Do not gut the bird. Rinse off and blood on the feathers with water. Take the bird immediately to you taxidermist or freeze it. Put the
bird into a plastic bag for freezing being careful not to damage the feathers, including the tail. If the bird's tail feathers do not fit in the
bag do not bend them. Let the tail stick out of the bag and tie the bag loosely.
Animals, coyote sized or smaller, should not be skinned unless by a professional. Don't gut the animal. Small mammals, especially
carnivores, will spoil quickly because of their thin hide and bacteria. If you can't take the small game animal immediately to a
taxidermist, as soon as the carcass cools completely, put in in a plastic bag and freeze it. With the epidemic of rabies evident in many
areas of the country take every safety measure necessary when handling your game
1. With deer on its back make a shallow cut through the skin just below the breastbone. Make sure that
you start your cut well away from the brisket allowing plenty of uncut skin for your shoulder mount .
Insert two fingers of the free hand, cradling the blade, to hold the skin up and away from the entrails
4. If you want to make a full shoulder mount, do not cut open the chest cavity.
Cut the diaphragm away from the ribs all the way to the backbone area. Reach
into the forward chest cavity, find the esophagus and windpipe, cut them off as
far up as possible (Figure C), and pull them down through the chest. 5. Roll the
deer onto its side, grab the esophagus with one hand and the rectum / intestine
with the other. Pull hard. The deer's internal organs will come out in one big
package with a minimum of mess.
Caping, the process of skinning out a trophy animal, is best left to the taxidermist. Their experience skinning, especially their delicate
nose, mouth, eyes, and ears is invaluable toward producing a quality mount. Damage to a hide is costly to repair. Some types of
damage simple can not be "fixed" by the taxidermist. Many trophies are ruined in the first few hours after death. As soon as the
animal dies, bacteria begins to attack the carcass. Warm humid weather accelerates bacteria growth. In remote areas, or areas not
near your taxidermist, a competent person may be required to cape out the hide in order to preserve it.Every taxidermist has a
preferred method of caping a hide. Contact your taxidermist prior to your hunt in order to get instructions on their caping
requirements. However, the following techniques are generally acceptable.
There are two major methods of skinning for large life size mount such as deer, elk or bear. These methods are the flat incision and
Skinning Life Size Game
The Flat Incision
The flat incision is used for rug mounts and for a variety of poses. The areas to be cut are shown in Figure 1. Make these slits (cutting
the feet free from the carcass) and pull the skin off the carcass. The head is detached as with the shoulder mount.
Note: If you Can't take your
hide immediately to a
taxidermist, freeze it to your
Flat Incision Illustration
The Dorsal Method
The dorsal method of skinning involves a long slit down the back (from the tail base up into the neck) The carcass is skinned as it is
pulled through this incision. The feet /hooves and the head are cut off from the carcass as with shoulders mount explained later. Only
use this method with approval and detailed instruction from your taxidermist. Use this method only when the skin can be frozen quickly
Caping for a shoulder mount
1. 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 legs (Figure 2A and 2B). 2. Peel the skin forward up to the ears and jaw
exposing the head / neck junction. Cut into the neck approximately three inches down
from this junction, Circle the neck cutting down to 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 a freezer until transported to the taxidermist. These
cuts should allow ample hide fro the taxidermist to work with mounting. Remember,
the taxidermist can cut off excess hide but can't add what he doesn't have.Note:
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. Also avoid dragging the deer out of the woods with a rope. Place it on a
sled, rickshaw, or 4-wheeler. The rope, rocks or a broken branch from a deadfall can
easily damage the fur or puncture the hide. If you need to drag it out with a rope,
attach the rope to the base of the antlers and drag your trophy carefully.
Do not gut your fish. If you can not take your fish immediately to a taxidermist, wrap it in a very wet towel and put it in a plastic bag,
making sure all the fins are flat against the fish's body (to prevent breakage), and freeze it. A fish frozen with this method can be kept
in the freezer for months. Note: a fish will loose its coloration shortly after being caught. A good color photograph immediately after
the catch may enable the taxidermist to duplicate the natural color tones of that particular fish.
Always have appropriate tags with your trophies when you take them to your taxidermist. Do not cut the ears for attachment. ·
Songbirds, Eagles, Hawks, and Owls are protected by Federal Law and can not be mounted unless with special Federal permit. · For
situation 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 can preserve your hide for later
NOTE: Because of the various diseases that wild game can transmit to humans, always use extreme caution when handling the carcass.
Use rubber or latex gloves and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water after handling.
©2000 McKenzie Taxidermy Supply
2. Cut straight down the belly and around the
genitals, separating but not severing them from the
abdominal wall. Slit the belly skin all the way to
pelvic bone (Figure B.)
563-590-1310 or 563-583-0516
3. Cut deeply around the rectum, being careful not to
cut off or puncture the intestine. Pull to make sure the
rectum is separated from the tissue connecting it to
the pelvic canal. Pull the rectum out and tie string
tightly around it to prevent droppings from touching
the meat. Lift the animal's back quarter a bit reach into
the front of the pelvic canal, and pull the intestine
and connected rectum into the stomach area.package
with a minimum of mess.
Licensed in Iowa
Federal Taxidermy Permit
Member National Taxidermy Assoc
Dubuque Iowa Taxidermists