If you would like to preserve your turkey kill as a trophy hunt, there are several steps you should take before and after the hunt in order to get the best results from your taxidermist. Here are the steps you should take to prepare your turkey kill for taxidermy.
Shop Around for the Best Taxidermist You Can Find
The first step to preserving your trophy hunt should take place weeks before the actual hunt. You want to begin by shopping for the best taxidermist you can find. Shop around your area for professional taxidermists. Get a feel for the quality of work that they do. Ask how much they charge. If you live in a smaller area, there may be fewer taxidermists to choose from. However, if you cannot find an adequate taxidermist in your local area, scout other taxidermists across the country. There are many fine taxidermists that you can find simply by asking other hunters or doing a bit of research. Taxidermy is one of those fields where you Don't want to skimp. Paying a little extra can often go a long way.
Considerations Before the Hunt - Things to Pack
There is a lot of prep work to be had previous to the hunt. There is a list of things that you should pack with you for the hunt. There are many things you should consider packing, which includes a large plastic bag, a cooler, paper towels, and cotton balls and used pantyhose. Some taxidermists recommend used panty hose so that it can be used to keep the birds feathers in place. To use panty hose, simply cut out a section from the thigh area and tie it up on one end. After shooting the bird, make sure to slip the bird carefully into the hose or bag headfirst. Using a plastic bag is another alternative.
Getting Your Kill to the Taxidermist in the Best Possible Condition
The secret to getting the best possible taxidermy mount is to keep the animal in good condition before getting it to the taxidermist. There are special considerations that you should take in order to ensure the best possible results at the taxidermist. A lot rides on how you shoot the wild turkey.
Tips for Shooting Wild Turkeys for the Best Taxidermy Results
If you are hoping to mount your kill, always aim for a clean neck or headshot. In general, avoid shooting the bird head-on while it is strutting, as this can cause the tail feathers to become easily rumpled or shred them entirely. In general, avoid shooting a strutting bird. The best shot for mounting a bird later is to take a clean side shot, ideally while the bird’s neck is stretched upwards. In general, you should avoid getting shotgun pellets near the wing feathers or the tail. Most taxidermists will find it much easier to repair the head or neck than the tail and wing feathers. For the best results, there is evidence that 25 to 30 yards is a good distance for hunting turkeys. This amount of space allows for a clean kill without the messy patterns that can result with closer patterns. Avoid having to take a second shot, but if you have merely wounded the bird, try taking a second shot at the head from a sufficient distance. Many turkeys will thrash around after being hit, thus losing many feathers. If this is the case with your kill, collect all the loose feathers you can so that the taxidermist can replace them.
Considerations During the Post-Kill Period
There are many important considerations to take during the post-kill period. Use napkins to keep the bird from spilling blood or body fluids on the feathers. Limit damage to the feathers, and keep the bird as cool as possible after the kill.