How to Prep a Turkey Fan for Display

One of the best things about punching your turkey tag is that the chores that follow are quick and simple. There’s no arduous work involved like, boning lots of meat, packing heavy loads, and grueling hikes out of the backcountry. That also goes for the task of preserving your trophy, like the fan. It’s really simple. You can complete the whole job of displaying your turkey on your own, quick and easy, without shelling out the bills to your taxidermist. The following info will show you exactly how to prep a turkey fan for display.

turkey fan

A do-it-yourself turkey fan is a surprisingly quick and simple task for the turkey hunter.

The hardest part of the process, which really isn’t hard at all, is removing the tail fan from the bird. The main thing to keep in mind is to cut ahead of the meat holding the feathers, not the feathers themselves.

Here’s what that looks like…

Once you have the fan removed from the bird, you simply need to apply Borax to the flesh and meat and tack the fan down to a wooden board or piece of cardboard for drying. Again, it’s very simple. Just make sure the feathers are spread out and displayed how you want them in the end. There’s no adjusting them once they dry. I typically let my fans dry for a month, although they are probably good to go in a matter of weeks.

borax for turkey fan

The Borax is a product that you can buy from your local store. You’ll find it with the laundry detergent products. It dries out and preserves the fleshy areas and remaining meat on the tail fan.

Here’s a look at how to tack the fan down for drying…

A do-it-yourself turkey fan is a simple way to put your memories on the wall, and save some coin along the way. Other than the Borax, you’ll probably already have everything you need laying around the house or in the garage. Give it a try when you kill your turkey this spring.


  1. I found this video to be very vague and therefore of little value. How is the position of each pin determined? What is the purpose of the pins, beyond keeping the fan spread open?

    • It’s a very basic video that just gives you an understanding of the process. Most of the questions you have can be figured out on your own via a little trial and error. In my experience there’s no scientific method for determining where to put the pins – and there’s really no right or wrong way to do it. Simply use enough of them to keep the fan open in a matter that looks nice to you until it’s dry, then you take them out and put them away for next time.


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