Tips on Dressing your Wild Turkey in the Field

October 30, 2013 by  
Filed under Turkey Tips

Content Provided By: Brian Stephens, Pro Staff

Field Dressing Your Turkey for Eating or Mounting

Let’s talk about some things to consider after you have successfully harvested your Gobbler.  All your preparation, practice and hard work has paid off and you have arrowed that old long beard.  What next?  Do you intend of eating this bird or taking him to the Taxidermist for mounting?  Either way here are a few things to consider that will help you manage either decision you make…..

Your goal is eating the Turkey, follow these field-dressing tips to ensure the best tasting turkey possible.

  1. First, remove the beard by cutting if off close to the point where it attaches to the breast. Be Careful not to cut the butt or end of the beard as doing so may cause the individual “hairs” to fall out.
  2. Make a small incision at the tip of the breastbone with a sharp knife. Then, carefully peel the skin and feathers away from the breast, legs, thighs and back. Remove the legs at the knee joint by cutting the tendon and bending the joint until it snaps (keep in mind that some additional cutting may be required).
  3. Severing the head at the neck removes both the cape and the head. Next, remove the entrails by making a small cut in the thin tissue between the vent (anus) and the point of the breastbone. Make sure to remove the lungs (pink, spongy material) located on either side of the backbone high in the chest.
  4. Wipe the cavity clean with paper towel, and remove any feathers that remain on the carcass.

If you intend to have your bird mounted, follow these important instructions…..

  1. If you know you will be hunting in an area that will allow you to get your turkey to a taxidermist the same day of your hunt, simply put some cotton balls and a few sheets of paper towels in your hunting vest. Have some newspaper in your hunting vehicle. Use the cotton balls to plug both the mouth and vent (anus) of the turkey. Use the paper towels to wipe blood and body fluids off the bird’s head and feathers. Any remaining paper towels can be wrapped around the turkey’s head.
  2. Then put the Turkey into a Game Bag for Storage until you can get to the Taxidermist.


Bringing the bird from the field to Ship for Mounting

  1. Field care starts immediately after you shoot the bird
  2. Treat the turkey delicately. Grab the turkey by the legs or handle its body. Never grab it by the head or drag it to the ground. Keep the feathers from getting bent or dirty. When transporting the turkey, lay it on its belly, not its back.
  3. When you’re ready to package the gobbler for shipping, lay it on its back. Keep as much blood as possible from dripping on the feathers. Blood that spatters should be washed off immediately.


Preparing the bird for freezing and transport

  1. If the head is bleeding, put paper towels in the turkey’s mouth
  2. Roll the head in paper towels. Fold towels over the head and tape them closed
  3. Tuck the head inside the wing.
  4. Fold the wings tightly against the turkey’s body
  5. Cut a piece of cardboard to fit over the tail feathers and feet. DO NOT tie the feet and feathers together for any reason inside the cardboard. *This is one of the most important steps because kinked tail feathers are difficult to repair
  6. Put the turkey headfirst inside a large garbage bag. Roll the bag over in a teardrop shape, handling the turkey by only its legs or main body. Tape the bag
  7. Fit the cardboard around the tail feathers and feet. Tape or staple the cardboard into position
  8. Lay the turkey in the freezer on its side. In 36 to 48 hours, the turkey will be frozen solid and ready to ship.
  9. Take the turkey from the freezer and wrap it in bubble wrap.
  10. Place the turkey headfirst in a box. The turkey should fit tightly to prevent a lot of movement. You can usually find a box at a grocery store or moving company. If there are old labels on the box, tear them off, or mark through them with a black marker


Originally posted 2012-02-08 16:01:31. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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