Below we have provided answers to questions or common mistakes we encounter among sportsmen and the world of taxidermy. We hope they help to ensure proper care of your trophy and to clear up any questions you may have. Most importantly, if you have further questions, feel free to contact us.
Q. Is it ok to let my deer/antelope/elk/etc… hang in a shed for a couple weeks before I skin it out? It’s below freezing, so it should be ok, right?
A. The rule of thumb is that any organism will continue to decompose if kept above freezing. In addition, the daily fluctuation of temperatures, especially those that rise above freezing during the day, will cause the animal’s hide to decompose and dry out faster. The best case scenario is to let the deer hang overnight, and then get it to the taxidermist or in the freezer the next day. We often receive deer from customers that have kept the head in their garage for a number of days, and “even though it was below freezing”, the eyes, nose, and ears are often dried out, which places the use of the cape in jeopardy.
Q. The bird I shot has multiple broken appendages (feet/wings), is it still ok to mount up?
A. It depends on where the break occurs. Frequently, we can repair broken bones, but the best thing to do is to bring it to the taxidermist and we’ll discern whether it is a salvageable bird or not. In addition, we may require you to mount it a different way. For example, if the bird has two broken wings that are not repairable – then we will simply do a standing bird instead. Overall, we will do our best to please you with a high quality mount and if any changes occur, you will be contacted. Our name goes out with these birds, so we will not submit to a lower standard or give you a lower quality mount even if the appendages are broken.
Q. I have a different species of animal that you don’t have pictures of in your gallery. Should I find a different taxidermist?
A. Absolutely not. Our gallery only covers a very small portion of the species we have mounted up. Give us a call to see whether we have experience with that species.
Q. I shot some waterfowl and pheasants this year but won’t have money to mount them until next year. How do I take care of my birds so that they won’t be ruined?
A. The first things that dry out on birds are the head, bill, and feet. Take wet paper towels and wrap the head, bill, and feet securely so that they will stay on the appendages when you stick it in the freezer. Put the head underneath one of the wings so that it won’t break when it’s frozen. Now, put the bird in a garbage bag. Try to get all the air out of the bag without damaging the feather, and then tie it at the end. If the bird (like a pheasant) has a long tail, just wrap a piece of tape around the base of the tail, loosely, to secure the bird in the bag. Then carefully lay the bird in the freezer so that there isn’t much weight on the bird that may break the wings and legs.
Q. I have experience caping out deer, so is it ok to cape out my deer/antelope/elk/etc…?
A. We typically tell our customers to skin the deer out up to the base of the head then STOP and cut the head off (See field care link). We have a certain way to cape our heads that eliminates needless sewing and results in better mount. Moreover, despite the fact that many folks have experience caping out game, incidental mistakes and holes are surprisingly common. We recommend getting the head to use to allow us to cape it, afterall, it’s less work for you anyway. Obviously there are always exceptions. For example, if you are miles into the backcountry and have to pack your animal out, you may want to cape it, but please, take your time and be patient.
Q. I’m going on a big game hunt and might do a life-size mount. Should I do a dorsal or ventral incision on my trophy?
A. Most cases we prefer a dorsal incision. The choice however, will depend on the species and the pose desired for the trophy. Please give us a call before your hunt and we can help guide you on what incision to make.
Q. My big game hide spoiled but I still want to have it mounted. Is there anything I can do to salvage the cape or still be able to mount it up?
A. The cape is probably ruined but we always have extra capes on hand. Let us know if you need one because we may not have the species on hand, but will likely be able to get a hold of it.
Q. I shot a really nice deer but probably won’t mount it up. Will I regret it later?
A. Absolutely, you will regret it! As our father of wildlife management said “The value of any trophy from the field depends not on its size but on the magnitude of the effort expended in its pursuit.” – Aldo Leopold
Q. I’ve looked at your prices and they seem to be higher than “Jim-Bob’s taxidermy” down the street. Why is that?
A. Our goal is not to simply mass produce specimens, but to mount them in an artistic and anatomically correct manner. Therefore, the amount of effort and cost we put into our taxidermy will surpass that of the generic taxidermist. Consequently, you will not want to hang JimBob’s mounts next to ours. The choice is yours.
Q. I usually just roll up my hides and put them in a bag for the freezer, what’s the best way to freeze a cape or lifesize hide?
A. It is critical to NOT roll up any hide for the freezer! The problem is that by rolling up the hide, the central portion of the hide that was rolled up is well insulated from the cold temperatures by the hide that surrounds it. Consequently, it can take a long time before the entire hide is frozen. The best way to prepare a hide for the freezer is to FOLD it up, place in a plastic bag, remove as much air as possible from the bag, and lay in the freezer. This way, the hide will freeze quickly and evenly.