Hunt Smart, Fish Hard

For years the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has conducted a statewide survey of spring turkey hunters to collect their observations and opinions, but participation has been declining. Survey results help the Department with many wild turkey conservation issues. Participants receive an annual report. To participate, go to DGIF website.

Bag Limit: One per day, bearded turkeys only. Hunters may take one, two or three bearded turkeys depending on how many turkeys were taken in the fall season.

Dates: April 10 through May 2, Statewide: One-half hour before sunrise until noon each day. May 3 through 15: Statewide. One-half hour before sunrise to sunset.

If you choose to hunt during the pandemic it is essential that you follow CDC guidelines. Purchase your hunting license online instead of in-person. Hunt alone or with family members or others that you live with and are isolating with during the Governor’s “stay at home” order. Do not hunt if you feel sick or think you might be sick. Stay at home when you are sick, except to get medical care. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds or using alcohol-based sanitizer even while afield or afloat. Do not share equipment with anyone, and wash your equipment when you’re done. Stay at least six feet away from other hunters you encounter and try to avoid crowded access points. Try to hunt near home as much as possible and avoid traveling long distances.

Time to make some Turkey Jerky with that gobbler you just harvested. I bought a jerky maker years ago and a dehydrator. Since then, the old dehydrator was replaced by my wife. She bought a dehydrator that had a fan in it. It took the time of dehydrating down to half the time it took with the old one. 

In a food processer, cut up the turkey breast. I add a one-pound roll of turkey meat from the frozen section of the store. I mix all meat together. I then add soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, brown sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and a little paprika.

Now it’s time to get your hands dirty by mixing up all meat. It’s time to set the big bowl into the refrigerator overnight.

The next day when I got home from work, I couldn’t wait to get started making the turkey jerky. After supper it was time to make it. I got the jerky maker out and my wife Vanessa washed it out and dried it. The jerky maker has a tube and attachments so you can make “slim jims, cigar-size or flat-size.” After loading the maker, I squeeze the trigger and fill up the tray. It doesn’t take long to fill up the trays. I try to make two trays of each, slim jim cigar and flat.

After about six hours it’s time to check them. The flats are on the bottom and they feel ready. The cigars need some more time. After eight hours the slim jims and flats are ready to eat. I take those four trays and set them aside to cool down. A couple of hours and the cigar shapes will be ready. 

The next morning my wife packed me a sandwich bag filled with the jerky to take to work with me. When I got to work I made the mistake of offering some to my friends to try. Have you ever heard the expression, eat you out of house and home? Enough said. 

Until next week-H.S.F.H.-L.M.

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