ve sighted in a new compound bow and crossbow and turned wild pork into tasty pulled pork BBQ and cured, smoked ham.
Take the past 12 hours of my life as an example. A good friend who is 100 percent redneck in the very best definition of the term, and I guided some fellows on a duck hunt very early this morning. This was just before this most recent cold front. There was little wind and the birds were rafting up in the open water, just setting.
We pulled all the stops to get the guys some shooting. After bagging a few birds on the “big water,” we moved to some isolated ponds, tossed out a few decoys and managed to add a few more birds to their bag. My buddy is an expert carpenter and during the summer, he constructed some hunting blinds on the property we hunt that could serve as a temporary home.
One of his blinds, which is carpeted, heated and has a built-in cooking area, serves double duty as his home away from home. I drove to our duck hunting area near Cedar Creek Lake early this morning and found my hunting partner, refreshed, drinking a cup of fresh brewed coffee.
“I slept like a baby in the blind, actually been here for two nights. Shot a boar out of the window last night about 8. After the duck hunt recon, you can help me transform him into some fresh pork chops.”
Larry knows me well. Butchering and cooking a wild hog to me can be likened to a rabid golfer getting an invitation to spend a few days playing golf at Palm Springs. After we sent our duck hunters on their way, I thought it would be nice if, for once I let Larry relax and I do the butchering of his hog. Being true to my redneck nature, I jumped on the boar with a sharp skinning knife and in no time, had four quarters and two back straps in the cooler.
“Larry, how about me taking this meat home, I’ll finish processing it and make you some cured, smoked back straps and transform the rest of the quarters into slow smoked, pulled pork BBQ. About 14 hours in my Smokin Tex electric smoker will make even the front shoulders fall off the bone tender!”
Right now, I have the back straps rubbed with sugar cure and in the ice box. It will need to cure for a week before I cold smoke and turn it into Canadian bacon but the boned out hams and shoulders are well seasoned with Head Country Marinade, BBQ sauce and Championship seasoning.
I placed several bay leaves on top of the meat and after they smoke a couple of hours uncovered in a big aluminum pan, I will cover tightly with aluminum foil and let it slow cook for at least 14 hours. With the thermostat set at 180 degrees, the meal will be fork tender in the morning.
I’m happy that I finally came to terms with the worked “redneck.” Yes, I am a redneck and I venture to guess that many of you that read this column on a regular basis might be of the same persuasion! Redneck is good.
Now, it’s about time to go out to the smoker and wrap that meat in foil. I’m getting a little sleepy after that early morning duck hunt and processing the wild hog. Lunch tomorrow? What else but very fresh, smoked BBQ pulled pork!
Listen to Luke Clayton’s Outdoors Radio Show at www.catfishradio.com. Email Luke via the web site with outdoor news from your area.