Novice turkey hunters are often intimidated to clean this large bird. Just like a chicken or other fowl, there are two basic ways to clean a turkey: plucking and skinning. Plucking is the best option if you want to keep the moisture in the turkey while cooking it whole. To pluck the turkey, remove feathers from the turkey the same way you would pluck a chicken. This method does take more time than skinning and it is messy.
Skinning the turkey is faster and cleaner, but you need to wrap the bird in foil or place in a baking bag to cook whole. Here are some tips to make skinning the turkey easier:
As you decide how to prepare the wild turkey, keep in mind whether your turkey is an older, tougher bird or a younger, more tender bird. Older birds should be cooked with a moist-heat method, while younger birds can be grilled or fried. Look at the Department's list of turkey recipes for some ideas.