Good taxidermy begins with good field care. Without a good specimen, there
are problems before work even begins. Skin begins to decay immediately
upon death, so take care of your specimen as soon as possible. Keeping
it cold slows this breakdown; freezing stops it. Always freeze specimens
and seal in an airtight plastic bag to avoid damage by freezer burn.
Once landed, donít allow fish to scar itself or tear fins by thrashing.
Wrap in wet cloth. NEVER use newspaper or anything dry. To store, seal
wet cloth-wrapped fish in double plastic bags and lie flat in freezer.
off blood, smooth feathers (sliding head first into a nylon stocking works
great) and seal in plastic bag and freeze whole as soon as possible. Birds
left out all day may begin to slip and loose feathers. Inspect potential
mounts carefully, birds with excessive pinfeathers and badly shot up often
make poor mounts. When in doubt, bring to taxidermist before it is frozen,
so they can
check it out.
DO NOT: slit ear, slash throat, drag or hang by neck. Avoid getting the
skin wet or hanging for extended periods of time. Many taxidermists prefer
to cape (skin head and shoulders) themselves. If this is not possible,
cut as follows: cut all the way around carcass, BEHIND the front legs,
then down backside of front legs to knees; cut neck skin from top of back
to back of head; continue skinning neck up to head and cut off head, leave
hide attached to head. Do not cut off antlers or horns from head. Deliver
to taxidermist or seal in plastic garbage bag and freeze. NOTE: tines puncture
bags easily allowing air to cause rapid freezer burn to ears, eyes, nose
and lips. Take to taxidermist ASAP.
FULL BODY MOUNTS
Small and medium mammals should not be gutted, but brought to the taxidermist
immediately or frozen whole, sealed in double plastic bags. Large animals,
such as bear, should be skinned immediately, as hair may begin to slip
within a few hours. After field dressing in the normal manner, cut down
inside of legs to ankles or wrists and sever, leaving the feet in the skin.
Cut off head at base of skull, leaving it in the skin. Remove excess meat
and fat. Roll up and take to taxidermist immediately or freeze, sealed
in a plastic bag.
Dust your mounts frequently with feather or fleece duster in direction
of hair, fur or feathers. Donít be afraid to groom mammal mounts-hair often
gets messed up moving them. Smooth fur with fingers or dog brush. Eyes
and nose may be kept clean with window cleaner and a Q-tip. Fish should
be wiped with a damp rag. Occasional cleaning with warm water, dish soap
and a toothbrush removes dirt buildup and helps renew gloss.
Avoid placing mounts above an extreme heat source (such as a fireplace)
or in strong sunlight. Tobacco smoke and grease smoke will rapidly yellow
mounts. Once or twice a year you may lightly spray mounts with an insect
repellent designed for pets to help deter potential insect infestation.
If you have questions on your mount, donít hesitate to talk to your taxidermist.