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how do I get the feathers on my turkey to fluff out?

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by duxdog, Apr 20, 2011.

  1. duxdog

    duxdog Active Member

    Hello bird guys. 1st, I am not a bird guy. I don't ever plan on being a bird guy. I have no desire to be a bird guy. Not that there's anything wrong with it. ;D
    Anyway, I shot a big Tom this week. For fun I thought I would try to make a "stuffer decoy" to test out on some of our wary birds. I have him skinned out and fleshed for the most part. I have molded his head and I am carving the body this morning. Am I going to be able to get the feathers to fluff out and stay and if so how. I was thinking of usiing caulk on the form to hold them in place. Thanks for any suggestions. Oh, I was gonna mount him up and post him on here and say it was my 1st bird mount for a customer to see what comments I got. Especially from George. ;D
  2. Dux, I fluff the feathers forward from tail to head a few times after it's first mounted, then hang it upside down over night and let gravity do it's thing.I'm not a "bird guy" either , but, it works for me.

  3. As long as it's fleshed properly, degrease, washed and you shoot silicone in the breast, along the back, and in the wings, just keep grooming it for a couple days you should be good. Here's a decoy I just mounted up a few days ago. I get to use it this weekend.
    Good luck

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  4. duxdog

    duxdog Active Member

    nice job. Mine isn't gonna look that nice. I am just messing around cause I was done on opening day so I thought I would give it a try.
  5. Good luck, as long as you shoot a little silicone, and pull the feathers forward, you'll be fine.
  6. alan webfoot

    alan webfoot New Member

    seems almost a shame to use that as a decoy!But it sure would excite some jealous old toms!
  7. tyson

    tyson New Member

    Beauty job there turkeyjim, I would be afraid to use that on the chance some turkey decided to scrap him. I made one about 3 years ago now, it doesn't look quite as nice but definitely managed to get the job done more than once and has the war wounds to prove it. Had to reattach a wing, and several chunks of skin/feathers, he has several nice chips on the head and has lost countless feathers to agitated birds and had his stake snapped. Most times birds storm in on it and don't seem realize its not alive, if you video hunts, you will normally get more footage than you can use. It's really nice and portable as well. Used a commercial form and head, and have it so it sits on a stake like any other decoy allowing it to move around a bit. It was very important to flesh and degrease the bird completely before mounting it; you will get a lot better quality bird if you do this, the feathers will be 'fluffier', and free to move. The fleshing was the most tedious part for me but was worth it in the end. The tail is removable for portability and can be interchanged with a Jake fan if so desired. I left the breast and back feathers laying flat for durability/portability (so I could jam it in a bag and not bend all the feathers), once the tail fan is in place I simply ruffle up the back feathers to make it look like it's strutting, the birds don't seem to care and it fits nicely in a black garbage bag that way and then into a mesh decoy bag. The tails slip into a corrugated plastic folder to keep them from being destroyed in the decoy bag. I have not had any birds spook from it and all but one that saw it came in (usually running). The one that didn't come in walked away from his hens which did come in and hung around for ~45 min. Once you hunt with stuffers, its hard to use plastic/rubber/foam decoys again, you won't regret the time and effort once it's done. And it certainly won't hurt your chances at the next bird.

    To get the 'full strut' look the only way I know of is to use silicone on the back and breasts. Set the feathers then lean the mount forward >45 degrees while the silicone dries so the feathers stay up and don't get pulled down by gravity (as much), then just keep an eye on it for a few days. I have heard inverting it can cause other issues. However IMO the thing is hopefully going to get beaten, clawed, pecked, shot, blown around and generally beaten up being dragged along in the field. Spend your time on properly fleshing, and don't sweat the little details the turkeys don't seem to notice.

    Some flies are tied to catch fish and some are tied to catch fisherman.

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