Thursday, November 01, 2007

Where’d You Get That Bird?

Where’d You Get That Bird?

Thanksgiving is upon us and except for the Quartermaine’s and their traditional T-Day pizza, most of us lust after Meleagridinae of one variety or another. Most purchase their turkeys from the local market and if one doubts the popularity of the market birds just trying buying a turkey a couple days before the holiday. Most likely you will be joining the Quatermaines for pizza. The young boneless turkeys are a good choice if not wanting to deal with the carcass after, and they grill up very nicely.

Another method of procuring a turkey is to go into the wilds as did our forefathers and seek one out. The first thing to understand about widl turkeys is that they are as different from their barnyard cousins as the hardwoods of central Wisconsin are from the pine stands to the Black Hills. The wild turkey is cunning, stealthy, and has exceptional eye sight. The bird is a master of blending in and has leaned Nature’s unwritten rule, “If you taste good life is short” very well. Many hunters are lucky to just see any sign.

Many years ago I found myself bumping along a frozen logging road with my partner in search of these elusive birds. We found a good spot looking down on an area with scrapes on the ground. The male turkey has only one thing on his mind at this time of year, aside from winding up on someone’s plate - he is keenly interested in making more turkeys. He will mark his territory with scrapes, patches of bare ground made by scratching. Sometimes you can see the trail of his beard, a bunch of bristles growing from the Tom’s chest in the soft dirt. Apparently female turkeys go for men with hairy chests because the size of the beard suggests some primacy amongst the males.

Camouflage is imperative. Fortunately the Air Force had provided me with everything I needed, including the green wool blanket I wrapped myself in. The wind was coming towards us, making the pines dance slowly back and forth and my camouflage efforts were proven when a couple of chickadees landed on the bill of my hat. Turkey hunting would be high on list of hunting styles because a short nap after entering the area isn’t a bad idea. I am always down with a good nap on a cold Fall day. The only sounds around me were the breeze playing in the branches and the nuthatch on the tree next to me scuttling upside down on the trunk looking for food. We had tried a turkey call, but the “sounds like a turkey to me” method of calling leaves something to be desired. Whether we had gotten the call right or the particular group of turkeys crossing below us was having an unlucky day, we caught them in a horrendous crossfire. Gripped by turkey fever it was providence that we downed a Tom. Shooting female is verboten and carries a stiff fine.

I enjoyed the hunt, but that was the first and last time. I now brave the wilds of the market wading through hordes of hungry snowbirds circling the turkey bin at the market. That wild bird was delicious, but if prepared properly the barnyard bumpkin can be just as tasty…

14 Comments:

At 3:42 PM, Blogger /t. said...

well,

that's
pretty much
everything i ever wanted to know about turkeys but was afraid to ask

and now, armed with this new knowledge, i go forth with confidence

thank you, phos, for being here :)

and happy thanksgiving!

/t.

 
At 3:43 PM, Blogger Hammer said...

Sounds like traipsing around in the woods is almost as good as getting the turkey.

My wife gets a free one from work every november. I've got three in the freezer.

Brining is the way to go for a frozen bird or so I've been told.

 
At 7:26 AM, Blogger Dino aka Katy said...

i wouldn't know what to do with one - market bought or wild - besides not having an oven - Grumpy prefers Ham so I never had to fuss with one

 
At 8:45 AM, Blogger Ruela said...

you eat turkey at Christmas?
First you have to give him whiskey.

 
At 4:21 PM, Blogger Little Lamb said...

I'm sure turkey would rather have us eat beef.

 
At 5:39 PM, Blogger Damsel Underdressed said...

I like a little hair on a chest, as well. ;)

 
At 9:41 PM, Blogger Chickie said...

"If you taste good life is short" belongs on a t-shirt.

 
At 9:07 PM, Blogger Keshi said...

Turkey is nice...

btw there's an Indian song for ya in my blog :)

Keshi.

 
At 10:40 AM, Blogger TK Kerouac said...

I had my first deep fried turkey on the weekend...
come vote for raymitheminx for me.

 
At 8:48 PM, Blogger jin said...

I'm a-gonna send you a tofurkey!!!
MMMMmmmmm...

heeeheheheheeeehehheheheee!!!!
:-P

 
At 8:51 PM, Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

Hi everyone - I am still here. My son, his wife ,and my grandson are over and we are busy catching up - I will be you to see you all later!!!

 
At 7:56 AM, Blogger Becky said...

I hunt at the local food lion.

 
At 5:47 PM, Blogger Paul F. said...

Do you hang these turkeys like you'd do with a pheasant or something?

The key to good turkey is the basting.

 
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