Florida’s spring turkey season opens Saturday, March 2 on private lands south of State Road 70 and Saturday, March 16 north of State Road 70. Florida’s abundant wild turkey populations offer sustainable harvest opportunities throughout the state. However, hunting them is a challenge because they are extremely wary and possess sharp eyesight and excellent hearing. When knowledge, skill and good fortune come together for a successful outcome, hunters can look forward to delicious, organic meals.
“Many people relish the feeling of self-reliance that comes from being able to harvest and prepare wild turkey,” said Chef Justin Timineri, executive chef and culinary ambassador for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “It’s a tasty, versatile protein that can be prepared many different ways.”
Fresh from Florida chefs have developed several mouthwatering wild turkey recipes including Tikka Masala, wild turkey quesadillas and wild turkey cottage pie. Because wild turkey meat is low in fat, techniques for cooking it differ from domestic birds. The Fresh from Florida chefs provide recipes and tips on how to prepare tender, juicy meals that hunters will enjoy sharing with friends and family.
The Sunshine State is home to robust populations of two wild turkey subspecies: eastern and Osceola. Florida is unique because the Osceola subspecies lives only on the state’s peninsula and nowhere else in the world. Osceola wild turkeys are similar to the eastern wild turkey subspecies, which is found in north Florida and throughout the eastern United States. However, Osceolas tend to be smaller and darker with less white barring on the wings.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) wildlife professionals use scientific data to conserve wild turkey populations and provide regulated and sustainable hunting opportunities. Hunters also play an important role in wild turkey management by purchasing licenses and permits, and along with other shooting sports enthusiasts, contributing to the successful Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program.
Learn more about wild turkey management and hunting by visiting MyFWC.com/turkey. Find wild turkey recipes and information by choosing “Hunting News” at MyFWC.com/hunting.