As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, everyone is starting to think about turkeys. Those hosting friends and family for the holiday feast are exploring ways to prepare the main course. An interesting option is to go organic by serving wild turkey for Thanksgiving.

Wild turkey populations are abundant and provide sustainable hunting opportunities throughout the state. When knowledge, skill and good fortune result in a successful hunt, it provides an opportunity to impress dinner guests with the delicious flavor of wild turkey. A recipe for cooking a wild turkey with citrus brine is available from the chefs at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in partnership with the wild turkey experts at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

Wild turkey is a versatile protein so in addition to the main course, Fresh from Florida chefs adapted several popular recipes using leftover wild turkey and other Fresh from Florida products. Serve post-holiday meals that are tasty and healthy with recipes such as wild turkey quesadillas and wild turkey cottage pie. See other Fresh from Florida wild turkey recipes.

There are two wild turkey subspecies that occur in this state: the eastern and the Osceola wild turkey. Florida is unique because the Osceola subspecies lives nowhere else in the world but on the state’s peninsula. Osceolas are similar to the eastern wild turkey subspecies, which is found in north Florida and throughout the eastern United States.

 “Turkey hunting in Florida is a chance to experience the outdoors in a really special way,” said Buddy Welch, wild turkey program coordinator for the FWC.  “However, wild turkeys are extremely wary and possess sharp eyesight and excellent hearing so hunting them is a challenge.”

Because most wild turkey hunting in Florida occurs in the spring, FDACS chefs discuss how to preserve a harvested wild turkey so it can be enjoyed at Thanksgiving.

The FWC uses scientifically-proven wildlife management strategies and professional expertise to meet conservation objectives and provide sustainable wild turkey hunting opportunities. Learn more about wild turkeys, including their behavior, habitat needs and where they live in Florida at