Turkey Mount

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RNC
 
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Turkey Mount

Postby RNC » May 6th, 2008, 10:41 am

So if any of my group is lucky enough to get their first turkey and even luckier to get a big tom, what is the best way to preserve the tom if they wanted to do a full mount?

NTBNB
 
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RE: Turkey Mount

Postby NTBNB » May 6th, 2008, 12:46 pm

I love the dead bird mounts. Have him hanging upside down off an old wood fence post. Cool mount!

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RutnNStrutn
 
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RE: Turkey Mount

Postby RutnNStrutn » May 6th, 2008, 6:12 pm

NTBNB, I think he meant how do you take care of the bird? 
If I am correct, you want to do the following.
Clean the excess blood off of the head and neck and feathers.
Smooth out all the feathers, especially the fan, and carefully lower the bird head first into a large garbage bag. 
Freeze him solid. 
If you are on a trip somewhere, buy a cooler large enough to transport the whole frozen bird.  Use the frozen bird, and the frozen bagged breasts as well as the trophy parts off of any other birds killed on the trip as the "ice" to keep everything cold until you get home.
Then take the whole bird to the taxidermist.  Of course you are sacrificing the breasts to get the bird mounted, but unless you have skill, you wouldn't want to sacrifice the mount to get a couple of breasts.
If anyone has more skill and knowledge, please feel free to chime in and give him better advice.

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STEROIDCHICKEN
 
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RE: Turkey Mount

Postby STEROIDCHICKEN » May 7th, 2008, 3:32 am

rutnNstrutn bout covered it all except one extra step you can take is to put some tissue in the birds mouth sorta like a plug so that excess blood can't come out and also wrap the head with some cloth or paper towels to keep blood away from other parts of the bird. then you can also wrap the bird's body up tight with cloth as well to keep all the feathers from getting damaged and place it in the plastic bag like stated above. then follow the other steps and that rutnNstrutn mentioned.good luck and i hope that you are successful. 
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RNC
 
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RE: Turkey Mount

Postby RNC » May 7th, 2008, 4:31 am

Do you field dress it first?

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STEROIDCHICKEN
 
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RE: Turkey Mount

Postby STEROIDCHICKEN » May 7th, 2008, 7:37 am

no,no,no...no field-dressing necessary if mounting the bird. you don't want to damage the bird in any way like rutNstrutn stated above.
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Gobblerman
 
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RE: Turkey Mount

Postby Gobblerman » May 7th, 2008, 4:11 pm

If you have the option of taking the entire bird, without field dressing, and getting it frozen and then delivered to a taxidermist, that is obviously the best choice here, I agree.  However, there are many instance where the hunter does not have that option, and must deal with the harsh reality that they must take steps to keep their prize bird from spoiling for a while until they can get it to the taxidermist, or into a freezer.
 
If you find yourself in that position, then the best thing to do is to go ahead and field dress the bird.  This can be accomplished by making an incision between the vent and the breast bone, just big enough so you can get into the birds body cavity and remove the entrails.  You can then keep the bird cooled down by stuffing the body cavity with an ice-filled ziplock bag, then put the bird carefully into a garbage bag, being careful not the crush, bend, or break feathers, and then pack ice around the bird in a cooler.  It is important not to let the bird end up in a pool of water in the icebox, so a little due diligence is necessary, especially if it will be a few days before the bird reaches its destination.
 
Although it is a good idea to minimize the blood, dirt, and grime that you get on the bird, you should not be overly concerned about that.  The mounting process requires that the cape of the bird go through a thorough washing/cleaning, and this will take care of those instance where some incidental blood, guts, and dirt get on the feathers.  Once again, the important considerations are not breaking the tail and wing feathers, and not handling the bird in such a manner that a lot of the display feathers are lost or damaged.
 
For those that want to have birds mounted, and will hunt in places where they will have to deal with potential spoilage due to time or storage constraints, I recommend learning how to cape your own birds.  This is a fairly simple process once you have done it a few times, and you will save all of the meat of the bird for your consumption. You will also have a much smaller "package" to deal with in terms of keeping the cape from spoiling and transporting to the taxidermist. And even if you are just planning on doing a simple fan, breast, or cape display, knowing how to cape the bird will aid you greatly in that, as well.
 
I have posted some written directions for caping birds on another forum, and can probably copy/paste it over here if there is some interest in that.
 
Jim

RNC
 
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RE: Turkey Mount

Postby RNC » May 8th, 2008, 4:48 am

I would be interested in that Gobblerman. Dont know if I would do it on someones first bird but it would be worth knowing.

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Gobblerman
 
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RE: Turkey Mount

Postby Gobblerman » May 8th, 2008, 1:43 pm

Okay, RNC, here it is:
[hr]

 A little more information on the skinning process  For those that don't know how and are thinking about having a bird mounted at some point, it would be a good idea to learn.....you might need to cape a bird sometime in a situation when you won't be able to get it frozen or to a taxidermist. It's a lot easier to deal with a cape than with a whole bird. The tools you will need are a sharp knife and/or razor blade knife and some shears for cutting tendons and/or bones. Note that there are some slight variations to the skinning method....this is just the method I use.

First of all, if it will be a while before you can cape your bird, you can go ahead and field dress it by making your regular incision around the vent. When you begin to cape the bird, you can enlarge the incision upward toward the sternum if you need to. this will give you a little more room to work. Keep the cut in the center of the breast. You can cut all the way up to where the downy underfeathers stop and the breast display feathers start if you need to.

Once you have made your cut, start peeling the skin back away from the meat and muscle as far as you can around the breast and down the legs toward the drumsticks. You can do some of this without using a knife, but at some point you will have to use your knife to carefully separate the meat from the inside of the skin. Work down the drumsticks as far as you can and down toward the tail.

At this point you want to separate the drumstick bone from the thigh bone by cutting through the muscle at the point where you think the joint of these two bones is. Cut through the joint and muscle until the drumstick and thigh are separated. Work the skin on down the drumstick toward the start of the scaled part of the leg. You can do this partly without using a knife, but you will probably have to use your knife some, too. Roll the skin all the way down until you are as close to the joint of the leg as you can get. At this point you will cut the meat off of the drumstick, leaving the drumstick bone attached to the leg. Do this for both legs.

Next, you will continue to separate the skin down toward the "popes nose" at the tail fan. Once again, you will have to cut some, but much of this can be done by prying the skin off of the meat using your fingers. After you have worked down and around the back of the tail fan, you will cut the "popes nose" off, but leaving the skin intact along the back of the bird. At this point you will have both legs and the tail fan cut free of the carcass but still attached to the cape.

From here, you will peel the skin down the back and around the breast, using a knife as needed, until you have worked your way up to the wings. You are basically turning the skin inside out as you are doing this. The wings are separated from the carcass by cutting slightly into the breast meat where the wings attach to the back/breast. At that point you should see or feel the joint where the wing attaches to the body, and you will cut through that joint, once again being careful not to cut through the skin, if possible. This is a difficult area because the skin is firmly attached in the underarm area of the bird. Don't worry about trying to get all of the meat off of the wings at this point. You can do that later. Cut both wings free of the body, making sure not to cut through the cape on the back side.

Once you have both wings free, it is simply a matter of continuing to peel and skin toward the head of the bird. The breast sponge makes things kind of messy here, but the skin should peel fairly easily at this point up the neck. When you reach the narrow area of the neck below the head, just cut through the neck and separate the carcass from the head. What you should be left with is the entire cape in one piece with the fan, legs, wings, and head attached to the cape, and hopefully with no holes in the skin other than the one you made on your initial incision.

At this point you can continue with the remainder of the skinning and meat removal, which I will get into later if anybody is really interested, or you can put the bird in cold storage and worry about the rest later. Hope this wasn't too confusing to everybody.


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