There are many things to consider after a successful turkey kill. Many hunters choose wild turkey hunting for a variety of reasons. After a successful turkey hunt, you will be faced with a variety of choices. If you are interested in preserving the turkey kill, should you choose a professional taxidermist? Or should you proceed with dressing in the field?
Taxidermist or Dressing in the Field - Making the Right Decision
The decision between using a taxidermist or dressing your kill in the field depends on what your final goal is. If your final goal is to mount your wild turkey kill, you should not dress your own kill in the field. However, if your goal is not to mount the wild turkey kill, then you should go ahead and dress your kill in the field, especially if the day is not especially cool and you are far from home.
What to Do If You Would Like to Mount Your Wild Turkey Kill
What if you are planning to mount your own wild turkey kill? If this is your final goal, begin by shopping around for professional taxidermists? Visit all the local professional taxidermists in your area in order to get a feel for their work and prices. Check on their work and prices. Play it safe and never choose a taxidermist that appears to do work at a discount price or whom you suspect may produce uneven or even shoddy work. There are many fine taxidermists across the country, so it may take a bit of travel if you do not have a good taxidermist in your immediate area. Do not attempt to mount your own wild turkey if you have no experience in taxidermy. Taxidermy relies on the experience of the taxidermist you are working with, so make sure you find someone you can trust to mount your hunting trophy prize.
What You Should Do After the Kill
There are many steps you can take after the kill in order to maintain your kill in optimal conditions for the taxidermist. After the shot, there are many things you should do in order to keep the kill in prime condition. First, you want to keep the plumage as dry and clean as possible. You should carry with you cotton balls or paper towels with you in order to keep the bird in optimal condition after the kill. You can stuff paper towels in the dead bird's anus and mouth in order to keep body fluids or blood from soiling the bird's feathers. If the bird has any bloody wounds, use paper towels in order to stuff them. Your goal is to keep the feathers as free from blood as possible. If necessary, wrap the head of the bird in paper towels.
Watch Out for Feather Loss
Your goal after the kill is to prevent feather loss and damage. Carry with you some panty hose or a large plastic bag to preserve the bird in optimal condition. Make sure not to bend the tail feathers. Collect any loose feathers that you find around the bird post-kill.
Keep Your Kill Cool
Make certain to keep your turkey kill as cool as possible. Carry a large cooler with you during your hunt. If you know that you will not be able to get to the taxidermist for several hours or more, make sure to keep your kill cool. If you know that you will not be able to get to the taxidermist for several hours or more, you may even want to consider freezing the dead bird immediately. Again, most taxidermists will want to do the field dressing themselves, so simply keep the bird cool until you get to the taxidermist.