Sonny Fulks
Sonny Fulks
Managing Editor

Sonny Fulks is a graduate of Ohio State University where he pitched four varsity seasons for the Buckeyes from 1971 through 1974. He furthered his baseball experience as a minor league umpire for seven seasons, working for the Florida State League (A), the Southern League (AA), and the American Association (AAA). He has written for numerous websites, and for the past fourteen years has served as columnist and photo editor for The Gettysburg Magazine, published by the University of Nebraska Press, in Lincoln Nebraska. His interests include history, support for amateur baseball, the outdoors, and he has a music degree from Ohio State University.

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Back from one trip to the west, a different twist to another hunting trip and a willing appetite got me back on the road again for one last shot at Iowa roosters.

Riverside, Iowa – When you’ve chased as many wild rooster pheasants as my son Matt and I have over the years, it’s pretty apparent…it’s what we love.

Good shotguns.  Good friends.  Good dogs.  Good shooting, and a good evening by the fire at the Highland Hideaway Lodge here in Riverside, Iowa this weekend to bid a fond closure to another year.

But always…I want one more good hunt, and one more different experience, to finish the hunting season.  That’s what I was looking for earlier this fall when I invited Bill Glover to accompany me, Matt, and Press Pros sponsor Jim Hemmelgarn, from Sidney, Ohio on my traditional holiday hunt at the Highlands Lodge in Riverside, Iowa.

Who is Bill Glover, you ask?  And why him, specifically?  Wait til you hear.

Glover is the executive chef of the fabulous new Hilton hotel in downtown Columbus.  But more, he has an appreciation for food far beyond his standard restaurant menu of fine beef, pork, fowl and fish.  Owner/operator of his own eatery on North High Street for six years prior to taking his current position with Hilton (the Sage American Bistro), he’s grown up with a fascination and respect for a taste more on the wild side.  He’s a hunter.

“Oh yeah, I grew up in Pennsylvania, in Newcastle, about 40 minutes north of Pittsburgh,”  he shared Sunday afternoon, during a morning hunt on a portion of Highland Lodge’s 2,000 acres.  “I grew up with hunters, my father, and my grandfather.  I learned from them…how to shoot, how to prepare, and how to eat and savor wild game.  I still hunt deer around central Ohio, but I’ve always wanted to come west to hunt pheasants.

“This is my Christmas.  I haven’t been able to sleep, thinking about it.”

He had to go West to if he wanted to hunt, because there are no pheasants in Ohio, thanks in large part to Ohio, and sadly, to too many Ohioans.  Production and profit from the land are a bigger priority, leaving legions with a generational hunting legacy having to travel to find birds where they may be found.  He found them here…plenty of them!

Executive chef at the new downtown Hilton hotel, in Columbus, Bill Glover grew up hunting and with a taste for the special flavor of the wild.

He struggled at first, shooting “at”  birds over the impeccable work from the short-hair pointers of friend and guide Krieg Jacque.  But soon he was “shooting” birds, the training and time spent with dad and grandad began to pay dividends.  He easily collected a day’s limit, and in appreciation for the long-awaited experience…he offered to cook, and share, the exquisite taste of pheasant and chukar partridge with friends and staff of the Highland Lodge.  The best way to end the last hunt of the year, as only a chef with Bill’s experience could provide.

I’ve eaten wild pheasant just about every way you can prepare it.  My mother always baked it, like a turkey.

Over the years my own personal favorite recipe is to marinate the white meat breast in Italian dressing and grill it over hot charcoal for five minutes each side.

Others prepare it in stir fry creations.  Some pan fry and oven-simmer and finish with a sauce of their liking.  Everyone who hunts has their own special taste for pheasant.  I couldn’t wait to see how the “chef” went off menu.

“Chukar Gumbo”, he smiled, chopping the “trio” of all good Cajun concoctins…onions, green pepper, and celery.  “And some pheasant and whitetail deer jambalaya.”

How do you cook wild bird? How about pheasant gumbo? And if you need the recipe, just have dinner at the Hilton and ask for Bill. He’ll be happy to help you.

But the taste-de-resistance (apologies for correct application of the term)?  Tomato,crawfish, deer sausage (from his recent Ohio whitetail)…and of course, shrimp, purchased from the local Hy-Vee grocery, in Iowa City.

In their fifteen years of operation the Highland Lodge kitchen has fed thousands of hunters, breakfast and lunch.  They serve the best morning bacon and eggs-over-easy you’ve ever laid lip to.  And co-owner Ron Rath’s three-quarter pound hamburgers and au-gratin potatoes for lunch are legendary.

But the smells that Bill Glover produced out of the same pots and pans were simply extraordinary, a collection of experience from years of self-taught trial and error…and of course, a lot of sampling.

“I’ve worked around some incredible people,”  he confessed, humbly, borrowing from the spices and inventory in Rath’s cabinets.  “You learn a few tricks.”

More than a few, obviously.  The “last supper” of hunting season was fabulous.  Outstanding!

And with this advice from Bill Glover.  If you hunt, think creatively with how you prepare your wild meat.  By the way, his recipe for venison sausage is simply out of this world…like nothing you’ve ever tasted in summer sausage.

So, you can imagine what food at the Hilton is like.  Next time you’re in Columbus put it on your “to do” list.  It has the only chef in town that can talk fine cuisine…or pheasant hunting.  Ask your server for him.

He’ll be out in a minute!

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