Rick Smith owner of Ozarks Quail Farms at the helm of the big Green Egg!
Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending the better part of the day with Rick Smith, Owner of Ozarks Quail Farms in Republic. Much of it was hashing out old fishing stories about those big ones that got away or the covey we flushed near Miller back in the day. The end result to all these discussions was a great pheasant lunch he so kindly grilled for us. It had been quite awhile since I had any pheasant and it was awesome to say the least.
His wife, and partner Deb, had wrapped the birds in bacon and stuffed them with onions and a slice or two of mandarian oranges. Seasoned just right I have to tell you they were incredible.
Rick checks the temperture of the birds. He told me it's important to let those birds reach 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.
I asked Rick if the pheasant were available to purchase already processed and I am sad to say no they aren’t. He raises them strictly for hunting preserves and he did say that the birds were for sale in a few local markets over last summer but they are gone and he probably won’t be processing again for some time.
So if you were one of the lucky ones that bought some of those you know what I am talking about when I say “They were awesome!” You can follow Rick’s blog or visit his site he’ll be glad to hear from you, drop him a note. Thanks Rick for putting on the feedbag!
When someone mentions Hootentown, we immediately think about floatin’ and fishing the famous James river. Although that is the primary recreational use of the river, I remember the great quail hunting on the farms along it’s banks with their great river bottom fields. Once permission was obtained I could walk for miles with my dog, shotgun and a lot of shells. It was common to flush covey after covey and easily shoot your limit. Many times we would have our limit and then have to walk back to the truck with the dog pointing dozens of singles. Most times just watching the dog work was what made the trip so much fun. I am sad to say this time was in the 60’s and 70’s for me. Since then the James river quail have gone the same way as quail throughout Missouri. Bird numbers today are only a fraction of those in the past. Our farming ways have changed and so much land has been developed into homes. The bobwhite quail is Missouri’s game bird so I hope we can work to produce better habitat for them to survive. Quail hunters are a hardy bunch themselves. Even though they can’t find many wild birds these hunters still love the flush and working their dogs. In order to scratch this itch many have started buying game bird farm raised
birds. Properly raise in long natural fly pens these birds are very close to wild. They use them in a variety of ways. From visiting hunting preserves, field trials, or training dogs on their own property. A very popular game bird farm is right here in
the Ozarks. In fact it is called ‘Ozarks Quail Farm’. Owned by a lifelong well known local sportsman, it produces about 15,000 quail per year. Hopefully we can see a rebirth of our wild bird population, but until then we hope the quail farmers will fill the void for a sport we love so much.
You can visit their website at: www.ozarksquail.com Stop by and contact them if you need some info on getting some birds. As a wise man once told me; Hunting & Fishing is not what we do, but who we are!!
In the southern states we are finding out that Purple Martin Landlords who are putting up and using METAL housing systems are actually cooking approximately 40-60% of the eggs laid by the adult birds. We are asking that all southern bird houses either be made of plastic (but not PVC) or wood. We have received numerous reports from landlords of well-established colonies that the adult purple martins have abandoned their metal houses because very few if any of the eggs laid these last two very hot summers actually fledged out. For more information.