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Samantha and Jennifer with their spur necklaces
Photos by Jennifer Bilott

Samantha and Jennifer with their spur necklaces


Make a turkey spur necklace

Last spring, I harvested a beautiful turkey with a 10 1/2-inch beard and 1 1/2-inch spurs -- my largest bird thus far. As part of my celebration, I took pictures to capture the glorious moment, as well as show off my accomplishment. Then, on to field dressing and preparing a delicious fresh turkey dinner for my family. As expected, the meal was great, but what to do with the rest of my trophy?

If you are not going to take the rest to the taxidermist, it is a shame to waste the most beautiful parts of the bird, the feathers, or throw away the spurs and beard. Each year, I try to find creative and useful ways to use as much of the animal as I can. I am proud every time I am successful, and I like to share the excitement of my harvest with others.

For example, when I was married, I didn't carry a bouquet of flowers down the isle, I made turkey feather fans for every bridesmaid and myself. We resembled a rafter of turkeys, which preserved that moment in time for me, because flowers eventually die, but my turkey feather fans will last a lifetime.

My husband and I saved the feathers I used from our harvested turkeys, which made them even more special.

As I was brainstorming a way to preserve my biggest bird to date, my husband came up with making a turkey spur necklace. It was a combination of hunting and jewelry, two of my favorite things.

Share your creation

I showed my turkey spur necklace with a special young turkey huntress named Samantha. She reminded me of myself at 13, and she also harvested a turkey that spring with a 10 1/2-inch beard and 1 1/2-inch spurs. She was excited to get right to work on her own necklace.

Samantha assembled her necklace a little differently. Instead of using the leg bone to house the chain, she used an eyehook on the top, then added beads. To see the sense of accomplishment in her eyes was almost as rewarding as sharing my passion.


I was so thrilled and by the way my necklace turned out, I wore it to school the next day. As a middle school teacher, I get to share my passion for outdoor sports with my students, many who are outdoor enthusiasts as well.

Women love jewelry, and each piece has a special meaning, especially the pieces you create yourself. There are many possibilities when it comes to jewelry making. Claws, teeth and bone come to mind. You can make pendants, bracelets and earrings. There is no better time than the present to get those creative juices flowing. -- Jennifer Bilott


Make your own

Assemble the following supplies before you start:

  • long tweezers
  • two beads
  • one spur
  • small pot of boiling water
  • super glue
  • piece of rope or chain
  • a saw

Follow these easy steps:

  1. Cut the spurs off of the bird above and below at the leg.
  2. Bring a pot of water to boil on the stove.
  3. Carefully drop the spurs into the pot, monitoring them closely.
  4. Check them every 10 to 15 minutes. When the marrow in the leg bone starts to loosen, pop it out with long tweezers. Return the spurs to the boiling water and continue to check every 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Use the tweezers to remove any meat from the spur and leg bone. Continue this process every 10 to 15 minutes until the spurs are clean.
  6. Eventually, the outer cover of the spur may come off, don't be alarmed, save it and glue it back on with super glue when the spur is clean and dry.
  7. Pass a piece of rope or chain of your desired length through the hollow bone. Add a bead to each side. (I chose two sparkly Brighton beads.)

Try this variation

Cut the spur off at the leg instead of above and below and drill an eyehook in the top to thread the necklace through.




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