You’ve spent countless hours studying trail camera pictures, keeping track of bucks since bow season. You have been diligent with slipping in and out of the woods and keeping your scent down. It’s all paid off, and now you’ve tagged a trophy buck. What you do now will impact the quality of your mount and the work your taxidermist faces. Take care of your buck, and your taxidermist will appreciate the effort. Here is advice from Laban Johnson, of Laban’s Taxidermy. on what to do prior to meeting with your taxidermist.
Hunters need to think about timing. Be sure to get all the pictures you want of your trophy, but the clock is ticking. You should deliver your buck within 6 hours of harvesting, based on Virginia’s average temperatures. If it’s warmer, you have less time – or a little more if it’s colder. If you can’t hit that time frame, place it in two plastic bags and put it in a freezer – or cool it as much as possible. If not, bacteria sets in that will open the hair follicles which will lead to hair slippage on the hide. This may require a new hide or cape for your mount.
MAKE GOOD CUTS
If you take your buck to a game processor, It wouldn’t hurt to ask him if he knows the proper way of skinning the deer for mounting purposes. If not, consider finding another processor or learning to cape deer yourself. Whether using a game processor or doing it yourself, make sure not to wet the cape or hide of the deer. Reducing the growth and spread of bacteria is critical. Second, avoid cutting the hide too short and not leaving enough for hide mounting. Also, reduce the number of knife cuts that may affect the hide and quality of the mount.
KEEP IT CLEAN
Making life easier on your taxidermist will help go a long way. Laban reminds hunters to not make unnecessary knife cuts that may not leave another material to work with. Also, minimize delivering dirty or bloody hides and capes.
See Laban’s work online labanstaxidermy.com