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saving a turkey fan

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saving a turkey fan

Old 05-25-2012, 09:59 AM
  #1  
Typical Buck
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Default saving a turkey fan

a few weeks ago i shot my first bird which was a respectable jake with a 5 1/2" beard. my buddy who was a big turkey hunter just cut the tails real close, he was able to cut it without leaving meat. i then spread it out and covered it in borax. today i went out in the garage where it was the take care of it and now it smells pretty bad. is there any way to save it? the beard and spurs dont smell at all. i would really like to save it if possible?
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Old 05-26-2012, 07:13 AM
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Rub more Borax into the base of the tail and do that a couple more times over the next week or so. There really should be no problem like you're describing if he did what you said and then you put Borax on it.
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Old 05-29-2012, 06:28 AM
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I always use salt (heavily), never lost one.
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Old 06-28-2012, 01:00 PM
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Use borax. First, remove as much meat and fat from the base of the tail, paying attention any fat around the base of the feathers.

Pin the fan in the orientation you want on some cardboard (or whatever) and cover the base of the tail with borax. After 1-2 weeks, knock off the "old" borax, and recover the skin, making sure to rub fresh borax into the base of the tail.

Salt is hygroscopic, meaning it will attract and retain moisture. If you want to keep the tail, borax will preserve it longer, in better shape than salt.
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Old 06-29-2012, 05:59 AM
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When mounting a fan the quills need to be completely free of meat and fat. Borax doesn't prevent meat and fat from rotting, that is why it stinks. Your tail should look like the one below. Now that it is nasty your best option would be to remove each feather one at a time, wash and dry each one, and put them back together holding the quills with bondo or epoxy.
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Old 07-02-2012, 07:58 PM
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I have no idea who taught you how to mount a turkey fan and I'm really wondering if you're a taxi or not with your handle, but taking everything off like your photos show where everything is loose is Baloney! I have done plenty of fans over the years just by cutting the entire tail base off so all the feathers are well attached. Then all you need to do is take a pen knife to get most of the remaining tissue off without going to the extreme you show in your photo and have a hand full of loose feathers! After that is done, all you need to do is pin the feathers out in the fan shape and keep putting enough borax on the base until it dries out and sets the feathers in place. I usually leave it out in the garage where it's protected for several weeks before it's ready for final mounting. Some people even use salt just like when you salt a deer hide to draw out all the moisture, but as was stated by the other member, borax is the best way to go. This fan was done just as I mentioned and was done in 2006. It's 30" wide and 20" high, by far the best one I've ever taken. With the nose my wife and most women have, I can definitely say that there is no smell or it would have never made it into the house, LOL!

Last edited by Topgun 3006; 06-09-2015 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 07-02-2012, 08:42 PM
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Is that so? Good to know. If I want a turkey fan that looks dirty and ratty like the one you posted then I will take your advice. Until then I will continue to do it my way. Borax does not preserve fat, so any fat you leave will be nasty. The more you leave the nastier it will get. Same goes for meat. The feathers in the pic I posted are not loose, they are all connected by skin. That is all that should be left...skin. The skin is treated with borax and the feathers are allowed to dry, or bondoed if you are impatient. This is what feathers can look like when cared for properly, cleaned, and groomed.


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Old 07-03-2012, 05:34 AM
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Those are real purty and if I wanted something that looks manufactured like those two of yours do I'd buy a synthetic one. My "dirty ratty" one is realistic and looks just like that longbeard did when I shot him and not like he's been to the friggin beauty parlor, LOL! Your reading comprehension must not be too swift as I said I take a penknife and remove all the meat and fat from the entire base area, which basically leaves nothing but the small bone and you can take that off if you so desire. Then with borax spread over the entire area a number of times they come out fine with no smell. How much do you charge for what has to be a lot of time to do that for a customer? My only cost was the plaque! I'd like to hear how many members that read this thread have prepared a fan like you are showing compared to the way most of us do and were taught. I'll bet it's few, if any. Thanks for the compliment on my bird and I'm glad I was able to return the favor! EDIT: Every video on doing a fan that I just googled up on the net since I made this post shows what I mentioned and none went to the extremes you are stating! Everyone to his own I guess!

Last edited by Topgun 3006; 07-03-2012 at 06:24 AM.
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Old 07-03-2012, 07:48 AM
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What extremes? You said yourself you remove all of the meat and fat. If that is true your tail would look exactly as the one I posted.

Yes I charge for my services, and the pics I posted are a good example of the difference between paying to have it professionally done, and doing it yourself. I have no problem with guys like you that do it yourself, that's why I was trying to help by posting that pic. I do have a problem when someone watches a couple crappy YouTube videos, and then tells my I'm full of bologna, don't know what I'm doing and not even a real taxidermist. I hate to break it to you, but even YouTube videos can contain bad info. The internet is full of bad info, and this thread is no exception. Lucky for me there are people that want a fan that is pleasing to look at, and also the peace of mind that no bugs are going to attack it, no oil is going to seep out of it, and no smell is going to come from it. Those people keep food on my table and the lights on in my home.
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Old 07-03-2012, 07:56 AM
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By extremes I'm talking about going down to the bare quills and separating them all like you show with obviously a tremendous amount of time and scraping. You stated: "Yes I charge for my services, and the pics I posted are a good example of the difference between paying to have it professionally done, and doing it yourself." Funny, but you can't see how I did the cleanup on mine and I'll bet money it will last just as long as your expensive job! Maybe a few taxidermists that aren't busy have the time to do what you're showing, but the way I stated and the way the various videos I watched, a number incidentally that were done by taxidermists, do not go to those extremes. I have never had any odors, lice, bugs of any type, etc., so you do it your way and most of the rest of us will do it as I mentioned and be happy with our "dirty ratty" fans! Yep, it's lucky for you and others that some people can hardly figure out how a zipper works and need high priced pros to do things for them that are really pretty simple and economical to do yourself. Have a good day Sir!

Last edited by Topgun 3006; 07-03-2012 at 09:39 AM.
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