Full disclosure: My wife encourages it. Yours might not though. Many years ago I had a girlfriend who said, after I asked her about the dead stuff on my apartment walls, “It would look great in the basement.”
It was the last time I saw her. But it’s not just a guy thing.
You women hunters—some of whom are turkey buds—may live with somebody who doesn’t like it either.
As the son of a retired Pennsylvania taxidermist (go figure), and somebody with a Maine cabin full of turkey tail mounts, hanging spurs and beards, other game birds and fish—even a housecat-sized gray squirrel on barn wood, with an Ocellated turkey mount on its way, along with a handsome drake woodie—taxidermy is a way of life. A habit? Sure. A sickness? You bet. Even a budget-buster at times.
A taxidermy mount does many things. Mostly it reminds you of the hunt, the good people you spent it with, the meaningful ground you covered, the camp where you slept, ate meals, heard jokes and even told some, too.
Look up there on the wall and it all comes back. Then. Now. Years later.
Deal breaker: A shared bank account between spouses may be prohibitive. Separate checking for taxidermy and other stuff you need as a hunter? Maybe it's a solution. Maybe that’s the best way to go.
Then again, maybe some of you hunters think a live strutting gobbler is diminished dramatically on the wall. That's cool, if so. I get it.
I have buddies who keep their beards and spurs in the garage, along with antlers and other game bird and animal parts. Sometimes it's their choice. Sometimes not. Heck, I even have a bunch of tail fans in the basement, parts of all sizes—from young autumn gobblers and legal fall hens to spring jakes and full fans of all the Grand Slam subspecies (those not on the wall). And sometimes I give them away in camp with a note making it all legal. A Missouri bird once graced an outfitter's show booth with a big gobbler I killed . . . never knew if after time it became his bird. I'm cool if it did. It's all good.
Final word: I got lucky and met the love of my life and she enjoys taxidermy mounts.
I’m not a deer hunter, but my wife recently encouraged me to accept a gifted 9-point Pennsylvania whitetail mount (an animal I saw while fall turkey hunting many decades ago, but one my dad killed on opening day of deer season). For more on that story go here.
Either way you cut it, turkey taxidermy—and putting other hunt memories on the wall—is tricky if the people you live with don't care for it.
Do you have any tips for working out a solution? Comment below.
Realtree turkey hunting editor Steve Hickoff has chased gobblers all over the United States and Mexico. He was born and raised in northcentral Pennsylvania, and now makes his home in Maine. Hickoff was named the NWTF Tom Kelly Communicator of the Year for 2019, a prestigious award reflecting his longtime work promoting hunting and conservation as a turkey hunting writer, editor and book author.