Quality taxidermy needs to start with a quality animal. Here are some suggestions to make sure you end up with the mount of a lifetime.
The animal will look best if harvested when its fur or feathers are in prime condition. While early season deer capes can make a beautiful mount an unprime furbearer is usually a disappointment. Bucks harvested in late November and December in my area tend to have many scars from battles during the rut along with patches of broken hair. Some customers don’t mind this and think it adds character. While others would prefer to have the cape replaced with one in better condition.
Fresher is better.
Field dress the animal immediately. Do not cut the throat. Do not split open the chest cavity any farther than necessary. Remove the animal from the field carefully. If you have to drag it I would recommend a tarp under the shoulder to prevent rubbing or breaking the hair off. Get the animal processed quickly. Most meat lockers can cape and freeze the deer for a fee. I will cape the deer at no cost if you are having me mount it. I can also skin the whole deer for a small fee. If you choose to cape it yourself please take a look at the diagram on the Caping a Deer page. Do not split the deer down the back. I would prefer it tubed. If you are going to freeze it for any length of time I recommend that you bag it as air tight as you can. Air getting to the skin is what causes freezer burn.
Do not field dress or otherwise cut/skin the animal if you are having it mounted. If you are not bringing it to me immediately I recommend that you freeze it right away. Bag the animal tightly with very little air in the bag. Air getting to the skin is what causes freezer burn. If it is a bobcat, otter, or swift/kit fox it will need to have a CITES tag before bringing it to me. To make tagging easier make the cut (carefully this is a delicate area) where the tag will go while fresh and insert a small tube or other item before freezing. When you are ready to have it tagged you can pull the item out to allow for the tag without thawing the animal. If you have any questions about this please contact me.
Long Distance Hunts
If it is guided find out what they will do to preserve the trophy and what part you will have to do. I never recommend salting a hide unless the ears, lips, eyes, nose, and toes have been turned properly and it has been fleshed. Do not put salt on a hide and then put it in the freezer. The salt will not let it freeze. Keep hides cool and out of the sun. Game bags are great for keeping the flies away. On the drive/flight don’t let the hide sit in cooler water. Keep it bagged and above the water. Moisture speeds bacteria growth. Antelope hair is hollow and will blood stain very easily so try to keep it clean.
Out of Country
If you are headed for an out of country adventure I can have tags made for you to make it easier for the return shipping and also where to have it sent to.