Whether it’s for displaying or decoying, there are many uses for the parts of a turkey that often get tossed in the garbage.
For personal displays you are only limited by your imagination. I like to preserve beards and spurs as keepsakes to remind me of past hunts. A friend and I both shot the same bird once, so I split the beard in 2 and we each have 1 spur from that turkey.
- Remove the beard from the turkey. Take a little extra skin to avoid cutting it.
- Tie off beard with heavy string or fishing line, leaving a loop in the string or line.
- Trim excess meat and dry with borax.
- Punch out the primer on your spent shotgun shell to put loop through, ideally the one used on that turkey.
- Insert the beard inside the shell, pulling the loop through the hole.
- Mark the shell with the date, weight, and beard and spur lengths.
- Use a hacksaw to cut the leg bone on both sides of the spur. I prefer to take a little extra bone, trimming it down later with a file.
- Use a sharp knife to slice and peel the skin from the bone. There will be a tendon that removes easily.
- Use a small screwdriver to push out the marrow.
- Wipe clean and put your imagination to work.
For decoy purposes the best thing you can do is preserve the tail fan.
- Cut well below the ends of the tail feathers and take plenty of meat with it.
- Trim any excess meat and tack the fully spread fan to a large piece of cardboard, preferably face down. (The rear of the fan should be exposed.)
- Completely cover any meat with borax and let dry for several days before you mount it to your decoy.
- The base of the fan should be hard enough to drill a hole for mounting it to the decoy with a bolt or screw.