Field Care

Before the Hunt: Before harvesting an animal or going on a hunt, always speak first with your Taxidermist. They will advise you on proper skinning methods and measurements that will help later in the mounting process. Never salt a skin unless instructed to by the taxidermist. Improper fleshing before salting can create problems and raises the freezing point which inhibits proper freezing. Only have salting done if freezing is not an option and after the skin is properly fleshed.

Tagging & Transport:
When possible, tag an animal on the horns or somewhere other than the ears. Avoid dragging your animal, as this can damage the hair. If you must drag, avoid pulling it over sharp objects, always tie ropes to horns rather than around the neck and keep the entire shoulder area above the ground. Remember dragging, especially behind a 4 wheel machine can friction burn the  hide.
Skinning and caping: It’s best to skin big game immediately to allow proper cooling. Otherwise, have a taxidermist or experienced game processor skin it for you as soon as possible. Smaller animals such as coyote, squirrels or birds should immediately be frozen whole as their thinner skin deteriorates quickly and require special skinning methods depending on the mount desired. Bear are extremely susceptible to spoilage and should be skinned immediately, allowed to cool, then frozen.

There are  many ways to to skin animals, including deer. Call your taxidermist before skinning, for the best possible. Once skinned, the hide should be laid out flat in a freezer until almost frozen, then rolled or folded and put into a garbage bag to finish freezing. Heat and moisture are the two main reasons for hair loss. If you have a processor cape your animal, ask them how long the skin will remain on the carcass, and how they skin and preserve it. Check with your taxidermist to see if this is the best method for a high quality mount.

Cooling or Freezing: It is important for the meat and the hide, to cool down immediately. Packing snow in the chest cavity is fine, never hose the animal down as moisture can lead to bacterial growth damaging the skin. Avoid hanging for days, even if it’s cold. Place in a freezer stretched out and unwrapped until completely frozen. Wrapping warm skins insulates the body heat and will delay the freezing process.