With heavy furred animals, the preferred incision is made down the back. (Diagram 3) Skin the hide off as if the animal had a shirt on backwards., Skinning from the back to the front. Skin the animal until you reach the feet and head. Detach them from the carcass, leaving them attached to the hide. If the head and feet need to be skinned out because of no access to a freezer, then slowly remove the skin being very careful around the eyes, ears and lips and toes. Do not salt the hide unless the feet and head is skinned, lips and ears turned and fat removed. Salt will not penetrate that part of the hide and will not preserve the hide with the head, feet still and fat still on the hide. It has to be removed before salting.
Diagram 2 can also be used if you're unsure of what type of mount you want. This way is used by may outfitters.
When making skinning incisions, do identical cuts. Start cutting from the anal vent, up the center of the belly and chest, ending at the throat. Next cut from the center of the pad of the front foot down the back of the leg meeting your center cut on chest. Repeat on the other front leg. Then start at the rear heel cutting down to the anal vent. Repeat on the other leg. (See below at Diagram 2)
Refer to Big Game section for freezer care.
Game Heads and Shoulder Mounts
Clean off excess blood.
When skinning leave plenty of hides for a shoulder mount, especially at the brisket. Cut off the hide several inches behind the front legs and 90 degrees to the back. If uncertain leave the complete hide intact. Excess can be trimmed off but can?t be put back on.
If possible let the taxidermist skin the head areas. This area can be tough to do with out damaging the cape.
If you can?t get the specimen to the taxidermist within 12 hours and the temperature is over 50 degrees it must be in a cooler or freezer.
Do not cut the throat of the animal or tag the animal by cutting a slot in the ear.
Big game tip - If you?re hunting in a remote area on warm days with no access to coolers, ice, or freezers. The cape or hide can be kept cool by placing it in a burlap sack and burying it about three feet or more underground. The underground temperature will be much cooler than in the sun and the warm air. ( Don?t forget where you buried it.)
Make a 7 shaped incision only if the animalís head has to be skinned out in the field. And you know how to do it. Cut from the under side out and follow up the back of the neck to the base of the horn Or antler, and across to the other one. Then go around the body and legs. Follow the diagram closely. Use care around the eyes and lips. If there is no access to a freezer right away or in warm temperatures, the ears and lips have to be split and turned inside out. Then salt the entire cape.
Remove as much fat and meat from the hide as possible.
Put the hide in the freezer with the hide open up or rolled loosely. As the hide starts to freeze, wrap it in an airtight plastic bag. Have the head rolled up in to the outside of the skin, because it takes it the longest to freeze and thaw. Place hide into two heavy plastics bag. Freeze solid or bring it to the taxidermist right away.
Never cut the throat of the animal. Itís just an old myth started years ago and serves no purpose. It bleeds out when gutted and can spoil the look of the finished mount.
Never leave the animal lying on the ground. If it canít be skinned out right away, prop the animal up with chunks of wood so the air can circulate underneath and cool the body down quicker. This may help prevent hair slippage caused by bacteria and warm temperatures.
Never hang the animal with a rope around the head or feet. This causes rope burns in the skin and kinks the hair, leaving a possible permanent mark on the finished mount.
Never drag the animal. This can cause the hair to be pulled out and rubbed off.
Never go for a headshot. It could ruin your trophy and break the antlers or horns.
Never cut a slot in the ear to tag an animal intended for mounting. Refer to tagging regulations for other areas to attach the tag.
If possible, take a colored photograph of the fish. The coloration of the fish can vary dramatically throughout the year, and from one body of water to another. There are also coloration changes of certain species even in the same body of water.
Inspect the fish for bad spots, scars or missing scales. Then let the taxidermist know so they can decide on positioning and show off the best side of fish.
Get the fish wrapped and on ice or frozen as soon as possible. Especially trout and salmon. The fish should be wrapped in wet towel (paper or cloth) to prevent the fish from drying out. Place the fish into an airtight plastic bag, and freeze.
If you want a reproduction fish done for one that is caught and released, you will need at least two of these measurements. The over all length, the girth, of the belly, and an accurate weight.