Early season scouting is a critical component to getting game patterns and trails down for the fall. I tend to combine both shed hunting and early season scouting into the same adventure. I may not walk away with as many sheds, but I’m learning so much more about the woods that it’s well worth it. Here in the mountains of Pennsylvania, scouting can be a bit rough; even in spring. The ground is wet, the laurel is still thick, and there’s still some snow pockets. It takes a lot of energy to make your way through it.
I generally bring something to eat when I know I’m going to be scouting all day. To me, jerky and protein bars don’t cut it. I personally tend to pack my little camp stove, a 6 inch cast iron skillet, a little spatula, fork, and all the ingredients I need to make a flavorful, yet easy meal.
This past trip, I made the decision to make a little hash that I could eat right out of my skillet. I knew going into this area that there would be wild leeks here. Wild leeks, or ramps as some call them, are a wonderful cross between onion and garlic and are extremely flavorful. When raw, they can be “hot” like an onion, and when cooked, they soften the same way but provide a wonderful flavor that you can’t get from store bought alliums.
This hash was made with wild leeks, a yukon gold potato, some butter, cotija cheese, Harvesting Nature’s Big Game Blend, and some venison pastrami that I had made. The beautiful thing about hash is that it doesn’t really need measurements. I just grabbed a potato, a handful of pastrami, as much cheese as I think I’d want, as much butter as I think I’d need, and the dish came together great!
The pastrami was made out of a doe that I actually harvested out of the same area; only about 150 yard away from the leeks. It was extremely satisfying to make a dish on the same land that I had harvested both the deer and leeks from, all while scouting that land too.
I used just about 1Tbsp of the Big Game Blend in this dish but it added an insane amount of flavor to the dish and honestly, this is going to be one of my go to dishes for spring scouting from now on. It’s simple, delicious, and WAY more healthy for you than a protein bar. And, it only added about 3lbs to my pack. If anything, that’s just helping build some cardio and stamina during scouting anyway! I’m not packing in clothing, or hunting gear, just lunch and a camera setup for me. Still super light weight, and a nice little break to cook lunch!
Time to Make: 20 minutes
Special Equipment: Cast Iron Pan
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