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Turkey Hunting Tips: Processing Your Bird

Turkey Hunting Tips: Processing Your Bird

One of the best things about turkey hunting is when you kill a turkey - breasting out and having either strips or nuggets. But fried turkey breast fresh in camp is one of the best things. So I'm going to go over the quickest and easiest way for processing wild turkey.

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The Beard

You always want to start at the beard. Obviously, most people want to keep the beard as a trophy. So take your knife and feel with your fingers and get completely behind that beard where it attaches in the skin there, and just cut the beard off. 

And you can clean that up and then mount it however you want it. 

Skinning The Bird

Next, you'll start from the hole made when you cut the beard off, and you can just start pulling the skin back. Pull the skin all the way down his breast bone and away from the breast. 

This is nice because you don't have to go through pulling all his feathers off.

Filleting The Breast

Once you've gotten the skin pulled and exposed the breast meat, you want to start filleting that breast meat out.

One tip I have is to cut a little further down, break those back leg joints and open him up wider. That makes it a little easier for you when you start cutting out the breast meat to keep from getting feathers everywhere.

Essentially, you're just going to filet the breast meat off the breast bone. I always start in the middle and work all the way down. But you can find the bone with your finger and just follow that line.

And make sure to go slow so you get as much meat as you can. 

Next, I start working up the breast bone. 

When you get up to the front of the turkey, you'll have to cut in a little bit because the bone actually stops there. Just follow that line all the way around. And you'll just filet them right off of that bone.

When you get back down to the bottom of the filet, just peel right along the back. It's easier to follow, because you don't have all those organs and stuff up front that you have to worry about cutting into. You just peel from the back forward. 

You can get to there, trim that fat off. And you got a whole breast. Then you're just going to go and do the same thing on the other side. 

The Legs and Spurs

Most people are going to want to cut the legs off. The spurs are kind of a trophy. And if you bend his leg, those bones are all attached by tendons. And if you cut just right, you can separate the whole thing without having to break any bone.

The Drums

The next part of the turkey you want to save is the drumsticks. 

So you take your knife, skin down and peel that hide back off the thighs. 

Once you get the hide peeled back, you can pull down on that meat and get in there as tight as you can to cut out as much of that thigh as you can. 

And you're going to cut until you find the ball joint. Once you find the joint, you just separate it, cut around it, and it'll come right off.

There you go. 

Man showing success on turkey hunt

The Tail Fan

The next thing everybody wants off of a turkey is his tail fan. So that's the pretty part of a turkey, right? And you want to keep some of these secondary feathers just because it makes a pretty fan mount. 

All of his tail feathers come together right inside in one joint. When you find that joint, you can get your fingers around it. And you're just going to cut right around the bottom of it. There's no bone in that joint, so you can just cut it right off. 

And then you can clean up some of those secondary feathers and get it pretty for your fan mount.

So there you have it. That is how I go about processing wild turkey. Hopefully you found this helpful and if you are looking for high quality hunting clothing to help you on your turkey hunt, check out SKRE Gear's Turkey Bundles.

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