How to Field Dress a Turkey

How to field dress a turkey

You bagged a bird and now it’s time to get it ready for the dinner table. If you’ve never field dressed a turkey before, it might seem like a difficult task, but if you follow the tips below, your turkey will be dinner ready in no time. Before you begin, you should make sure to write down a few facts about your bird for future reference. The stats you should jot down include:

  • Weight (lbs. and oz.)
  • Length of beard
  • Spur length on each leg
  • Time and location of kill

You may even want to throw your camera on a bipod and take a few pictures to memorialize the occasion.

Field Dress a Turkey as Soon as Possible

According to MyKingCook, it’s vital to field dress a turkey as quickly as possible because it will preserve the animal’s flavor and help to prevent spoilage. For reference, a turkey killed with a bow should be field dressed within one hour. It’s incredibly important to do this within an hour because the arrow often ruptures or damages the intestinal tract of the bird. As a result, fecal matter comes in contact with the body cavity and the flesh can become tainted and taste bad.

If a bowhunter, shoots a turkey in the head, the bird can be field dressed several hours later. But for best practice, bowhunters should field dress a turkey within one hour of its kill.

Never leave a gutted turkey in the sun or in a vehicle. Doing this could cause the bird to spoil. Instead, choose a cool, shady location. If this isn’t possible, you can pack the inside of the bird with ice to prevent it from spoiling.

How to Gut a Turkey?

When it’s time to gut the turkey, you will want to make sure you cut it from the breast bone to the anus. Insert your fingers in the opening and locate the large intestine. With your other hand, carefully cut a circle around the anus, which will free the intestine.

Reach inside the body, locate the gizzard. Pull the gizzard out with the intestines. Reach in and remove all vital organs; including lungs, heart, and liver. Lastly, rinse the body out with fresh water.

Mounting the Turkey?

If you’re going to mount your bird, you need to get it to the taxidermist as soon as you finish dressing it. If you aren’t going to have the turkey mounted, it’s time to skin it or pick the feathers.

How to Skin a Turkey?

It’s best to skin a turkey with a small knife. If you rather, you can pick the bird. Although plucking turkey feathers is time consuming. It’s up to the bowhunter what they want to do. But, many hunters opt to pluck feathers from a bird because it allows them to preserve the bird’s skin, which makes it tastier and moister when cooked.

If you skin the bird with a knife, you don’t have to worry about the breast sponge. If you’re plucking the bird’s feathers, you may be worried about the unsightly mess that is a turkey’s breast sponge. Although it’s not easy to look at, leaving the breast sponge intact won’t affect the way it tastes.

For more details of How to Field Dress a Turkey, here is a video you could refer: 

Now you know how to field dress a turkey. Doing it yourself gives you a sense of accomplishment and will be a great story to tell at the dinner table.

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About the author

    Brandon Cox

    I'm Brandon, and with a passion and love for all things hunting, I have invested much time and money bringing myself up to speed with the latest and best hunting Intel. Through my hunting website, I want to share and excite all on the intricacies of hunting whether you be an amateur or a professional.

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