Some of my readers have expressed an interest in hunting wild game, especially non-meat fowl. Here’s a primer on the most popular veggie game bird for the Thanksgiving season.
Hunting the Wild Tofurkey
Tofurkeys are found throughout the U.S. and Canada. Their typical habitat is on the fringes of grain and soybean fields, or more rarely, in the city, grazing in the alleys behind vegan restaurants. Hunting season is from late October through early December.
Identify your bird
Blobby. The most abundant species is the soya ogrealis, or the Blobby tofurkey. The bird is recognized by its slow, slumping walk and barely formed limbs. Wet and pale, its flanks shiver when it walks, like thick, white Jello.
Slab. The roastus fidelious, or Slab tofurkey, is a slightly smaller bird with a reddish tinge and red crest. The bird is recognized by its unusual, pungent, yeasty smell. It leaves a trail of grainy juice as it slides and rolls along.
Calls. Once you’re hunkered down and sheltered in a spot where the animals roam, it’s time to attract the bird by imitating its call. You’ll want to learn “the Splut.” Start with a hissing sound, then hold the lips tightly together and let air blow through them with a wet, sputtering noise. This is the call a tofurkey makes when it spots a food source. “The Burble” is also effective. The sound is much like a turkey’s gobble, only underwater. Fill your mouth with water, or a heavy syrup, tilt your head upwards and attempt a gobbling noise.
Decoys and bait. A few pounds of tofu can be molded into a reasonable facsimile of a Blobby chick, known as a “Blip.” Place it in an open area within sight of your hiding place and see if it attracts a curious adult. Non-dairy cheese products will also lure a Slab or Blobby into the open.
Guns. A 12-gauge shotgun is the favorite for the majority of tofurkey hunters. This may seem counter-intuitive, since the 12-gauge will splatter the bird into soggy pieces. That fact is, however, that such pieces can be picked up, whereas anything smaller than a 12-gauge may only put holes in your prey. Many a hunter has seen the sorry sight of a tofurkey escaping into the brush with one or several holes in its body—holes that barely injure or slow down this dumb but hardy bird. Remington and Winchester make quality shotguns for tofurkey hunting.
Bagging your bird
Experienced tofurkey hunters will have a supply of zip-lock freezer bags on hand. Once you’ve brought down your prey, you’ll find the bird in pieces, scattered over a five to ten yard radius. Patience does the job right. A rule of thumb is that any piece bigger than a marble is worth collecting and goes into the bag. Some chunks may still be feebly moving, as it takes this animal several minutes to expire. Scour the entire area, starting with the largest pieces and moving outward in a spiral, leaving no ground unexamined. Important: most tofurkeys have a vestigial gravy pack attached. If you find the gravy pack still intact, you’re in for a treat!
Traditionally, the person the hunter has mated with will perform the cleaning of the bird hunks. He or she will also prepare mounds of vegetables and a non-dairy pie. It is, however, the prerogative of the hunter to preside over the meal. The hunter will recite a prayer of gratitude to the goddess of non-meat forest denizens, and will slice open the congealed, quivering pile of stuck-together hunks, serving them to the dinner guests. Enjoy!