Advice on how to process a turkey for long drive after hunting

whacko

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Got a good spot to hunt turkey that's about a 2.5 hour drive. Looking for advice on how to properly care for it post harvest for a 2.5 hour drive. I'll be out with my wife and hoping to get a couple. Say we harvest one early and want to stay till noon or so to get another one (2 hunters) what's the best game care plan if I want to pluck the whole bird? FYI I already know that if one of us takes a bird in order to keep hunting together the one that tagged a bird has to continue to stay with the other hunter with no gun.

If I leave it whole with guts intact in a cooler would that spoil if I didn't get to my house till late afternoon till I get back to the house to gut and pluck it? I don't want to just breast it out like I've done in the past would like to process the whole bird(s) this year. If I pluck it and process it in the woods is that legal as long as I keep the beard to prove it was a male? Or would the meat be ok in a big cooler if I left the bird whole and ungutted if I was on the road till say 3pm? According to the abstract I have to keep the tag on the carcass and keep the bird intact until I register it......would I be legal to report the harvest online with my phone and then pluck and gut it on site and pack it in the cooler for transport keeping the beard in my possession for the drive?

Thoughts?
 
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Woodsy

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Wrap it in a plastic bag (Ive wrapped my in Garbage bag) then stick it in a cooler covered in ice.. Should be fine, Ive done a 2 hour drive that way. Now the caveat is I only save the breasts and the legs from Wild Turkey so the rest is tossed anyway. If your worried then field dress and carve the breasts on the spot, takes 10 minutes. Then if you want the legs, Cut them off and toss everything on ice (wrapped in a bag) UPDATED this is after you check in the tag station....
 

whacko

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Wrap it in a plastic bag (Ive wrapped my in Garbage bag) then stick it in a cooler covered in ice.. Should be fine, Ive done a 2 hour drive that way. Now the caveat is I only save the breasts and the legs from Wild Turkey so the rest is tossed anyway. If your worried then field dress and carve the breasts on the spot, takes 10 minutes. Then if you want the legs, Cut them off and toss everything on ice (wrapped in a bag) UPDATED this is after you check in the tag station....
Thanks for the info that a 2 hour drive was ok for you. My goal this year is to actually pluck the whole bird intact and gut it. Want to try to deep fry the whole bird. If I leave the guts and all in there and put the whole thing in a trash bag and in a cooler with ice will the guts cause a problem if I keep it that way for 3-4 hours?
 

W.E.C

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I’ve never had to go more than 30 min. To dress a bird, so I can’t help ,
But this is from nwtf.



Field Dressing
In hot weather hunting conditions, field dressing your bird is a good idea before you clean it for the table. If you decide to field dress your bird, start by placing the turkey on its back. Find the bottom of the breast plate and insert your knife, making a cut to the anal vent. Remove the entrails from this opening and then reach into the cavity to sever the windpipe, heart and lungs. Cool the cavity by placing ice inside the chest.
 

whacko

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I’ve never had to go more than 30 min. To dress a bird, so I can’t help ,
But this is from nwtf.



Field Dressing
In hot weather hunting conditions, field dressing your bird is a good idea before you clean it for the table. If you decide to field dress your bird, start by placing the turkey on its back. Find the bottom of the breast plate and insert your knife, making a cut to the anal vent. Remove the entrails from this opening and then reach into the cavity to sever the windpipe, heart and lungs. Cool the cavity by placing ice inside the chest.
That makes sense. Always thought the feathers should have to come off to gut it.
 

Al-Jim19

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Steve rinella has a YouTube video or two about a quick dress method he uses when he has to transport a turkey. Check it out.

Basically he guts, plucks, and divides in half along the spine. Stacked up it fits in a carry on.
 

whacko

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Steve rinella has a YouTube video or two about a quick dress method he uses when he has to transport a turkey. Check it out.

Basically he guts, plucks, and divides in half along the spine. Stacked up it fits in a carry on.
I've seen that one. My question though is on transport from hunt site to home already butchered. If I check it online with my phone can I legally butcher it completely for transport home if I keep the beard for proof it was a bearded bird?

Btw.....Steve rinella is the best hunting show/podcast ever Imo. The shows not always trying to sell you a bunch of hunting crap. The only sponsor he has I believe is vortex......and he's not always talking about how awesome his glass is to make the whole show a commercial. His shows and podcasts are honest and true to most hunting endeavors. Who else would do a hunting show that involves deer drives?!?! You know......how lots of actual dudes hunt!

I listen to every podcast he puts out and sometimes laugh my ass off on the way to and from work.....he's a riot and has an awesome personality .
 
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whacko

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Meat eater is the only hunting show I watch. He’s a smart guy.
Truth. Do you do podcasts at all? He releases a weekly 2 hour podcast with different guests. Natural resource officers, biologists, politicians, land owners, etc.....he's a frigging riot. I never got I to podcasts until I heard he had a weekly show. I listen to it religiously on my way to work and back.

What I like about him is that he seperates himself from the shows that have guys hunting private lands that basically "grow" the big bucks that people pay to hunt. Yeah he hunts private land too but not the "farms" that are prevalent down in tx and Arkansas. He primarily hunts public land and is an advocate of keeping public land open to "fellers" as he calls us......the regular Joe out there hunting for the enjoyment without having to pay huge money to do it. He hunts everything too.....squirrel.....grouse.....goose.....his most recent podcast is about a trip gigging bullfrog. He's a great angler too and has no problem saying he fishes with bait! He's kind of a regular guy that found a niche show based on his personality and love of hunting and fishing for something to eat.
 
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MGnoob

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Haven't done a turkey in a while but did a chicken the other week. I dont think that it was dead 45 min before it was in the oven..

id clean it asap and if its hotter than say 70 id put it in a cooler.

You do have up to several hours to clean it do clean it depending on where it is shot. Id avoid long term storage of anything that wasnt. properly taken care up

In the heat If its all shot up, and took you more than a couple hours to get it cleaned or had some long drive in a none ACed vehicle..id cook it pretty soon.

I start getting hungry the second someone kills something. Its always way better than store bought anything.
 

bdb

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I have found there is not much worth while on a turkey except for the breasts. I have tried using the legs and wings in soup and frankly event the stock isn't very good (IMO) let alone the meat. I would breast it out and put in on ice. Wrapping a warm carcass in plastic is never a good idea (again IMO), it traps heat, even if you you have it on ice. With any game meat, cooling as quickly as possible after death results in the best meat. I find with turkeys now I breast them out. Brine the breasts for 24 hours and then grill. It's the only way my wife says they don't taste like shit :)
 

whacko

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Haven't done a turkey in a while but did a chicken the other week. I dont think that it was dead 45 min before it was in the oven..

id clean it asap and if its hotter than say 70 id put it in a cooler.

You do have up to several hours to clean it do clean it depending on where it is shot. Id avoid long term storage of anything that wasnt. properly taken care up

In the heat If its all shot up, and took you more than a couple hours to get it cleaned or had some long drive in a none ACed vehicle..id cook it pretty soon.

I start getting hungry the second someone kills something. Its always way better than store bought anything.
Yes thanks. If it's all shot up and a chance on guts being torn up and spilled in the cavity I'm going to have to gut it right away......but with turkey we obviously aim for the head/neck to avoid that. My biggest concern is what would I be up against with the trout troopers if I'm in my truck with a completely plucked and gutted whole bird in a cooler..... with hunting gear with me. They may be able to claim I'm trying to hide the fact that I shot a hen. If I check it online with my phone and retain the beard would I be "legal" to transport it home that way?

And I agree on the fresh is best. I took my first turkey last spring and took the quick and easy route and breasted it out. The meat was the best of any game I've harvested. I breaded and fried the breast cutlets and it was amazing! This year I'm trying to get into using all of the bird. My goal is to pluck and dress the whole bird in tact and I want to deep fry that bad boy!!!!
 

MGnoob

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I was suprised with chicken compared to pheasant.. the pheasants i just clean with my bare hands feathers,skin, guts and all im a few motion.

With the chicken, plucking was easy to do but once plucked i found the skin extremely loose.... but i didnt "blanch?" the bird.. for just a couple birds boiling that much water is impracticable.

Im temped on my next chicken to try and clean it like a pheasant but didnt want to lose the skin pre cook....but i think im going to brine them next time anyway.

With the turkey a usually on took breast, but none of the birds ive done were impressive even to warrent it.

I will say bringing a cooler with ice is a prime way to jinx a hunt, or at least in my experience..


As far as getting in trouble....ive never thought it out that far.
Best ok luck!
 

whacko

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I was suprised with chicken compared to pheasant.. the pheasants i just clean with my bare hands feathers,skin, guts and all im a few motion.

With the chicken, plucking was easy to do but once plucked i found the skin extremely loose.... but i didnt "blanch?" the bird.. for just a couple birds boiling that much water is impracticable.

Im temped on my next chicken to try and clean it like a pheasant but didnt want to lose the skin pre cook....but i think im going to brine them next time anyway.

With the turkey a usually on took breast, but none of the birds ive done were impressive even to warrent it.

I will say bringing a cooler with ice is a prime way to jinx a hunt, or at least in my experience..


As far as getting in trouble....ive never thought it out that far.
Best ok luck!
First i'm hoping we get a bird or two on this trip. It's good property that has a ton of turkeys and it has lots of dirt trails and cart roads on it to maneuver and cover alot of ground. I have high hopes .

I'm also hoping the timing is right and I can get the birds home before plucking and gutting but we'll see. I'll have a large cooler with ice and some plastic trash bags in the truck so I can put the whole bird in the bag and ice for the ride.

I have set the goal this year of processing and cooking the whole bird. Up till now all the pheasant and the turkey I've taken I've just been breasting them out and it seems like a bit of a waste.
 

MGnoob

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Good for you, i predict success!
So turkey prefer a more wooded setting than say other birds that prefer a more grassy cover??From my observation they walk though the woods.
 

whacko

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Good for you, i predict success!
So turkey prefer a more wooded setting than say other birds that prefer a more grassy cover??From my observation they walk though the woods.
From my experience they need woods and large fields. That's where I see em and where I shot one last year. Field edge adjascent to an oak Forrest.
 

Woodsy

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Just gut it
From my experience they need woods and large fields. That's where I see em and where I shot one last year. Field edge adjascent to an oak Forrest.
in the field and you can still tag it. Tagging takes a few minutes so you could even pull over after tag and just gut off a dirt road. Have you eaten and entire wild turkey before? If not you will be in for a trip especially when eating the legs. Also when i cook wild turkey I generally brine it for 8-10 hours then maranade. Wild turkey breast are great legs are a bit tough and gamey
 

whacko

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Just gut it

in the field and you can still tag it. Tagging takes a few minutes so you could even pull over after tag and just gut off a dirt road. Have you eaten and entire wild turkey before? If not you will be in for a trip especially when eating the legs. Also when i cook wild turkey I generally brine it for 8-10 hours then maranade. Wild turkey breast are great legs are a bit tough and gamey
I have not eaten the whole wild turkey .last year I breasted the bird out and that meat was fantastic. Seemed like a waste though. I won't know what the rest is like unless I try it though. That's why I'm going to try to use the whole bird this year.
 

Woodsy

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Look up a fe
I have not eaten the whole wild turkey .last year I breasted the bird out and that meat was fantastic. Seemed like a waste though. I won't know what the rest is like unless I try it though. That's why I'm going to try to use the whole bird this year.

Look up a few recipes for brining. The legs of not cooked right will be like eating oak. It’s the nature of the wild turkey legs. Good luck
 

whacko

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Look up a fe



Look up a few recipes for brining. The legs of not cooked right will be like eating oak. It’s the nature of the wild turkey legs. Good luck
I've heard that brining the legs is necessary.
 

W.E.C

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Want a sure way to have turkeys come up on ya?

Go bear hunting, sit in your tree, and bingo![laugh]
 
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