Turkey in Full Strut Mount...Please Give Guidance

Submitted by Greg Epperson on 4/28/01. ( zzvedder@prodigy.net )

I just finished my first full strut turkey mount not too long ago. I turned out fairly well except for one thing. I noticed it and the fellow i did it for said something about it as well which really made me want to get to the bottom of it.

When you look at a full strut turkey form the back is relatively flat. There isn't much contour to it. When you look at a strutting turkey, his back is much higher than his head. Looks to be 3-5 inches higher than the top of his head. I'm not talking just about the feathers standing up, but the back as a whole. When i finished mine i had a bunch of loose skin hanging down at the legs, the fellow that was instructing me told me not to worry about it. Should i have built up the back therefore drawing up this loose skin? How do i achieve the high back towering over the gobblers head when in full strut? Here are some pics of the bird so hopefully you will see what i am referring to. Thanks for any and all help.




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This response submitted by Tommy on 4/28/01. ( )

Hey Gregg,

First off NICE JOB ! for your first strutting bird.... There are alot of so called "Professionals some even say there Masters" that have been mounting turkeys for years that can't even get that close.

I'm sure you have some reference of strutting gobblers, if you don't get some... Look at how the breast of the bird "real bird" is lower to the ground. Along with his head being lower too. Your going to need to cut out a slot in the form making a place for the neck to fit into when you bend it into the S-curve lowering the head into position. The next time you skin a turkey leave the neck connected to the body and put it into position as if he was strutting and you'll see what I'm talking about.. Lowering the breast is done by bending your body down at your leg connection.
Keep your mount on an angle "head down" during the drying time will help. Then everyday just run your fingers over the dorsal track keeping the feathers standing up while they dry into the right position. TIP...... Put a good layer of calking across the back. This help hold your feathers.
Your REALLY close and I'm sure your next one will turn out GREAT ! Have Fun !

Forget the caulk

This response submitted by George on 4/28/01. ( georoof@aol.com )

Tommy gave you some great advice on the posture of the bird, but the caulk is an unnecessary step that's more likely to cause mildew to form under the skin than it is to hold feathers in place. There are also those who swear that if you cover it with nylon mesh, the feathers will hold. Cally Morris doesn't use anything anywhere on his birds. If you pull the feathers forward and "T" pin them in place, they will stand up naturally. If that's still not sufficient, hang the bird upside down for a few days and let gravity do it. Once the skin dries, they'll stay there. Oh, and forget the cotton balls behind the feathers too. I mounted one over 20 years ago that way and my buddy is still finding cotton balls that I missed retrieving.

goiging over the bird

This response submitted by Al on 4/28/01. ( easteden111@webtv.net )

and going over and going over. Thats the fool proof way that I have found in getting the shingling effect on struting turkeys. Hanging them just doesn't do it for me ... to many other areas are effected . I will spend 15 to 20 mintues twice a day placing feathers where I want them until they dry enough to stay.This is the one pose I will try my hardest to talk customers out of. And Greeg get this down pat and the rest of the poses are alot simpler. In my opinon of course..

I don't know much...but

This response submitted by Art on 4/29/01. ( hursey1@sota-oh.com )

Looks like a pretty good job to me, but if you just tilt the whole bird forward a little, I think it would help the effect
a good deal. It looks to me like everything is leaning back a little in the pictures.
Email me and I'll let you in on a little trick to make those feathers stand up at attention.
Keep at it


This response submitted by Frank Kotula on 4/29/01. ( basswtrout@aol.com )

You need some good reference here. It's a nice job but has those unatural look. The bird leaning to far back. If you lean him more forward it will help out that look.

Now for the loose skin. You can pin the feathers back to where their suppose to go. It's natural to have loose skin on a bird. All birds do this after the fat and meat is removed. To get it back to where it belongs pin it there.

Another method for the back is to lay some cotton batting down over the back. As you pull the feather forward it will catch them and help hold them. Also use T pins to hold them. Personally I use caulk.

Plus we don't know whose form you used. Some have the neck in place for you and some don't. Need to know this to help out in that area.

I Was Using

This response submitted by Greg Epperson on 4/29/01. ( zzvedder@prodigy.net )

Buckeye's form. Some of you mentioned cutting a slot for the neck. I watched a video on mounting a strutting turkey that also showed this. The workshop instructor, however, didn't show me this. Instead, the head was simply placed on the form without a neck so to speak. Next time i will build the neck and bend it into the slot like the video and you suggest.

I would like to say that i didn't have a problem with getting the feathers to shingle. The photo's may not show it, but the feathers are standing straight up all the way to his dish. It's the fact that the birds head is higher than the shingled feathers which i know isn't right. So what i am getting from all of you is it has more to do with skin placement on the form rather than form alteration (ie. building up the back with layers of cotton batting)to bring the head down and the back up? Thank you everybody for your help and critiques. That's what i am going to need to get this right.

Form and Neck Prep....

This response submitted by Tommy on 4/29/01. ( )

Hey Greg,

There is NO need to build up the back area on the form. What you are going to need to do is rotate the chest of the bird down. And cut the slot out of the form making it possible to get that "low" s-curve in your neck thus lowering your head into the right position. Doing those two things are going to give you the desired look your trying to get.
Always measure the real neck you take out of any bird and put the exactly the same artifical neck back in. Look at it this way if you take your car in to get the oil changed.... the mechanic takes 5 quarts out but decides only to put 3 back in....whats going to happen.... its not going to work.....
I sat in on a seminar by a famous "Pheasant Guy".... When he got to the neck he said "Normal pheasant necks measure around 6 inches, but heres what I put in mine, and he held up an artificial neck measuring maybe 4 and three quarter inches long." When he was done with that bird you could tell something was not right.... I'm sure if you would of entered that bird in a show 9 out of 10 judges would of said on your score sheet " neck to short" The 10 judge would of been this guy and he would of said good bird, something wrong with the head and neck area can't quite put my finger on it...

What Do You Mean By:

This response submitted by Greg Epperson on 4/29/01. ( zzvedder@prodigy.net )

When you say rotate the breast down, do you mean position the skin further down on the form?

He means it's butt's too close to the floor

This response submitted by Art on 4/29/01. ( )

: )


This response submitted by Tommy on 4/30/01. ( )

Hey Greg,

When you get the legs wired and set in the form. Stand your bird up and rotate the breast of the bird down, bending at the leg juction.
In other words when a bird is just stand alert his breast will be up kind of looking like a "big proud marine" and then when he goes into the strutting pose he will lower his breast towards the ground. And the way he is doing that is he's rotating at the hip joint. But I'm sure your wiring your legs at the knee joint so you'll have to bend there.

Thank you

This response submitted by Gregory Epperson on 5/1/01. ( zzvedder@prodigy.net )

Thank you all for you valuable advice, and especially you Tommy, for having the patience to work with a novice like me. Thank you.

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