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Hammer Handle

Just breasting out birds

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Hammer Handle

Just curious, how many of you just "breast-out" the birds you hunt (ducks, grouse, pheasants)?

I, for one, have never understood this. Seems like a waste.

But, my family still saves the feathers for making pillows also....

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Swill

I just breast out the birds. Mostly because for the time, and the fact I don't have any wax, a large pot, and or a plucking tool.

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Hammer Handle

Wax? Plucking tool? Pot?

I just use my fingers and put the feathers in boxes or paper grocery bags. Ducks are very easy and fast to pick. My nieces who are just starting to hunt (early teens) even pick their ducks.

Pheasants and grouse are even easier to pick.

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BobT

I skin mine and I take the breasts, thighs, and drums. I tried plucking a goose once and didn't care for the taste that came from the fat under the skin. It's easier to just skin them anyway as long as it's done relatively soon after taking them.

Bob

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Swill

I agree with pheasants and grouse are quick to pick, but ducks?

Do you leave the skin on the ducks? Are they cold or warm? Just wondering...maybe I am doing it wrong! It always seems to take me forever to pluck a teal or wood duck; which is why i gave up...

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fivebucks

I just fillet out the breast and take the legs/thighs if they are not shot up. On ducks and geese I cut out the breast and then fillet the skin off like you would a walleye. You have to do very little plucking then.

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RoosterRedneck

That is what I do also

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Quackaddict9

I breast em geese and ducks out. For pheasants, breast and legs. Anyone could pluck a duck.

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Scott M

Quote:

I agree with pheasants and grouse are quick to pick, but ducks?

Do you leave the skin on the ducks? Are they cold or warm? Just wondering...maybe I am doing it wrong! It always seems to take me forever to pluck a teal or wood duck; which is why i gave up...


I'm also in this school of thought. I used to spend the whole afternoon plucking birds, now I will only pluck bigger birds to give to my grandparents or neighbors, everything else gets breasted, otherwise I'll be there all day.

Pheasants and grouse I pluck, but to me this is much faster than waterfowl...no pin feathers.

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Hammer Handle

I guess I don't know why ducks are so hard? Very easy to pick, maybe its a technique? Some will have pin feathers, but they come out easy too or can be singed.

When a 9-year-old picks ducks, it can't be too hard. Geese can be tough though. It seems so much of the meat is wasted nowadays.

And I do leave the skin on. I stuff and roast the bird, nothing better than wild duck stuffing with wild rice in it. The juices from the bird make it great! I then skill the bird after roasting (the skin on keeps it from getting too dry).

So much time is spent "having fun" and hunting, many people waste the ducks. Hunting is not a catch and release sport, so plan accordingly.

A heavily pin feathered duck can be done in 10 minutes. Of course, you will have to gut it too, maybe another 5 minutes. Shoot the male "pretty" ducks and pin feathers will be very minimal. 15 minutes "tops" a duck is nothing. Why waste 1/2 the bird when the population is done?

Sorry, one of my pet peeves. It is like catching a nice walleye and keeping it...only to throw it to the cats....

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B420

I always breast all three of them. It's the only part of them I eat and cook with.

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BobT

From personal experience the thighs and drums on geese can be every bit as tender, if not more so, than the breasts. Don't deny yourself the opportunity to try them. Pheasants on the other hand are like turkeys with a lot of tenden running through but there is still a fair amount of meat on them.

Bob

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Rost

We breast out the majority of our honkers, but skin most ducks. The only ducks we pluck are the fat northern birds.

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Sartell Angler

Just got back from the game farm--those 6 pheasants had some fat on 'em! I took the legs and breasts from those, as I also do for grouse.

Geese and ducks pretty much always just get breasted, with the exception of a few roasting birds (young goose, big northern mallards).

Any canvasback I have ever shot has gotten fully cleaned and royally roasted--best eating bird, the king of ducks!

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BoxMN

We use to pluck and clean all ducks and geese. So it is not a problem or that I hate doing that part. But I simply don't like roasted duck/goose -tried it a bazillion times, just don't like it as much as grilled breast. I don't like the legs, they simply didn't get eaten. Now we breast most birds, except when somebody wants them specifically for roasting, then we do them the full cleaned way.

My fav is putting the breasts on the grill right after cleaning them smile.gif uuuuummm gooooood! Or better yet making them into duck kabobs!

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Fish&Fowl

Quote:

Just curious, how many of you just "breast-out" the birds you hunt (ducks, grouse, pheasants)?

I, for one, have never understood this. Seems like a waste.


What exactly is being wasted when you breast these birds? We breast most of ours, pluck an occasional duck and keep the drums on a few pheasants, but there certainly isn't much meat wasted if that's what you mean.

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Swill

good post fish and fowl....

Is someone had a good time hunting birds and wants to breast the bird for 96% of the meat... then good for you.

The fact is once they are dead they are a waste to me because they won't decoy in my spread!

grin.gifgrin.gif

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hanson

With ducks, I think it depends on how you like to eat them. And variety is good!!

Sometimes we're lazy and breast them out. Other times, we do the full blown pluck, hot wax dip, gut, and wash routine.

I LOVE a plucked duck that was been cooked in the oven. I have to reacquaint myself with the recipe but it involves cranapple juice and an oven bag for a period of time. It is really good!

I also like grilled duck breast, pan fried duck breast, and duck breast in the crockpot.

Guess whatever you like to eat. When we do oven cook our whole birds, the only part that gets eaten is the breast anyway.

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Bushwacker

I breast all my ducks and geese out. On the geese I do take the legs. Besides that there is just not a lot of meat that is going to waste and almost every recipe that my wife and I like include the breasts only. I would say at least 80% of the meat in a duck is in the breast. For pheasants and grouse I skin the whole birds. It is easy and for those birds we like recipes that involve the whole bird.

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Gator Slayer

Here's my trick. Learned it out west.

1: skin the whole bird

2: deal with feet and wings ie keep a foot/wing for transport. We keep the wings and drums intact.

3:Hold the bird by the breast in palm of your hand, with a kitchen shears, cut the back out of the bird, ~ 1/8-1/4 inch on each side of the spine.

4: grab neck of bird, pull neck, head, spine and entrails out.

5: clean up lungs and kidneys and your done. Whole bird in hand.

I guess we do lose the meat on the neck. grin.gif

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Hammer Handle

I disagree and don't think the breast is 80% or more of the meat. There is a lot more meat on waterfowl.

What do you do with the bird after is is breasted? How do you transport the bird if it is now only the breast? How can it be identified?

Last year, I found 8 ducks on the shore of a lake. All breasted out and the rest left to rot. How can someone do this legally?

Also, I brought this up for a guy at work was showing us pictures of his deer last year. Nice buck. I made the comment "Wow, must have made a lot of sausage" and his comment was "No, I don't like deer meat so I only took the horns. I left the rest for the coyotes."

He thought this was perfectly fine!!

Basically, people are wasteful and lazy. They tell things like "everyone is doing it" or "the breast is 80% of the meat" to make themselves feel better. These same people then get mad at me when I spear and keep a 10 pound northern and tell me I am not a true sportsman for I eat bigger fish.

No, I am not perfect either, but I guess I don't try to waste ANY of the wildlife I have the priviledge to hunt. Well, except the bones and guts and stuff : )

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fishermann222

Hammerhandle-

If he said that about the deer it is YOUR JOB to turn him in to TIP. If you don't you are just as guilty as he is, and with your take on ducks I have a suspusion you don't want to be placed in his ranks.

As far as the birds. Hammerhandle I am from Minnesota and moved to eskimo villages in Alaska. You mention using more of the bird and you are getting on people for just taking the breast. How would you like it if you come hunt in Alaska and leave the kidney's, liver, snout and stomach of a moose or caribou only to have the locals tell you you are wasting and so on.

There are always cultures out there that utilize more than others. When it comes to ducks up here they pluck them and gut them. The whole bird, head bill and all goes into a pot with some rice for "bird soup". Even the heart and gizzard's go in the soup.

I guess what I am getting at is we are all hunters, we all enjoy different parts of the hunt and different parts of the game we eat. THe important thing is we follow all the laws that are in place to keep our sport of hunting around for many years to come.

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BoxMN

Quote:

What do you do with the bird after is is breasted? How do you transport the bird if it is now only the breast? How can it be identified?


It is quite easy to "breast" a bird with still keeping a wing attached. You just keep the breast plate attached. But we usually breast by fileting after we get them home, so we transport the bird whole. Usually, however, we simply eat the birds on Saturday night, then take home whatever we get on Sunday, usually less than on Saturday smile.gif During the week we hunt near home, so no problem bringing the bird whole.

As for seeing breasted birds laying in ditch, that is the fault of the person who did it, and not the method of cleaning, IMHO.

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Hammer Handle

Yes, some cultures use every bit of the bird. So did early Minnesotans. I still eat the gizzard and heart myself.

I guess to each his own, but it is still a waste of good meat...not "guts". My father used to enjoy a German soup make with the feet, head, neck, and blood of the ducks he shot.

As far as the deer, a little late to turn him in.... But, the next time I see a guy with an ice-cream pail of duck breasts taking them in to make "duck jerky", I will turn him in. This is quite common in central MN. They leave no trace on how to identify the bird.

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RoosterRedneck

I don't understand why you ask a question to see what others are doing. Then jump all over them if it's not how you do it............

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fishermann222

Quote:

I don't understand why you ask a question to see what others are doing. Then jump all over them if it's not how you do it............


This is what I am wondering also. hammerhandle, I am not jumping all over you for not making duck soup with the heads and all. I do that with alot of birds. It is fine for me, but it is fine if it is NOT for the next guy also. Please don't come on here thinking you are holier than thou because you may use more than your neighbor. Chances are there is someone, somewhere that is using more.

Using the whole bird head and all, plucking the bird and roasting, or breasting the bird, all are legal, all are tasty, and all should be enjoyed without being picked on by someone who thinks they are better than the next guy.

Do you use the wings for anything? I use all the wings off of my birds.

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Swill

The last time I checked Bird flu might be a good reason to avoid the home made, duck feet soup. confused.gif

Plus, this is a duck , geese, waterfowl hunting forum. Who cares how much anyone uses? I shoot ducks for fun, not because I love the meat. Sure, some people might think the meat is where the only reason to hunt. But, I like getting out there with the lab, some buddies, calling in ducks to the spread, and shooting team. If I just wanted duck meat I would raise a few farm ducks. They get bigger than canadian mallards and are less game tasting.

Again, to each his own. I enjoy the sport....

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fishermann222

Excellent post swill, except the bird flu part.

Anyone see that on dirtiest jobs a few weeks ago when they were swabbing duck butts? Took place right here in the area where I live.

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Swill

fishermann222....

Just trying to add a little humor..... and ingredents of the duck soup were great material... Duck blood in the soup? Umm, I will pass thanks.

Reminds me the of the second Indian Jones Movie. Chilled Monkey Brains anyone?

meal5.jpg

Thump-

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Hammer Handle

Sorry, I guess I didn't mean to "ruffle any feathers".

I just don't get it...and will leave it at that. I was upset about the deer talk this last week and thinking back to the dead ducks on my shore last year. I didn't mean to take it out on this forum. Sorry about that.

I get the same attitude (response) when I keep a musky to eat, and people tell me I am ruining the sport. I don't like that attitude towards me either, so I understand how you feel.

Hunting as a sport has become like fishing, a sport. It is not for the game or food. At least you can catch and release in fishing, but not hunting. The ducks are so far down from 10 years ago...I just hate to see the waste. I guess there is nothing I can do about it. So, shoot 'em up and bury them in the field, nothing I can do about it.

I used to keep every large fish I caught...now don't. I used to shoot 40 - 60 ducks a year...and still could shoot this many legally...but don't anymore and "let more go" and do "selective" hunting for the numbers are down. People have changed my way of thinking and I changed my opinions. I was just hoping to change some people's opinions and have them enjoy the whole duck, and not just go for "sport".

Sorry again.

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