Your hunt was successful; you have your trophy, but what next? In order to make sure your taxidermy project is perfect, follow these tips, and procedures below.
Do not skin or gut small mammals. Small mammal, especially carnivores, will spoil quickly because of their thin hide and bacteria. In the event you are unable to get the animal to a taxidermist immediately, let it cool completely. Place the animal in two plastic bags, paying special attention to rinse all blood and debris from your trophy, protect the ears by covering them with an old towel and allow it to freeze until you take it to a taxidermist.
Do not gut your birds. Take the bird immediately to your taxidermist. Rinse any blood that might be on the feathers. In the event you can not take your bird immediately to your taxidermist wrap your bird in newspaper or a wet towel and then freeze. Be careful not to damage the feathers, including the tail. If the birds tail feathers do not fit in the bag, don’t bend them. Get a larger bag.
Do not gut your fish. If at all possible take a digital picture of you fish immediately after the catch. If it is a catch and release weigh and take measurements. Take the fish to your taxidermist immediately or freeze it. If you are freezing it, wrap in a very wet towel and put in a plastic bag. Make sure all the fins are flat against the fish body and freeze it.
COMPLETE FULL CAPING:
Please avoid dragging your trophy out of the woods with a rope; place it on something or use a 4-wheeler. If you have to use a rope, attach the rope to the base of the antlers and drag your trophy carefully. Skinning out a trophy animal should be left for your taxidermist. However in warm climates in remote areas where it is impossible to get your trophy cooled out, it will be necessary. If blood gets on the hide, wash it off with water as soon as possible. Prior to your hunt you should get detailed instruction from your taxidermist. In many cases professional guides are capable of assisting in a complete full cape. In all other situations perform the field cape and get your trophy to a cooler, freezer, or on dry ice as soon as possible.
FIELD CAPING FOR A SHOULDER MOUNT:
Please avoid dragging your animal out of the field with a rope. Place it on a sled, four wheeler or pack animal. The rope, rocks, and broken branches can easily damage the fur or puncture the hide. If you do need to drag it out with a rope, attach the rope to the antler base and drag your trophy carefully. With a sharp knife slit the hide circling the body behind the shoulder at approximately the midway point of the rib cage behind the front legs. Slit the skin around the legs just above the knees. An additional slit will be needed from the back of the leg, joining the body cut behind the legs. Do not make any cuts in the chest or neck area. Cuts should be behind the front legs. If possible, stop your upward cut before you get to the front legs. Leave as much cape as possible on legs, neck and chest area.
Skin the hide forward up to the ears and jaw exposing the head and head/neck junction. Circle the neck cutting down to the spinal column. Never cut into the brisket (chest) or neck area. If blood gets on the hide to be mounted was it off with snow or water as soon as possible. After this cut is complete, grasp the antler base and twist the head off the neck. This will allow the hide to be rolled up and put in a freezer until it can be transported to your taxidermist. These cuts will allow ample hide for the taxidermist to work with. Remember, the taxidermist can cut off excess hide but he can’t add what he doesn’t have. If blood gets on the hide, wash it off with water as soon as possible.
For a large life size mount such as deer, elk, and bear field skinning procedures are performed as illustrated. We prefer the flat incision method. Make the slits as shown, cutting the feet free of the carcass remaining with the hide. The head is detached the same as field caping a shoulder mount described earlier.
*I also offer services to properly skin your trophy for the mount that you desire.
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