Author Topic: Turkey Harvest question  (Read 251 times)

Offline fleabagmatt

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Turkey Harvest question
« on: Yesterday at 02:07:26 PM »
Hello all,

I've been a member on here for a bit, but never posted until now. I'm having a go at turkey hunting for the first time and I'm not quite sure what to do should I manage to actually harvest a bird. I've watched some videos on how to remove the breast and legs of the bird, which seems like the simplest option, but I got to wondering if there were requirements to provide evidence of sex with turkeys? I found this in the spring turkey/bear pamphlet:

"It is illegal to possess in the field or transport game birds unless a feathered head is left attached to each carcass."

Does that mean I have to bring the whole bird home and process it there?

This may all be a moot point, as I have no idea what I'm doing out there and chances are probably slim that I manage to get onto a bird. Spent a day down near the Tucannon last weekend and didn't see or hear any birds other than a handful hanging out on private property. Still had fun goofing off in the woods all day, though!

Online jrebel

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Re: Turkey Harvest question
« Reply #1 on: Yesterday at 02:13:19 PM »
I process mine in the field (at the truck to get the meat on ICE.  I cut the breast out and cut the legs off and put in a ziplock bag on ICE.  I then pt the carcass in a bag and transport it back to the cabin where I complete the process.  By my definition the head is still attached to the carcass in a bag.  My tag is usually attached to one of the legs on the carcass until I put the meat in the freezer, at which time it is place in the freezer with the meat.  Now I dispose of the carcass. 

If I'm gonna save the fan for a fan mount, I will cut the fan off and freeze with feet and beard for a later date. 

Offline HighGrouseHunt

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Re: Turkey Harvest question
« Reply #2 on: Yesterday at 04:25:58 PM »
I typically don’t turkey hunt too far from home, so I typically just bring them home whole and then pluck / gut / and then  process them there. If I am camping, hunting more than a couple of hours  away, or plan on hunting more than a few more hours longer that day, I will pluck the “belly” and the throat and gut them in the field or at the truck, if it’s going to be more than say 5 or 6 hours before I process them any
Further I will throw them in a cooler on ice and transport them that way. It’s nice if you have some clean water to rinse out the body cavity too, particularly if you won’t be able to process the bird for a day or two. When I process turkeys, I prefer to pluck the whole thing and then part it out, leaving the skin on the parts when I freeze them. (Especially the legs, thighs and wings)  because it allows for a few more options when cooking later and you can always easily slip the skin off after thawing if you need to. It’s definitely more work, but it seems worth it to me.

I know the regs say “feathered head must be attached”, but I also leave the beard attached. Technically the beard is the only thing you need to see for a Turkey to be legal (I have no idea why they want to see the head when the beard is what defines legal vs not).

Side note: I have killed a couple of bearded hens in the last few years, and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. Although they certainly have less meat than a big old Tom, they are infinitely more tender. We even roasted one whole just like a thanksgiving turkey and she was great. If you do end up with a bearded hen, just make sure you leave the beard attached otherwise a warden would have no way of knowing if you were legal or not (and might err on the side of not legal considering that the vast majority of hens in WA do not have beards).

Offline fleabagmatt

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Re: Turkey Harvest question
« Reply #3 on: Today at 06:07:48 AM »
Thanks for the replies. Sounds like the easiest course of action is to gut the bird and put it on ice, then finish processing at home. No I just have to figure out how to find em.

Off to YouTube to learn some more stuff.

Offline Limhangerslayer

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Re: Turkey Harvest question
« Reply #4 on: Today at 07:31:20 AM »
We left  one leg attached to the carcass and cleaned the rest, we had to process to fit the seven birds in the cooler.  Otherwise we usually just gut  and cut the crop out and out on ice in a bag.

Offline birddogdad

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Re: Turkey Harvest question
« Reply #5 on: Today at 08:39:39 AM »
depends on weather, if cool mine hang.. if hot, breasts/ thighs on ice. i keep in shaded area when camping you can google how historically birds were "aged" or "seasoned" but i don't go that far.
USN retired

Offline hunter399

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Re: Turkey Harvest question
« Reply #6 on: Today at 08:42:27 AM »
I just notched my son's tag ,attached to leg and drive home.
But I live in NE Washington ,pretty close to where we hunt.
Cooked up same day . And put his notched tag with his other tags.
Two birds in the Bush is always better than one in the hand-that way you can always go to the Bush and hunt another day .conservation=Better hunting.
Wrote by hunter399


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