Good taxidermy begins with good field care. How you handle the animal is very important! The skin begins to decay immediately upon death, so the sooner you can get it cold or frozen the better. Always freeze your animal if it cannot be delivered to your taxidermist within 24 hours. If you can't freeze it, keep it cold but avoid getting it wet. Put it in a couple of heavy plastic bags and keep it on ice, but not down in ice water.
**Avoid dragging animal if possible, but if you have to keep head, neck and shoulders off ground.
**Clean off as much blood and dirt as possible.
**Take extra care with velvet antlers, which are very fragile. The less you put your hands on them, the better.
They must be kept cold or frozen also.
**Never cut the throat
**Never cut through the brisket
**Never cut the legs off right where they join body
When skinning for a shoulder mount use the diagrams below. Do not cut up back of neck. With a sharp knife slit the hide circling the body behind the shoulder at approximately the mid-way 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 and joining the cut behind the legs (follow where white and brown hair join). Peel the skin forward up to the ears and jaw exposing the head/neck junction. Remove head at this joint. I do not need the neck or a bunch of meat left in neck. Remember more hide is best....I can cut off excess but cannot add any!
For European Skull Mounts cut off just behind head at joint. If possible remove skin and excess meat from skull.
Skulls must be kept cold or frozen also!!! I will not except skulls which have been left out and are smelly and rotten!! If you have a nice cape I will give a discount on skull mount in exchange for capes.
For smaller life-size mounts you should place entire animal in a couple heavy plastic bags and freeze. Do not gut the animal! For large life-size such as deer or bear, it is best to call your taxidermist for direction on how to skin for type of mount you want!
A final note..... Please don't leave your trophy in the freezer for longer than a couple months. It will freezer burn!
This will cause you to have to purchase a new cape and your mount will be more expensive. Even if you can't get it done right away consider letting me cape it out and properly wrap it for freezing with antlers removed.