Make your own turkey tail-feather mount
•You can still see him, strutting in the early-morning light, fanning his magnificent tail this way and that in pursuit of the “hen”you had convinced him was eagerly awaiting his affections. Preserve and proudly display that striking image by constructing a handsome fan mount. This is an incredibly easy project, which, I guarantee, requires no more taxidermy skill than you need to pour salt, and no more woodworking skill than the ability to drill two holes. It’ s perfect for getting the youngsters involved. —PHILIP BOURJAILY
Materials •Borax or salt •Unfinished plaque (available from craft stores), or a 6-inch-diameter circular or semicircular plaque cut from a ¾-inch-thick plank of cedar; this base may be as fancy as your tastes and woodworking skills dictate •Small wooden block, 4×1×1 inches •Wire coat hanger •30×30-inch sheet of corrugated cardboard or Styrofoam •Hot glue gun •Several straight pins
[STEP 1] Working from behind, cut off the tail at the base of the tail-bone, skinning a bit up the back to include the first few rows of iridescent feathers. Trim and scrape as much meat and fat as possible from the tail with a sharp knife. Cut out the tailbone.
[STEP 2] Pour plenty of salt or borax onto the exposed flesh and leave it on overnight to draw out oils and moisture from the tail. Brush off the salt or borax, then rub more into the skin and the base of the feathers.
[STEP 3] Spread the fan as you would like it displayed and pin it to the cardboard or foam. Let it dry for a week or longer, until it’s thoroughly desiccated.
[STEP 4] When the fan is dry, you can mount it. With a hot glue gun, attach the wooden block to the back of the plaque near the bottom. Then glue the fan’s flesh side to the plaque with its bottom resting on the block.
[STEP 5] Cut an 8-inch length of coat hanger wire to make a hanging hook. Bend it into an upside-down V shape, then crook it forward at each end to form a ½-inch “foot.”
[STEP 6] Drill holes of roughly the same diameter as the wire on either side of the block. Work the feet of the hanger into the holes, then tap a nail into the wall and hang up your trophy.