I was hooked on hunting turkey on my very first trip. Later I brought my tail fan home and had a lot of fun making a long lasting mount. I now do them on the side for folks in the area and I have a great method to share with people who would like their own turkey mount. I call these “Forever Fantails” because there is no meat or fat left on any part of the turkey fan mount. The quills are completely cleaned, leaving you with a fix turkey mount that won’t get old, smell, or start to lean. This design also includes the third row of feathers, making this turkey fan mount a real beauty on the wall.
Remove the entire fantail from the end of the turkey by pulling the first two rows of feather away and slicing straight down. The area will separate nicely and the tuft of “pearl feathers” can just be pulled away. Try to get 15 rows of feathers so you will have some to choose from.
Fill two bowls with borax and place the two feather sections meat down, totally immersed in the borax. You will leave this in here for two weeks.
Pull the beard off of the Turkey’s chest. Cut off as much meat as you can and place flesh side down in the second bowl of borax.
Cut off the turkeys spurs with a metal cutting blade or bone saw. Leave a full 1 inch on each side. These will be cut down again later on. Put these in the second bowl of borax.
Cutting off turkey spurs
In two weeks remove the main two rows of feathers from the borax and shake/brush off excess. Use a sharp thin knife to slice the two rows apart. Number the feathers with a sharpie so you don’t have to worry about the order. Then slice the feathers away from each other one by one. Take a grooved wood engraver or similar tool and peel the dried meat off of the quill. Place each quill back in borax for another day. Pull the spurs out and immerse them in full strength bleach.
Pull out the feathers that you put back into the borax. Place them on a work surface and line them ALL up the way you think best represents your turkey. Hot glue the bottoms of the quills together (it may get zig-zaggy, that’s fine, turkey feathers do not sit in their pouch evenly, so when you cut them out it takes some fiddling to get them lined up nicely).
Lining the feathers
#1 – Place the second row of feathers on top of the first and line them ALL up before hot gluing them in place. Make sure you look at it from a few angles.
#2 – Pull the tuft of “pearl feathers” out of the borax and wipe/brush off excess. These should not need to be peeled, they should simply be dry enough to pull out of the fleshy pocket they are in.
#3 – These feathers go all the way to the bottom of the quill, so make sure you peel some away for the hot glue to adhere properly, as shown in the photo.
Feather goes all the way down to the quill
#4 – Clamp this to the fan tail mount, as instructed on its insert.
#5 – Hot glue or attach the beard to the mount as instructed on its insert.
Hot glue the beard to the mount
Remove the spurs from the bleach solution and peel, scrape away any remaining flesh. Hollow out inner core of bone. Remove the black spur cap completely, this may seem crazy, but the cap comes off and there is some nasty, stinky flesh in there you want to bleach off. Cut sides to desired size, I typically cut 1/4″ away from the spur. Return bone to bleach for a day or so and set caps aside.
After spur bones are as white as you want (some like a sepia, some like pure white), hot glue the caps back on over the spur bone. Then attach to the mount as desired or instructed. You can even put these on a necklace with the beard if you are so inclined.
Finished turkey fan mount
That’s it. Make sure you get your fantail into some borax within 7-10 days depending on temperature. I have hung mine from a tent for 9 days on a camp trip, but it was below freezing each night so the fantail was fine … I was freezing cold, but the fantail was fine.