If you have not read my previous article on turkey reference pictures written last year you can do so by going here.
For many taxidermists the deer season is the busiest time of the year when it comes to taking in work. For a few other taxidermists the 2nd busiest time of the year is in the spring during the spring turkey hunting season. Not all taxidermists mount turkeys and one reason being is that turkeys can be just down right intimidating. It’s just not about having good turkey reference pictures on hand, but how you interpret and apply the reference to the taxidermy turkey mounting process.
Anyone can surf google images for turkey reference pictures while downloading and printing them out. That’s what most of us do and heck I’ve even done it. But before the internet came along I use to grab pictures from a magazine called Turkey & Turkey Hunting. Another great way to collect a swath of turkey reference pictures is to watch a bunch of hunting videos you have bought over the years. Pause the DVD player when you see a great reference shot and snap a pic with your phone or camera. If you have a smart TV that can capture images from the screen even more the better.
There is a ton of ways to collect turkey reference pictures. However there is no better way than to actually take the pics yourself while observing turkey behavior. There is no better way to collect turkey reference picture then to get up close to a strutting gobbler who will allow you to take pic after pic. A good gobbler is a gobbler that will pose for you in all positions and practically walk up to your feet while doing it. I found that good gobbler yesterday.
I had no intensions yesterday of taking any turkey reference pictures let alone of any turkey. The pictures in this article only happened due to a pancake breakfast the family and I attended. After we ate the family wanted to walk to the other end of the property to check things out. I was reluctant to go and sure as hell didn’t want to walk all the way down to the south end of the property to see a couple of cows and a horse. Before I could say no that’s when I heard it. Goooooobbbbleeeee! And then it all flashed back to me.
You see a couple of summers ago on the same piece of property I encountered this big boy with two of his buddies. I took the best pics I could of them but they turned out like crap. Reason being is that they would not come down off the hill to the fence line while strutting. This was too far for my cell phone to capture detailed images of the strutting turkeys. Well I know its March and spring is this month, but there are still feet (not inches) of snow still on the ground. This old boss tom had no choice but to be forced down at the hen house because that’s where all the food was along with his treasure of hens.
If you have not guessed it yet, this is a penned domestic turkey that’s been fed very well. His two buddies must have passed on or something because they were nowhere to be found.
I have seen a few different domesticated turkeys over the years but this particular breed (not to be fooled by his white feathers) is probably the closest to an actual eastern wild turkey I have ever encountered. The body size and his behavior during my visit were pretty much consistent to what I see in wild eastern turkeys. His walking pattern, his spit and drumming, his wing dragging, his feather shingling and his overall attitude while strutting was systematic to the birds I hunt here in New York. If you ask me this bird would have mounted up nice on a McKenzie TK42 turkey body.
So with cell phone in hand me and this bird had a little photo shoot. Enjoy the pics.