Rails

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Re: Rails

Postby OKhunter » Tue Sep 17, 2013 7:05 am

How does everyone normally clean rails? I shot my first one last weekend, but when I was fileting the breast there is pretty much no meat on it. I didn't know that it was possible to have less meat than a dove, but a rail does.
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Re: Rails

Postby Duck Whisperer » Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:42 am

I think I may have posted my crake pot pie recipie on some rail thread before?? Yup, tiny little birds; that's why I pot pie them. They are pretty much not worth hunting unless you know you can get a mess of them, and, I'm betting the few who have tried them gave up hunting them because they are such a pain to "make a meal".

When I clean them, I pretty much "pop" the breast/breastbone off like a dove AND save the legs/thighs - there is as much meat on legs/thighs as breasts. After I parboil them for a few minutes (for the pot pie) I them remove all meat from bones.
Last edited by Duck Whisperer on Tue Oct 15, 2013 3:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rails

Postby OKhunter » Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:58 pm

Thanks DW that is good to know. If I get into some more I'll have to try to find your recipe.
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Re: Rails

Postby Duck Whisperer » Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:22 pm

OKhunter wrote:Thanks DW that is good to know. If I get into some more I'll have to try to find your recipe.


If you can't find it (and again I may be only thinking I posted it at some point) throw me a PM. It is also a good recipie using pheasant, and sort of decent for snipe. It does NOT work for dove I found out.
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Re: Rails

Postby OKhunter » Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:30 pm

Duck Whisperer wrote:
OKhunter wrote:Thanks DW that is good to know. If I get into some more I'll have to try to find your recipe.


If you can't find it (and again I may be only thinking I posted it at some point) throw me a PM. It is also a good recipie using pheasant, and sort of decent for snipe. It does NOT work for dove I found out.


I search for next time I am on my laptop and not in my phone. Just curious, why did it not work out so well for dove? The meat in the dove and rail seemed similar.
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Re: Rails

Postby Duck Whisperer » Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:16 pm

OKhunter wrote: Just curious, why did it not work out so well for dove? The meat in the dove and rail seemed similar.


My thoughts exactly, especially since rail is only a slightly lighter meat than dove. That recipe is definetely for whiter meat birds; would never consider for, say, ducks. But, that particular year I had boo-koos (creative spelling?) of dove so I thought I'd try it. Didn't work. Reeaally didn't like it. And I'm a pretty fair cook; pretty sure I didn't simply bungle the recipie with the dove.

Oh well, no loss. I simply have never found a better way to cook dove than simply some form of grilling them wrapped in bacon. Snipe are kinda strange in that I haven't found a "super" way to cook them. Just as decent grilling like dove or pot pieing them. Thooooouuugh the old, and I mean OLD, recipes for snipe call for roasting them whole with their inards (again creative spelling?) intact and/or some other fashion of using their inards. I'd be willing to try some "inard" recipe if only the ancient recipes I've found weren't so damn ambiguous, or lacking in exact direction.
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Re: Rails

Postby OKhunter » Thu Sep 19, 2013 12:53 pm

Duck Whisperer wrote:
OKhunter wrote: Just curious, why did it not work out so well for dove? The meat in the dove and rail seemed similar.


My thoughts exactly, especially since rail is only a slightly lighter meat than dove. That recipe is definetely for whiter meat birds; would never consider for, say, ducks. But, that particular year I had boo-koos (creative spelling?) of dove so I thought I'd try it. Didn't work. Reeaally didn't like it. And I'm a pretty fair cook; pretty sure I didn't simply bungle the recipie with the dove.

Oh well, no loss. I simply have never found a better way to cook dove than simply some form of grilling them wrapped in bacon. Snipe are kinda strange in that I haven't found a "super" way to cook them. Just as decent grilling like dove or pot pieing them. Thooooouuugh the old, and I mean OLD, recipes for snipe call for roasting them whole with their inards (again creative spelling?) intact and/or some other fashion of using their inards. I'd be willing to try some "inard" recipe if only the ancient recipes I've found weren't so damn ambiguous, or lacking in exact direction.


Very interesting, I'm glad you discovered that dove aren't very good and I don't have to make that discovery. Roasting them sounds really good, but I don't know if I would want to do it with their "inards" still intact. Have you tried frying them?
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Re: Rails

Postby Duck Whisperer » Thu Sep 19, 2013 5:53 pm

Never tried frying them. Only thing I fry is chicken fried duck breasts (or nuggets of breasts). Don't know why, but I find that gadwalls are the best for chicken frying; like 'em better than teal even when it comes to frying. Odd I know.
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Re: Rails

Postby OKhunter » Thu Sep 19, 2013 7:01 pm

Pm sent DW.
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Re: Rails

Postby Duck Whisperer » Fri Sep 27, 2013 5:34 pm

Walked my you-know-what off yesterday hunting these buggers. Lots around in this particular spot, but VERY hard to hunt because of the cover. A) it is so thick in spots that I only shot at every 5th bird flushed because I didn't want to drop them in cover where you WILL NOT find them (dog would be great, but a snakey place?) B) it is so thick in spots that it will wear your you-know-what off walking about; I had neoprenes on (a little defense against snakes I hoped).....I was sore, still am.

Killed my 25, but I spent over 4 hours doing so. Some of that 4 hours was down time, simply sitting down for a bit chilling and drinking a cold soda, some time was spent paddling the yak from spot to spot (killed 5 or 6 from the yak). Fun day, I learned some more about these buggers. Hope to get back up there this weekend. I only hope this front will not move them out, though I don't think so based on their historic migration tendencies (that I have read about).

Forgive the pics. I ain't as good as Rob, plus I was so derned worn out that I barely even felt like taking a pic.

Image
2 teal/ 25 soras

Image
Raily looking spot - a more "open" spot, not as dense as some cover was. And yes that is a canoe paddle and not a standard yak paddle; yak paddle would be useless.

Image
I think I've posted this pic before. It is a great pic to demonstrate how thin these buggers are. These birds are where the expression "thin as a rail" comes from.
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Re: Rails

Postby shoveler_shooter » Fri Sep 27, 2013 5:49 pm

I like the decal on the center of the back window
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Re: Rails

Postby Duck Whisperer » Fri Sep 27, 2013 6:55 pm

shoveler_shooter wrote:I like the decal on the center of the back window


Not my wife's favorite :lol3:
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Re: Rails

Postby Duck Whisperer » Sun Sep 29, 2013 6:41 pm

Hit 'em again today and killed another 25. The breathable waders were heaven and a much easier hunt as I kinda knew where/how to hunt them based on the cover in this spot. I did note the birds today were fatter than Thursday. Once they fatten up sufficiently, the next good front may move them out. Am planning to hit 'em at least two days this week before Friday's front.

As I was killing my last bird (closer to the truck) three guys were walking out to rail hunt themselves. Talked with them for 15 or so minutes. Seemed like real nice guys; the one guy had been chasing rail at least a few years like myself and seemed to know what he was doing. I even gave them whatever info I thought I could.

I just hope they didn't lay waste to the spot. I watched them "start into" the place. And while we had discussed how it was hard to fund downed birds, and they intended to hunt "that thinner cover over that way, then over there", they immediatelly started in THICK cover, mostly tall cattails, the type of stuff I just won't shoot at birds in as you won't find them. Anyway, they commenced to start downing birds here and there, shooting at others before looking for ones already downed (best way to lose a dead bird). Still close by, I asked if they had "flagging" or such to mark birds, which they didn't. I paddled/walked over and gave one of them a wad of orange flagging to help them.

As I paddled back to the truck, and at the truck loading up, it sounded like a war. Now I fully admit I may be off base here as I couldn't see them, but I REALLY hope they didn't simply kill and lose a ton of birds. I do know they probably should have at least been wearing some hunter orange. They were all in full camo; three guys walking through cattails over your head - between veering off looking for downed birds and/or chasing birds, it is VERY easy to lose track of your pals hunting with you.
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Re: Rails

Postby jeff_osu » Tue Oct 01, 2013 4:48 pm

I have washers with pink flagging that I will toss down. Learned that as a kid dove hunting....it's amazing how well feathers can blend into the vegetation.
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Re: Rails

Postby Duck Whisperer » Tue Oct 01, 2013 7:17 pm

jeff_osu wrote:I have washers with pink flagging that I will toss down. Learned that as a kid dove hunting....it's amazing how well feathers can blend into the vegetation.


Also amazing how, after one drops a flag, then looks for a downed bird for even a minimal time, then you look up to see how far away from the flag you are. No wonder so many downed birds are lost due to not making where one thinks they fell.
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Re: Rails

Postby Duck Whisperer » Mon Oct 14, 2013 12:10 pm

That last little front brought in another little "pulse" of rail. Not a ton, but enough to scratch out a limit in a few hours of walking. Saw a few Virginias today also. At 118 for the season=4 pot pies.

Image

Image
This is what 25 cleaned rail look like -legs and breasts. NOTE, I put a dove breast in the center for size reference. Yup, for most people these buggers are too much effort. But, I like taking crake pot pie to work for our pot luck days. It definetely is a labor of love.
Last edited by Duck Whisperer on Mon Oct 14, 2013 6:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rails

Postby LTMFH » Mon Oct 14, 2013 6:28 pm

I don't know how I missed this thread. Great job Duck Whisperer. I enjoyed the report and photos very much.
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Re: Rails

Postby Duck Whisperer » Mon Oct 14, 2013 6:34 pm

LTMFH wrote:I don't know how I missed this thread. Great job Duck Whisperer. I enjoyed the report and photos very much.



As much as you love to hunt, and have the time to do so, I'm surprised you haven't "tried" these guys before. LOT of fun. I'd have to think there is some habitat around your stomping grounds????
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Re: Rails

Postby Duck Whisperer » Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:25 pm

I'd have sworn I posted this before, but could not find it.....and have had a few PMs asking about it. Forgive the in-depthness, but that's how I roll, plus I write all my recipies as such since I have certain offspring that aren't the best at following recipies so I try to spell it out as much as possible. This recipie, IMO, does NOT work with darker meat birds such as dove. Never would consider using this for duck. It works well for pheasant, chicken, and snipe.


INGREDIENTS STEP 1
- 50 or so Sora rails (Crakes, which I think is Latin for “tiny little bastards“), breast bone-in breasts are better thab fillets, and legs/thighs (all meat with no skin).
- (2) 49 oz cans chicken broth (or more)
-tsp celery salt
-¼ tsp ground white pepper
-1/8 tsp ground thyme
- 3/8 tsp tarragon

1 - Combine one of the cans chicken stock and all ingredients except rail and bring to a boil.
2 - Add rail and simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes until just cooked through. Better too rare than done.
3 - Remove meat, debone all legs (and breasts if bone-in), and return bones to stock and continue simmering stock while continuing with recipe. I like to let the bones simmer for at least an hour or so, which you probably can’t do if you prepare this recipe “all at once.” I try not to boil/simmer too high so as not to reduce the stock too much/fast, but you will eventually need to add more chicken broth throughout entire process; I ended up using both 49 oz cans plus some extra. You can actually turn flame off and let bones just steep for quite a while also in addition to simmering them (like if you have a store run to make or start this recipe early in the day).
4 - Place all meat in bowl and add just enough stock to cover/keep moist. Place meat in fridge if not continuing on with recipe right away. I ended up with about 12 or 14 ounces of rail meat from about 50 birds…..keeping in mind that some breasts and legs were unusable due to being shot too hard.

INGREDIENTS STEP 2
-2 cups diced carrots
-2 cups diced celery
-2 cups cubed potatoes
-2 1/2cups frozen peas
-2 cups frozen pearl onions
-4 cups sliced baby brown mushrooms

1 - In a small separate pot, get a few cups water to a boil, add carrots and blanch for a few minutes until they begin to soften; do not cook through. Remove carrots from water and place in bowl off to side to cool. Get the same water (or new) boiling again, and do the same with the celery. Place celery in bowl with carrots, or a separate bowl to cool faster.
2- Nuke/cook potatoes only so they are starting to soften, but they need to be pretty firm/not cooked through. Set aside.
3 - I boiled the mushrooms for about 10 or 15 minutes in crake stock then removed them to cool. Was surprised how much mushroom flavor it gave stock, which we really liked. You can either do it this way or boil it in separate water. Note that the 4 cups of shrooms will be reduced to 2 cup after this step. I also did this step after I had removed the crake bones from the stock (for ease of fishing out shrooms), but since the shrooms mostly float, I think you can do this while the bones are still in pot.
4- I just keep the peas and onions in freezer until needed.

INGREDIENTS STEP 3
- additional chicken broth from 2nd 49 oz can chicken broth (from STEP 1, or more)
-13 Tbsp butter
-no smaller than a tennis ball sized yellow onion diced
-¾ cup flour
-2/3 cup heavy cream
-3/8 tsp tarragon
-½ tsp black pepper
-5/8 tsp thyme leaves


1 - Remove bones from stock and discard (if not done so already). I do not strain my stock as I take care not to boil my bones away such that any tendons/etcetera fall off.
2 - Add additional chicken broth such that you have six cups of finished stock and bring back to a boil, then down to a low simmer, or even turn off.
3 - Melt butter in large skillet and sauté the diced yellow onion until soft/translucent.
4 - Slowly add flour to onions/butter, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes over low heat.
5 - Add this mixture to the stock and stir for a few minutes until it thickens.
6 - Add the cream and spices and stir in. Add any additional spice you think you may need, but the amounts I used came out very well - keep in mind that tarragon is a strong herb and can overpower a dish if you use too much.
7- Add in all the veggies from STEP 2 INGREDIENTS and rail meat and mix in. I added the little amount of stock that was with the rail meat that was keeping it moist while in the fridge. Mixture is now ready to be placed into the pan(s)


YOU’R ON YOUR OWN FROM HERE ON OUT………………but
I used a 15 inch by 11 inch by 2 inch pan, using a homemade crust lining the bottom and a homemade crust over the top, cooking the bottom crust in the pan for about 15 or 20 minutes at 325 first before filling it. The amount of filling from this recipe filled my 15x11 pan perfectly. Cooked it at 375 for about an hour. You may want to brush egg white over top crust so it browns nice. You can use multiple small pans instead of one big one, or substitute a “puff pastry” crust or “other” quick crusts, BUT a rare dish like this really deserves a good homemade flaky crust.

Homemade crust can be a beeyaaatch, but if you are daring (or have a nice wife) here you go.
8 inch crust for 4 to 5 pies (which is the right amount for the large pan I used)
4 cups flour
1 ¾ cup shortening
2 tsp salt
½ cup ice water
1 egg
Tbs white vinegar

1 - mix salt in with flour
2 - Mix shortening and flour/salt quickly with your fingers such that you have many large chunks of shortening /flour.
3- pulse on food processor, or “cut in”, until shortening chunks are almost pea size
4 - Add vinegar and egg and pulse once or twice, or “cut in”, so shortening chunks are pea size
5- slowly add water and pulse only enough such that mixture moistens enough to come together. You may not need the entire ½ cup water (it’s humidity dependent or something old wivey’s tale like). You have to judge the exact moisture content needed.
6- Dump dough onto floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap dough in cellophane (maybe in more than one ball) and let it rest in fridge for 30 minutes.
7- when ready, roll out your crusts and fill pan(s) and add crust topping (Good luck here if trying to do one large pie as I do).
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Re: Rails

Postby Duck Whisperer » Wed Oct 16, 2013 6:29 pm

Tried a "new" dove field.....public field not my lease. Saw about 50 but wasn't set up quite in the right spot. Finally had 4 birds floating over the "rig". CLICK. Been a long time since I forgot to load the gun at LST. Sucks getting old.

After the lackluster dove hunt, I headed to a different rail spot. Knocked out another 25. Was able to special handle two nice cocks through the hunt and get them back to the truck still looking nice; in the freezer with my other "to mount birds". Very surprised at one spot that I killed about 10; I wouldn't really have considered it "raily", but walked over to it and then through it just to see. Easiest rail I've ever shot as it was more open water than grass. Nice being able to shoot ANY bird that got up AND take long shots at them because I knew I wouldn't lose them in the patchy grass.
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Re: Rails

Postby jeff_osu » Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:23 pm

I found one in Oxley Nature Center in Tulsa. Really surprised me. Not that it can be hunted anyhow, but they haven't all been driven south by cold front it seems.
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Re: Rails

Postby Duck Whisperer » Sun Oct 20, 2013 9:25 pm

jeff_osu wrote:I found one in Oxley Nature Center in Tulsa. Really surprised me. Not that it can be hunted anyhow, but they haven't all been driven south by cold front it seems.


Nope, haven't all been driven out yet. Found a good number of them Saturday......well, it sounded like a lot of them out there. Grass was simply too thick to hunt/walk through. Trust me, I tried. Got 10.
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