As fall rings in another year of hunting with comes the chances of taking a trophy animal. With the help of Michael Combs, owner of Majestic Antlers Taxidermy, we bring to you these tips for caring for your trophy while in the field. If you plan on getting your trophy mounted, the process for doing so starts while still in the field. Special care and handling of trophy animals make a mount that much better.
Much care should be taken to protect the feathers. The less they are handled the better condition they will be in. Don't worry if they have broken wings, the bird can still be mounted. Tuck the birds head under a wing and gently place in a plastic bag. Freeze as soon as possible.
Never cut an animal's throat or make any cuts in the brisket area. Simply encircle the animal 12 inches behind the front legs and skin up to the base of the skull. Avoid letting the skin get exposed to heat or soak in water. Place the head with the antlers/horns attached in plastic bags. Large trash bags work great. Double bag if needed. Freeze as soon as possible. If you are ever in doubt about the skinning process, contact a taxidermist. The quality of a mount begins before it ever gets to the taxidermist.
All animals the size of coyote and smaller should be frozen whole. Do not gut or skin the animal. Avoid letting the it soak in water or exposed to heat for a long time. Place in a plastic bag and freeze as soon as possible.
FISH SKIN MOUNTS
Do not gut the fish! Smooth the fins down against the body and wrap the fish in a clean wet towel. Seal in a plastic bag and freeze as soon as possible. Contact your taxidermist about making arrangements to have the fish brought or mailed to the shop.
If you can't get your trophy to a taxidermist within 24 hours, place the animal in plastic bags and put it in the freezer no matter what the weather conditions are! SPECIAL CARE AND HANDLING OF TROPHIES WILL MAKE A BETTER MOUNT!
Our thanks to Michael Combs, a professional taxidermist and owner of Majestic Antlers Taxidermy in Millers Creek, North Carolina for these tips. If you have a question for Mike you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit him on the web at WWW.MAJESTICANTLERS.COM.