Making a turkey cape is a great way to display a trophy bird without the expense of taxidermy.
This video will show you how to skin a bird for a turkey cape. Bobby Parks makes this look easy (he killed six turkeys in 2011) but first-timers should take the skinning process nice and slow to avoid damaging their turkey cape.
Step 1. Remove Wings – A small pair of pruning shears, which should be in your turkey vest anyways, is perfect for cutting through delicate wingbones.
Step 2. Skin the Bird – Hang the bird by the head and start skinning from the feather line of the neck. Avoid pulling on the feathers as much as possible and follow the “feather line” to the tail fan. Remove the tail fan as normal.
Once you’ve removed the turkey cape from the bird, you will need to stretch and cure it before putting it on the wall. This video shows you how to do it right.
To stretch and cure your turkey cape you will need a hammer, scissors, pruning shears, your knife, Borax, some nails, and a piece of plywood or cardboard.
Step 1. Trim the Cape – Remove unwanted feathers, skin, and meat from the turkey cape using scissors and a sharp knife.
Step 2. Stretch Your Turkey Cape – Stretch the cape face down and fasten it to the backing material with nails.
Step 3. Cure the Cape —Apply a liberal amount of Borax to the flesh side of the turkey cape. Store it in a safe place for 4-5 weeks and mount it to the wall.
Turkey hunters are always looking for new and creative ways to display their kills. Turkey capes are the perfect compromise between a fan mount and a full taxidermist treatment. Give it a try this year and make a memento of that wary longbeard that finally came to your calls.