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Heartland Outdoors turkey hunt Illinois may 2018


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Recent entries



My next hunting truck

Fri, January 05, 2018

I’ve had several trucks in my lifetime, from a small two-wheel drive Ford Ranger to a Crew Cab Chevy with long bed and four wheel drive, but is there ever really enough truck? My current truck has slightly more square footage than my first two college apartments…….combined! But I still don’t have enough room.

Let’s face it this time of year you can chase pert near every game specie in Illinois.  As I look through my overloaded pickup truck I have muzzleloader, shotguns, pistols, rifles, ice augers, sonar units, camo bibs, three kinds of boots, a bow, a cross bow, buckets of ice fishing tackle, waders, waterfowl ammo and gear, split hickory wood for the smoker or if I’m stranded and just need to survive.  I have blankets and stools, folding chairs for blinds, heaters, propane tanks, lanterns, skinning knives and rubber gloves. I have deer calls, safety harness, water bottles, hand warmers, two pair binoculars, range finder, black powder, braided ice fishing line, three pair of sun glasses, a bic lighter, four pair of gloves, two flashlights, another pistol, and another shotgun…..who’s is that? Oh well, figure it all out when I clean it out for spring fishing…………then I’ll put in cutting boards, fillet knives, vacuum packer, rods, reels, tackle, rain suits, sun lotion, bandaids, pliers, line cutters, minnow buckets, life jackets, flashlights, rod holders, planer boards, maybe keep the waders in there, flip flops, and still an extra shotgun?? Maybe it’s mine, I can’t remember with all this stuff.  I need a bigger truck

Remember a cluttered truck is the sign of living a good life, you can hunt deer, coyotes, geese, and run a trap line, you can ice fish and open water fish right now if you can find some. You can shoot trap, rifles, bows and anything else you want. While Illinois has its downfalls and most are political (we won’t get in to that) it’s full of great people (mostly) and even more opportunity. Be sure to get out there and end one season with a bang and start a new one. Load your truck up with gear grab some buddies, and your kids and their kids and get outdoors and enjoy this lovely winter weather, rumor has it Sunday has a heat wave of 30 degrees coming in, don’t miss it!

That all being said, next time I’m getting one of these.

Until next time, be safe and God bless,
Matt Cheever ~ Flatlander


A great start to the season!

Thu, October 05, 2017

The most rewarding part of being an outdoor writer is hearing folks hunting stories, not just another sighting of a spike buck or watching a coyote mouse in a field but what I really like are parents seeing their kids mature through the outdoors. I love to hear them brag on the next generation and they should, it’s our future, it’s our heritage staying alive through another generation.

I met Jim and Andrea Ritchie while taking in some good guitar playing while out with my brother one summer evening and I know Jim is an avid waterfowler and we immediately talked hunting.  Andrea mentioned their son’s passion for hunting, especially whitetail.  I wished them a good season and a good season has come!

Fifteen-year-old William Kafer Shot this Fulton Co. ten-point buck on opening morning around 9:00 with his bow at 25 yards.  The buck field dressed at 200 lbs. and will score approximately 135” P&Y !  Great Job Will!! Thanks for reading and supporting Heartland Outdoors, can’t wait to see what else comes your way this season!!

Until next time, be safe and God bless,
Matt Cheever -  Flatlander


It’s been awhile

Thu, April 27, 2017

I know “it’s been awhile” (mental reference to Aaron Lewis/Staind song) since I’ve shared a recipe, life never seems to slow down but I’ve been back in the kitchen lately and here is one for the books!

Upscale meatballs with mushroom remoulade over rice

Start off with…

Two pounds of deer burger/pork mix (mine is with 25% pork fat and 25% lean ground pork)
Three eggs
Three handfuls of crumbled crackers (I used bacon cheddar pitta crackers)
Portobello mushrooms
can of stewed Italian tomatoes
1 yellow or orange bell pepper
some prepared garlic and a large yellow onion
splash of red wine
Bacon fat (left over from frying bacon previously)
Gruyere cheese/Monterey Jack shredded in to sauce
Sour Cream/ Heavy whipping cream
Worcestershire sauce, Lawry’s season salt, black pepper, chili powder, salt, pepper and whatever else you like to season the meat.

Box of brown minute rice, prepare it in a fry daddy with 3 cups rice, 3 cups water, a squeezed lemon and some rice wine vinegar.  (the fry daddy makes perfect rice and keeps it warm and moist until served)

If you know how I cook, you won’t expect to get accurate measurements. Measuring is for bakers, cooking to taste is for Chefs. This is something you just learn as you go, practice practice.

1.) Start with large bowl, incorporate ground meat, finely chopped onion, prepared garlic, eggs, cracker crumbs, Worcestershire sauce and all the seasonings you like.  Don’t be afraid to make the meatball a little spicy as the rice and sauce will be very mild.

2.) make large meatballs the size of a tennis ball or there about, sear them in a large bake proof skillet, preferably in a little bacon fat and olive oil (the bacon fat will give a great flavor and crispness on the meatball) cook on two sides until brown

3.) Add in a splash or three of red wine, chopped stewed tomatoes, chopped bell pepper then place it in the oven for 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees

4.) while waiting on the meatballs start the rice in the fry daddy and add the vinegar and lemon, salt and pepper wouldn’t hurt either

5.) while waiting on the rice and meatballs chop the mushrooms and shred the cheeses in a bowl

6.) remove the meatballs from the skillet and return skillet to stove top burner, leaving the tomatoes and peppers in the skillet along with all the juices, if dry add a few tips of a good Lager or Bock beer and cook down/reduce along with the mushrooms. 

7.) once mushrooms are cooked down, lower heat to low at most and add in cheese blend, three tablespoons of sour cream and the same amount/or maybe more of heavy cream stirring to prevent burning

8.) the good part – plate it up, bed of rice, drop a few meatballs, cover with the remoulade/mushroom sauce and garnish with some spring greens/arugula and ENJOY Immensely!

I’d like to give a shout out to the inspiring Chef’s I’ve enjoyed watching and learning from over the years, some on television, some locally- Thanks Emeril Lagasse, Justin Wilson, Todd Kent and John Kemp for cultivating ideas of culinary delight!!

Until next time,
God Bless

Matt Cheever ~ Flatlander


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