On a Spring turkey hunt, several years ago, I walked along a ditch to make a grizzly discovery. Near an old campsite were 6 dead Gobblers. All the tails and feathers were still intact. Only the breasts had been removed. Their campsite was also left with trash scattered around and a firepit full of broken beer bottles. Empty rifle cartridges were also laying about. No shotgun shells were to be found. Not true Sportsmen.
Spring turkey season is a shotgun, gobbler only hunt. You can also use a bow and arrow or black powder shotgun. The hunt is about calling the Gobbler into range for an ethical shot. For most hunters, the range is 50 yards or less.
The mutilated birds that I found may have been the result of poaching or just lazy hunters. Gobblers are amazing and beautiful creatures. The tails, wings, and body feathers make wonderful decorations and trout flies. The spurs are also prized. These “hunters” wasted half of their gobblers. They were also too lazy to pick up their own trash.
Turkey meat is healthy and tasty. Do not expect to harvest a white meated Butter Ball with a plump breast. Wild birds are more vascular and the meat is darker. The breasts on a wild bird are half the size of a domesticated bird.
Legs, thighs, wings, and organs are also part of the harvest. The leg and thigh are also known as the drumstick. You can use the knife point to disconnect the hip socket. This meat is dark and full of flavor. Poaching and picking the meat makes for wonderful soup, or any recipe needed pieces of meat. Smoking the drumstick makes for a Viking drumstick meal.
Wings contain a surprising amount of meat. Picking the feathers and leaving the skin allows for a monster “Chicken Wing” style snack. They can also be deep fried, barbecues, or poached/ picked for soups.
Organs were traditionally the delicacy of a wild game kill. Fresh heart and liver were often eaten immediately. The turkey Gizzard, liver, and heart are also nutritious.
Filling a tag is only one part of hunting. Taking just a few parts of the harvest is a waste. If you just want part of a wild game, go to the store, and buy what you prefer. You will get what you want, and it will be cheaper.
Leave the wild game for the Real Hunters to enjoy. The whole bird will be utilized, enjoyed, and respected.
Except the head! That’s just plain UGLY!
For more Montana Grant, find him intact at www.montangrantfishing.com.