to Make a Turkey Spur Necklace
-- by Rob Ramsdale
managing to take a nice gobbler through skill or blind
luck, most hunters will want to preserve as much of
the memory of the trophy as possible. One nice way
of doing this is preserving the spurs on the gobbler.
In many ways, the spurs on a turkey
are like the horns on many big game animals. Spurs
are not shed each year like antlers on deer, but,
like antlers, the size, length and sharpness of the
spur increase as the gobbler ages. Spur length and
sharpness are really the only reliable indicators
of an old boss gobbler.
Many hunter's like to dry the feet of
a gobbler and incorporate that into their trophy mount
somehow. Another popular option is to cut off the
spurs and make either a necklace or hatband using
a string of spurs.
This may be accomplished by anyone with
a little time and effort. The hard part is getting
a gobbler to part with his spurs.
Here are the general steps involved
in making a spur necklace. This is how I did all of
the spurs shown above but remember each set of spurs
is a little different so you may have to adjust boiling
times etc. Just be careful and watch them closely
during the boiling stage.
- Take a hacksaw or some other very fine-toothed
saw and cut through the leg above and below the
spur. This will leave you with a piece of the leg
bone about 1/2" long that has the spur attached.
- Take a knife and remove as much of the skin and
ligaments from the bone as possible. Also, take
a pipe cleaner or some other instrument and push
out the bone marrow from the leg bone.
- After they are as clean as possible, put them
into a pot of boiling water which has a couple of
tablespoons of dish soap added to it. Boil the spurs
for a few minutes and remove them, let them cool,
and try to scrape off any remaining material. Most
of the time, you will have to boil them more until
they are clean. This is not an exact process. You'll
have to closely watch the spurs and decide for yourself
when they are clean enough and making sure the spur's
covering is not discoloring too much. The spur covering
will lighten during the boiling process but it should
darken back up.
- After the spurs are clean, remove them and let
them dry and see how white the bone is. If they
are not white enough, you can prop the spur up in
a small pan or dish of hydrogen peroxide to just
soak the leg bone part only, leaving the spur dry
above the peroxide. If you try to use bleach here
it will eventually eat into the bones but I've soaked
bones in peroxide overnight with good results. Also,
some bones for whatever reason just don't take on
a nice white color. I've found that cleaning the
spurs as soon as possible after shooting the gobbler
will give the whitest results.
- After the spur has dried, take a Dremel-like
tool and grind off the ends of the bones to get
the desired width. A file and/or sandpaper can accomplish
the same thing with a little work. I like a little
bone showing past the spur while many others will
take off more bone than this.
- String up your spurs as they are on a leather
lace or string. Or, spray the spur with some clear
polyurethane for a glossier look. Wooden beads make
good spacers and can be found at any craft store.