Field dressing is essentially
gutting the bird in the field while leaving the feathers
on. Removing the guts or entrails is important to
help allow the bird to cool faster and to keep the
"juices" inside the bird from spoiling any
meat. If it is a cool day and you aren't far from
home, you can skip the field dressing step and wait
until you are home before cleaning the bird.
Here are the steps for
gutting or field dressing a wild turkey.
Lay the turkey on its back.
Follow the breast down to the rear
of the bird until it narrows to a point between
Pull up on the tip and cut the
bird open by making a shallow horizontal incision
(through the skin only) between the tip of the breast
and the vent (anus). It helps to pull out a few
of the feathers in this spot so you can cut more
Make the incision large enough
to insert your hand and pull out the entrails, making
sure to pull out the heart and lungs.
Cut around the vent (anus) by carefully
following the intestine back and then cutting around
its exterior. This is where you need to be careful
since you don't want any of the intestine's contents
getting on the turkey.
Remove the crop (sac-like thing
filled with what the turkey's been eating) by making
a cut on the neck of the turkey and reaching down
and removing the crop located at the top of the
Rinse out with water and wipe with
paper towels if you have these available.