Spring turkey season provides us with the opportunity to collect some of the best feathers for fletching.

Everyone has his favorite technique for processing feathers, and recently I found a better way to do the first step: splitting the quill. I’ve tried hand and pliers stripping, and pulling against a knife blade stuck in a cutting board, but neither method gave me control for a straight cut; however, my skinning knife does. With a deep belly and rounded cutting edge, you can insert the point into the quill, punch it through, and then roll the edge through the quill channel for a clean, controlled split.

The feathers are then ready for your favorite grinding technique.