DIY: making stuff from turkey parts

by Marty Roberts | May 2, 2014

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.


  1. Remove the beard from the turkey. Take a little extra skin to avoid cutting it.
  2. Tie off beard with heavy string or fishing line, leaving a loop in the string or line.
  3. Trim excess meat and dry with borax.
  4. Punch out the primer on your spent shotgun shell to put loop through, ideally the one used on that turkey.
  5. Insert the beard inside the shell, pulling the loop through the hole.
  6. Mark the shell with the date, weight, and beard and spur lengths.

Spurs come in all sizes from ¼ to 2 inches in length and can make interesting additions to displays.

    • 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.

  1. Cut well below the ends of the tail feathers and take plenty of meat with it.
  2. 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.)
  3. Completely cover any meat with borax and let dry for several days before you mount it to your decoy.
  4. The base of the fan should be hard enough to drill a hole for mounting it to the decoy with a bolt or screw.

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