Thursday, October 31, 2019

Oh DEER!

         
I’m not a great hunter, I just have an extremely high tolerance for pain and suffering. Because of this physical malfunction, I am capable of spending hours in the extreme cold and freezing rain that would typically sends other hunters running for shelter. Statistics alone predict that the longer a person spends outside, actively hunting, the greater the chance of success. When the going gets tough, I put on a heavily insulated jacket, expedition boots and fill up my pockets with heater packs. Equipped as described, I can shiver in a tree stand for hours, bordering on the very edges of hypothermia, without actually teetering into the necessity of heading for home. No greater test of this ability was more apparent than my time spent hunting during the 2018 deer season.
            After shooting a 125 lb doe during the first week of expanded archery season, I got cocky. In my brash and boastful confidence, I had momentarily neglected to remember that deer hunting in Maine is seriously hard work. Success in the woods does not come easy, but in my quick harvest, I had mocked this critical detail. I was however soon to learn this harsh lesson and learn it well.
            The remainder of September flew by with multiple deer sightings but nothing that approached to within effective bow range. October also flew by and then came November. By November, I had given up my bow and picked up my rifle, despite the technological advantage of hunting with a firearm, the deer continued to evade me. November also rushed by too quickly and with just three days left in the season, a brutal cold front dropped temperatures into the single digits, encouraging many hunters to end their season early.
Undeterred by the low temperatures, I spent 8 hours outside on each of the two days leading up to the final day of the 2018 deer hunting rife season. On the final day, I climbed into my stand at 5:00 am. There was a chilly breeze blowing off the lake and the forest floor was covered with about 5 inches of newly fallen snow, the wind chill pushed the morning temperature to -10F.
            The carpeting of snow allowed visibility for hundreds of yards through the mixed hardwoods, the white contrasting sharply with any animals that scampered past. After about two hours of carefully scanning the woods for deer, I was shocked when 50 yards away a deer stood up on the edge of the lake, after having been bedded there all morning. I swung the rifle, placed the cross hairs on the forward shoulder, exhaled an icy breath, paused and fired. The deer ran 50 yards and collapsed. Walking to the original spot of impact a bed was melted down to bare ground and still warm. The blood trail was scant, having been almost completely absorbed by the dry, powdery snow. As I approached, I realized that the deer was much bigger than I had originally estimated, with a crown of 7 points, the deer became the second biggest of my hunting career.
What did I learn?
            A Maine hunter’s single biggest ally is patience. Deer hunting in Maine is an excruciatingly frustrating experience. Hours of stalking or sitting are typically rewarded with noisy red squirrels, rain, snow and freezing temperatures. Why I continue to hunt can only be explained by those few flickers of success that sometimes seem to occur more based on luck than skill. Most Maine hunters seem to have the innate ability to harness a high level of patience and in my experience, the best hunters always seem to be the most patience.
            Consistency kills almost as many deer as patience. Washing clothes regularly in scent eliminators, checking the rifle or bow aim point a couple times during the season, scouting on Sundays and hunting no matter what the weather conditions. The only time I have seem consistency fail is when hunters consistently sit in a stand or stalk a section of woods over and over with no viable deer sightings. Deer cannot be shot where no deer exist. If hunters are not seeing fresh sign they need to move on and change up the game plan. 
Below Freezing Deer Hunting Tactics
            When temperatures dip below freezing, regular scent wicks freeze and scent dispersal becomes limited. To keep scents working, when temperatures plummet, hunters should check out the esterous scented candles by www.hottrails.com. Their Hot Scent Candle Starter Kit comes with 1 black lantern and 4 Doe-N-Heat candles for the bargain price of $31.58. Last season even as the temps dipped to single digits and the wind blew, this kit continued to pump out scent for hours.


Mom's Moose

The 2018 moose hunt was marked by a roller coaster ride of unfortunate lows mixed with the highs of success. This story starts in January of 2018, with the tragic news that my step dad Lenny Lloyd of Calais being diagnosed with bladder cancer. Though the original prognosis was good, and we all remained hopeful that he would beat the cancer, it was not meant to be.
In June, at the annual moose lottery, my Mom (Kathy Lloyd) and my Dad (Steve Vose) were both pulled for the exact same week of the September moose hunt. This obviously set-up a challenging scenario, as I wanted to join both Mom and Dad for their respective hunts. Adding further complication to the task, Mom and Dad had been picked to hunt wildlife management districts (WMD) over five hours apart. For Dads hunt, we were assigned WMD 2, and would be hunting near Portage, Mom’s hunt was WMD 19, located in the heart of Down East. This quandary forced me to decide, that as Dad had no additional support, I would join him for the beginning of the week and hopefully help him harvest a moose and then join Mom for the end of the week, if she had not yet encountered success. Mom had planned to hunt the beginning of the week with her husband Lenny and a close family friend and Maine Guide, Tim Daley of Calais. As the months passed, however, these plans rapidly changed, as Lenny’s health continued to decline. Tragically at 4:00 am on September 21st, I received an emotional phone call from Mom saying that Lenny, at just 60 years old, had succumb to the cancer and passed away. 
My initial plan had been to leave that next morning to join Dad in Portage and scout for moose, so my truck was already packed full of camping equipment and hunting gear. Instead of going through the laborious task of unpacking, I threw my suit jacket, dress shoes and necktie into the truck and headed north from Augusta to Calais. 
I arrived in Calais at Mom’s house early Friday morning where I was met by Mom and almost a dozen other family members. To say the scene was somber, would be the worst of understatements. I assisted Mom with funeral arrangements, cooked for guests, made general house repairs and generally attempted to make myself “useful”, a task that I think most bereaved would easily understand. An active mind and body has less time to become idle, think too much and become overwhelmed by grief. 
Saturday morning, Mom’s household was joined by my wife and kids, as well as my brother and his family. Having this added emotional support, Mom pulled me aside and said that she wanted me to go and help my Dad. This left me in a quandary, wanting to stay and provide support but also wanting to help Dad on his moose hunt. While even at 68 years old, I knew Dad extremely capable, disassembling a moose is not an easy task for one person to handle and it gave me an uneasy feeling. Upon Mom’s continued encouragement, Sunday morning, I headed out to meet Dad in Portage. 
Sunday afternoon, I arrived in Portage, met Dad and headed to our camping spot in the Deboullie Public Reserved Lands. On the way to our campsite, a large bull moose slowly waltzed across the road. A good sign, so we thought. The next two days were dreadful for moose hunting, high winds blew our scent in every conceivable direction and made calling a unique challenge. To further complicate matters, our inability to scout earlier in the week, lead us to expend a considerable amount of time hunting in areas that lacked fresh sign. Still undeterred by these challenging events, Dad and I gave it our all, hunting from sunrise to sunset Monday and Tuesday. By Tuesday evening, however, Dad told me he had done what he came to do and moose or no moose, I need to drive back to be with Mom.
Early Wednesday afternoon, I was headed back to Calais. The 5.5 hour ride from Portage to Down East, had me arriving at Moms only an hour and a half before Lenny’s wake on Wednesday evening at 6:30 pm. The somber event left not a dry eye in the house and at the evenings conclusion everyone was emotionally and physically drained. The Wednesday wake was followed by Lenny’s funeral on Thursday, which was attended by half of Down East, Maine. It was an overwhelming show of support for our family and a high honor paid to a man who had meant so much to his friends, family, co-workers and community.  
Thursday night, Mom’s house was packed with family. During dinner, Mom mentioned that she felt Lenny, an avid outdoorsman, would have wanted her to go on her moose hunt. Mom’s strength in the situation surprised me, however, I felt that if she was really interested in going, there was likely no other task that would be more cathartic. Mom’s assurance, after dinner, that she was deadly serious about moose hunting, lead to my brother, step brother and I to begin organizing a plan for a hunt early the next morning. All three of us growing up Down East, we had a fairly good lay of the land but still consulted with a local Maine guide to determine where we might find fresh sign.
While my brothers were checking Google maps, I helped Mom organize her hunting gear. Obviously my biggest concern, was Mom’s ability to safely and accurately discharge her firearm. While she was very familiar with her hunting rifle, complicating the situation was her current state of obvious emotional distress.
            So to ensure safety, I had Mom show me her TC Encore in .308 and walk me through the operation of the firearm. I then had her practice standing up, looking through the scope and bringing it into firing position. Evaluating Mom, she appeared relaxed, an emotional state easy to maintain not under duress, less so when being stared down by a 1,000 pound wild animal. Ultimately, I felt that with the support of the three of us, she would be capable of safely killing a moose, if the opportunity presented itself. Besides, I figured our chances of actually shooting a moose were somewhere close to zero.
           
I awoke early the next morning and woke everyone up. After plenty of black coffee and a hearty breakfast, we were driving two trucks down Route 9, headed for our first choice of hunting spots. Turning off Route 9, we traveled dirt roads for about 15 minutes before arriving at the edge of a large clear cut. We parked the trucks, Mom loaded her rifle and the four of us started slowly walking toward the edge of the clear cut. After about 20 yards, Mom noticed a decent sized fresh bull track but she bemoaned that it was headed in the opposite direction we were now headed. I explained to her, that bulls in heat are wanderers, looking for love and there was as much of a chance that he was now in front of us as behind us. 
Before entering the clear cut, I let out a long mournful cow mating call on my electronic game call. After 10 minutes of waiting with no response, we eased into the cut. A long dirt road divided the massive clear cut in half and large gravel berms on both sides of the road partially hid our approach through the mostly open area. Every 50 yards or so, I would stop, glass the area with my binoculars and let out another soft cow in heat call. Halfway across the cut, (about 30 min.) we all stopped behind a large berm and busied ourselves to the task of investigating every rock, stump and tree.
About halfway through my third calling sequence, my brother turned to me and whispered that he had heard a bull grunt but was unsure of the direction of distance. We continued to scan the clear cut, when suddenly I heard an odd, rapid, high pitched, squeaking noise directly behind us. Peering slowly around the edge of the berm, standing only 25 yards away was a hefty 725 pound bull moose. He had appeared so rapidly, I can only assume that he had been bedded down, out of sight, in the middle of the clear cut and had simply stood up when he heard the cow call.
Wasting no time, I withdrew around the corner of the berm and began frantically waving to Mom. Giving me a confused look, she mouthed the word, “What?”. Spreading both my hands wide and putting one on each side of my head, I whispered, “MOOOOSSSEEE!”. At that point, Mom’s eyes enlarged to the size of dinner plates and she sauntered over to my side. Mom’s “saunter” on that day, is now a point I regularly tease her about. When I frantically waved at her to hurry, she ignored my repeated requests to hurry and instead slowly walked over so that she would not to trip and fall. Even with a gun in her hands, a moose in her sights and adrenaline rushing, she still maintained a “safety first” level of composure.
Taking Mom by both shoulders, I told her to mount the rifle, keep her finger off the trigger and slowly pull back the hammer. Accomplishing these tasks, I then eased her around the edge of the berm. As soon as Mom saw the moose, she started shaking and I could feel her entire body vibrating through my fingertips. Throughout the entire process, I never took my eyes off Mom, so when the gun went off, I had to ask my step brother if the moose had in fact went down. He assured me it had dropped in its tracks. I helped Mom reload the rifle, as her arthritic fingers lacked the strength to extract the bullet. Reloaded, we both started walking together toward the downed moose. As we got closer, Mom asked, “I hit it…right?”. I replied that, “In a clear cut of this size, if you missed, where would it go?”, as I had not seen the moose go down, this statement was as much to convince myself, as it was Mom. Our fears were unfounded, however, when after only a few more feet there lie her moose. Upon verifying that the moose was dead, Mom knelt down beside the beast, looked to the heavens and said, “That one was for you Lenny.” I cannot justly describe the outpouring of emotions that then ensued, it certainly was a joyous, yet difficult time for us all.
            They say once you pull the trigger all the fun is over and after a moose is shot, this is the understatement of the century. As a light rain began to fall, I started gutting the moose, while my two brothers walked back to get the trucks. Upon their return, the rain had picked up considerably and I knew we were in for a soaking. Using ropes, pulleys, a come along and a little brute strength, the four of us managed, in just one and a half hours, to drag the moose 35 yards out of the blueberry barrens and into the back of my Toyota 4x4 Tacoma pickup truck. After loading the moose, in my tired state, all I could think to say to Mom was, “Thank God you didn’t shoot a bigger one!”.
Lenny Lloyd loved hunting, fishing, camping and all manner of outdoor pursuits, I know that he was up there in the heavens watching over us that emotional day. The sheer luck involved in all the events that occurred on September 28th, could only have only been preordained by some higher power. If ever I had any small doubt that there is a God and an ever after, this day eliminated those doubt and renewed my faith in a power beyond mere mortal man.

Alaska, Fish Batter and Late Season Bass Tactics

For many sportsmen the dream of fishing the crystal clear waters of Alaska is high on their bucket list. For me, this dream came true last summer, when I was able to join my Dad and brother on a “Once in a Lifetime” trip to the last frontier. For the sake of brevity, I won’t go into a half crazed tirade about what an amazing time was had by all. As a matter of fact, the limits of my skills as a writer wouldn’t do it justice anyway. Instead, let me share the details of one simple decadent meal that was enjoyed in the small town of Homer, AK.
             Throughout my life, I have eaten a lot of fresh fish, however, I have never experienced anything quite like the taste of caught fresh that day, never frozen halibut. Picture an enormous, heaping plate of halibut, deep fried to golden perfection. Every bite is crispy, salty goodness filled with delicious, melt in your mouth halibut. Add to the exquisite gourmet experience an ice cold Alaskan IPA and a restaurant window with a view of mountain rimed Kachemak bay and well you get the picture. If that was all to this story, I could simply slip into a gastronomic coma and be perfectly satisfied, however, there is more. Imagine, convincing one of the waitresses to provide you with the infamous, family secret batter recipe!

Alaskan Infamous Family Secret Batter Recipe   
- 2 lbs Fish (We were fortunate enough to return home with over 50 pounds of halibut but any “white” fish is perfect with this recipe including: Haddock, Northern Pike, Small and Largemouth Bass, Striped Bass, White Perch and Black Crappie and found them all to be delicious.)
- 12 ounces light beer
- ½ teaspoon Baking Soda
- ½ teaspoon Baking Powder
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 1½ cups Flour
- 4 tablespoons Cornstarch

Place fish gently into deep fat fryer, being careful not to crowd fish. Cook till batter turns golden brown (about 3 minutes) at 375 degrees. Fish can be removed from fryer and placed on a paper towel lined plate and placed into the oven at 200 degrees to keep warm, while the remainder of the fish is cooking.
Anyone who grew up with the Schwan’s truck delivering frozen fish sticks to your front door, is sure to have choked them down with a heaping smear of Mom’s “homemade” tartar sauce. Typically this less than culinary concoction was made by combining equal parts relish and mayonnaise. Instead of relying on this old diehard of a recipe, and trust me it should die. Why not try this blissful tartar sauce recipe.

Blissful Tartar Sauce
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup finely chopped dill pickle
- 3 tablespoons chopped green onion
- 1 tablespoon drained capers
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
Whisk all ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Season with salt and pepper. Cover; chill at least 1 hour, lasts up to 2 days.

Late Season Bass Tactics
If looking for a great local “white fish”, to enjoy in the above recipe, largemouth bass is one of my favorites. For many anglers, bass fishing season ends soon after Labor Day. Committed bass fishermen know, however, that some of the best bass fishing occurs as the leaves change color and the shorter days of sunlight begin to drop water temperatures. September marks the beginning of the fall turnover, a time of year when the cooling upper layer of water becomes heavier than the water underneath. This causes the denser cold water to sink, pushing the warmer water to the surface. During this change, a majority of the lake's bass population will be drawn into the shallows to feed. In the fall, bass cover large amounts of territory in search of food as they fatten up for the long winter season. Once found, fickle late season bass are highly transitional and anglers must be prepared to move on once the bite goes cold and target new areas.
During the first part of fall turnover, top water lures like shallow water crank baits (ex. O.S.P Blitz Max in Red Claw and Bagley Honey B in Baby Bass and Red Crawdad), are king. Hungry bass, patrolling the shallows, really hammer these lures which mimic creatures of the shallows like crayfish, minnows and frogs. After the fall turnover, around the time aquatic plants begin to die, bass begin to transition into deeper water. At this time, anglers should make the switch to deep diving crank baits. Fished correctly, deep diving crank baits can break the 20 foot barrier, meaning anglers can successfully pursue big bass in deep water. Many fall anglers, fish Carolina rigs or Football jigs. Unfortunately, the biggest bass often prefer a crankbaits over rigs and jigs, as Bass Master Pro Paul Elias has seen this first hand. He noted that, while fishing deep water, he would consistently catch 2 pound fish on a Carolina rig, but nothing larger. After switching to a Mann's E-Z 30+, got fewer bites, but began consistently catching 3 to 5 pound fish.
This data is exciting, as it really cements something my grandfather always said, “If the fish ain’t biting, or you ain’t catching the fish you want, try something different.” Don’t be afraid to switch it up and try something new this fall, you may just be surprised by the results!

Tick Troubles, A Helpful Solution


Tick Troubles
The twelve states with the highest incidence of Lyme disease include Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Wisconsin. These 12 states alone account for 95% of all total cases of Lyme infection in the U.S.
Ticks become infected with Lyme and other pathogens when larvae (or nymphs) take a blood meal from infectious animal hosts. Engorged larvae molt over winter and emerge in May as poppy-seed sized nymphal deer ticks. Adult-stage deer ticks become active in October and remain active throughout the winter whenever the ground is not frozen. Blood-engorged females survive the winter in the forest leaf litter and begin laying their 1,500 or more eggs around Memorial Day (late May). These eggs begin hatching in early June, peaking in early July. The risk of contracting Lyme and other tick-borne diseases is highest during this time because the nymphs (which are smaller than a sesame seed) are difficult to see and their bite is painless. In most cases, Lyme disease is transmitted from May through July, when nymphal-stage ticks are active. 
The name deer tick, tends to cause people to believe that ticks are infected with Lyme disease after biting deer. However, while it’s true that deer and other mammals can spread tick populations, they do not carry the disease. Instead, ticks mainly pick up Lyme pathogens from white-footed mice. It stands to reason then that by stopping the spread of ticks to mice to humans, the threat of Lyme disease infection can be decreased. This line of reasoning, is the science behind “Tick Tubes”.
Tick Tubes Explained
Basically, tick tubes are cardboard or plastic tubes filled with permethrin treated cotton balls. Mice collect the cotton balls to build their nests. The deer ticks that feed on the mice are exposed to the permethrin and killed. This breaks the life cycle and stops the spread of Lyme disease to human hosts.
Tubes are simply placed around your yard in areas with protective coverage (think like a mouse), such as flowerbeds, bushes, woodpiles, stone walls and sheds. To provide maximum coverage, tubes should be placed no more than 10 yards apart. To be most effective, Tick Tubes should be put out twice a year, once in spring and once in late summer. The first application kills nymphal ticks that emerge in the spring and the second application kills larval ticks that hatch in late summer. It is essential to set Tick Tubes out both times of the year to achieve best results. Spring applications should be made in May and summer applications made in late July. Scientists studying the effects of Tick Tubes on treated properties have recorded a 10 fold decrease in the presence of ticks and the risk of human exposure to an infected tick reduced by as much as 97%.
Commercially Available Tick Tubes
Two popular companies manufacture and sell tick tubes, Thermacell (maker of the popular Portable Mosquito Repeller) and Damminix. The pricing on both the Thermacell and Damminix Tick Tube are comparable, with 24 tubes (enough for 1 acre) costing approximately $75.00. Both the Thermacell (https://www.thermacell.com) and Damminix (http://www.ticktubes.com) products can be purchased online.
DIY Tick Tubes
            For the individual who likes to do it yourself, Tick Tubes can also be made at home with a few simple materials.

Supplies
- Toilet paper rolls and/or PVC pipe pieces; I used a mix of both.
- A bottle of Permethrin
- Cotton balls or left over dryer lint
- Disposable gloves & protective eyeglasses

Instructions
Put on the gloves and safety glasses, then lay out the cotton or dryer lint and saturate it with the permethrin spray. I strongly doing this outside on a day with no wind. Allow the fibers to fully dry and then spray a second coat, again let it fully dry. Add pieces of the dry fibers to the tubes. A few pieces in each tube is enough, as you don’t want to over-stuff them. Place the tubes around your property, every 20-30 feet or so. Ticks are less likely to be in wide open lawns and are not able to travel/walk far on their own so they require something to move them, such as the mice and chipmunks they attach to.  These animals tend to have small burrows and nests in sheltered areas, like underbrush and piles of leaves.  Be sure to focus on those areas, along with anywhere you see chipmunks during the day.  Keep I mind that mice are nocturnal, so it is unlikely you will see mice during the day to know exactly where to put the tubes. 

Other Things Homeowners Can Do to Kill Ticks
            Even with Tick Tubes successfully deployed, there are still a few other things that homeowners can do to help stop the spread of ticks.

Helpful Hints
- Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edge of lawns.
- Place a 3-ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas and around patios and play equipment. This will restrict tick migration into recreational areas. - Mow the lawn frequently and keep leaves raked.
- Stack wood neatly and in a dry area (discourages rodents that ticks feed on).
- Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees and place them in a sunny location, if possible.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates that each year there are about 300,000 cases of Lyme disease, which is vectored by deer ticks. Do your part to keep yourself and your family safe this season with Tick Tubes and these preventative hints!



Turkeys in Central Maine as Thick as the Ticks!


Last season, my son dropped the hammer on his biggest tom turkey to date, a 20.2 pound bruiser of a bird shot during the first week. It was a long morning hunt and we had almost given up for the promise of McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches, when the woods were rocked by his impressively loud gobble. My son barely had a chance to collect his composure and get his shotgun into position before the behemoth strolled into range. Thankfully, old Tom was too transfixed and ready to pick a fight with our Avian X Strutter to worry about our erratic movements. Well, a deep breath later, my son took the shot and old tom was meat.
I have to say, after an entire season of using the Avian X Strutter this large bulky decoy is well worth the extra effort and weight and I am absolutely hooked on its effectiveness and wouldn’t dream of hunting without it. Last season, I guided my son and a family friend in harvesting two toms over 20 pounds and 18 and 19 pound birds for myself. In an open field, this decoy has the size and realism to pull in big Toms and even curious jakes (early season) from long distances. Basically if they see it, they’re coming in for a closer look. 
Turkeys Thick as Ticks!
On the heels of last year’s impressive season, now a full year later, the final hours are ticking down to one of the most productive spring turkey hunt I have ever seen. I don’t remember the last time I walked into the woods and had turkeys gobbling on every cardinal point of the compass...and them some! I had a premonition that this season was going to be great, as I watched the fields last fall and saw dozens of hens with huge broods numbering 6-7 poults. In addition to the healthy brood sizes, I also noted large flocks of turkeys inhabiting almost every field I passed. I felt at times, I would have a difficult time stepping in the woods without stepping on a turkey!
Turkey Troubles
All of the sightings and the excellent spring hunt, seem in direct contrast to the turkey numbers being reported throughout the eastern United States. Decreasing turkey populations seem to be growing to record proportions, as reported in such states as Missouri (down 30%), Mississippi (down 34%), New York (down 40%) and Arkansas (down 65%). The National Wild Turkey Federation reports that in 1973, there were approximately 1.5 million wild turkeys in North America. After 40 years of effort, that number reached a historic high of about 6.7 million turkeys. Today turkey numbers are creeping downward and are currently estimated at between 6 million birds. Wildlife biologists say these recent declines may not be long-term, but they do warrant close monitoring. Among the listed concerns, scientists feel that in some areas birds have reached carrying capacity and have declined as the capacity of the habitat to support a certain number of birds has declined. If the habitat conditions decline across multiple counties and states, then birds have no choice but to decline with it. Another factor, in the mix, is that turkeys are extremely susceptible to diseases including blackhead, avian pox and West Nile. To avoid any fears of disease transmission to humans, turkeys should be cleaned using rubber gloves and all instruments used in butchering thoroughly cleaned. Also when cooking turkey meat, the USDA recommends cooking it to an internal temperature of 165 F.
Tough Turkey
            Now I like to shoot big tom turkeys just as much as the next guy but when it comes to eating big birds they tend to be on the tough side. To combat this issue, grinding the meat before meal preparation is immensely helpful. Ground turkey meat can be used in soups, tacos, made into meatballs or my children’s favorite, ground turkey nuggets. To try them for yourself, try this simple recipe.

Ground Turkey Nuggets
1/4 cup white flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup  breadcrumbs 
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/4 cup olive oil

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Take out three small bowls and add the flour to the first bowl. Crack the eggs into the second one. Add the breadcrumbs to the third bowl. Put the ground turkey in a large bowl and mix in the salt and Parmesan cheese. Put some flour on your hands and make a ping-pong sized ball. Set the ball on a cookie sheet and continue until all of the turkey has been made into small balls. Roll each ball in the flour, dip in the egg, and then roll in the breadcrumbs. Place back on the cookie sheet and then flatten gently. Repeat until done.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low. Place the turkey pieces in the skillet and cook for 2 minutes. Flip over and cook the other side for an additional 2 minutes. After they have been slightly browned on each side, place back on the cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes or until cooked all the way through. Serve hot with honey mustard (see recipe above) for dipping!!

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