Turkey season is over for this spring and I was lucky to be able to take a nice tom. Although turkeys are sort of ugly birds, their feathers are irredscent and gorgeous! I gave away the wings and most of the feathers to people who use them for crafts, but I kept the tail, beard and spurs to mount to commemorate my first bird.
Here is the tail - a work in progress:
The white stuff in the middle is Borax - the laundry soap. It helps dry and deodorize what little flesh is left still holding the fan together. The fan is pinned to the cardboard to dry in the open position. It was quite a bit of work to get all the flesh and fat off the base of the quills, then wash rinse, wash, rinse, wash, rinse and rinse and rinse and blow it dry while shaping it, but it was immensely gratifying to do the work myself and know it was done right.
I'd called a taxidermist who wanted $100 to do the work - including a wood wall mount. I would have considered it, but he seemed to have a huge attitude about it, and being a gal I took it personally. It made me even more determined to do it myself and to do it right.
The next step will be putting Bondo in the area where the Borax is now to provide durability and stability to the fan. That part will be tucked into a wooden holder which will hang on the wall to display the fan wall along with the turkey beard and spurs. A friend of ours has offered to make the holder, which will make me treasure the mount even more.
I won't do this with each bird, but I thought I should do something special for my first one. I'll post more pictures once the mount is completed!
I didn't have to do the Bondo treatment as it fit quite snugly and securely into the holder. I still want to attach a brass plate onto it with the hunt date and bird details engraved on it. Here's the finished mount. To give you an idea of the actual size the beard that is hanging from the bottom of the holder is 9 1/2 inches long.