Head and Neck shots should always be avoided whenever possible. Dragging and 4 wheelers are very detrimental on big game mounts in the shoulder areas as it removes top hair and hair completely from the shoulders.
Note: When field dressing a trophy to be mounted, DO NOT cut into the brisket (chest) or neck area. If blood gets on the hide to be mounted, wash it off with snow or water as soon as possible. Also, avoid dragging the deer out of the woods with a rope. Place it on a sled, rickshaw, or 4-wheeler. The rope, rocks, or a broken branch can easily damage the fur or puncture the hide. If you do need to drag it out with a rope, attach the rope to the base of the antler and drag your trophy carefully.
If you can't take your big game immediately to a taxidermist, skin the animal, leaving the feet, head and tail in, fold skin to skin, role up, place in air tight bag and freeze.
The Abdominal Method (For rug mounts, mountain lions) ( Figure I)
The skinning should be left for your taxidermist. DO NOT gut the animal. Small mammals will spoil quickly. If you can't take the small game animal immediately to a taxidermist, as soon as the carcass cools completely, put it in a plastic bag and freeze. Note: Always take safety measures against rabies when handling mammals.Birds
DO NOT gut the bird. Rinse off any blood on feathers with water. Take bird immediately to your taxidermist or freeze it. Place the birds head under one wing, place bird into a nylon stocking (will help hold the feathers in proper arrangement), then place into a plastic bag for freezing. If the tail feathers do not fit in the bag do not bend them. Let the tail stick out of the bag and tie the bag loosely.Fish
DO NOT gut the fish. If you can not take your fish immediately to a taxidermist, wrap it in a very wet towel and put it in a plastic bag, making sure all the fins are flat against the fish's body (to prevent breakage), and freeze it. * A fish will loose its coloration shortly after being caught. A good color photograph immediately after the catch may enable the taxidermist to duplicate the natural color tones of the particular fish. Before wrapping the fish in a wet towel, Borax can be gently rubbed onto the skin to help preserve the color (NEVER rub against the scales).General Tips
Keep your trophies as cool as possible. Avoid keeping in the sun or laying on top of hot vehicles. Excess heat promotes bacterial growth which results in hair slippage. The cooler it's kept, and the sooner it's frozen, the better.
Always have appropriate tags with your trophies when you take them to your taxidermist. Do not cut the ears for attachment.
If planning a hunt where there is no available taxidermist or freezer, ask your taxidermist about thoroughly skinning your trophy and salting the hide. This will preserve your hide for later mounting.
Contact your taxidermist with any questions on how to properly preserve your trophy for mounting. We are here to help and want your trophy to last a lifetime and longer.
Good luck and shoot straight.