By Skye Goode
Last spring I was fortunate enough to harvest two mature gobblers. After consuming the meat, displaying the fans and beards, and taking more pictures than necessary, I decided I should do something with the “true” trophy on a turkey: the spurs. Hens can have beards, jakes can have nearly full fans, but only a mature gobbler will have the pointed spurs on the back of their legs that solidify you’ve bagged an adult male.
I enjoy using nearly everything possible on a kill, not to waste any material. With the help of my mentor, Bill, we fashioned together a spur necklace that I look forward to wearing at even the most formal occasion. I went to a local bead shop and bought beautiful fire agate beads along with some elk antler tube beads. The color contrast of the dark spurs makes the necklace really pop.
The day I shot my birds, I quickly cut off a 5-inch area on the leg bone where the spurs are connected and placed them in some Borax to cure for a few weeks.
Once completely dry, I hollowed out the bone by poking the marrow through and peeling off the dried skin and extra tendons. Many references on the Internet say you need to pop off the spur cap, clean everything so it’s blindingly white, and then glue it back on. However, I prefer to keep everything as natural as possible and chose not to take off the spur cap.
I then worked diligently with a Dremel rotary tool to sand down any extra bone and flesh that was not necessary to the piece. I polished and buffed the bone and spurs with a sandpaper-type polisher and finished it with a clear coat nail polish to give the spurs a deeper color.
While working on my spurs outside, I had an epiphany. As I held the pieces in my hand and took the grinder to the spurs, the bone pulverized into a powder that slowly floated away on the breeze. I had a strange sense of serenity, as I accomplished the very privileged feat of harvesting animals in the wild, utilizing as much of the birds as possible and then grinding up the last of the bones to be lifted away back into Mother Nature. The details of those two hunts flooded my memory as I worked on memorializing these birds forever.
Skye Goode of Wisconsin is a Mossy Oak Prostaff member, mossyoak.com, and has been hunting and fishing all her life. She enjoys every aspect of the outdoors, including scouting and harvesting game, cleaning and processing the meat, and cooking up a hot meal that same night.