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Grouse Poppers with Dates

For many upland hunters, the September grouse opener marks the beginning of hunting season. For my husband and me, it is a special, highly anticipated time of year. The doldrums of summer are coming to an end, and autumn—plus all that comes with it—is about to make a comeback. Unfortunately, September in Nebraska also means having to hunt in warm weather. Temperatures can reach well into the 90s, and while this might feel uncomfortable for both hunter and dog, it also does no favors for the flavor of game meat. It’s good practice to cool down your hunted meat as soon as possible. Fortunately for upland hunters, having to gut birds in the field is not necessary. Yet spoilage can occur, and that’s often due to negligence on warm days. While you might get away with throwing pheasants in the back of a truck and hunting all day, I’ve found that dark-meat game birds, such as sharptails and prairie chickens, don’t fare well in warm temperatures. The dark flesh can take on that d

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