When it comes to books about the outdoors and adventures that can be found there, I think it is safe to say most of us wouldn’t include a book full of recipes on our must-read list. Somehow a collection of recipes, even those for cooking various game meats, doesn’t exactly move the needle on the excitement meter. Then again, maybe it could.
“Sportsman’s Quest” is a unique work that is much more than a recipe book; it also is a book of stories. Author Dan Simmons, a Pahrump resident, managed to combine a collection of 137 wild-game recipes with a vast array of outdoor adventures. The stories are set in locations ranging from Nevada to Canada, from Nicaragua to Africa, and involve everything from bighorn sheep to Cape buffalo, pheasants to geese and moose to wildebeest.
Simmons has led an interesting life that has taken him down many different roads, paths really, that have wound their way through remote corners of British Columbia, research facilities in Germany and the halls of education. But what you won’t find in “Sportsman’s Quest” is a Simmons autobiography.
“This isn’t about me,” he said rather emphatically. “This is about them.”
Simmons was referring to those who shared with him, and now us, their stories and their recipes. “Hunting and fishing are not about shooting and catching. They are about friends and shared adventure along the way,” Simmons writes.
Andrew Miller, who took his hunter education class from Simmons, shared the story of his successful archery hunt for one of Nevada’s fleet-footed pronghorn antelope. Entitled “Antelope Patience,” Miller’s story is one of frustration and disappointment followed by creative thinking and ultimately triumph. Did you know you can stalk a pronghorn with a horse?
Of course, if you are going to hunt a pronghorn, you need to know how to cook the meat when you are done. How about trying “Tami’s Special Green Pepper Antelope Steak,” or “Andrew’s Red Curry Antelope?”
I especially enjoyed reading of Rick Williams’ solo backpack hunting trip into the Grey River country of Wyoming. Williams was successful in harvesting a nice four-point buck, hauled it out of a steep canyon and then had to get 180 pounds of meat, along with his rifle and other gear, back to his truck.
Williams told Simmons how he leapfrogged his daypack and backpack down the mountain. “After a while my legs and arms were so tired I couldn’t just load and stand up with the packs, so I had to start laying each pack on the ground with the straps facing up; I would lay down on top of the pack slide my arms through the straps, roll onto my stomach, get on my knees and stand up.”
Upon reaching his truck, Williams thought, “This isn’t worth it and I will never do this again.” But after time passed, Williams looked at the buck on his wall and thought back to his trip to the Grey River country. “What an amazing trip; I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Would I do it again? Yup!”
Perhaps after reading that story you may want to try Five-Star Venison Loin, Tournedos of Trophy Deer, or venison covered with Tito Chamorro’s Wild Game Marinade.
Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His “In the Outdoors” column, published Thursday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NDOW. Any opinions he states in his column are his own. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.