The Sportsman Channel: Thank you for joining us Steven – we’ve had many excited fans looking forward to tonight’s chat all week!
Doug D: Hi Steven, Hello from West Michigan. Where are you at tonight?
Steven Rinella: Right now I’m in Montana.
Derek S: Have you eaten nutria? Very tasty and reminds me of a mild duck in flavor.
SR: I’ve never eaten nutria. I’ve had muskrat, beaver, and pretty much you name it, but not that. I have not spent much time in the South.
Dan D: I’ve noticed you eat less “traditional” cuts (tongue, heart, gal fluid, etc.) quite a bit, and sometimes have a bit of a look of disgust… For someone looking to enter the world of wild game organ prep, what organ would you recommend starting with, and any prep/cooking tips?
SR: If you’re gonna try an organ from wild game, try venison heart. Slice 1/4 inch thick, bread with flour, and fry in oil. Feel free to use catsup. It’s really very good. I’ve eaten it my entire life and still like it today.
Cole M: I find that the harder the animal is to harvest, the better the eating is, can you relate to this? It seems the more swift and unpredictable the animal becomes the better it tastes! I.E. The prairie chicken.
SR: You’re a man I can relate to. I know exactly what you mean when you say that tough-to-hunt animals are the best to eat.
FIELD DRESSING TECHNIQUES:
Philip H: How do you get the caul fat out without tearing it?
SR: It’s going to tear a bit no matter what, but if you’re careful you’ll get some nice big pieces of caul fat from inside your deer.
Michael B: What is the easiest animal to “skin” but is still very tasty?
Rick E: Well most of them questions don’t be pretty easy for you answer rabbit is the easiest thing the skin. Tell the people how to preserve the meat if you’re going to be out for 3 or 4 days tell them what not to do add to put my 2 cents in peace
SR: Rick is right; rabbits are by far the easiest animal to skin, and they are very good when properly cooked. Squirrels are pretty tough, as the connective tissue between the hide and muscle (sometimes called the “fell”) is very strong.
Frank G: I’m out of the Marine Corps now and have time so I’m prepping now for a hunt out west, I don’t want to pay thousands of dollars for a hunt but it’s an extremely hard thing to do on public land solo. What’s the best approach and places to do this. I’m not in it for a “trophy” but more for the experience and definitely the meat.
SR: For a cheap solo hunt with a very strong chance of success, do DIY mule deer in eastern Montana, black bears in southcentral Alaska, or any number of the premium draw units across the west. The low pressure in those units makes killing something that’s good to eat a strong bet.
Sean B: When in the back country what pack in weight of your gear do you try to hit? What’s your main food for the first few days?
SR: I try to keep my going-in weight around 50 pounds or less. Usually less. I carry oatmeal, flatbread and cheese, energy bars, Wilderness Athlete drink mixes and meal replacement powder, and freeze-dried food.
Corey D: Great show. But what is the hardest hunting trip you have ever been on, what did you learn from it, and would you do it again. Thanks
SR: The hardest hunt I’ve done is the Copper River Buffalo hunt in Alaska. Odds of drawing the tag are slim, but it’s an amazing experience. Killed a buffalo solo and packed it out three miles. Grueling, but worth every ounce of pain. I wrote a whole book about buffalo, called American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon.
Jake C: Where do you like to do you traditional whitetail hunting? Thanks -Jake Clark
SR: I do some whitetail hunting now and then in Michigan, Wisconsin, Montana, and once in South Carolina.
Mark Z: When hunting animals how do you deal with a failed hunt, I’m new to hunting and what would you say to a beginner hunting whitetails?
SR: You can’t avoid failed hunts. In fact, most big game hunt days are unsuccessful. Learn to think in terms of seasons, not hunts. I used to hunt deer from October 1 to January 1, with hopes of getting just one or two. That was while growing up in Michigan.
Karlissa D: Do you plan on doing an elk hunt this fall?
SR: Yes, I’ll be hunting elk this fall. Stay tuned for that show. Public land.
Briden: Do you fill your tags or do you go through professional services?
SR: I do my own draws for Montana and Alaska; a friend who used to be in tag consulting business helps me with the other Western states.
Tommy P: When you’re out on public land do you have a guide with you? I know you have your camera man but is it really DIY? I was reading in Alaska if you’re not a resident of Alaska then you have to have a guide. I think I’ve seen that on Alaska DNR site. I would like to do a big game hunt with my 9 year old daughter. I will be hunting on private land for safety reasons for my daughter.
SR: In Alaska, you only need a guide (or a resident relative) for mountain goat, grizzly, or Dall sheep. My brother is a resident, so I’m able to hunt those species without a guide as well. There has never been an off-the-camera guide on MeatEater. If we used a guide on MeatEater, he or she would be part of the show.
Philip H: Do you ever come up to Canada to hunt?
SR: I hunted Canada just one time. Fished it many times.
Mark Z: I think a great idea would be if you had some more public land hunts to show what to do and what not to do
SR: I hunt a lot of public land, so stay tuned. The next two New Zealand hunts are on public land. Anyone could show up and do it. Right now we’re leaving for a Montana public land hunt, and will follow this hunt with two more public land hunts.
Stephen A: What is the most dangerous situation you have encountered?
SR: Most dangerous situation, at least for me, involve water and cold weather. Either that or steep, slippery slopes. I used to worry about grizzlies a lot, but cold and falling are the real risks out there.
Jeff H: For a pair of boots that won’t fall apart – what should one look for. I’m not into the extreme shale goat looking hikes. Just want a lasting pair of boots. I’m too old for what you do. Vicariously living. But a nice pair of trail footwear that would serve one well for, well, forever.
SR: For long-lasting trail boots, I like the Schnee’s Wilderness boot. It’ll last and last.
Brett S: What kind of boots have you have the best luck with for your rugged backpack hunting?
SR: For rugged backpacking hunts I wear Schnee’s Granite boots. They are out of Bozeman, MT, and they are great guys. Their stuff is the best on the market, if you ask me.
Doug R: Would you recommend a pair of Vortex for walking around glass. I need something smaller then my Zeiss 15×56 around my neck? I hunt in AZ where quality optics are important.
SR: I use and love Vortex. Check out their 8x Razor ‘nocs. Lightweight and very handy. I practically live with those things around my neck.
Kerry B: Hey Steve what type a rifle usually hunt with?
SR: I usually shoot a Carolina Custom Rifle in 7mm Rem Mag. Right now I’m staring at a Luxus 7mm-08 that’s on the floor next to me. Looking forward to shooting it.
Paul V: Have anyone from the “other hunt shows” commented on yours?
SR: I love On Your Own Adventures and I email/talk to Randy whenever I get the chance. Someday we’ll hunt together, I’m hoping.
Coyopa K: Who is going to get the better hunt? Joe [Rogan] or Bryan [Callen] next week.
SR: Joe and Bryan will both be getting great hunts. We’re thrilled to have those guys along on a MeatEater trip.
Paul V: I know nothing about TV ratings, but how is the show doing? I’m sure you are booming now.
SR: MeatEater the show is alive and well. Don’t worry. We’re going to keep making them, so please keep watching.
Paul V: By the sounds of it you found quite a good following, any chance for hour episodes?
SR: I would love to do some one-hour shows. Tell Sportsman Channel what you want!
Andy: Do you like the format of MeatEater better than when you did The Wild Within? I liked both shows, but noticed WW was more about location and culture.
SR: I enjoy MeatEater‘s format much, much more than Wild Within. Sportsman Channel is a great network to work with, because they trust the instincts of their hosts.
Joe W: What outdoor writer has influenced you the most?
SR: My favorite writers who deal in hunting and fishing are Jim Harrison, Tomas McGuane, Duncan Gilchrist…the list goes on.
Joe W: How did you become an outdoor writer/tv hunter? Who was your hunting idol?
SR: I became an outdoor writer by studying writing in school and then never accepting any other option. Just stuck with it.
Kiley L: We love your show and my family has started living off the wild game my husband brings home for the most part. Any chance there is a cookbook in the works? I would love some new recipes particularly for organ meats! Thanks.
SR: Yes, I will be doing a book with lots of wild game preparations and butchering how-to.
Ryan S: Do you remember the last name Panozo from your childhood?
SR: Absolutely I do. I especially remember Scott Panozo.
Mike A: What is the most important thing to you for your son to understand about hunting?
SR: I want my son to understand the history of hunting, and I want him to understand how to do it effectively and respectfully.
Chris N: If you’re ever looking to hunt some public land on Illinois hit me up. I would enjoy the experience and maybe learn a thing or two
SR: I think you’d be the one teaching me if we hunted Illinois whitetails. That’s not my speciality, so I’d love to pick up some pointers.
Peyton M: Became a fan with American Buffalo. Keep showing the spirit of a true hunter!
SR: Thanks for the kind words about my books.
Josh S: I love how you quarter up game a pack it out my dad taught me how to do that years ago. I do it all the time here in Iowa on public land hunts. People look at me like I am crazy. When I walk to the truck with a pack basket full of meat.
SR: Thanks for sharing. Knowing how to quarter and pack meat in the field is a valuable skill.
Joe W: You want to come to Georgia and hunt with us? No fee. It’s be our clubs pleasure!
SR: I’d love to hunt Georgia with you. Thanks!
SR: Okay, good bye to you guys. I got me some writer’s cramp now!
MeatEaterTV: Thanks for all the questions everyone, be sure to add us on facebook if you haven’t already –> Steven Rinella – MeatEater and check out our site over at www.theMeatEater.com for bonus footage, gear tips, hunting stories, wild game recipes, and all things MeatEater.
Sportsman: We would like to extend a special thanks to Steven Rinella – MeatEater for participating in tonight’s chat, as well as all the fans who took the time to come online and ask questions. Steven’s New Zealand hunt continues next week Sunday at 9 PM ET – be sure to tune in!