After the Hunt: Do’s and Don’ts for Mounting Quality

A season of preparation typically precedes a successful hunt. Long hours of sweating and planning, however, are soon forgotten after a successful harvest. When the harvest is a trophy to you, the option to mount the animal may be an idea. Here are some tips before heading to the taxidermist.

What to do:

  • Handle the animal carefully so that you don’t damage the hair or feathers. While your local taxidermist is a professional, you want to give them the best specimen possible to work with.
  • For turkeys, transport in either a large bag or your turkey vest.
  • Before you take the animal to the taxidermist, clean any excess blood from the carcass and its hair or feathers. Cleaning it before it dries is best.
  • When it comes to caping or skinning a deer for the taxidermist, have someone with experience show you how to do it.

What not to do:

  • Avoid excessive dragging of your deer.
  • If you’ve harvested a turkey, don’t allow the feathers to be broken or plucked.

Keep your taxidermist’s number handy and contact them immediately if you plan to have your harvest mounted. Your animal can be frozen if you can’t get it to the taxidermist immediately, but many taxidermists prefer an unfrozen carcass because it is easier to skin. Have in mind the style of mount that you prefer, and give the taxidermist a clear idea of how you envision the end result.

When your mounted animal is complete, proudly put it on display well out of reach of children. Quality taxidermy work will keep its lifelike luster for decades if cared for properly.

  • Periodic dusting is important to keep the animal looking sharp.
  • Never rub the hair or feathers backwards because this can cause them to break.
  • Keep your new mount in a dry area with low humidity and in a room where there is a near constant temperature. Storing them in an unheated or extremely hot area can lead to premature aging.

A mounted animal is more than an investment; it’s a trophy to remind you of your past successes. Caring for the animal immediately following the harvest and after you have it on display will allow you to share the memory of the hunt for years to come.

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