You may have heard about the turkeys ’round these parts. They’re numerous, they’re a nuisance, and they roam around in herds looking for cars to attack and pedestrians to intimidate. It’s one of the many hilarious and absurd aspects of living in the area, and makes the fact that you can legally kill them and eat them that much more satisfying.
OK, I don’t kill anything, but Parker did.
I grew up in Eastern Oregon, where hunting is a way of life for many people. Whether it’s for sport or sustenance, hunting and fishing are longstanding traditions that I’ve come around to respect (after many years of squeamish avoidance). While I still can’t fully get behind the idea of shooting something you don’t intend to eat or use, I know that the agencies that govern what you can hunt, when, and how much, are working to ultimately maintain a healthy balance within their respective ecosystems. (Now, who determines that a healthy balance looks like and how it’s achieved is an entirely different can of worms, but we’ll save that for another post) Fish and game agencies accomplish a lot in the way of environmental education and protection, and folks who hunt and fish (for diverse reasons that are political and personal) have a vested interest in the conservation of local ecosystems. In times where basic environmental protections must be fought for tooth and nail, eco-allies come in all shapes, sizes, and motivations.
Anyways, since we moved here, Parker and I have driven past countless flocks of turkeys and Parker couldn’t wait for the season to open so he could bag one for himself. Once it did, he woke up early to walk around our property (again, always with permission) every morning; funny how you see them everywhere until it’s legal to shoot them and suddenly they disappear into the mist. Eventually–on the morning my family was in town visiting for Thanksgiving–he got one! Parker may have had to skip brunch, but it was because he was plucking his freshly caught turkey! I brought a big, beautiful feather to show off in his stead.
After removing all the feathers, Parker put the turkey in a brine, which serves a dual purpose of preserving and seasoning the bird. We ended up giving the bird to a family we know who would have otherwise been without a turkey for Thanksgiving, but received reports that it was tender and delicious! (I think “fucking delicious” were the exact words)
I’ve saved the larger feathers for some unknown future craft, and Parker is hoping to bag another before the season ends. With a local turkey tag (in addition to your general hunting tag), you can take home two turkeys per season (the fall season is for 30 days starting on the second Saturday in November). Be sure to follow guidelines from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, buy the appropriate tags, and practice gun safety whenever you’re hunting.