Tips for Spring Turkey Hunting and Buttermilk Baked Cheesy Wild Turkey Tenders Recipe

Turkey hunting season is just a few weeks away in New York State, and here is some useful information to get you geared up!

  1. DEC has shared some great information on what you need to know for turkey hunting and how to stay safe while doing it. You will find important information about the youth turkey hunt weekend on April 25 and 26, 2020 and information about the regular season that starts May 1st, including when to hunt (half hour before sunrise until noon), where to hunt, safety tips, and how to purchase your license.  Always check with your state hunting rules and regulations before a hunt as these change from year to year.  If youth are too young for the hunt, they can still be part of the experience.  They can go on a “turkey walk” and learn how to be quiet in the woods to see the wildlife.

  1. If you are new to hunting, the National Wild Turkey Federation has some excellent Hunting 101 information for turkey hunting, including preparing for your hunt, gear, turkey calls, and things to consider on and after the hunt.
  2. Remember food safety as you transition from hunter to chef…consider using non-lead ammunition, become familiar with how to clean your turkey- remove entrails as soon as possible, cut breast meat off the bone and separate legs as you would other poultry.  Be sure to save the legs for a slow cooking recipe. Also save some feathers for decoration or the entire tail to make a display, along with the beard and spurs.

    KGT’s turkey beard and spurs DIY decorative memento of the hunt

  3. Here is a crowd pleasing recipe that is perfect for youth and adult hunters alike!

Buttermilk Baked Cheesy Wild Turkey Tenders

  • Ingredients:
  •  wild turkey breast, skinless and boneless, about 2 lbs.
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 packet organic ranch dressing mix or or 1/4 cup ranch dressing
  • 3 cups cheese crackers, such as Cheddar Goldfish or Cheez-its


Preheat oven to 425°F.  Slice wild turkey breast into thin strips, about ¼ to ½ inch thick.  In a mixing bowl stir buttermilk and ranch dressing packet together. Place the strips in this mixture and gently stir until the turkey strips are well-coated.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for a few hours or even a few days.  If your bird was an old Tom, marinate in the buttermilk mixture at least 12 hours.  Pour cheese crackers into a resealable bag and crush with your hands or a rolling pin until they become finely ground.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place a marinated piece of turkey in the cracker crumb bag and give it a shake to evenly coat the meat with the cheesy cracker crumbs and then place on baking sheet. Repeat until all of the turkey tenders are coated with crackers, being sure pieces do not overlap on the baking tray.  Bake for 20 minutes, flipping halfway, until crisp and golden brown.  Serve with your favorite dipping sauce, such as honey-mustard, BBQ, ranch dressing, or catsup.

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