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Chicken Of The Tree

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With turkey season now winding to a close, I find myself looking forward to two things; a few days of sleep and my next hunting adventure. Definitely sleep first, as by this time of the season, I’m ending five weeks of seven days a week guiding turkey hunters and I’m getting pretty ragged. My camo is practically in tatters and there’s not much about me that isn’t bruised, strained and just plain worn out. God, how I love turkey season, though!

Next, the new adventures. Invasive species are the targets, whether it be pythons, green iguanas or wild hogs; it’s time to begin a quest for the “other” white meats. Iguana, for certain, will be high on my list of critters which I’ll be traveling for. Because as my good friends and hunting buddies Ryan Pete and Jimmy Oliver recently discovered.…They are delicious!

Now, wait a minute, don’t be so fast to turn your nose up. They really are good vegetarian by nature, their meat is the same color, consistency and yes, even flavor as chicken wings. I know Ryan and Jimmy were pretty skeptical also, but they were bold, and from the first bite, were hooked on the chicken of the tree!

Now, it does take a bit of a drive south to hunt the iggies in any numbers; the farther south you go, the more common they become. However, their numbers are expanding and iguanas have been found as far north as Aripeka, on our coast.

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But, their intolerance of cold nature, pretty much keeps their population minimal much farther north than Bradenton. I personally go to Miami for my iguanas as they appear to be everywhere you look. Grossly overpopulated, you can fill your coolers in just a few hours by aid of an air-rifle or bow; just no firearms! That’s not to say that you can’t hunt them with firearms on private property, with landowners permission, but the public lands upon which it’s most common to hunt them, legally, you’re far better off without a firearm.

An added bonus is that the skins of the iguanas are worth four to five bucks each. So by filling your cooler up with fresh meat for your next barbecue, you can cover the costs of your trip with the sales of the accumulated skins. Can’t go wrong with that, right? A weekend adventure acquiring lots and lots of desirable meat for the freezer, tons of good fun with good friends and basically for free, once the skins are sold.

Now, I like them fried. I bone out the meat and cut it into chunks to be seasoned and fried, like boneless wings. It always comes out tender and delicious. However, Big Jimmy Oliver, being a grill-master, prefers to cook his seasoned iguana parts over a low flame with lots of his own secret sauce. I guess, either way will make you grin once you get a bite of it…. And, I hope you do. I’ll be heading south pretty soon and if you’d like to join me, please reach out to me. I’d love the company!

As always, if you’ve any comments or questions about this article, please give me a shout at [email protected]. God Bless and good hunting!

Toby Benoit
Toby Benoit
Toby Benoit is a best selling novelist and professional outdoorsman with thirty-five years of experience guiding and outfitting for big game all across America. Toby is a renowned archer and turkey hunting expert who manufactures custom game calls and is a regular judge at NWTF sanctioned turkey calling events across the Southeast.
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