Field Care for your Trophy Animal


With a shape 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 and joining the body cut behind the legs. (Figure 2A ad 2B) see below

Peel the skin forward to the ears and jaw exposing the head/neck junction.  Cut into the neck approximately three inches down from this junction. (Figure 3)  Circle the neck, cutting down the spinal column.  After this cut is complete, grasp the antler bases, and twist the head off the neck.  This should allow the hide to be rolled up and put in the freezer until transported to the taxidermist.

These cuts should allow ample hide for the taxidermist to work with in mounting.

  Remember, the taxidermist can cut off excess hide, but he can't add to what he doesn't have.

  • When field dressing a trophy to be mounted. Don't cut into the brisket {chest} or neck area.
  • If blood gets on the hide to be mounted, wash it off with snow or water as soon as possible.
  • Avoid dragging the deer out of the woods with a rope.  Place it on a sled, rickshaw, or a four-wheeler,  The rope, rocks, or a broken branch from deadfall 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 base of the antlers and drag your trophy carefully.
  • Always have appropriate tags with your trophies when you take them to your taxidermist.
  • do not cut off the ears for attachment
  • for situations where you are hunting with no available taxidermist or freezer, ask your taxidermist about techniques to skin out the entire cape (including the head) and salting the hide.  This is the only method in remote locations that you can preserve your hide for later mounting.

Whitetail Deer Field Care Video

One of the biggest problems caused by taxidermy clients is mishandling of specimens in the field, including sportsmen who make improper cuts on antlered game. For decades, taxidermists have tried to educate their customers on the importance of proper field care. Toward this end, they have printed instruction sheets, brochures, field care diagrams on business cards, and large signs in their showrooms. With the proliferation of the internet, now it seems that almost every taxidermy studio website also has a web page devoted to field care with text instructions and diagrams. But even with all of this information readily available, inevitable each year at least one hunter will bring in a trophy with the skin cut too short to produce a quality mount.

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