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Hunt, Don't Shop, for Thanksgiving Turkey

This isn't the year to swap the Thanksgiving turkey for cedar-plank salmon or a tofu bird.

Americans have experienced enough change lately. Thanksgiving is the time to hold fast to dependable traditions.

So you need a turkey. But you don't have to be boring about it.

Are you the proverbial hunter for your family? Why not bring that metaphor to life with a real-life turkey hunt? Wild turkeys aren't as ditzy as their drown-in-a-puddle domesticated cousins. They have a keenly developed sense of sight and are challenging to bag outside of spring mating season.

Before grabbing your bow and arrow, check your local hunting guidelines, get yourself a hunting license and find a state-approved hunting area. For those new to the sport, experienced Maryland hunter Mark Devey advises, "Be sure wherever you're going, the turkeys are there."

Though I always agree with a man holding a shotgun, Devey's advice is good for anyone who wants to put a turkey on the table. The best birds sell out fast, so secure your bird sooner than later.

If you prefer to purchase your turkeys pre-killed, how about a heritage bird? Heritage turkeys are defined as those that can reproduce without assistance, grow slowly and are able to live a long, productive life. Which makes them healthier than most American banks.

Visit Heritage Foods or Local Harvest to select from a dozen breeds. Read about the different types, then buy the turkey directly from the site. Or choose from a variety of nearby farms and take a drive. Sure beats a trip down the frozen food aisle.

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