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Goooobbbbllleee...Goooobbbllleee... For the lucky hunter who harvests a trophy gobbler this spring the following tips from taxidermist, Todd Rapalee in Goochland, may be helpful in preparing your bird for mounting.
Take care in handling the bird to minimize feather damage. Do not carry the turkey by the neck. This will damage the fine neck feathers sometimes beyond repair. Place a paper towel in the bird's mouth and a plastic bag with a rubber band seal over its head. This will keep the feathers clean, not to mention the back of your jacket and pant legs. Remember, the extra care that you take in minimizing feather damage, the finer the outcome of the finished mount.
DO NOT field dress your turkey. Deliver it to the taxidermist within hours after the harvest or place the bird neatly in a large plastic bag and freeze it until it can be delivered to the taxidermist.
If you will be hunting out of state or out of the country for turkeys, call your taxidermist ahead of time for preparation and shipping instructions. Turkey shipments originating outside of the US must be sent to a USDA approved taxidermist.
As with any trophy you wish to have mounted, find a professional taxidermist that will produce a quality mount for you to enjoy for years to come. Don't go by price alone. Go and visit their studio and showroom to see first hand the quality that you will be receiving. It is not too early to start visiting taxidermy studios to find a taxidermist to handle your trophies from upcoming fall hunts. Fall hunting, like turkey season, will be here before you know it!
This information was provided by Todd Rapalee of Rapalee Taxidermy.