Build Your Own Turkey Mount

March 22nd, 2010 / Posted by
Build Your Own Turkey Mount

Looking for a great way to show off that tom? Inexpensive, easy to do, and extremely satisfying! A simple process of skinning your turkey from head to tail, cleaning and boraxing the skin and pinning it to a flat piece of cardboard is all that’s involved.

1. To begin, hang your tom by the head.

2. With a sharp knife, cut the skin where the feathers on the neck meet the skin of the head.

3. Continuing down the back and toward the tail, remove the skin in an approximate two-inch wide strip. You will notice that the feathers attach to the skin in rows and the narrow strip of skin actually holds a much wider angular blanket of feathers.

4. Remove the skin to and including the fleshy end of the tail.

5. With knife and spoon, remove the fat and flesh.

6. Cover wet skin in Borax.

7. Lay Borax covered skin on large piece of flat corrugated cardboard.

8. With straight pins, pin the head end to cardboard.

9. Fan tail, spread to the desired width and pin each feather in place.

10. With an ice pick, lay each feather in place.

11. Let dry three to four weeks.

12. Remove pins, shake loose Borax and hang.

Note: You may wish to mount the cape on a piece of wood cut to fit the cape.—Rob Keck

Lohman's kit was an absolute cinch to do. The author first, of course shot his bird. After removing the the beard carefully and taking care of the breast meat, the next step was removing the tail.

Lohman's kit was an absolute cinch to do. The author first, of course shot his bird. After removing the the beard carefully and taking care of the breast meat, the next step was removing the tail.


Wild turkey taxidermy skills have improved vastly over the past few years. New processes, such as freeze-drying, and more attention to true anatomical detail allow wildlife artists to recreate life-like renditions of prize birds.

The National Wild Turkey Federation’s Grand National Taxidermy Championship, held each year during the NWTF’s national convention, has raised the level of awareness of top-notch turkey creations.

Once you’ve brought your mount home, these tips will help keep your bird in top shape.

1. Do not place mounts near heat sources such as fireplaces, hot lighting or air vents.

2. Keep mounts out of direct sunlight to keep them from fading.

3. Do not keep mounts in damp areas.

4. Clean mounts with a dry cloth, brushing the feathers in the direction they lay; do not use a vacuum cleaner for cleaning.

5. Check mounts periodically for signs of insect infestation. Contact your taxidermist if you find anything suspicious.

6. Handle mounts as little as possible. They become more brittle over time.

7. Keep temperature extremes to a minimum. Constant room temperatures are best.

8. Clean glass eyes with a damp Q-tip.

9. Make sure all wall anchors supporting mounts are secure. Inspect periodically.

10. The tips of tail and wing feathers may become “ruffled.” Simply smooth them out with your fingers.

Be sure to catch some of the best taxidermy in North America at the NWTF’s Grand National Taxidermy Championship next year during the Federation’s National Convention and Sport Show in Charlotte, N.C., February 21-24, 2002. For more details, call 800-THE NWTF.—Rob Keck


The author's mount took him all of 20 minutes to build and hang on the wall.

The author's mount took him all of 20 minutes to build and hang on the wall.

After cutting away your turkey’s fan, trim away any excess meat. The next chore is to douse the fleshy leftover stuff with borax. Don’t be stingy with the borax or salt, really cover up the fleshy area at the base of the tail and beard. This will ensure that your turkey fan won’t stink to high heaven.

Some hunters don’t realize this, but you can remove a turkey’s beard easily by grabbing it firmly where the beard meets the breast feathers. Give the beard a solid yank and it usually comes off bearing nothing but a little white skin that holds it all in one piece. Otherwise, take your knife to breast skin around the base of the beard. Carefully cut all the way around the base of the beard. Then, do the necessary trim work and lay on the borax.

Next, pin the fan down flat on a fairly large piece of cardboard. A few days to a week is about all the time the fan needs to dry out. Now, it’s ready for the Lohman Kit.

Simply lay your flattened fan into the back piece of the mount. Place the piece of foam that’s included in the kit on top of the fan. Next, place the decorative front plate on top of the fan. Now, slip the black, beard-holding inserts into the holes. These inserts keep the entire unit tight as a drum. Now place your swingin’ beard into one of the beard holders and you’re ready to go lookin’ for a place to hang your trophy!–Nino Bosaz

For a huge selection of turkey mounts see

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