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DYI – Turkey Fans by Text- by Karen Butler

In 2015, after years of trying to harvest a turkey, I was finally blessed with not one, but two perfect set-ups, and was rewarded with two turkeys in the freezer.  I can’t explain the feeling of accomplishment and pride I felt this past Thanksgiving when my husband, Todd, and our grandson enjoyed the turkey dinner that I had provided.  Success rarely comes by yourself, and I was thankful for the support of Todd, the help of great friends, a terrific outfitter and guide, and the grace of God.

This hunt was particularly exciting because Cristy and I had a film crew with us to capture footage for “how to” videos we are publishing, and had just come from the National Rifle Associations Annual Meeting where we had the trailer in full operation.  We were anxious to turkey hunt at Kansas Whitetail Addictions and Moore, Inc with Jason Michaels as our guide.  These were exciting and busy times, and even though I was very sick I was happy to have this experience.  The reason I mention that I was sick, is to introduce you to the reason why I was forced to learn to make my own Turkey Fan by Text, with the help of Cristy Crawford!

Cristy is a world of knowledge, I truly think there is nothing in the outdoors she can’t do!  What makes that all the more special, is she is never shy about sharing it with others.  During the hunt we both got turkeys.  Jason taught me how to get my meat, and how to remove the feathers to make a fan.  Cristy taught me
how to preserve my spurs, and how to clean the meat from my tail feathers for my fan while we were at camp.  Then she went to the store and bought knee high panty hose, and we carefully rolled them up, and then over my turkey fans.  I was set, all I had to do was get back home, and drop them off at a local taxidermist.  Of course, by the time I got home, I was very sick, and down for the count….so my feathers sat.   One day, Cristy called me and said, “Have you taken care of your feathers?”  I said, “No, I will next week.”  She emphatically explained, “Nope, you don’t have time, you must do it yourself.”  I’m thinking, there is no way I can do this, but knowing her knowledge I decided I had to try.  The following instructions and pictures are our back and forth texts, where I learned to create my own Turkey Fans from my very first successful turkey hunt.

Supplies Needed:
Turkey Tail Feathers
Knee High Panty Hose
2 Pieces of Large Cardboard (Cristy recommends 20 1/2 inches x 19 1/2 inches)
Several Pins
Wire Brush (I used a grill brush)
Turkey Fan Holder (I bought mine at Cabela’s)

Step 1.  Cut the bottom off the panty hose, so you can roll off in the direction of the feathers.

Step 2.  Spread the feathers by grabbing the base with your fingers, and fan the feathers out.

Step 3.  Cover the part with any meat and/or tissue on it with Borax.  The excess will shake off later.

Step 4.  If you have a hard time getting the feathers to stay fanned out, pin through the quills and through the cardboard.  (All I could find at the house was safety pins…they worked)

Step 5.  Work from the back to the front and put the feathers in place.  Use a wire brush if you need to smooth them out. I used a clean grill brush.

Step 6. Cover and press down to spread out any gaps in feathers, and tape.
Step 7.  Set aside and wait patiently (I’m not good at this step) for about two weeks.
Step 8.  Follow directions on Turkey Fan holder, and display your Turkey Fan with pride!
I am very proud of these fans; they represent the memories of the hunt, the dinner with my family and  satisfaction in the fact that I made them myself, with the help of Cristy.  To me they are perfect, and I wouldn’t wanted to have had them made in any other way!  
For information about Karen, Cristy and Shoot Like A Girl visit

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