How To Field Dress Your Turkey

7 Easy Steps To Field Dressing Your Turkey

By John Jameson

With the increasing number of wild turkeys in the woods, turkey hunting is becoming as popular a sport as deer and elk hunting. If you’re hunting with the intention of cooking the whole bird, you must learn how to field dress a turkey. On the other hand, if you are hunting for sport and want a trophy, you should avoid field dressing your turkey as it will make mounting an impossibility. For mounting, just take the turkey to a taxidermist without any field dressing at all.

How To Field Dress Your Turkey - by John JamesonOn the hunt, there are two main reasons you should field dress your turkey before arriving home. The first is if you are far from home and will be unable to do a full cleaning within a short period of time. The second reason is if the day is extremely hot. You don’t want the meat to spoil before you can field dress it.

Here’s how to make a clean, quick cut for traditional field dressing.

1. Lay the turkey down on its back.
2. Remove some of the breast feathers over the breastplate as this will make it easier to complete step number three.
3. Run your index finger down the breastplate until you locate the bottom of the breastplate.
4. Using a sharp knife, (uh, can you say “Havalon,” sharpest hunting knife in the woods) slice the bird from the bottom of the breastplate down to the anal vent, which is located in a narrow passage between the bird’s legs.
5. Extract the most easily removed entrails like the intestines, kidneys, liver, etc.
6. Again using a knife, remove the heart, lungs and windpipe.
7. Fill the body cavity with ice to keep your bird cool and fresh until you can transport it to your final destination.

How To Field Dress Your Turkey - by John JamesonThose hunters who prefer to take only pieces, such as the breasts and legs, should understand how to field dress a turkey with these modifications. For the breasts, cut through the skin on the breast and slice along the edges of the breasts for easy removal. To remove legs and thighs, use your Havalon knife to cut through the thigh muscle, while pulling up on the leg and thigh until the joint pops and the portion comes loose.

Depending on how you intend to cook the turkey, the way you remove the feathers will be affected as well.

• To create the best results for roasting, smoking and deep-frying, hunters should pluck the feathers and leave the skin intact.
• To create the best results for pan frying or grilling, hunters should opt to completely skin the bird.

Next post: Tips on Cooking Your Wild Turkey


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