Plucking dove and game birds is a relatively simple process that achieves far superior results with regards to table fare. When you enjoy those tiny wings and legs and get the full flavor of a game bird unmasked by bacon, you will know where your extra 4 minutes went. Plucking birds used to be a more common practice until the rise of bird hunting outfitters who skin and/or breast out the birds to save time and until the bacon “popper” generation (gee, thanks, TGI Fridays….).
Don’t get me wrong, a bacon wrapped dove “popper” is a mighty tasty treat, however you might as well be eating bacon wrapped “anything” instead of enjoying the subtle flavor of a game bird that you put so much effort into hunting and killing. With the skin contributing fat of its on and retaining the precious moisture of the meat, possibilities are endless for cooking dove and game birds.
While many dove hunters crave a busy day of flying, I actually prefer moderate action, giving me time to pluck at least some of the birds on the spot, between sets of doves. This is not always possible, but it does spread the work out nicely. If you do not have time to pluck your birds during or immediately after a hunt, it is reasonably safe to hang the birds in a fridge (ungutted) for a couple of days. Though an agent of the USDA would be horrified, thousands of years of human history tells another story altogether. You can read more about hanging game birds over on Hunter Angler Gardener Cook.