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 plastic bag and freeze until you can get to the taxidermist if you can’t freeze it keep it in a cooler on ice hopefully no more than one day.
Life Size Mounts
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 to the taxidermist. The main reason for this is that it is 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 take it straight to the taxidermist and let them skin it for you. but if you are out on a hunt for several days or unable to go straight to the taxidermist get with your taxidermist before the hunt and have them go over with you how to skin the animal the way they prefer and most 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 to 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 likely to be damaged. Then place in a plastic bag and freeze the bird whole do not attempt to clean the bird and 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 and 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 the taxidermist right away just place in a plastic bag and freeze. but if it will be in the freezer for a while wrap the fish in a wet towel or wet newspaper 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.