I have always had a passion for art, the outdoors, and hunting. So I decided to combine all of them and get into the profession of taxidermy. I love hearing a good hunting story and seeing the trophys that go along with them. It makes it even more interesting when bringing them back to life!!
In the profession of taxidermy there are those who are known as "stuffers" mostly known for throwing together a mount without any regard for detail for a quick buck and then there are those who are known as "wildlife artists" known for making a quality life like mount. I consider myself a wildlife artist and will strive to give you the best so your trophy will come back to life!
The first thing I would like to help you with is field care and skinning tips for your trophy.
Field care and cutting the cape is one of the most important parts to make sure you receive a quality mount. Here are a few tips to help so that I can make your trophy look as good as the day you took it. If you have any questions or concerns please call me, I will be glad to help.
A quality mount begins with you and proper field care. Many trophies are ruined by sportsmen not knowing how to care for their trophy. As much as you want to show off your trophy, please don't ride it around in the back of your truck all day and never cut the throat of a deer. The best way is to get it skinned and frozen as soon as possible. When dragging an animal, never let the head drag. Keep the head up as much as possible; this could harm the skin and hair. As soon as an animal dies it starts to break down. The longer it is left out and things such as heat will speed up this process and could ruin your trophy.
With your animal hanging as normal, skin down to the front shoulders. Avoid cutting in to the brisket and armpit area. Cut off the front legs at the knee and carefully skin on down working out the front legs. Continue to skin on down the neck and stop approx. 4-5 inches from the skull this is where you will cut the head off. In my shop I am fine with you leaving the whole hide attached and I'll cut off what I don't need but if you need to cut the excess off, cut it about middle ways of the body. This will ensure you have enough cape left. At this point you can place in a couple of plastic bags and freeze until you can get it to me. If you can't freeze it, keep it in a cooler on ice (hopefully no more than one day).
On most smaller life size mounts, anything from a chipmunk up to the size of a large fawn or coyote, you will need to freeze it whole by placing the entire animal in a couple of plastic bags and freeze until you can get it to me. The main reason for this is that there are several different ways to skin life size mounts depending on the type of mount you want. On larger life size mounts such as deer and bear the best thing to do is bring it straight to me and let me skin it for you. If you are out on a hunt for several days or unable to come straight to me give me a call before the hunt and I will go over with you how to skin the animal the way I prefer and I can give you information sheets to help you with the task. And as always freeze or at least get in a cooler as soon as possible.
When picking a bird to mount try to pick one that is not shot up too bad or has badly damaged feathers. An easy way to handle birds to keep all the feathers in place is to take a pair of pantyhose and slide the bird head first into them, this will keep the feathers nice and flat against the body and is less likey to be damaged. Then place in a plastic bag and freeze the bird whole. Do not attempt to clean the bird. Blood can be wiped off the feathers with a paper towel and if possible you can place a paper towel into the mouth to help keep remaining blood off the feathers. Large birds such as turkeys you can place some type of towel in the mouth to soak up blood. If possible take a small bag and wrap around the head and use a rubber band to hold it in place. Use your hand and get all the feathers in place as much as possible and slide the turkey into a large trash bag. Be careful with the tail and beard, they can break. It's best if you can do this in the field and you are less likely to damage your bird in your vest when carrying it out.
Never gut a fish you are planning to mount. Try to keep the fish from splashing around in a bucket or such. If you are able to get it to me right away just place in a plastic bag and freeze. If it will be in the freezer for a while wrap the fish in a wet towel to start with and then place in a plastic bag and freeze. This will keep down freezer burn and in return give you a better mount.
MY OUTDOOR ADVENTURES!!