Mounting a turkey fan is one of easiest & best-looking ways to preserve a trophy. Unlike most mounts, turkey fans can be professionally done by anyone- not just a taxidermist. Follow these simple steps & you’ll preserve the memories of your latest hunt for generations.
The first part of the process starts in the field. Before you head home, you need to remove the fan from your turkey. Find the base of the tail feathers & cut around them, including a few extra rows of feathers.
Once you’re home, make sure the feathers are in good shape. Gently wash away any dirt or blood with water & dish soap. When the feathers are clean, you’re ready to start your fan mount. If you can’t dedicate time right away, place the fan in the refrigerator for a few days or the freezer for long-term storage.
The next step is crucial to ensuring your fan mount won’t rot or attract bugs. Start by cutting away as much fat & flesh as possible, leaving only the skin around the quills intact. A knife, small scissors & diagonal pliers will all come in handy. You can also use a wire brush to scrape in between the quills, ensuring all the hard-to-reach flesh gets removed. When you’re finished , the only thing holding the fan together will be a small piece of skin at the base of the feathers.
After the quills are scraped off, place powdered Borax throughout the quills, skin & feathers bases. Lay the fanon a piece of cardboard or wood,& starting with the middle, arrange the feathers into the position you want, holding them in place by putting pins or nails between them. It’s important to check your fan twice a day to remove the clumped powder & replace with a fresh coat. After two days of this, reapply Borax & cover the fan with cardboard or paper to keep it protected. Let the fan sit for a week or two in a low-traffic area to keep it from getting bumped.
The skin & quills will now be dry & preserved – remove the Borax & scrape away any remaining bits of flesh. Be careful doing this, as the dried skin holding your fan together is fragile. Once cleaned, apply Bondo putty around the quills, skin & base of the feathers. This will hold your fan together & provide a stable mounting base. Placing plastic over both sides of the Bondo as it dries will result in a smooth, easy-to-work with finish. After the fan is dry, you are ready to attach it to the plaque.