Show 'em your hooks: Turn your wild turkey spurs into works of art.
Most turkey hunters can agree there are four special reasons chasing gobblers can easily become a lifelong obsession: strutting toms, ground-shaking gobbles, long beards and big ol’ hooks.
If you’ve harvested a mature tom, then—beyond the delicious table fare—you’ve earned yourself a “trophy” in all senses of the word. Gobblers possess stunning physical characteristics, making them one of the most beautiful game animals on the planet—and that means awesome mounts!
Many turkey hunters go with the traditional tail fan mount, and often the beard will be included. It’s a common display because it’s easy to create. But personally—and I know I’m not alone—I get real fired-up over spurs. There’s nothing like walking up on a freshly killed limb-hanger.
If you’re like me, you’ve found yourself asking, What can I do to show-off a tom’s spurs? After several successful seasons in the turkey woods, I’ve managed to get the spur-finishing process down to somewhat of a simple science.
From The Field
You’ve finally tagged a gobbler. The victory photos have been snapped. You’ve hauled him back to camp (or home) and trimmed the prized meat from every possible bone. At this point, you’re free to claim some trophies to honor your bird forever. Cut his beard and colorful tail fan off for display. If your bird is at least 2 years old, chances are he’s got some spurs worth claiming, too.
Remove the bird’s legs at the first leg joint above each spur. You can do this with a sharp knife, but a bone saw is ideal. If you have a small brush saw or clippers, those will also likely do the trick. You can freeze the legs for later spur removal, or you can get right to it if you have the time and proper tools handy. I’ve found it’s easiest to complete the entire spur-finishing process while the legs are still “fresh.”
Gather Your Tool
No project ends desirably without starting with the proper tools. Thankfully, for finishing spurs, you don’t need much to get the job done. You probably have many of the necessary tools lying around somewhere. The basic list is as follows:
- Small, strong, scissor-like cutting tool (Wire cutters work great.)
- Small, long needle-nose pliers
- Small wire brush
- Clamp (I recommend a bench vice.)
- Bone saw (An electric Sawzall makes life much easier.)
- Sanding tool (You can use basic sandpaper, but a bench grinder is nice.)
- Long metal nail
- Safety glasses
- Warm water and sanitizing dish soap
- Cup of bleach