You are the first step in providing a quality mount. It’s important that you learn to care for you game and fish before you go afield.
The off-season is the perfect opportunity to shop around and find a well-qualified taxidermist. Visit showrooms. Check prices and turn-around time. Get tips on field and trophy care. Get references if possible and use them. This is especially important if you are planning a hunting or fishing trip. Your taxidermist should be willing and able to provide you with whatever information, tags, or other necessities to ensure the best care of your trophy in the field.
What to Bring
Things to take fishing:
Disposable camera - Used to take reference pictures of fish (colors). Also used to take pictures for catch and release and nicely posed pictures for your photo album.
Several old towels - Used wet to wrap your fish in immediately after pictures have been taken.
Cloth measuring tape - Used to measure length and girth for catch and release.
Things to take bird hunting:
Disposable camera - Used to take reference pictures of fowl (bill and feet) and nicely posed pictures for your photo album.
Several cotton balls & a couple plastic bags which can be Stored in a small pill bottle or film canister.
Things to take for general game:
Disposable camera - Used to take reference pictures of the game (eyes, nose, etc.) and nicely posed pictures for your photo album.
Sharp knife & sharpener - Used to gut and to skin if needed (you should be taught how to correctly skin before attempting, if not a cape could be ruined).
Measuring tape - Used to take measurements as directed by your taxidermist.
Trophy Care in the Field
Do not gut or scale. Try to always keep an old towel in the tackle box or near by so you can use it before putting the fish in a cooler. Wrap in a wet towel at once. Place on ice until it can be frozen, refrigerated or delivered to the taxidermist. Always place your fish in the wet towel even if it is going on ice, as this protects the fish from scale loss and fin damage. The fish can be placed in a plastic bag still wrapped in the wet towel, if freezing. If you are practicing catch and release or are unable to care for your fish in the field, a reproduction is the ideal alternative. Take several good pictures including the back of the fish, the sides and the belly. Thebetter the pictures the better the detail in the paint job of the reproduction. Measure the entire length and girth at the largest point. Your taxidermist can use these measurements and pictures to give you a life-like reproduction of your fish.
Do not allow a dog to retrieve a possible trophy. A dog can unintentionally tear holes in the bird that may not be repairable. Wash off any blood carefully. Place a cotton ball in the throat. Fold the head down along one side and cover it with the wing. Place breast first into the plastic bag and leave the end open so the bird can cool. Doing this will protect the specimen from damage in the blind, boat or field. Once you leave the field the bird can be sealed in the bag and the bag marked with the species/type bird, date you got it and the place it was taken. You can noww freeze the bird till time allows delivery to the taxidermist or just take it there while still fresh. Doing this will protect your bird on the floor of a blind, bottom of a boat or in a game bag.
Do not gut or skin unless trained to do so. Do not place in a game bag. Keep cool. Put in a bag in the freezer ASAP and leave the bag open till the animal is cooled off . Its a good idea to either place it on a shelf where the air can get to all sides or wait an hour and turn the animal over so the down side can cool too. Squirrels are very fragile. Do not handle them by the tail or head. Carry them by the back feet. Get them cooled ASAP.
Big Game Shoulder Mounts:
Always cut completely around the body well behind the shoulders–better too long than too short ! Cut around both legs at the knees and cut up the back side of each leg till you hit the lower chest and then go straight back towards the inscission around the body. Once this is complete you can roll the hide/cape down over the shoulder and neck and cut off close to the head. We do not cut our deer up the back of the neck so please do not do that. Neck meat is not needed so you can cut off the head right at the back of the skull or close.. Only Continue to skin out the rest of the head if trained to do so. Wash off blood, especially on white areas. Let the cape cool for a short period then freeze. Always approach your taxidermist well in advance of your trip so you can be trained to care for your trophy in the field. Don’t trust this care to your outfitter. Remember, in the end you are the one responsible for delivering a mountable trophy to your taxidermist.
Always check with your taxidermist beforehand to determine if a dorsal or ventral incision is preferred. With small game the entire animal can be frozen whole. Remember, don’t gut the animal, unless you are doing a ventral incision. For more detailed instructions, please contact us or your taxidermist before going afield