By David Draper

After a few very tough days in the woods, I was starting to think all the turkeys around here had forgotten how to gobble. On my first trip, a foggy day where the precipitation changed from mist to snow and back on an hourly basis, I never heard a gobble. Not one. And when I did finally call a bird into range, a short-bearded super jake, I clean missed, pulling nary a feather. Day two wasn’t half that exciting, but at least the weather was nicer.

So, on Easter Sunday, after big ham dinner at the in-laws, I sat down in a small grove of trees to call to a couple of big-bearded toms I had seen sulking through the neighbor’s yard an hour earlier. Though I could see the birds, or one bird at least, strutting through the tall grass of the pasture, they ignored my lonely hen yelps, making not so much as a peep. Never one to be afraid of being too aggressive, I got on the diaphragm call with a quick series of yelps punctuated by some hard cutting. I was rewarded with a hard gobble and the sight of not one, not two, but four light-bulb white heads bobbing through the grass toward me. Within a few seconds I went from worst to first as two toms flapped death throes in the dust as the two others bugged out for the territories.

A couple days later I celebrated my Easter double with this easy recipe. It works great on any piece of the turkey, but I used the best part–those long pieces of meat that lay just under the breasts. I called them tenders, but I’ve heard others call them loins or strips.

Soy Lemon Turkey Tenders


Tenders from two turkeys

1 Tbsp. canola oil

1 tsp. garlic, minced

Juice and zest from one lemon

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup game or chicken stock or water

Pinch of sugar

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper


1. Season the turkey tenders with salt and pepper and brown both sides quickly in hot oil. Remove.

2. Turn heat to medium and add the garlic, stirring until soft, 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Add remaining ingredients to pan, along with the turkey tenders.

4. Cover and simmer over reduced heat until tenders are cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes.

5. Serve over rice with plenty of pan sauce.