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Skinning and Cutting Up your Turkey

So you have just gotten off a successful turkey hunt. What do you do next? Field dressing is often the most important and crucial part of a turkey hunting expedition. Here are some general guidelines for skinning and cutting up your trophy turkey prize.

Removing the Feathers from Your Fowl

The first step to preparing your turkey kill is to remove its feathers. Maybe you think you can hand-pluck the feathers from your turkey kill. Although theoretically this is possible, keep in mind that most wild fowl carry around nearly 5,000 feathers on them. Hand-plucking fowl feathers are often simply not an option. One of the easiest ways of getting rid of wild fowl is to dip the bird in hot water. Some people swear that dipping the bird in water at a temperature of 140 degrees is the most efficient way to loosen all its plumage for easy removal. However, any level of boiling water will tend to work well in removal of the feathers. Removing your fowl’s feathers by dipping the bird in hot water also prevents the plumage from drifting around the room. Set up a large washtub where you can work by dipping the dead bird into the water.

Steps for Skinning Your Turkey Kill

Here are some general guidelines to get you through the process of skinning your turkey kill. First, make sure to remove the tail fan or cape of the turkey if you plan on saving them. This should be the first removal. Then you can remove the beard before starting to clean your kill. However, if you are not planning on saving the bird’s cap or tail, you can begin by laying the turkey on its back.

Beginning the Process of Cutting Your Turkey

One of the easiest ways to begin to cut your turkey is by starting with the removal of the breast filets. You will want to pluck some feathers from the middle of the breast area. You can do this by making a small incision through the turkey’s skin. Then you can work your fingers underneath the skin. Make sure to pull the skin back from the breast and peel them back toward the sides of the turkey.

Learn to Locate the Bones

Begin by learning to locate the breastbone. Make an incision down one side of the breastbone. Loosen the breast filet from the bone. This incision will be from the lower tip of the breast, along the breastbone and ending up along the wishbone and the area where the wing and shoulder are joined.

Tips for Removing the Breast Fillets

Here are some tips that can help you remove the breast filets. Begin by making an incision from the bottom tip of the breast and working it to the rear of the breast forward. Using a knife, filet off the breast. You can do this by pulling the fillet and using your knife to separate the breast. Take care with the crop that is located at the top of the breast. The crop is a sac, much like balloon, that occupies that space between the two halves of the breast in the neck. The last thing you want to do is to puncture the crop! Repeat this procedure for removal of the other breast.

Cutting the Leg and Thigh Areas

Flip the kill over so that is lying on the breastbone area. Skin the thigh and leg area thoroughly. After you are done skinning, you will want to make an incision through the thigh muscle. Help this process along by grabbing the leg and thigh area and bending them upwards toward the backbone. Allow the joints to pop loose. Keep cutting until you separate the drumstick.

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