Andy Clark first traveled to South Dakota in 2010 to hunt with a friend he met at a golf tournament. The following year, three friends accompanied him. In 2012, six men accompanied him. “The hunting trip has grown from year to year. We will probably end up with 8 to 10 guys next year,” Clark said.
The group hunts in Reliance, S.D., for three days over a Thursday to Sunday.
“We only hunt pheasant,” he said.
Clark compared pheasant to chicken.
“They’re like big, flying chicken. Some people call them ‘Ditch Chickens’ because a lot of people who hunt the public land literally walk the ditches beside the road and try to scare them up,” he said.
“Where we hunt they are all wild birds. Where you walk there is big huge spans of land,” Clark said.
The weekend is as much about the fellowship as it is the hunt.
“It’s a guy’s weekend away, stress free of city life and jobs. It’s neat to be out there in the middle of nowhere. You’re so far from streetlights and traffic and your daily routine and tasks,” said Clark, who works for a company that makes water gardening equipment.
“It’s great to get away in the middle of nowhere. You can stand on a bluff and turn 360 degrees and not see roads, streetlights, buildings. There’s literally nothing — no farm buildings, no silos, no houses. Nothing. I’m not exaggerating that. There’s something relaxing about being out there in that environment,” he added.
Since 2011 trip, the group has held a dinner to feast on their bounty. The wives pulled out all the stops to make the evening an elegant affair. “We’re continuing that tradition,” said Clark, who is married to Laurie. The Kennesaw residents have one son, 8-year-old Davis.
Sarah and John Bullington hosted the dinner at their Marietta home that included the Clarks along with Amy and John Goodman, Kelly and Allan Krivsky, Alli and Rob Schnatmeier, and Lori and Dan Weaver.
“Everyone brings their own pheasant in a different recipe. Everybody has their own spin on their recipe,” he said.
“It’s fun to come home and get the wives involved. It’s a way to bring it full circle. It’s a way to get everyone involved, and maybe they’ll be excited about us going next year,” Clark said.
Moo Shu Pheasant With Mandarin Pancakes
Adapted from Cooking Light Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 2 filled pancakes)
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce 2 tablespoons rice wine or sake 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil 2 teaspoons cornstarch 1 (1 1/2-pound) pheasant breast, trimmed and cut into 1 x 1/4-inch strips 10 shiitake mushrooms 1/2 cup (1-inch) sliced green onions 3 tablespoons minced garlic (about 12 cloves) 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger 1/4 cup wood ear mushrooms (about 1/4 ounce) 3 tablespoons rice wine or sake 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch 1/2 teaspoon sugar 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 3 cups thinly sliced napa (Chinese) cabbage stalks 4 cups thinly sliced napa (Chinese) cabbage leaves 2 tablespoons rice wine or sake 1/2 cup hoisin sauce 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce 16
Combine the first 4 ingredients in a zip-top plastic bag. Add pheasant; seal and marinate in refrigerator 1 hour, turning occasionally. Remove pheasant from bag; discard marinade. Combine sliced mushroom caps, green onions, garlic and ginger in a small bowl; set aside. Combine 3 tablespoons rice wine and next 4 ingredients (3 tablespoons rice wine through black pepper) in a small bowl; stir well with a whisk. Set aside. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pheasant and stir-fry 3 minutes. Remove pheasant from pan. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil to pan. Add eggs; stir-fry 30 seconds or until soft-scrambled. Add shiitake mushroom mixture; stir-fry 1 1/2 minutes. Add cabbage stalks; stir-fry 30 seconds. Add the wood ear mushrooms, cabbage leaves, and 2 tablespoons rice wine; stir-fry 1 minute. Add pheasant and cornstarch mixture; stir-fry 2 minutes or until sauce is thick. Place pheasant mixture on a platter. Combine hoisin sauce and 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Spread about 1 1/2 teaspoons hoisin sauce mixture on each Mandarin Pancake. Top each pancake with 1/4 cup pheasant mixture; roll up. Mandarin Pancakes Adapted from Cooking Light Yield: 16 pancakes (serving size: 1 pancake)
2 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup boiling water 1 1/2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
Lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and water in bowl of stand mixer. Knead with dough hook until soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 3 minutes). Shape the dough into a 1 1/2-inch-thick log. Divide the dough into 16 equal portions. Press into pancakes with tortilla maker. Brush 8 pancakes evenly with oil. Top each with one of the remaining pancakes and chill in refrigerator until ready to cook. Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place 1 pancake stack in pan, and cook 1 minute on each side or until slightly puffed. Remove from pan, and cool. Peel pancakes apart.