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"Bayou Bill" Scifres
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Copyright ©  by Bill Scifres

Here are some questions readers have asked Bill and his answers. 

Fresh Pork Side/Uncured Bacon

Question:  Before I begin please excuse my ignorance. This past week we purchased a hog and had it butchered. It'll be ready in a week or so. When I gave the cutting order I requested that the bacon be half cured and half not. It seems those more familiar with this feel I made a major mistake. I noted in your recipe for morels (I'm so addicted to those since moving to Indiana) that you used fresh side and didn't dredge it in flour or do any a number of things I've been told one has to do with this type of meat. Could you please enlighten me on cooking with fresh side or point me in the right direction? I can't seem to find anything on cooking with fresh side (aside from 14th century recipes). Any help would be appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to read this. -- Donnamarie

Answer:  Hello, Donnamarie: Thanks for you interest in fresh side . . . fresh side is bacon that has not been cured . . . I would have the butcher slice it (about 1/8 . . . one-eighth inch) thick and freeze it in half-pound packages (six to eight slices per package). 

I use fresh side in many ways . . . actually, it can be prepared for the table in any manner that would be good for pork chops or other cuts of pork.

I like fresh side fried . . . starting with a little olive oil in the skillet . . . whether to dredge in flour or some mix flour, cornmeal and finely rolled crackers (the Keebler "Club" cracker . . . green box with some yellow . . . is the official cracker of my kitchen and this website) . . . I find my mix for mushrooms flour/cracker meal 50-50 very good for all dredgings, including fried fish . . . or even a dusting before baked fish is browned under the broiler . . . just plain cracker meal is good for that, too.

I also like to get fresh side started cooking on both sides . . . then dredge it in my mushroom mix to brown.

I also use fresh side in creek bank taters (baked in a casserole dish, or broiled in a foil package over a grill).

Actually, I would not hesitate to use fresh side any way I would cook any other pork cut . . . I think it is important, however, to have it sliced a bit thicker than bacon and cook it pretty well done . . . when I am frying it, I stand at the stove and turn the side often. 

Good luck with your fresh side . . . perhaps you can teach your butcher a trick or two . . . Incidentally, slicing tenderloin 1/8 or 1/4 inch thick renders it eligible for the same treatment. --Bayou Bill

Canned Catfish Filets

Question: I really enjoy your web site and I was wondering if you know if it would be possible to can catfish filets. We have 13 gallons of it and would like to can some to try and make "catfish cakes."  Any advice you could lend would be very helpful. Thank you. --Ken, Perry County, Indiana

Answer:  Hello, Ken: Thanks for your kind words on my web page . . . great hearing from you . . . on canning catfish filets, I would say go at it . . . I have never canned catfish, but I can see no reason that it would not work.

I certainly would can some of your fish, but freezing would probably be better for most of it . . . I think it is a good idea to go slowly on such matters . . . to see how it works . . . trial and error is hard to beat.

If you have freezer space available, I would dredge the cat filets in a 50-50 mix of finely ground crackers and flour--then freeze them individually on cookie sheets . . . when the filets are frozen solid, place them in freezer bags and wrap the bags (as airtight as possible) in two or three thicknesses of newspaper . . . Channel cats are pretty oily so I would use them before the oils have a chance to turn rancid.

Frozen cat filets can be deep fried or pan fried to a golden brown . . . put them on the fire as they start to thaw . . . further dredging at that time might be a good thing, too.

You would, of course, want to sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper before cooking. --Bayou Bill

Wild Turkey and Deer

Question: Can you direct me to a web site dealing with our state records for Wild Turkey?

The 1-buck rule discriminates against bowhunters. We will not see an increase in antler size through this law [like the salespitch promised]. Until the DNR gets serious about antler size as a determination of legality; Indiana will continue to be a joke amongst our neighbor states.    --BMKR

Answer:  Thanks for your interest in wild turkey and deer.

As for the wild turkey records, Steve Backs, wild turkey biologist for the Division of Fish and Wildlife, says this kind of records are not kept for several reasons, probably the most important being that record books tend to spawn fraud. This is not to say that all wild turkey hunters are evil. What it does mean is that it is as easy to stuff weights in a dead wild turkey as it has been to stuff them in bass and other fish for which records are kept. 

Incidentally, Backs can recall some wild turkeys in the past weighing in at 29 pounds, perhaps even a 30-pounder or two. But he keeps no records. He says, however, that the National Wild Turkey Federation may have some records which probably can be found on that organization's website: http://www.nwtf.org/all_about_turkeys/records.html

As for the one-buck regulation: Of course it is stupid, if you are thinking in terms of creating bigger racks on deer or more of them. But that should come as a surprise to nobody.

Biologists of the DFW pointed out that it would not work before the concept was put before the public. Whether or not their membership concurred I do not know, but the Indiana Deer Hunters Association and its brethren organization (the Indiana Bowhunters Association) pressured the DFW to make the change.

There has been a backlash of some magnitude from deer hunters since the first year of the one-buck rule. Still, some deer hunters seem to feel that we should live with it for another four years (the regulation is grand fathered for five seasons) to see what happens. 

As some of my contacts see it (while I have been a big believer in workings of the DFW for many years, I tend to agree), the crux of the situation lies in the fact that wishy-washy big dogs in the DFW are not prepared to do their jobs, preferring instead to allow pressure groups to manage our wildlife and natural resources. If biologists of the DFW were convinced that the one-buck regulation would not achieve the intended goal,  it should never have been implemented. One of my recent columns touched on that aspect of wildlife management. And not so strangely, that column probably  sounded like a broken record.

However, there is another side of the coin. Unfortunately, rank-and file outdoors people (including the fair sex) are not willing to stand up for their rights, including attending public meetings at which the DFW and its daddy (the Department of Natural Resources) ask the public for input.

As  result, wildlife and natural resources are managed to comply with the wishes of the few who do stand to be counted.

A case in point . . .  Last Tuesday (June 3) input meetings for proposed new regulations were conducted at five sites. At the five sites a total of 149 of some half a million license-toting Hoosiers showed up to speak their pieces. That translates into an average of 29.8 interested parties at each site . . . hardly mass participation.

This, of course, according to some folks who talk to me occasionally, gives the DFW brass a license to do what they  had intended to do before the meetings were scheduled.--Bayou Bill

What Could I Substitute For Snipe Or Woodcock In A Casserole Recipe?

Question: Hello! A friend in Ireland gave me a casserole recipe that calls for Snipe or Woodcock. I would like to try the recipe and need to know what is similar to Snipe or Woodcock and available in the United States?  Thank you and I will be looking forward to hearing from you. --Viki 

Answer: Hello, Viki: Thanks much for your interest in what I call the "wet birds" and their qualities as food. I have hunted both snipe and woodcock in the past--usually incidentally while hunting grouse, ducks or squirrels (in the fall). I also have prepared both snipe and woodcock for the table . . . but I think a hockey puck might be better table fare. This is not to say, however, that I do not see both birds as great facets of the big outdoor picture . . . 

I think the stigma I attach to woodcock and snipe is derived from the fact that they are insect/worm feeders, as opposed to the grain/seed feeders such as quail and other species of upland birds. They also are very dark meat.

I think the closest thing to snipe and woodcock--at least so far as meat texture and taste is concerned--might be the pigeon which is not protected by law and may be taken throughout the year (very difficult targets on the wing). The young, squab, might be even better if you can get them. Other birds that offer flesh that is similar to woodcock and snipe, would be mourning dove (the open season in Indiana usually opens Sept. 1), or guinea fowl (I can tell you where to purchase this bird), or even dark meat (say drumsticks) of turkey or chicken. Actually, I think the chicken and turkey drumsticks would be far better, tastewise. Young guinea fowl might be even better.

Indiana and most other states have open seasons on snipe and woodcock in the fall. Since they are migratory birds, they are "managed" by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Seasons are set by the states but must conform to frameworks set up by the federal agency. --Bill Scifres

PS: I would like to see your recipe . . .  and I might want to try it . . .bb

Hello again, Viki: Aside from admitting that I have the head of a house cat, I don't know how
I failed to mention coot as an alternative for your woodcock/snipe recipe .. . Actually, although most folks look with jaundiced eye on coots, I see them as Triple-A Prime on my table.

Coots feed heavily on aquatic weeds and that could make them a better taste than the worm/insect eaters . . . But coot is quite good . . . look for my piece, The Coot As Table Fare, on this website. I usually bake them . . . which I suspect your recipe may suggest. --Bayou Bill 

What Can You Do With Dried Mushrooms?

Question: I would like to know what you can do with dried mushrooms after they are done. Can they be coated with flour and used like fresh mushrooms somehow or what? I guess after they are dried there is no way to soften them up again, right? I have a lot of mushrooms found this year and would like to know how to freeze them. I've tried with my usual flour mixture and freezing them on a cookie sheet. If you could e-mail me with info on this I'd appreciate it. --C.O.

Answer: Thanks for your interest in mushrooms . . . I am sending you a copy of a column from March 28, 2001 . . . if it does not answer your questions, just let me know and I will amplify on any further questions you may have . . . if you check this column on this website you also will find some pictures . . .  --Bill Scifres

How Do You Field Dress A Wild Turkey?

Question: Bill, I am trying to find some instructions on how to field dress, or clean, a wild turkey. I had hoped to find something similar to your instruction on how to skin a squirrel. So far my search has yet to yield any instruction whatsoever.

While it may seem somewhat presumptive on my part, when I do get my first turkey, I would like to know how to handle it. I have found way too much info on how to call, scout, hunt, shoot, cook and even photograph a wild turkey. Where can I find, or can you tell me, how to take care of my bird once the hunt is over? Thank you. -- B.F. 

Answer: Hello, B.F.: Thanks for your note on procedures for "cleaning" your turkey of the future.

To be brutally honest, I have never dressed (or undressed, as the case may be) a wild turkey. But I am confident that my methods for processing other birds and ducks would do the job. Then, to get firsthand information I called Phil Hawkins, Franklin, who is the best outdoorsman I know (yours truly included), and an avid turkey hunter.

Phil was in Kentucky doing (of all things) a little turkey hunting. His wife, Charlene, was home and since she does the cooking (very well, I might add), she filled me in on Phil's procedures.

Charlene says Phil usually skins his birds, especially if they are to be frozen. The birds are skinned, Charlene says, because skin on frozen birds tends to turn rancid with age. However, she says if a bird is to be cooked before being frozen, Phil picks the bird which then must "singed" to remove the little hair-like feathers and fuzz. 

Singing a bird is accomplished by subjecting the entire body to an open flame. (When I was a kid we did this over a piece of newspaper (held in one hand like a torch while burning the remaining fuzz off the picked bird).

However, I would think a wild turkey could be immersed in boiling water to make the feathers easier to rub off with the fingers, thumb and heel of the hand.

Incidentally, Charlene says the wings of the wild turkey are of little value as food, and that the drumsticks are quite tough (she cooks them separately).

If all, or part, of the bird is to be turned into one of many kinds of trophies, it would be well before the hunt to seek advice on processing from the taxidermist who will do the work.

Removing the entrails will best be accomplished by a crosswise cut slightly forward of the anal opening on the belly after the bird has been skinned or picked and singed. When entrails are removed, the body cavity should be mopped out with paper towel, but it may also be rinsed with cold running water and drained well. If there will be some delay on getting the bird home, it probably should be kept on ice after it is dressed. If air temperature is above 40 degrees, the bird (feathers and all) should be kept as cool as possible. -- Bayou Bill

Will Wild Turkeys Eat Mushrooms?

Question: Dear Bill: How are you doing? How's all the family? Everyone down here is pretty good, except for me and my mushroom hunting. It seems that the past three times I  have been out to my favorite patches the wild turkeys have been there before me. I don't know if they are eating them or just scratching to be scratching. Whatever,  they are doing, it sure is discouraging to walk in and find your favorite patch tore all up. I was wondering if you could give me a little information and share with other readers and see if they are having the same problems.Will turkeys eat them (the mushrooms)? -- JWC

Answer: Dear JWC (name withheld to avoid a rash of turkey hunters in my reader's favorite mushroom patches) . . . When somebody asks me if deer will eat morels, my stock answer is: I have never seen a deer in the woods with a fry pan. That might be a fair appraisal of the same situation as it applieas to wild turkeys . . .  Steve Backs, the wild turkey biologist for the Division of Fish and Wildlife, tells me that he has never seen reports of mushrooms in the stomachs of wild turkey . . . Steve says, however, that the scratching of  wild turkeys could cause the forest floor to be more dry and thus affect the growth of mushrooms . . . Steve also says deer, cattle and squirrels will eat wild mushrooms . . . and this more or less shoots  my stock answer on deer  . . . Incidentally, on a few occasions while mushroom hunting I have found the "stumps" of morels which would indicate that some wild critter is lopping them off, or that some mushroom hunter (homo sapiens variety) has been so careless as to fail to hide the stumps (a cardinal, though unwritten rule of mushroom hunting) . . . One should never get so busy picking morels that the stumps are left uncovered to broadcast the location of the patch for those who follow. -- Bayou Bill 

PS: Perhaps we should sneak out there before daylight next Wednesday morning and see if we can somehow divert the attention of the turkeys with our shotguns. Then look for the morels . . . bb 

Interlake Recreation Area

Question: We would like to know where this Interlake recreation area is located, and how many miles of trails are available to off-road vehicles. Could you  please send me a map of this area? Thank you. --M.E. 

P.S. Can we hunt mushrooms in this area? 

Answer: Hello, M.E. Interlake Area is a relatively-new state recreation area. Maps are not yet available, but aerial photographs are. To get a copy of the aerial photo, or additional information on the area, call Nyla (317/232-4029) or send her an e-mail (narmstrong@dnr.state.in.us).

You will be permitted to walk the area during the time it is closed to horses and off-road vehicles (during the wild turkey season which opens April 23). This would include mushroom hunting . . . But if you walk in the area during the wild turkey season, you should wear brightly-colored clothing to avoid the risk of being shot. --Bayou Bill 

Catfish Baits

Question: I was wondering if you had ever fished in the Ohio river for catfish, I live near the Ohio and I have been looking for better baits if you could help me on this, I would greatly appreciate  it. Thanks. --Tyler

Answer: Thanks for your note, Tyler . . . I have fished the Ohio for catfish, but not recently . . . However, an Ohio River catfish is much like any other catfish whether you are fishing a lake or stream . . . Catfish like baits that smell good (they may even smell bad to people) . . . Stink baits are always good and there are many of these available at bait shops. I like to make my own bait. 

I think values of various baits change as the seasons progress. At the moment, I would prefer a whole night crawler gobbed up on a hook with barbs on the shank as well as the point. This makes it possible to offer a nice chunk of bait. As the summer comes on there are many other natural baits, including catalpa worms, minnows allowed to spoil in the sun and mildly crushed (with blood and entrails showing), even hellgrammites (the larval stage of the dobsonfly). When crayfish enter the first shed stage (usually in early May) they are hard to beat as bait for many species, including the cats. The soft craw is created by the crayfish outgrowing its exterior skeleton and shedding it.

Rocky (Roscoe) Haulk, one of my boyhood angling mentors at Crothersville, swore by cheese cubes which he made from the old longhorn cheese (I think cheddar would be fine). Rock would cut the cheese in cubes that were slightly longer than wide (about half an inch wide and five-eights or three-quarters of an inch long) and place the cubes in a clean mayonnaise jar with sealed top. The jar would be placed in water that was near boiling and rotated until the cheese cubes appeared to be starting to melt. At this point each cube was placed on a cookie sheet and refrigerated. This made the cheese cubes a bit tougher and created an oily film on their exteriors. Rock would use a No. 1 or 1/0 steel Eagle Claw "baitholder" hook (barbs on the shank) and simply punch the cheese cube onto the point of the hook and allow it to rest snugly against the shank. The hook's point would be hidden in the cheese cube.

Rock tried saturating balls of cheese cloth with melted cheese and many other methods of making cheese baits, but he liked the cubes best. And I--having some fishing poles bent double by White River channel cats--was inclined to agree.

In the late summer and fall, I find the big yellow grasshopper hard to beat, but any adult insect might produce catfish and numerous other species.

One must remember, of course, that dealing with catfish  is much like dealing with other wild things, and that one of their chief characteristics is that they reserve the right to act uncharacteristically. Thus, a chunk of hotdog, or a ball of moist rye bread or hotdog bun may be just what a big cat was looking for. --Bill Scifres

Frozen Rainbow Trout

Question: Bill: I have some Rainbow Trout I caught last year (2002) on opening day at Yellowwood S.F. (Put & Take). They were on ice after I caught and cleaned them on a Sat. A.M. and frozen the next day at home. They have been in the freezer (0 deg. F) since then. This is my normal way of preserving them. (We have a group that has gone to Yellowwood for Trout fishing for over 25 years-what a blast!)

Anyway, I usually eat them within 6 months; and they seem fine. In your valued opinion, do you think that they would still be OK? Thanks for the help. –JM (Up the Creek in Hamilton County)

Answer: Hello, JM: Eatum! By all means, eatum!

Actually, I like to eat fish I catch and freeze in a few weeks or months. However, on occasions, I have eaten my catch more than a year after I cleaned the fish . . . The secret to preserving fish for longer periods of time lies, simply, in avoiding freezer burn which dehydrates the flesh. . . To protect fish (and everything else I freeze), I freeze in plastic bags (removing as much air as possible) . . . When my catch (or kill) is frozen, I wrap the plastic bag tightly in two or three thicknesses of newspaper . . . If I detect any sign of freezer burn when item is thawed, I let it soak in cold water for half an hour or so. 

Some of my friends freeze both fish and game (even mushrooms) in containers of water. I do not pooh-pooh this manner of preserving (I eat like a starved horse when they host me for din-din), but I still like my method for the simple reason that it requires less freezer space.

Big, whole fish seem to hold frozen better than small fish, but gobs of filets of smaller fish work out well. If I plan to bake a whole fish (like the sheepshead I bring back from the ocean) I leave the bones in and skin on.

I lost a small package of Spanish mackerel (skin on, heads and entrails removed) in the freezer a year or so back, but fried them when I found them more than a year later. They were great . . . I tend to believe that fish frozen for longer periods of time smell a little more like fish when I cook them, but I don't mind smelling fish when I am eating fish.

Canning is a good alternative to frying (you will find instructions on my recipe page, "Cleaning, Preserving, and Cooking Suckers"). I have never believed canned anything is as good as fresh, or even frozen. But it still is good. --Bayou Bill 

Canned Bluegills

Question: Bill---Roughly, how long will the bluegill keep after canning? Thanks.--Vic H.

Answer: Thanks Vic, for your interest in canned bluegills . . . I have kept them for more than a year, but that could be stretching it a bit . . . If stored in a cool, dark place they should be great for several months . . . I think it is important to drain the fish chunks well before you pack them in the jars . . .  a little onion is good, but don't over salt them . . .  Bayou Bill 

Pawpaws/Indiana Banana

Question: Your Indiana Outdoors book is pleasurable reading. The Noblesville Library has a copy, which I read half of the first night. It's easy to see you have a love for nature. A few days after reading your book, I began searching for Indiana outdoor websites and found yours. I enjoy eating persimmons and had questions about the Indiana Banana. What is the tree's name, when are they ripe, and are they sweet like a persimmon? --D.G.

Answer: Thanks very much for your kind words about my book, Indiana Outdoors, and for your interest in pawpaws and persimmons. You may also like another of my books, Bayou Bill's Best Stories, which still is in print at the IU Press (at Bloomington, IN), and on the shelves of many Indiana libraries.

Thanks, too, for recognizing the fact that I love all things that live on God's Great Earth.

The pawpaw "tree," (Asimina triloba) is more like a bush, seldom getting larger than your wrist and 10 to 15 feet tall. However, I once knew one tree that was a good five inches in diameter and 30 to 40 feet tall. The pawpaw grows in groves as understory in hardwood forests. It likes good moist soil and deep shade.

I know of at least two stands of pawpaw in Boone County, but my favorite pawpaw groves are in Southern Indiana. It may be found from southern Canada to the southern states, but seldom in the deep South. In Indiana central and southern woodlands are better than those of the north, probably because there are fewer large tracts of hardwood timber in the north.

If you will do "pawpaw" and "persimmon" searches on this web page you will find numerous references to the two.

I am attaching two pictures that will help you find pawpaws. One is a shot of a pawpaw grove, the other a closeup of the leaves. There are other pictures of pawpaws on this website.

Please let me know if I can offer additional help in your quest to find pawpaws. --Bill Scifres 

Persimmon Pudding

Question: I grew up in Michigan having persimmon pudding on special occasions. We always got our persimmons from friends who lived in Ohio. I was always told "they aren't the ones you can get in the store, they're wild." I know how to make it, but I don't have any idea what these things look like or where to get them. They were always in our freezer, skinned and maybe boiled?, maybe not, in pint containers.

My mother (keeper of all knowledge) has passed away, and the friend we got them from doesn't know a source anymore and is in her 90's. Her husband used to be the one to get them and prepare them. Do you have any idea if there is a mail order (or web order?) source for these things? I'd love to recreate this for my Dad the next time he visits, and introduce it to my kids.

A persimmon lover in Idaho! -- JED

Answer: Hello, JED. What a noble thing to do . . . reintroduce persimmon pudding to your father . . . and to your family . . . I am sure they all will love it . . . my web page (www.bayoubill.com) has several recipes for persimmon desserts, but in case you can't find it, I am attaching some things to this message, and the next one to follow . . . because I have much, much more to tell you about persimmons . . . get in touch (phone would be best) with Dillman Farm Store, 4955 West State Road 45, Bloomington, IN 47401 (I don't know phone number, but you can get it from information) . . . if they are out of pulp, I will send you a couple of pints . . . my recipe calls for one pint . . . my recipe also is not real firm . . . you may want to cut down on the milk or add a little flour . . . the persimmon roll recipe is that of the Dillman Farm Store . . . the recipe for orange-brandy sauce (the brandy is optional) is mine (I am doing a cook book now on fish, game and natural foods) . . . the recipe for persimmon pudding on my web page is my grandmother's, my mother's and now mine . . . look under wild recipes on my web page.  -- bill scifres

Cooking Wood Duck

Question: I have a question, Bill. I was recently presented with a wood duck, which my wife proceeded to bake. Unfortunately, the finished product was quite tough and inedible. We called it the rubber duck, as even the dog wouldn't eat it. I've heard that wood duck is one of the best for eating, but this one wasn't. So my question (should we ever get another one) is: What is the best way to cook a wood duck? Do you have a good recipe? Thanks. -- Marvin

Answer: Hello, Marvin: Thank you for your interest in wood duck cookery . . . My procedure (I consider it a procedure more than a recipe) is rather long, so my web page manager has put a longer version on my Recipe page. 

In short, cooking a decent duck hinges on two important aspects of cookery. First, it is important to get the feathers and down off when cleaning the duck, and leave the skin on. The skin tends to seal in natural moisture of the bird and that helps tenderize the meat. Secondly, it is important to trap moisture from other ingredients in the cooking process. This not only utilizes moisture in the bird, but that of other ingredients as well, and the resulting steam makes a bird more tender. This also is a taste booster.

This short version is intended to steer you to the long version which I hope will be of greater help. It could be tried on any duck--even a domestic bird--or other small birds and animals that are cooked whole . . . Bayou Bill 

Squirrel Skinnin' 

Question: I greatly appreciate your pages (http://bayoubill.com/archives.html).  I took my sons hunting today and my youngest got a squirrel. My last couple of attempts at skinning have been less than satisfactory, so I figured I'd search the net for information. I haven't read all of the articles, but the one on skinning squirrels is just what I needed, with pictures. . . Your pages are great, and I'll be bookmarking the site and sending the link to friends. Now, how about some on how to FIND squirrels? -- Marc

Answer: Thanks, Marc. Great to hear from you . . . glad my stuff can be of help . . . I faced the same situation when I killed my first squirrel at the age of 8 . . . had to wait until my dad got home, and the first thing he told me was that if I was going to hunt, I needed to know how to skin squirrels . . . so he taught me then and there . . . been using his method ever since, almost 70 years . . . I killed 85 squirrels the summer I was 12 . . . 

The critical cut is when you are starting at the tail . . . be careful not to cut off the tail . . . if you do that, you will have to start at the middle of the back with a crosswise cut just through the skin, then work the skin off in both directions . . . this is clumsy and gets a lot of hair on the meat (even if you are careful) . . . 

I made a pot of squirrel dumplings last week . . . very good . . . look for my dumpling recipe in the cooking page  . . . it is my grandmother's recipe . . . rolled out dumplings, rather than drop dumplings . . . Another squirrel story tells about steaming squirrel after it is fried . . .  it may be one of my weekly columns . . . 

Thanks again . . . yell if I can be of further help . . . bill scifres


Question: I was just on your web page that gave instructions on making sassafras tea. Any idea where one could obtain/find sassafras roots? -- Angela

Answer: Hello, Angela. Thanks for your interest in sassafras roots . . . I don't know where you live . . . but if you are near Southern Indiana, a good place to look would be the health food stores in Nashville (Ind.) . . . you probably could find some roots there . . . my supply is exhausted (I did not dig any new roots last winter), but that is something you may want to put on your agenda for later this winter (late January or February) when the sap still is in the roots . . . I have heard that the twigs of sassafras also willl make a pretty good tea . . . I haven't seen twigs used since I was a little kid in Southern Indiana . . . I know a sas patch near my home and probably can get you some twigs . . . Some health food stores have it in powder, chips or even a liquid . . . your grocery could order it . . . It is pretty good stuff . . . especially in the winter,  sweetened with honey . . . . Let me know where to send the twigs . . . bill scifres

Paw Paws 

Question: Hi, would you know if there is anywhere I can purchase some paw paw pulp? It doesn't grow in MN. My mom and dad grew up in Indiana and spoke often of paw paws, so I would like to try it. -- Mike

Answer: Hello, Mike. Thanks for your e-mail and your interest in paw-paw pulp . . . I don't know of anyone who has paw-paw pulp for sale, but will do some checking and let you know what I find . . . There is one place at Bloomington (Ind.) that sells persimmon pulp (of which I have plenty), but don't know about paw-paw pulp. . . I don't have any myself . . . It was a bad year for paw-paws . . . the drought hurt them some, but my patches still produced some fruit (not as much as usual) . . . However the drought also cut something else that was a food source for raccoons (I don't know what that was) . . . the 'coons fed heavily on paw-paws in September and early October . . . as a result, we lost not only the fruit, but many limbs were broken off by 'coons (much heavier than squirrels) . . . I don't think this will impact adversely in the coming growing season, but it could . . . the paw-paw "tree" is a pulpy, soft wood and not very durable . . . if I find pulp I will let you know . . . bill scifres

Hoosier Record Buck Program 

Question: I read your articles in The Daily Clintonian weekly. I find them very informative about our surroundings with nature. The question that I have is about the Hoosier Record Buck Program. Does it still exist? The last information that I read was in Indiana Game & Fish magazine. It stated that the IDHA ( Indiana Deer Hunters' Association) had taken it over. John Bogucki, a member, was in charge of the HRBP. I would like to locate the organization can you help me? I would like to thank you in advance for whatever information you can help with, and keep the enjoyable articles coming. -- Roy

Answer: Thanks for your e-mail, Roy, and your interest in HRBP and the outdoors in general . . . You can call John Bogoki at 219 (that may have changed) 656-4271. His address 66603 Pine Road, North Liberty, IN 46554.

I think the last edition of the record book came out for 1999-2000 . . . so they may be working on another edition now . . . bill scifres

Indiana Deer Hunters' Association

Question: I am looking for a contact with the IDHA. I would like to have a phone # or e-mail address to contact the organization. Thanks. -- Scot 

Answer: Thanks, Scot, for your interest in the IDHA . . . Joe Bacon (Indianapolis) is president of the IDHA. You can call him at 317/783-4721 . . . bill scifres

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