This homemade trophy display will save you wall space and allow you to remember each individual hunt.
I have been lucky over the years to have had a handful of turkeys. One problem I ran into was how to properly display a trophy turkey.
Initially, I had my first Jake’s and later my first Longbeard’s tail fans, wattles and spurs mounted on wall plates. These are beautiful mountains that remind me daily of those hunts; however, they take up a large amount of wall space. Today, I keep the beard and spurs for display/memory; clean, borax and epoxy tail fan for use on lures; and keep the bird’s breast, legs, and saddle meat for spectacular meals.
I came up with this way of displaying the beard and spurs so that I can proudly display each bird’s trophy individually, allowing me to be able to remember each hunt while making the most of the wall space. The tools I use for these screens are usually available in any home and include a hacksaw, utility knife, fine grit sandpaper, epoxy/glue/or silicone, cotton swabs, borax, or some type of cleaning detergent on powder, painter’s tape, 6 inches of small-diameter string, and a cap filled with rubbing alcohol.
- It is not necessary to trim a turkey’s beard. Simply grasp the base of the beard where it meets the skin, apply gradual force and the beard will come off cleanly in one piece with no additional skin/meat. If your beard is bloody, take the time to gently wash it with warm water and comb through to remove any blood or broken beard hairs. Dry the beard and reserve. If the beard is in good condition with no dried blood on it, the washing step is not necessary.
- Then take a hacksaw and cut 3/4 inch below the spur, and then cut 3/4 inch above the spur to remove it from the leg.
- Take a swab and extract the bone marrow. I soak a swab in isopropyl alcohol to clean the inside of the bone, and then two dry swabs.
- Using a boning knife, remove scales, tendons, and meat from the bone around the spur. Take care to cut the spur. Once the bone is exposed, let the spurs dry overnight.
- After the spurs have dried, take fine grit sandpaper and remove anything left on the bone.
- I always carry the shotgun shell I used to shoot the turkey out of the woods. I remove the primer and plastic helmet in preparation for mounting the beard and spurs.
- Cut 6 inches of small diameter line (in my case it was lure string).
- Thread the line through the bone of the spurs, then put the tag ends through the top of the shotgun shell brass, and finally tie a knot that will prevent the line from slipping out of the primer hole and blocking the leak. of epoxy.
- I’ve used epoxy, silicone, and quick-setting glue for this next step, so whatever’s available will usually work just fine. Mix the epoxy and fill the brass shotgun shell 3/4 full. Slowly place the base of the beard into the epoxy. Once it’s in the correct position where I want it to dry, I tape the beard to the wall on my workbench to hold it in place while it dries.
- Once dry, I use a marker to fill in the brass of the shotgun shell with the details of the hunt such as location, date, bird weight, etc.
As a waterfowl hunter, I have a call board that contains my waterfowl lanyards, backup calls, recalled calls, waterfowl bands, and other memorabilia. I screwed small brass hooks into the bottom of the tabletop and hung the finished brass products for spurs, balds, and shotgun shells on the hook for display.
So the next time you have success in the turkey forest, give this technique a try. It also looks great hanging from a rear view mirror!