View Full Version : Dumb newbie question about bird hunting

chris in va
January 1, 2005, 06:22 PM
I've never hunted before, but love to hit the trap range. My friend asked me what happens when you shoot say, a pheasant or turkey and want to prepare it...with all those lead pellets in it.

I had no answer...

January 1, 2005, 10:13 PM
I filet the breasts off the pheasants, the filets are thin enough you hold them up to a light and you can easily see the pellets. If you cook a bird whole you look for pellet entrances and feel around to see if you can find the pellet. You don't always get them all, and there have been some electric moments when a filling touches a pellet!!!

January 2, 2005, 12:16 AM
Here in NY at least we have to use #4,5,or 6 shot which will not penetrate the feathers of a turkey so you use an extra full [turkey] choke and aim for the head .Not too many pellets in the body of the bird then. Other than that I like to use larger shot so as to reduce the number and to find easier .You should be able to find most of them and use a twizzer to remove. Waterfowl is a problem since something like steel shot is something not to bite down on. Use extra care to find steel. When serving to guests explain to them the possibility of finding shot.

Smokey Joe
January 2, 2005, 02:26 AM
Chris--IMX, there are no dumb questions. Poorly formed questions, sure, but if you have a doubt in your mind about something, the only way to resolve it is to postulate a question. Then you, or someone else, answers it.

It doesn't matter that "everybody knows that," if you're not part of "everybody." It's really annoying to hear the highly experienced pooh-pooh a sincerely asked question. And all of us forget a fundamental, once in a while.

And if there were dumb questions, they would still be far easier to deal with than dumb mistakes caused by uninformed non-questioners.

January 2, 2005, 05:14 AM
We try to remove them in prep for the oven , but it's best to chew gingerly ;) ...Tom

January 2, 2005, 10:40 AM
Especially on quail, the pellets can be located due to their having taken a little wad of feathers inside. When doing cleaning under running water in the sink, I sometimes slit the meat just enough to use point of knife to flip out feathers and pellet(s). But still chew gingerly. :)

January 2, 2005, 04:35 PM
As has been hinted here but not really said, it really depends on the type of hit. If you're walking heavy cover/working with a dog its best to work into the wind as any birds will take off into it, before probably looping back to run with or perpendicular to. In these cases you usually get back/wing/head hits that don't chew up much meat. You don't usually have to worry about penetrating say a pheasant back to front with shot at anything over a few yards.

Now a side hit or a breast on hit, is something else. I personally usually get these when hunting doves, and the problem is excaberrated by using smaller shot with more hits on a bird. That said, chasing feathers, picking out shot with toothpicks, knifepoints and the like all help. Eating gingerly is another thing. A third to thing about is simply eating with your fingers. If you pick the meat off the breast / areas affected (you can see the shot holes, plus the meat around the holes will usually be discolored with blood) one can usually avoid any leftover shot.

I've also heard that one can use really strong rare earth magnets to pull shot out of birds that were hit with steel. Take that with a grain of salt though as I've yet to find someone who has done this.

Long Path
January 2, 2005, 07:18 PM
I've taken to deboning the breasts of the birds that I shoot. I often will put the meat in a panfry or might kabob the meat, and it's more pleasant to eat the meat morsels off the bone. At any rate, when you debone the meat, you will often find that a lot of the shot comes out right there. If you cube the meat, then your chances go way up that the shot will come out. The last several times that I made jalepeno ginger dove and rice, I found a couple of pieces of shot in the marinade, but no one found a single piece in the meat. :)

I find also that I get more passthrough with larger shot pellets for a given game. If 8 or 9 drops a dove, 7.5 seems to leave me fewer shot. Quail, with its tender meat and the 6 or 7.5 shot that I usually use to shoot it, rarely leaves a pellet. (They're easy to find in that transluscent meat, anyway)

The worst time I ever had was with duck when my dad brought it home and mom would just roast it. (Yuck. Mom's a good cook, but she hasn't a clue about duck. :( )

With turkey, you're generally using larger shot because it's a stationary target, and if you're aiming at the head, few pellets will end in the breast. Those that do, should be easy to find.