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I'm going to the annual Pheasant hunt on pelee island at the end of oct where your limit is 10 birds. Seeing as they release 25000 birds over three weeks I'd say I'm probably going to get my limit.
My question is, whats the best way to clean/gut a pheasant? Should the birds hang for awhile or should they be cleaned right away? Anyone know of an online doc showing how to go about doing this?
I'd like to end up with something that looks like a whole chicken you would be from the store as I will be freezing some of them.
 

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depending on how much time you want to spend you can pluck them just like a chicken pull the feathers with the grain and go easy around the breast and legs as not to tear their thin skin. If your going to be in the field for a while and it's warmer than 55 degrees out I'd go ahead and field dress (gut) the bird, just find the soft spot between the bottom of the breast and pelvis, split open and grab all the guts you can find. If I'm shooting wild birds I'll generally pluck them as they have less fat on them and the skin helps keep the meat from drying out. If I shoot pen-raised then I just gut and skin them, then cut them in half with kitchen shears.

I've found also that the 30 or 40 bucks spent on a vacuum sealer is worth every penny you'll spend on it and the bags. The one I have is small enough to carry where ever I may travel and will keep your birds from getting freezer burn. Also the bags can be thrown in the dishwasher and reused.
 

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OK check this out:

http://www.strombergschickens.com/produ ... essing.htm

For a mere $650 you can have a machine that will get your birds looking like it just came from Frank Purdue's house :wink:
I've seen these machines in action and your birds come out looking like you bought them in the store.

But for poorer folks like you and me JLP is right. I would just add one more thing.

To get the feathers off a little easier, bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Grab a bird by the feet and dunk it in the water until the feathers are soaked. Be careful not to burn yourself.

Then start plucking. What the boiling water does is loosen up the skin that holds the feathers in place.

Sometimes, without doing the above, you might tear the skin when pulling out the feathers.

If you get a bird with the legs blown up another thing you can try is to fillet out the breasts. What you do is cut or tear the skin off of the breast until the entire breast is exposed. then get a fillet knife and start in the center, and fillet out one side at a time. Cut along the length of the breast bone with one hand while carefully pulling the meat away from the bone with the other.

Good luck on your hunt!
 

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GSP Lover said:
What about hanging the birds for a few days? I had an uncle in England that used to do this. Good or bad idea?
Totally un-necessary. I've heard arguments both ways as far as "aging" the meat, both birds and deer. It's supposed to make the meat more tender and give it flavor. Aged beef is supposed to taste better.

The difference with birds is that they are usually hung with the guts in them. This doesn't sound too appealing to me, but that's just me. And if it's really warm out, it can't be good.

As far as tenderizing goes, it all depends how you COOK the meat. If you overcook, it will be dry. Same thing with venison. We used to let the deer hang for a few days. Now we take em right to the butcher. Last years's venison was mighty tender. I shot a lot of pheasant last year and I got them freezer ready as soon as I got home from the hunt. Not a bad tasting bird in the bunch.
 

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I suppose like any other meat you could age (hang) it if you like. I for one only age beef and elk. All others I butcher and freeze as soon as possible. You might want to look around online or talk to a wild game butcher and see what parameters they use for aging birds
 
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what kind of sport is this? i ve never heard about it and never seen it...
I like - football, tennis, Online Sports Betting figure skating, extreme sports
Dislike - hockey, basketball, car racing, box and all the rest
 

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Pull the breast feathers apart and split the skin.... pull all the skin off of the breast and filet the breast meat off the bird. There is not enough meat on the wings or legs to even bother with cleaning the entire bird. Takes about 1 to 2 minutes to filet the breast meat off a bird with barely a mess. No aging time at all. Put the meat in a bowl of water with alittle salt and let set in the frig overnight. Cook the pheasant any way that you would a chicken. Enjoy !

bird
 

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We used to do it this way:

Lay the bird on the ground with the breast up. Spread the wings and stand on them with your feet as close to the breast as you can get them. Grab the legs and slowly but forcefully pull the legs up toward your chest. It will pretty much skin and gut the bird all at once, and leave you with the breast. You usually have to cut the wings and neck off.

Most of the pheasants I have shot have been hit awfully hard in the legs, so I usually don't try to save the legs.

Soak the breasts in salted water in the refrigerator overnight. Dry them off the next day, roll them up in bacon or prosciutto, pan sear them, then put them in the oven with some quartered onions and baby carrots. Garlic mashed potato on the side. YUMMMMMY.

Good luck on the hunt!
 

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I skin them. Frankly I'd rather hunt them as eat them. For some reason I'm losing my taste for wild game as I get older. I plan on giving all but one or two of mine away this year.

Kent
 

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GSP Lover said:
What about hanging the birds for a few days? I had an uncle in England that used to do this. Good or bad idea?
I don't "age" anything. My beef is hung for a few days at the slaughter house- on their recommendation and in their reefer. They're just too blasted big to convienently deal with at home until cut in half or quartered.

I process everything else as soon as possible. Animals begin to breakdown (rot) as soon as they die. Ageing is stopping that process at some point when you feel the meat is tender enough or flavorful (rot- yummy) enough. I've never had meat that was "bad" from lack of hanging. I have tried to eat meat that was "bad" from hanging too long. I read somwhere that all those fancy sauces were developed to hide the taste of meat gone bad due to lack of refrigeration.

If you gut it, chill it, and process it as soon as possible you can't go wrong.

BH
 

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In cool weather I hang mine for round three days; in cold weather five or six. That gives the degree af "gaminess" I like.

In England and France we hang with the guts in, but the French suspend theirs by the feet, we do it by the neck.

Hanging pheasants does alter their flavour, but does not significantly tenderise them. If you shoot one of last years cock birds, the legs will be (and will stay) stringy. Just use the breast meat.

Regards,
Eug
 

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I dress any upland bird right after shooting. After the retrieve and before I reload, I gut the bird. Usually the birds are shot going away and this removes the chance of stomach juices tainting the meat. The birds come out of the vest and into a bag and then into the cooler upon reaching the truck.

I don't age upland birds.

I age big game in controlled temps for two to seven days depending on age/type of animal. I have eaten elk aged for fourteen days at controlled temps. and tasted great.

The important thing for good tasting game is to get the meat cleaned and cooled quickly.

Good hunting, Rob
 

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I clean my birds as soon as I get home. I have also heard of people hanging birds with guts intact until maggots were crawling on them for a more tender bird with more flavor. I have a problem with that. Of course the birds will be more tender with more flavor, they are DECOMPOSING :? :lol: :lol: :lol:
 

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I've always been one to gut upon returning to the jeep after the hunt; but after reading IdahoRob's post, it kinda makes sense to just do it before you move on. Short of flushing a covey of birds [in NJ, the state released birds always seem to clump together] and lending chase with dogs and guys, you're right....no reason not to do it then...only takes a moment!

Danm I love this website!!!! :wink:
 
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