From the Wild Turkey Zone — by Rob Ramsdale —
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 the legs.
- 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 easily.
- 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 breast.
- Rinse out with water and wipe with paper towels if you have these available.