A wild turkey is the healthiest option to fill the carving board on your Thanksgiving dinner table. While acquiring one takes skill, practice, patience and stealth, the challenge of the hunt is well worth it when it comes to fulfilling an honored American tradition and providing a centerpiece worthy of truly celebrating God's creation.
Packed with pure protein while remaining low in cholesterol and bad fats, wild turkey meat is as lean and green as it gets. No steroids, antibiotics or other man-made chemicals spoil this truly organic, fair-chase meat, as wild turkeys forage on only natural foods, such as acorns, grass seeds, insects and other foods found in their woodland habitat.
Wild Turkey Breast
(source: Outdoor Life):
Portion: 3.5 oz
Protein: 26 grams
Fat: 1 gram
Cholesterol: 55 milligrams
25% of the daily allowance of Iron
and 5% of Riboflavin
How would a person go about acquiring one for their Thanksgiving dinner? They'd buy their hunting license, then camouflage to cover their entire body from head to toe, and call one in using a turkey caller to a close distance where they can be shot with a shotgun or bow. Turkey hunting is an honored tradition among sportsmen that dates back to pre-Colonial America, where native peoples depended on wild turkeys for food, tools and ceremonial decorations. Among native tribes across the continent, the wild turkey played a crucial role in their existence. Wild turkeys are found in every state except Alaska, as well as in Canada and Mexico.
Wild turkeys are one of the most challenging game species to hunt. Their keen eyesight and hearing help them hone in on sounds and movement from a distance, allowing them to locate flockmates and food while also avoiding predators. They can sense the slightest movements, which often results in a hunter going home empty handed.
If they're so hard to hunt, then why do we even try? Because in the challenge comes the reward. Hunters who choose wild turkeys as their quarry are adept at blending into their environment, remaining still for long periods of time, recognizing and mimicking the various sounds wild turkeys make and are the epitome of patience. Once slight move at the wrong time, and the sharp-eyed turkey will make an alarm sound to warn off other birds and take flight at nearly 55 miles per hour or run away at close to 35 miles per hour. Unlike the domestic turkey, the wild turkey is a supreme survivor — a sleek, high-performance rocket, ready to take off at a moment's notice.
If you're up for the challenge and would like to give your hand a try at turkey hunting, but don't know where to start, log on to NWTF.org and click on the "Find a Chapter" link to locate one in your area and connect with NWTF volunteers who would love to show you the ropes.