Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mega Tom and Micro Jake

My dad and mom came up for turkey season this month. We had a great visit and my dad had wonderful hunting success! I had success too, but on a MUCH smaller scale.

Our area has a high turkey population. High enough for Idaho Fish and Game to issue depredation permits for out particular game unit. All during the winter the turkeys hang around our chickens stealing their food but when their mating season begins in early spring the jakes and toms disband from the mixed group and cruise around the forest looking for hens.

The tom that my dad got weighed 23 pounds and had a beard that was almost 10 inches long. When he was dressed out he hit 18 pounds on the scale. We did not know the significance of his weight until my husband checked it out on the computer. This was a big turkey that could of ranked high in the Idaho records if we had him officially weighed before preparing him for the table.

I cooked him the same way I do a domesticated bird and he came out wonderfully moist and tender. The only thing that I would say was "tough" were the drumsticks but those legs had to carry a lot of weight probably a mile or so each day so we will forgive the big guy for that. I cook all turkeys covered until the last 30 minutes to brown the skin. The internal temperature reached 170F. A few years back we shot a couple of jakes that cooked up beautifully and suspected that the older toms would not be nearly as tender but this big tom did not disappoint!
Now my little turkey was the polar opposite of my dad's mega tom! When I shot my jake he tumbled into a nearby spring and got himself soaked so he wasn't a very pretty picture when my husband photographed him. He was in a group with 3 other jakes and he had the longest beard (4 inches) in the group so I thought he would be of decent size. Boy, was I wrong! I easily picked him up with one arm he was so little. I didn't weigh him before I cleaned him because he was so wet and dirty I didn't want to put him on my scale. When he was all dressed out he only weighed 9 1/2 pounds.

He's going to make a great eating bird to be sure. Almost all of the bird shot was concentrated on his head and he had only two body shots: one in the neck and one in his back between his wings. Because of his youth he was extremely easy to pick, too. He's in the freezer right now while I decide if I want to bake him or put him in the Bradley smoker.

I purchased a second turkey tag that I can start using beginning May 1st. Maybe I'll have another hunting story to share soon. Wish me luck!


  1. WOWSERS Carolyn

    Those are some very nice Turkeys there. Its making me want to go out next season. WTG

    BTW the apple butter was fantastic. Finished it off on 1 homemade buttermilk biscuit this moring.

    Your Blog is looking great.


  2. Great to see that there are other girls out there that turkey hunts! Good job!

  3. Thanks for the kind words guys!
    My mom said that my dad was thrill to see himself on the blog. I'll be hunting again this weekend.

  4. You Go Girl!! I'm still trying to get my wife out there Turkey Hunting. Guess I will have to settle on taking the daughter in a couple of years.

  5. Thanks 10.5!
    I want to get my daughter out there, too.
    She's a wiggle 6 year old now so we have a little ways to go.