Jillian, more often known as @thenoisyplume, hails from The North, resides in beautiful Idaho most of the year and is killer with a pliers, camera and shotgun. We caught up with her about her passion for fishing and hunting and outdoor origins.
NAME: Jillian Susan Lukiwski
WHERE DO YOU CALL HOME?
My husband and I split our year (usually) between the Rocky Mountain escarpments of Idaho and the North Cascades of Washington. The fire season in the interior West is what keeps us running back and forth across state lines—he's a smokejumper.
I am a metalsmith, a freelance photographer and writer.
I nordic ski, trail run, skijor my German Shorthaired Pointers in the winter months, hunt upland and big game with my husband, fish, row a raft, and my job is something I take along with me on most of those excursions. I'm pretty lucky to be able to say my work is fun. That's how it should be. Also, I really love to garden.
WHAT ARE YOUR DOG'S NAMES?
Our dogs are Montana's Honky Tonk Tater Tot and Sequoia's Fleet Farley -- their friends and lovers know them as Tater and Farley. We also have a lesser photographed but tremendously beloved teenie weenie named Penelope. She's good for nothing, except cuddles, and has never ever earned her keep.
TELL US ABOUT HUNTING WITH YOUR GSP.
My husband grew up in the Sierras of Northern California and was a weird little mountain man who one day got it in his head that he wanted to hunt quail. So he started hunting quail. When we married 11 years ago, we immediately wanted a dog and Robert always wanted a bird dog so we acquired our first German Shorthaired Pointer. At the time, Rob was a fish biologist and we were living in the low desert of Arizona on a remote fish hatchery on the Colorado River. We were raising our own penned birds to train Farley up on but also had an abundance of quail to work with all around the compound we were living in. The rest is history.
When it comes to training, I think the more birds you can get your dog into the better a bird dog you'll have. It's really about helping them get 10 000 hours on the job -- they're mastering a craft. They have natural instincts to hunt and point (if you are raising and training a pointer), but they have to learn by experience how hard they can push a bird and how different species of upland birds react to being hunted and stalked.
The more you hunt your dog, they faster your dog will master the work. If you have a bird dog and only hunt it once a year, you're not going to have a lot of success in the field. In that regard, it takes a lot of dedication, as a human, to make hunting a priority.
Rob and I think having GSPs is a responsibility. There are days in the fall when Rob is still away working and I've been slaving away in the studio for hours and am completely exhausted but I still pack my bag, load a dog and shotgun in the truck and head up the mountain for grouse because I feel I owe it to my dogs to get them out and let them work. It's hard to explain how deep the partnership goes. I enjoy hunting my dogs, but they're so excellent at what they do that I almost feel ashamed of myself if we don't get them out to do their work.
ANY GOOD RECIPES FROM YOUR GAME HUNTS?
We use game meats like you'd use any domestic meat; we simply substitute it in. If a recipe calls for chicken, we throw in a couple of hungarian partridges, a chukar or a handful of quail. If a recipe calls for ground beef, we toss in a package of elk burger. I reckon if you're a good cook, your game will taste good when you cook it.
It's always a good choice to slow cook big game roasts with all the veggie trimmings and horseradish galore!!! It's what we have cooking right now. The house smells delicious. I kept four antelope legs this year and used them to make bone broths -- so delicious. We always make a lot of hamburger, breakfast sausage and spiced sausage with our antelope and elk. It's so good. When I eat antelope, I feel like I am being nourished by the wind. We love grilling backstrap and then cutting it in strips to put on salad -- pheasant is good this way too. There is no greater cut of steak than antelope tenderloin. It's a small cut, but it is so, so fine. Chukar pad thai noodles!!! Whole roasted herb smothered pheasant.
As always, if you can, do your own butchering! There's a learning curve and it takes some time and ties up the garage space for a day or so but it's the best way to ensure excellent cuts of meat from what you have harvested.
ANY GOOD FLY FISHING TIPS?
You know, I consider myself an intermediate fly fisher on a really good day -- there's still so much to learn. But I do have this to say about fishing, I think it gets pushed as a sport so hard that people forget it's also what I would consider a life skill.
Anytime we are out on the river, we always keep a fish to eat. If we are on the Green River of Utah, we eat a couple of little brown trout every single night when we put the boat in for the evening. If we are on the Southfork of the Snake, we keep a couple of rainbows or cutbows for dinner every night. I like to remember that fishing is fun and a wonderful craft, but I also like to remember that fishing is a skill I can use to feed myself. And let's be honest, is there anything better than a fresh roasted trout with garlic, lemon and pepper after a long day on the river rowing and casting? I think not. Take the time to enjoy your catch every now and again.
WHAT'S GOING ON IN YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW?
We're trying to figure out what the heck to do with ourselves after the 2015 fire season. We're about to put our house up for sale. We're always shopping for a ranch. I'm in the throes of a handful of photography and writing projects while churning out new work in metal. I'm looking for a studio space to work out of while we are in the Methow Valley this summer. I'm making my summer plans, slowly but surely, so far they include Canada, Montana, Utah, California and Washington. I'm a busy girl.
CURRENTLY LISTENING TO AND READING?
I'm listening to a lot of different music at the moment, it depends on my mood. I like to begin the day with thrift shop opera on vinyl. Once I move out to the studio to work for the day, there's a lot of Rolling Stones, Nikki Lane, Death by Murder, Nocturnes for Piano, Jurassic 5, Pocket Dwellers, Shakey Graves and when I'm really feeling creatively fussy I put on Katy Perry for a bit. Oops. Is that too honest? I was recently at home in Canada and picked up a copy of Joni Mitchell's "Blue" on vinyl -- it's wonderful. Rob and I have been known to spin Willie, Waylon and John Denver on the record player...obsessively. It just sounds so crackly and good.
I'm reading and re-reading: H is for Hawk, Girl of the Limberlost, O Pioneers, A Field Guide To Getting Lost...and I am almost finished In Times Like These by Canadian heroine Nellie McClung and while I don't consider myself a rabid feminist, she makes some good points.
I like to go anywhere no one else is. I also like the low desert of Arizona in February, Saskatchewan in July, the North Cascades of Washington in September, all of Idaho in October (and every month for that matter), the Green River of Utah in April and November, Paris in the springtime...
HOW DID YOU FIRST CONNECT WITH THE WILD?
I grew up in the National Parks of Canada, quite literally. My dad was a park warden when I was growing up so we lived on remote stations in a handful of national parks in the four western provinces of Canada. I lived in the bush, and outside in general, up until my dad quit the service and we moved to Saskatoon -- but even in Saskatoon we lived just up from the Saskatchewan River and I always found a way to be down at the waters edge.
Being outside is my natural state, cities feel like loud, jangling shackles to me. I don't really remember ever playing inside when I was small. Even if it was -30C or -40C outside my sisters and I bundled up and went out to play. When I was a kid, you could find me collecting tadpoles, catching frogs, building forts in the horse pasture, riding horses, playing with kittens in the hay loft, riding out on patrol with my dad, camping, canoeing, catching big old nasty walleye and pike, gardening with my mum, or just wandering around in the bush with my dog singing to myself -- not much has changed over the years except now I catch trout.
HOW DO YOU TRUST THE WILD?
The best way to trust the wild is to belong to the wild.
BEST WAY TO END THE DAY?
I like a good trail run at the end of the day when the light is golden and the air is beginning to cool -- it frees up all my hinges, makes my heart glad and soothes my mind.