October 2020: Recipe Roundup
The true thrill of the hunt
by Cally Peterson
|Waterfowl hunting is a favorite Sieg family activity, including for their beloved 12-year-old black lab, Bandit.
Seven-year-old Emmit Sieg is a watchful, observant little boy. When he’s not scouting for birds or other wildlife, he’s got eyes on one thing – his dad, Eric Sieg. It’s easy to see who and what Emmit wants to be when he grows up. A hunter, just like Dad.
“Emmit’s a mini-Eric,” says Candace Sieg, the family’s matriarch. “He remembers everything and anything that comes out of Dad’s mouth.”
Emmit’s two older sisters, Isabel, 18, and Avery, 10, are also part of Eric’s fan club. You can see it in the way they look at their father and talk about one of their favorite family activities – hunting. All three children grew up hunting with their dad; Eric started them young.
“When they were 3 years old, Eric would dress them up at 5 in the morning, and they would go lay in the blind,” Candace says.
“I’d rather have him by me when I’m hunting,” Isabel says. “I feel more comfortable when he’s around. He knows what he’s talking about and we trust him.”
Like many who grew up in North Dakota, Eric, an operations supervisor for Burke-Divide Electric Cooperative in Kenmare, remembers tagging along with his dad during hunting season and before-school goose hunting with his grandpa in the Drake-Anamoose area. When he became old enough to drive and hunt on his own, Eric and his buddies spent every free moment hunting, learning to appreciate and respect the land, the landowner and the thrill of the hunt.
Eric still found time to hunt while attending lineworker school at Bismarck State College. He eventually met Candace and they started a family.
“I wasn’t going to slow down yet, so hunting became a family event, just us and the kids,” Eric says. “It’s enjoyable to me to watch them. Whether scouting or hunting, just watching them and seeing their faces is enough.”
While there are many hunts Eric and his buddies still relive when they get together, his most memorable hunts are now the ones that involve the kids. Isabel bagging her first deer, a monster 4x4 mule deer with a thick base that scored 173 inches, and filling her once-in-a-lifetime North Dakota elk tag last year were special moments.
“Those are two hunts that I’ll talk about that maybe I didn’t express how proud I was,” Eric says. “She’s really competitive and detail-oriented. When she’s target shooting, she doesn’t miss.”
If Isabel is the sharpshooter, Avery is the good-luck charm, always reeling in the first fish or winning the gun drawing, and has a hawk-eye.
“Avery has a good scouting eye,” Eric says. “She knows what she’s looking for.”
And as for Emmit, he’s not one to be left out.
“Take me with, too!” Emmit insists, as the family talks about a hypothetical fishing trip. If he has to stay home, the youngest Sieg will settle for Grandma’s malts and watching the Netlix series “MeatEater,” which profiles hunter, author, cook and conservationist Steven Rinella and his field-to-table hunts.
The Siegs process their game the same way as Rinella.
|Burke-Divide Electric Cooperative Operations Supervisor Eric Sieg and his wife, Candace, spend a lot of time outdoors with their three children, from left, Isabel, 18, Emmit, 7, and Avery, 10.
Photo by NDAREC/Liza Kessel
“He uses up everything, and we use up everything,” Eric says. “I’m pulling goose hearts, deer hearts and everything that can be used.”
And if Eric’s cooking, the family is eating.
“He can make something with no recipe and it’s always good,” Candace says. “He can really wing anything and it’s good. He’s an extremely good cook.”
Avery’s favorite is Eric’s bacon, made with goose or venison, and Emmit is quick to proclaim his favorite meal – “honker steaks!” – which Eric grills like a beef steak. The key, he says, is not to overcook goose meat.
Eric’s other specialties include slow cooker goose, which he’s brought to work for his co-op coworkers under the guise of roast beef, and goose treats, a bacon-wrapped appetizer enjoyed by his hunting buddies.
And, of course, Eric’s favorite “holiday” is one shared by many hunters in the Upper Midwest – the big annual sausage-processing event.
HUNTING MEANS FAMILY
Eric’s love for hunting is rooted in two things – the values it teaches and how it brings family together.
“My family extends a long ways, even to friends that have become family, probably because of hunting,” Eric says.
He brings it back to where it all began, in the old milking barn on his grandfather’s farm, now his uncle’s, in rural Anamoose. The room where the milk tanks were stored is now the game-processing room. The heated milk house is now the butcher room. “The hangout spot,” most importantly, is in the heart of the old barn.
“The center of the barn, that’s where we go to gather,” Eric says. “That’s our family time.”
To Eric, hunting means family. Perhaps that is the true thrill of the hunt.
Fresh goose breasts
SLOW COOKER GOOSE
6-8 goose breasts, fresh or frozen Morton® Tender Quick® curing salt
Cally Peterson is editor of North Dakota Living. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.