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Outdoors with Larry Dablemont: This story is a turkey

I encourage old time turkey hunters to refrain from buying a turkey tag this spring, and hunt them as I do—with a camera. I just don’t want to kill any more gobblers. I have killed them for 56 years, sometimes six or seven a year, and that is enough. I never want to go through cleaning and cooking another one.

Did you know that there are laws in various states that make it illegal to have a wild turkey in your freezer after sometime in May? The silliness continues!

Years ago, I announced in my newspaper column that I would be having a wild game dinner and fish fry at a local church and that I would deep fry a gobbler that I had killed that spring. The big event was to take place in early June. A Missouri game warden called to tell me I would not be able to do that because it was illegal to have one after a certain day in May.

I was already a heinous violator for having it that long in my freezer. I told the warden I intended to proceed with my plans. He could come to our dinner, take a bite of the turkey and tell me if it was wild or tame. He said a test on the meat could tell him that. Likely he had one of them DNA testers. So I asked him if it was legal to keep a cooked wild turkey in my freezer, like leftovers. He said he would have to find out by calling the front office and he would get back to me. He called back to say that it was indeed unlawful to have an uncooked wild turkey in one’s freezer, but it was likely going to be a problem fining me for having a cooked wild turkey in my freezer. I assume that perhaps you can’t get an accurate DNA test from a cooked turkey.

I decided to have some fun out of that local game warden, so I went out and got a store-bought turkey and boiled it for about ten minutes. Then I called him and told him I needed him to call the front office and ask them how long a wild turkey needed to be boiled to be considered cooked. I got around to telling him that it had already been boiled for ten minutes and had turned fairly pink. I invited him to come to my basement freezer with a search warrant to take a look at the turkey. Cooking it that little while, I felt, should make the gobbler legal for the church dinner, which was to be held a good two weeks after the wild-turkey-in-the-freezer deadline. The question is, how long does one need to boil a turkey to call it a cooked turkey? When I asked him that, the game warden uttered an expletive and hung up.

That’s a true story! 

Our wild game dinner at the church came off without a hitch. The game warden didn’t come.  He missed a really good fried turkey.

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