How to Clean a Dove




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Doves are a great way to enjoy the fall weather, delicious, easy to clean, and great fun to hunt. After the hunt you need to clean the doves before they spoil. This is a very easy job, all that is needed is one item and you're good to go!

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What You'll Need:

  1. A fresh dove
  2. A hose with the "flat" setting (optional)

Without further ado, the process!

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Step 1: Plucking

This is the easiest step. All you have to do is to grab the feathers and pull them off until the entire breast is exposed as pictured above.

-Tip: I find it easiest to start at the base and work my up the breast. Try to grab the feathers at the base to avoid breaking the delicate skin.

Step 2: Breasting

Hold the bird in your hand on it's back with the head at your fingers and the tail at your wrist. Identify the two ends of the breast bone as marked by the red dots in the image above. Place your thumb under the tail end of the breast bone and press firmly until it pops through to the body cavity. Push your thumb all the way up until you reach the other end of the breast bone.

-Tip: I find it easiest to keep my finger pressed against the top of the body cavity to avoid piercing any innards.

Place your pointer finger at the top of the breast bone, grabbing the breast firmly. Firmly grasp the body of the bird while pivoting the breast on the wing bones and lifting it upwards away from the rest of the body until the breast is only attached by the wing joints. Peel the skin back from the breast at both ends. Firmly grasp the breast in one hand and the body in the other. Twist the breast, breaking the wing joints loose and lift the breast away.

Step 3: Cleaning

Use the "Flat" setting on a hose to spray down the bird until all blood and feathers are gone. Pick off any remaining skin, membrane, or anything that you don't want to eat.

Discard the body and feathers and package or cook fresh.

You're done!

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7 Discussions


4 years ago on Introduction

Awesome technique! I'm trying a few variations and will give this one a shot next time I'm out. Shot this video of a different technique a few months ago. Hope this helps. Enjoy!


5 years ago on Introduction

Excellent write-up!!!

I do all of it except plucking the feathers. When you got a few people
hunting with you and they all limit out and you have to clean all the
doves then having all the feathers sticking to you is annoying lol. I
just skip the plucking part and leave the feathers on the skin and it
still comes off just as easily.

2 replies

5 years ago

Thanks for sharing this! I have zero experience hunting or producing my own food, so I tend to find these types of instructables incredibly interesting due to how foreign they are to me. I was very surprised at the lack of blood. Which organs are inside the part you removed?

1 reply

Even though it wouldn't seem like it, cleaning animals is generally not bloody at all. All of the organs stayed behind with the body. The piece I removed contained just meat and the breast bone.