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  • Writer's pictureKim Vassaur Freeman

Day Dreaming of Speck Hunting at The Elms

One of the many super fun things about hunting specks is they typically travel in much (emphasis on much!) smaller groups than snows and blues. Too, they are much more responsive to calling than snows and blues as well, and actually engage in talking back and forth with one calling to them. So, hunting specks is a far different proposition than hunting snows and blues.

Fun to hunt and delectable table fare they are…specks are often referred to as the “ribeye of the sky.” Add some fresh from the grill veggies and, perhaps, some starch and you’ll have a meal to remember. Whoops…we forgot to add a glass of red too. Cabernet, Malbec, Pinot Noir…you make the call, but be prepared to finish the bottle and open a second as you and friends talk of your past speck hunt and wonder if the next will be as fulfilling as the last. Ahhh…cheers.

To tempt even further to the goodness of a perfectly cooked speck, allow us to share a recipe from our good friend Scott Lesath, The Sporting Chef (see more of Scott and is culinary wizardry at

Specklebelly geese are generally acknowledged as the best-eating goose on the planet, although I did have someone tell me that snow geese are his favorite. He then explained how he cut the breast into thin strips, marinated them for a few days and …wrapped them in bacon. I’m guessing that the marinade, jalapeno and bacon were the dominant flavors. Kabobs are handy because they can secure a protein, vegetable, and starch all on the same skewer, and it looks great on the plate. However, when there aren’t any cameras around, I make separate skewers for meat and vegetables so that I can more easily control the doneness of each. I’ll serve one meat and one vegetable skewer on each plate.

Every wooden skewer recipe comes with instructions to soak the wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes to keep them from burning over an open flame. It’s been my experience that they’re going to burn anyway if left over an open flame for more than a few minutes. I prefer rigid metal or flexible wire skewers.

Specks don’t need an overpowering marinade, just a little good-quality olive oil and the right amount of seasoning. Your choice of vegetables for the skewers is a matter of personal choice and local availability.

6 servings

4 cups trimmed specklebelly goose breast fillets, skin on or off. Cut into 2-inch pieces.

2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

8 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons Kosher salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

2 bell peppers, any color, seeded and cut into 1 to 2-inch squares

1 large onion, cut into eights and then broken apart

1. In a large bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, Kosher salt, and black pepper. Whisk until well-blended. Add goose and vegetables. Toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.

2. Place meat and vegetables on skewers and grill over medium-hot coals or on a propane grill until cooked to the desired temperature. For medium-rare, the internal temperature of the meat should be around 135 degrees.

3. To serve, serve either as individual-sized skewers or removed from the skewers and served on a platter.

Mmmm good. Thanks for the great recipe, Scott. Looks like one we may even need to try at The Elms this coming season.

Why not come hunt with us and pursue some specks with our guides who use full body decoys over dry ag-fields and utilize labs to “fetch ‘em up.” We hunt them in the early season beginning October 28 running through November 10, and then of course hunt them during the regular waterfowl season from November 25 through the end of January with a couple spilt-seasons of a few days each along the way.

Be it the early or regular season, we’d love to have you out to explore Arkansas, the Arkansas River Valley and The Elms Lodge. We are located but 20 minutes from Max Prairie Wings in Stuttgart. Should you fly, our guests use Little Rock National (one hour away) or Pine Bluff (15 minute drive) should they travel via private plane. We have a few 2023/2024 season spots which remain as well as a handful of slots for the early speck season – why not come join us as we assist you and colleagues in making memories to last a lifetime.

-Duck Diva

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