Current Conditions
27 ° Cloudy

Ron, Gun and Game: Learn to make your own jerky, this winter

THAT’S A BIG ONE — Kyle Bliss, 19-year-old grandson of Orchard Park resident Dan Ertl, took this trophy buck in Cattaraugus County on Dec. 2, using a .257 rifle. Bliss and his dad are members of the Arcade Conservation Club.
SPRINGVILLE — The holiday season is now in the past and my wife just asked me why there is no room in the freezer. For many sportsmen this year, it was a productive hunting and fishing year, in Western New York.

In fact, 2013 may have been the best season in many moons and, when we experience such good times on the water and in the woods, it makes you wonder if such productive seasons are related to some other unusual occurrence – like a sunken polar vortex, which only happens every few decades. So, if you think about deer and the moon, perch and sunrise, spawning season for many other species and the average winter temperature compared to other years, it makes us all wonder about success theories.

Morning coffee breaks and water cooler chats are filled with these kinds of conversations, if you are among sportsman looking for reasons why they missed a shot on a big deer or lost a trophy bass or walleye. Some of those discussions are good for a few laughs, but sometimes, there is substance and data to support theories, too.

With the recent storm blowing through our homeland in Western New York this week, many outdoor folks discussed emergency supplies. The usual laundry list included blankets, flashlights, water, food and extra clothes, while on the road. At home, people stock a backup supply of water, a generator, in case you lose power, and plenty of extra gas to keep it running, if you really need it for your sump pump and refrigerator.

What if the need was for several days? What if we needed it for homeland security reasons? Everyone agreed that dried goods and cured goods should always be in storage and what better way to consume venison than in the form of jerky?

So, I promptly set out on a mission to learn how to make good venison jerky. I was advised by friends to go visit a small company in Buffalo, the “Sausage-Maker,” which has become a national sausage-making supply provider, in the last 10 years. They are located in the Clinton-Bailey market and have a retail store there, as well as a Web store. My better half immediately recognized how we could free up some space in the freezer and we were fortunate enough to meet a master jerky maker there that day, Al Jenis.

After we explained our purpose, Jenis directed us to an entire wall of seasonings, ingredients and curing flavors.There were dozens of choices. Jenis then shared something important.

“If you want to save a lot of money and go away with enough to make 25 pounds of jerky, in five different flavors, complete with Instacure No. 1 [which prevents botulism] and casings – if you have a sausage stuffer, then here is your best choice. It comes in a box that says ‘25-lb. Jerky Assortment Kit.’”

We did buy a sausage stuffer device, a few years back, to make Polish sausage, so we were halfway there. I checked with my wife and she agreed, “Let’s try that, since there are five different flavors and the cost of the kit is less than $18 for everything, including optional smoke flavoring supply and instructions.”

This kit will work for burger-style mixes or if you plan to cut slices off your roasts for jerky. Using venison burger or hamburger is the most common method to make the jerky. The kit will work then, if you have a sausage-stuffer machine, a jerky gun, pre-formed jerky mold or simply a cutting board and knife.

We loaded five pounds of burger into a mixing bowl and then followed the hand-mixing instructions, added some water to assure the mix was equally mixed, loaded the sausage stuffer with 50 feet of 3/8-inch collagen casings, which were part of the kit, and turned the crank on the stuffer. We cut the stuffed casings into 10-inch lengths that resulted in about 50 pieces of perfect-looking jerky sticks ready for the oven or your smoker.

We preheated the oven to 170 degrees, as per the instructions, then divided our un-cured jerky sticks on top of three cookie racks for even heating and final curing. After four hours, we checked inside the oven and presto! There they were, perfectly formed jerky sticks that had a slight smoke flavor and perfect color. We had even hand-formed 1-inch by 6-inch strips about 1/8 inches thick, to verify that it was possible to make jerky from this kit without any other tools or rigs.

After a few hours of cool-down in the fridge, we sampled a few of the sticks. They were awesome! Understand that we only used five pounds of burger and we had enough supplies for 25 pounds of jerky. After all the work, we agreed that the kit was perfect for newbies and anyone who wanted to make jerky, for the first time. The entire effort was affordable and easy.

While you can obtain supplies from any number of places, the Sausage-Maker catalog can be reviewed at Look ’em up there or call 824-5814, for a free catalog. To make other sausages and cure different meats, radio and TV speaker and Sausage-Maker company founder, Rytek Kutas, offers a 500-page book on sausage making, available in hard or soft-cover. It’s great when you can achieve a goal from a local manufacturer, with local supplies and local expertise, to achieve great flavor using local, wild deer products.

We could vacuum-seal and keep these cured products for a very long time, as emergency supplies, for any purpose.

Shot heard ‘round the state

Citizens and sportsmen in Concord and across all of New York state plan to fire one, symbolic shot at noon, this Saturday, Jan. 11, to protest the first anniversary of the New York SAFE Act that was passed in the same manner as when the citizens of Concord, Mass., fought back against British soldiers who had come to seize their firearms and powder.

The Springville Field and Stream Conservation Club is sponsoring this event, in support of the Second Amendment, and they are requesting legal firearm owners throughout New York state to safely fire one, symbolic shot, in a legal manner, at noon. For more information, email them at or visit them on Facebook.


The most controversial law ever passed in New York state is considered a signature accomplishment for Gov. Cuomo and the solid Democratic party majority of the NYS Assembly, but firearm owners in NYS feel like the wool has been pulled over their eyes, since the law was passed during an overnight session, in immediate response to the Sandy Hook incident in Connecticut. The law was fertilizer for complete disrespect of the Cuomo administration among gun owners, especially since it overrules the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. Yet, it was passed.

The same type of law was pushed through in Colorado, a few months back, but the local sponsors of their similar law were subject to a revote process demanded by their voting constituents and, in what came as a surprise to many, the legislators were removed from office.

The NYS SAFE Act outlaws certain types of high-capacity magazines and semi-automatic weapons that would allow one person to become a virtual army among defenseless people, in any setting. It does not address mental health and many other issues, and limits the number of rounds legally allowed in any magazine to seven rounds, outlawing completely, in many cases, magazines that hold more than that.

While many pro-firearm organizations are fighting to repeal the law, it appears the die has been cast and repealing the law will not happen. Revision is likely to happen, but the core of the law will likely remain. The Tresmond Law Team v. NYS, a case in opposition to the SAFE Act, will commence next Thursday, Jan. 16, in Buffalo City Court. For more details, contact Steve Aldstadt at 846-5448.

Violating certain ownership rules of the NYS SAFE Act is a felony. AR-15 rifles are banned from sales in New York, mandatory registration is in effect for these type of firearms legally owned, prior to the SAFE Act. This means the new law has turned some formerly legal gun owners, who may not have kept up with all the political hoopla, into felons. Several firearm manufacturing firms have headed away from New York.

In the meantime, be sure to read and understand the NY SAFE Act, if you own any firearms, to avoid becoming a criminal by simple possession of banned firearm accessories or firearm types.

Outdoor calendar

Jan.11: Fundraiser event for Ray Markiewicz, an eternal friend of fly fishermen who is fighting leukemia, Eden Legion Post No. 880, 1-6 p.m. For more information, call Jim Bailey at 649-9714.

Jan. 12: WNY Winter 3-D League Shoot, open to the public, Collins Conservation. For more information, call Mike Matala at 337-0126 or visit

Jan. 16: NY Safe Act, Tresmond Law team v. NYS, Buffalo City Court, Ninth floor, 50 Delaware Ave., Buffalo. For more information, call Steve Aldstadt at 846-5448.

Feb. 5-8: Safari International Annual Convention, Las Vegas. For more information, visit or call 888-SHOW-SCI.

Feb. 7-9: Coyote Hunt Contest, 7th Annual, White Sulphur Springs Firehouse, Sullivan County, $2,000 grand prize for heaviest coyote, women’s and youth division, $40 entry.

For more information, call 845-482-4987 or visit and click on news.

Send information for the Forrest Fisher Column outdoor calendar, 10 days in advance, to


You must be signed in to comment.

Click Here to create a Free Account

Click here to Sign in


Be the first to Comment