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Good Tasting Greater Scaup?

Discussion in 'The Duck Hunters Forum' started by NorCal Cazadora, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. NorCal Cazadora

    NorCal Cazadora New Member

    Jan 17, 2008
    Sacramento, California
    OK, this is Hank Shaw here (NorCal Cazadora's boyfriend). I have a question for all you coastal diver duck hunters out there...

    So I shot a limit of Greater Scaup yesterday in the Suisun Bay of California. All were very fat. Normally I'd still skin them because their dominant foods are clams. BUT... the fat was so white I thought I'd give it a shot and pluck the birds. Then I tested some of the fat by frying it up.

    I was SHOCKED. It was no different from the fat of a green teal or pintail. Just as white, just as clean-tasting.

    How can this be? Have any of you encountered this before? Divers that are fatty and whose fat tastes good? Any explanation?
  2. itallushrt

    itallushrt Elite Refuge Member

    Jul 21, 2002
    Hank, for starters I'm a big fan of your blog. I read it regularly. Please add more waterfowl recipes. :tu

    We kill a lot of greaters, but have difficulty getting to taste anywhere as good as a puddle duck. I know the primary forage of the greaters we kill here are freshwater mussels, and I've never seen extremely white fat on them.
  3. The Other David

    The Other David Elite Refuge Member

    Apr 15, 2000
    THE Hank Shaw of Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook?

    Welcome to the Refuge? Get your own account!

    I recently discovered your website (and just posted to it yesterday, on corned venison) and think it is terrific!

    Others should check it out, too:
  4. Phytoplankton

    Phytoplankton Elite Refuge Member

    Jun 26, 2008
    Quite honestly as long as the fat is nice and white, and 95% of the time it is, they taste just fine. Their food is mostly clams, but think about it, clams are not that strong in taste, as compared to mussels, fish or even shrimp.
  5. Hunter/Gather

    Hunter/Gather Elite Refuge Member

    Aug 19, 2005
    Humboldt CA
    Hi Hank,

    I have seen some here that had the very white fat layer that you are talking about. They were taken from a coastal lagoon that usually has extensive sago beds. It holds quite a few fat cans and ringnecks because of that. We at times wind up looking through flocks of scaup for redheads or ringnecks after shooting a can. Those bluebills are also in pretty nice condition though. It is just a few hundred miles up the coastal flyway from the big bay. Then again, Humboldt Bay gets a lot more scaup, and I'm sure they are feeding more on inverts there.
  6. Squaller

    Squaller Elite Refuge Member

    Jan 5, 2003
    Fresno, California
    Mitch had a pretty good explanation...

    For the most part all of the Pochards (Canvasback, redhead, & ringneck) are relatively good eating... Scaup coming in at the bottom of the list, cause they do eat more invertebrates though (in fact they tend to prefer protein where the other members of the Pochard family tend to prefer vegetation)...

    My luck eating them has not been so good, but a fellow refuge hunter and diver chaser, was telling me that if the fat is thick and white it will be a good eater; if the bird is lacking fat, or the fat is yellow, it will likely taste strong.

    And, interestingly, I was reading an article about the canvasbacks in the Chesapeake Bay... Much of the vegetation they normally eat is gone, and the birds in that area have switched to a more protein driven diet... I would guess that the quality of taste has decreased with these birds... (I would be curious to hear from people shooting cans in that area).
  7. FowlShot

    FowlShot Elite Refuge Member

    Oct 20, 2003
    Killed a pair of Redheads this past weekend. They were the only 2 birds to come into the decoys.

    Hen was FULL of millet. Drake, not a single seed.

    Just thought this was interesting...
  8. Greybeard

    Greybeard Elite Refuge Member

    May 16, 2000
    smells like Celery, I'll eat that bird. If it smells like anything else I carve out the Breast, cook it over an open fire and feed it to the dog.:eek:

    I doubt that we could find a deep water lake with Celery Beds still growing here in the Midwest. The Celery used to be the Scaups No.1 aquatic food.
  9. solitude

    solitude Senior Refuge Member

    Dec 31, 2004
    Best Scaup I have eaten were taken in Lake Erie/Detroit River. I think there is still celery down there.
  10. Rubberhead

    Rubberhead Elite Refuge Member

    Mar 6, 2002
    Moncks Corner, SC
    I've eaten a lot of scaup; saltwater, freshwater, snails, vallisneria - all good.

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