Originally Posted by AtHomeInTheWoods
I am generally trying to figure out the same thing. I did not grow up hunting but my son has developed an interest and has gotten me involved (God forbid we ever hit anything, I would not know how to clean/prepare it!!! :-) We have really enjoyed the youth pheasant hunts the past two years and would like to go out on our own. I am trying to locate access points to stocked areas close to Murrysville (Keystone, Loyalhanna, Blairsville, Etc.) Anyone want to share their "secret spots" with us?
I'm not familiar with your area but as far as not knowing how to clean/prepare what you may kill, it's not hard. With pheasants, you can clean the whole bird but since most of the meat is in the breast anymore I just breast them out and discard the rest (if you tie flies you can use the pheasant tails for PT nymphs.) It's quick and easy and all you need is a sharp knife. Cut the skin up the middle and peel back the feathers and skin to expose the breast meat. Carefully cut out each breast, take your time and get as much of the meat out as you can. Season or mariande them as you want. They're done quickly on a grill or in a pan and it makes a great lunch after returning home from your hunt.
If you want to do the whole bird, the easiest way is to remove the skin with the feathers. Or you can do it the way my dad taught me, which is the way he used to do chickens. Boil up a big pot of water and scald the pheasant quickly to aid in removing the feathers while preserving the skin on the bird for cooking. This method is time consuming and can be messy, we used to do it outside.
If you get some squirrels or rabbits, you're going to want to skin them and there are some simple ways of doing it. A guy here posted a video not long ago skinning squirrel and it is indeed a simple way to to do it.
Really, if you and your son are going to hunt, you should learn how to clean the game you get. That's not only part of your responsibility as hunters but it's very satisfying preparing and sharing the game you take with your family. It's a great way to get further connected to the land and the game. It's not hard and you get better at it with practice. Good luck and safe hunting.