Use Turkey Beards and Spurs to Display Memories
It’s the gobble that pulls us out there, but it’s the adrenaline rush that keeps us there. And it’s the sight of that magnificent bird, just before we set him to flopping, that makes the whole thing worthwhile. But after it’s all over with, we have things left over. What to do with them?
There’s the turkey itself, of course, and there are many delicious ways to make it disappear. But there are also inedible mementoes of the hunt, trophies in their own right – the beards and spurs of those gobblers we’ve taken. Many of these, sad to say, end up stored in shoeboxes or forgotten in sock drawers, or eaten by silverfish and dermestid beetles and eventually thrown away.
What a shame, and what a waste. Properly prepared and displayed, both beards and spurs make attractive decorations for any hunter’s den or office. One of the easiest ways to display those beards and spurs is by stringing them into a rope. It’s easy. If I can do it, believe me, anybody can.
First of all, of course, you need to accumulate enough beards and spurs to make a rope. Since this usually takes several seasons, you need a safe way of storing them until you have enough to make a rope. Using an airtight container in the freezer (a Tupperware-type plastic container or zip-type freezer bags, or both) is the best way. Alternatively, you can store the beards and spurs without freezing them by using the same plastic containers and adding a few moth balls, but freezing them is the safest way.
To prepare spurs for storage, use a hacksaw to cut the turkey leg bones close to either side of each spur, then use a Q-Tip to push out the marrow. Fasten each pair of spurs together using bread ties, small plastic cable ties, fine wire or stout string.
Many hunters cut a turkey’s beard from the breast with a sharp knife and trim away as much skin and fat as possible, but to eliminate the trimming and have a more attractive beard, simply grasp the beard at the base, put your other hand on the gobbler’s breast, and pull steadily. The beard will pop cleanly loose, leaving all skin and fat on the carcass, and the beard filaments will be held together by the cartilaginous base from which it grows.
(Editor's note: Click through the rest of this photo gallery to see how to make beard and spur ropes.)