Turkeys are all done with your own head, sent to a top quality freeze dry service then painted by me for a natural and realistic look. Standing and flying mounts are $800.00, strutting and gobbling birds are $835.00, the price includes a base with habitat for standing and strut poses and a limb on the wall for flying and standing wall mounts. Chest mounts are $505.00, tail mounts on plaque with beard and spurs are $260.00, complete legs on a tail mount are extra.
If you harvest a turkey and desire to get it mounted but can not bring it in fresh, follow the instructions below.
If you do not have freezer room for the bird, whole and intact, I will try and outline how to skin and freeze.
First, weigh the bird, and make note if it was intact or field dressed. Turkey manikins are determined by a weight range, not multiple measurements like you would use on a game head or life size mammal.
Next make your opening cut. Some taxidermists will want a cut from the feather line, on the inside of a back leg, up the leg, over the lower end of the breast and continued to the feather line on the other leg. Others want a cut from the sternum, right down the center line to the vent. With the amount of the gelatinous material at the base of the neck/sternum area on a wild turkey, this cut will likely be much easier for you to proceed with the rest of the skinning. We will proceed as if you made the ventral cut, sternum to vent.
After the opening cut, work the skin down both sides of the breast, exposing the wing/shoulder joint and the legs/thighs joint. If you fillet the breast meat, go ahead and do that now. This is also time to remove the gelatinous material and get it out of the way.
Now start working the skin loose around the neck, and up toward the head a little, that will give the taxidermist a good handle to finish skinning the neck and head later. Now cut through the neck vertebrate, you can use shears or loppers if you want since the vertebrate will not be saved.
Continue working the skin loose around the wing sockets now. Once exposed, cut through the meat into the socket; imagine it being an arm pit. Once you cut through the meat and the tendons you should be able to bend the wing toward the spine and pop to ball at the socket, finish cutting through to make the separation. Do not cut through the wing bone; let the taxidermist decide how to handle that.
Now you can begin working the skin loose around the body down toward the hips. Loosen the skin over the thighs and up to the “drumstick”. Loosen the skin all around the joint and toward the leg a little ways. Now cut into the joint at the drum stick, through meat and tendon, similar to what you did at the wing/shoulder. Put a little pressure on the joint and it should dislocate, if it won’t, cut a little more meat and tendon. Once dislocated, cut through any remaining meat and tendon until it’s free from the body.
Now all you need to do is finish loosening the skin down to the base of the tail. At the base you will feel an obvious hinge point. The tail will move up and down freely as a unit at this hinge. Carefully cut through the hinge and the skin will now be free from the body.
To store the skin in the freezer. Lay it on its back with the incision back together. Fold the head/neck onto the skin, and then lay the legs on the skin alongside the head and neck. Next collapse the tail so it’s not fanned, but all feathers are parallel, fold the tail up over the neck/legs. The wings are the last thing folded in. Collapse the wings the fold them both over the tail, on top of each other. The tail feathers are the most delicate and noticeable feathers, the wings act as a barrier to guard the tail feathers against damage.
The skin will now be a nice neat rectangle. Slide the skin down into a garbage bag. With it lying flat, fold the open end of the bag over the skin and make sure the air is squeezed out. Fold the bag over on the skin from the side, keep folding until you come to the edge of the bag, a piece of tape wrapped around it just tight enough to hold the bag close does not hurt. Lay the bag flat in your freezer and you are set. If you think it may be a prolonged time in the freezer, add a second bag, reverse the ends then do just as before.