Archive for the 'wild turkey' Category

Suggestions for Preparing Your Spring Turkey

Friday, February 24th, 2017
Roasted Wild Turkey Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Roasted Wild Turkey Recipe photo by Taste of Home

This is Passport to Texas

If you harvest a wild turkey, you can find techniques for preparing it from online experts who are hunters and chefs. A wild turkey has a rich flavor—some say gamey—and is quite lean, which makes it a little tricky to prepare.

Steve Rinella, the outdoorsman known as The Meat Eater, recommends brining wild harvested turkeys to keep them juicy.

Fill a large pot—one big enough to hold the turkey and brine—with a gallon of water. Next add 1 cup of Kosher Salt, 1/2 cup of sugar, the juice of three lemons, and a sliced onion. Heat the mixture to dissolve the salt and sugar. Let cool, and then submerge the bird in the brine and allow it to soak for 24 to 48 hours in the fridge.

Remove it from the brine, blot the moisture from the bird with paper towels, and then place it in a shallow baking dish on top of a rack, or on a bed of root vegetables. Rub the turkey with oil, and sprinkle it inside and out with your favorite seasonings.

Place it into an oven, preheated to 375 degrees. Roast the bird until an instant read thermometer registers an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Let the turkey rest at least 10 minutes before carving.

Steve Rinella says a hunting license should say “all hunters must brine their turkeys before cooking them—no matter the cooking method.” I say that’s a good idea.

That’s our show for today… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Spring Turkey Bag Limits

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017
Imagine seeing this sight when you go turkey hunting this spring.

Imagine seeing this sight when you go turkey hunting this spring.

This is Passport to Texas

Eastern wild turkeys thrived from the coastal prairies to the Red River until the early 1900s when commercial hunting and development drove the birds to near extinction. Hunting these birds was off limits until years of restocking efforts created a huntable population.

We’ve spent a lot of time stocking birds into East Texas. We’ve had some really good success in some areas, and not as much success in others. So, we don’t have the densities that we have of Rio Grande…and we’re trying to keep a real good record of what’s happening with that population.

Jason Hardin, Turkey program leader for Parks and Wildlife, says Rio Grande turkeys, found in most of the state are plentiful; this spring, hunters have a four bird bag limit.

The bag limit is one for the Eastern Turkey, and it must be reported on Texas Parks and Wildlife’s My Hunt Harvest app for smart phones or online at Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Wild Turkey Page. Physical check stations for Eastern wild turkeys are no longer open in Texas.

The data helps Parks and Wildlife manage the species. Need a place to hunt the Eastern gobbler?

Some of our WMAs provide good Eastern turkey hunting as well.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series; it’s funded by your purchase of fishing and hunting equipment and motor boat fuel.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Spring is Turkey Time in Texas

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017
A fine Tom turkey in Texas.

A fine Tom turkey in Texas.

This is Passport to Texas

Thanksgiving may be three months behind us—or nine months ahead of us depending upon how you view things—but that won’t stop turkey hunters from bagging big birds this spring.

There are going to be a lot of two-year-old gobblers for harvest this year.

Jason Hardin is Turkey Program Leader for Parks and Wildlife. Adequate rainfall statewide and excellent habitat conditions overall, add up to a good season ahead.

We had really good production across the Rio Grande range, which is the central portion of the state, so I would expect a really good season.

In addition to hunting Rio Grande Turkeys in Texas brush country, hunters can also find Eastern Turkey in the woodlands of East Texas.

The eastern is found in the eastern third of the state. It’s a little bit of a larger, darker colored, bird compared to the Rio, which is quite numerous. We have more Rios in Texas than anywhere else in the country. The bird’s a little bit smaller and has a little lighter coloration. But, other than that, they gobble fairly similarly and they’re both pretty tough to hunt.

There is a statewide bag limit of four turkeys in Texas with no more than one Eastern Turkey.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series; it’s funded by your purchase of fishing and hunting equipment and motor boat fuel.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Upland Game Bird Forecast

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016
Bobwhite quail

Bobwhite quail

This is Passport

Substantial rainfall and mild summer temperatures across the state bode well for quail hunters.

Typically when you’re thinking about quail hunting in Texas, you’re thinking about south Texas and also the rolling plains up in north Texas and the Panhandle and things are certain looking great in both of those areas.

Robert Perez is Upland Game Program Leader at Texas Parks and Wildlife. Scale quail, in West Texas, are doing exceptionally well.

It’s why people come to Texas [to hunt]. And in the desert when it rains, everything turns green and blooms and the timing has been very good so our numbers are pretty staggering as far as what we’ve been seeing with scaled quail in west Texas. And we expect to see some great opportunities.

Quail isn’t the only upland game bird doing well this season. Perez says turkey hunting is on the rise.

Wild turkey hunting is a growing sport. The excitement of calling in a bird and it coming in—a big old Tom. They really rely on spring moisture to be successful at nesting. And, so we’re going to see a variety of ages, which is great for hunters because they’ll be looking for that mature bird but they’ll also be some three and four year old birds in there. If you had to put a number on it or qualify the season for turkey for Rio Grande Turkey it’s looking excellent.

Hunting in Texas is big business bringing more than three-billion dollars to the state’s economy.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Rio Grande Turkeys

Thursday, March 10th, 2016
Rio Grande Gobbler

Magnificent Rio Grande Gobbler

This is Passport to Texas

Everything’s big in Texas – including the Rio Grande turkey population.

The Rio Grande is really a neat bird from a Texas standpoint, because Texas has, by far, most of the Rio Grandes in the country. There are Rio Grande turkey populations in Okalahoma and Kansas as well, but they’re very small compared to the Texas population.

Former upland game bird specialist T. Wayne Schwertner currently serves as Assistant Professor of Wildlife, Sustainability, and Ecosystem Sciences at Tarlton State University.

So, the Rio Grande turkey is a uniquely Texas bird. It’s adapted to the arid conditions of the western part of the state, to the brush lands and prairies. Versus the eastern turkey which is much more adapted to the forests of east Texas and the east United States.

Spring Rio Grande season varies by zone, with the South Zone kicking off March 19 and the North April 2. Hunters will find the bulk of the birds west of I-35.

The Rio Grandes occupy the central half of the state, from about I-35 to the Pecos River, and all the way from the Panhandle down to the Rio Grande Valley.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series and works to increase hunting opportunities in Texas.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.