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Strutting turkey head proportions

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by Nancy C, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. Nancy C

    Nancy C Well-Known Member

    I was mentioning this in another thread but this way it will be easier to find.
    [​IMG]

    Note that the distance from the tip of the beak to the bottom of the wattles is about the same as from the tip of the beak to the top of the head.

    In recent years there has been a huge improvement in the positioning of freeze-dried turkey heads so this isn't quite as important as it was a few years ago, but it's still worth noting because there are apparently some freeze-drying places that are still doing them the old way, with the skin pushed up to emphasize the wrinkles and leaving the wattles barely an inch below the tip of the beak. That's okay for strutting hens or jakes, but not for mature gobblers.
     
  2. Birds Only

    Birds Only Member

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    Spot on Nancy! This is a great thread to bring up and keep going. Totally agree with you. I send any heads back if I don't get this.
     

  3. ElkinsTaxidermy

    ElkinsTaxidermy www.ronelkinstaxidermy.com

    That's why I laugh inside when people say they use cast heads.....haven't seen a properly proportioned one on the market. Those little stubby heads look RIDICULOUS. There very well could be a decent one out there, but I sure haven't seen it. I do know that Brett is leading the pack on this issue. I'm sure that some of Nancy's old comments have something to do with that! The situation also causes neck issues, as people have to compensate to get the 'look'.
     
  4. Nancy C

    Nancy C Well-Known Member

    I agree Ron. All of the heads that I have seen which were done by Brett have looked like they should, and it is a HUGE relief to see a well-respected taxidermist set a good example.
     
  5. Birds Only

    Birds Only Member

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    This is a great refrence photo for painting as well! Love the picture.
     
  6. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Of all the cast heads I have seen, I like Anthony Eddy's the best. They appear closest to the real thing when compared to others. imo.
     
  7. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    The turkey head in the picture above looks like a (?) question mark not an "s" shape. That is why I went with Brett. He came highly recommended and his heads were in a "?" shape. Customer service was outstanding.
     
  8. The bigger issue and my pet peeve is not just the length of the head but the back of the head where the skin attaches, most freeze driers and even more plastic heads have that all stretched out. See Nancy's picture and you'll note that the feathered portion is scrunched up and very short not run all the way up the back of the head. I hate trying to fit the feathers into a wide and long notch on the back of the heads.
     
  9. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    Nancy, this morning while turkey hunting we had a couple hang out at the decoy for quite some time, and when reviewing the footage from my decoy cam tonight I saw this strutter and thought of you. (bird on left) Here is a still from the video. He has the same short look to his head that is common in commercial heads. That being said I agree that generally they are as you describe. Perhaps the below freezing temps this morning had something to do with it?
     

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  10. Nancy C

    Nancy C Well-Known Member

    Weird!
    It really does look like maybe he's cold and hasn't quite gotten all the way into the act just yet. He also has his head up a little more than would be typical for a strutter. (Based of the fact that his crown is higher than his back feathers.) Could he have been interrupted or distracted by something?
    All in all, a very interesting pose!
     
  11. ElkinsTaxidermy

    ElkinsTaxidermy www.ronelkinstaxidermy.com

    Yep...he's not fully 'locked in'.
     
  12. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    If I could post the video easily I would, he remained like that strutting for 5 minutes. I don't disagree with anything that has been said in the thread, just never say never. Here's another shot of him, he's strutting pretty hard.
     

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  13. Birds Only

    Birds Only Member

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    I just want to know how you set that camera up on your decoy? Great Idea!
     
  14. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    It's a stuffer decoy so it's just foam. I use a GoPro Hero 3 camera and made a holder for it with wires going into the decoy's back. Here is a pic of the camera, and a pic of the decoy with the camera on it. We've run as many as 4 GoPros at our set and got some pretty neat footage.
     

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  15. Its not weird, Cole is right the turkeys have different proportions, no two are prefect. Once again man kind is trying to tell God he made the turkey wrong. Just because you have seen the perfect strutting head on a tame bird, does not mean its that way on every bird or even sub species.

    Nacy your turkey head pick is the odd ball. I see them mostly like Coles pics, tucked tight, and the head is many times back against the feathers making an indention.
     
  16. wolfgang

    wolfgang New Member

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    LOL!!!
     
  17. Nancy C

    Nancy C Well-Known Member

    John, you are wrong about the photo showing an oddball turkey.
    I can show you HUNDREDS of photos of strutting wild turkeys with the wattles 2 or more inches below the beak tip. I am NOT exaggerating the number of photos. I chose that particular photo because it is completely typical in every way. (By the way, it's a wild turkey, not one of mine.) Whether or not the head is back against the feathers making an indentation is not the point. Of course they can do that. The point is the degree of extension of the lower caruncles below the beak.
    Cole's photo is the first photo that I have ever seen of a mature tom which still has the head proportions of a jake. My honest feeling is that it will get more typical in appearance as the weather warms up, unless maybe it's in poor health.
     
  18. Cole

    Cole Amateur Taxidermist

    I hope it wasn't in poor health, I ate it. ;)
     
  19. alan webfoot

    alan webfoot New Member

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    I second the customer service!!!
     
  20. Harry Whitehead

    Harry Whitehead I love to hunt Buffalos!!!!!

    Everyone is correct and incorrect. Nancy, a lot depends upon the species. A Merriam's head will typically have a super long wattle while a Osceola will have a shorter head. I see HUNDREDS of heads each year and it ALL depends upon the bird and the species or sub species if you will. Also, age comes into play. Basically the skeletal element of the turkey head is the same but some are bigger and some are smaller much the same as deer neck sizes. Attitude of the bird is also a factor. The neck length is a constant but the bird has the ability to move the skin of the neck up and down making the head either smaller or bigger depending on what it wants to do. Cold and rainy usually means a small scrunched up head when viewing live birds and warm and excited birds are usually bigger but no bigger than the birds head actually is. As a freeze drier we make the wattles as long as the wattles actually are and still keep the naturalness to the skin. If you want to make a more realistic measurement try going from the ear since it is attached at the same point on every bird.....My two cents...!