Taxidermy Field Care
Tips at Joey Murphey Taxidermy
Field Care Tips
1. With deer
on its back make a shallow cut through the skin just below the breastbone.
Make sure that you start your cut well away from the brisket allowing plenty
of uncut skin for your shoulder mount . Insert two fingers of the free
hand, cradling the blade, to hold the skin up and away from the entrails
2. Cut straight
down the belly and around the genitals, separating but not severing them
from the abdominal wall. Slit the belly skin all the way to pelvic bone
around the rectum, being careful not to cut off or puncture the intestine.
Pull to make sure the rectum is separated fro the tissue connecting it
to the pelvic canal. Pull the rectum out and tie string tightly around
it to prevent droppings from touching the meat. Lift the animal's back
quarter a bit reach into the front of the pelvic canal, and pull the intestine
and connected rectum into the stomach area.
If you want to make a full shoulder mount, do not cut open the chest cavity.
Cut the diaphragm away from the ribs all the way to the backbone area.
Reach into the forward chest cavity, find the esophagus and windpipe, cut
them off as far up as possible (Figure C), and pull them down through the
chest. 5. Roll the deer onto its side, grab the esophagus with one hand
and the rectum / intestine with the other. Pull hard. The deer's internal
organs will come out in one big package with a minimum of mess.
process of skinning out a trophy animal, is best left to the taxidermist.
Their experience skinning, especially their delicate nose, mouth, eyes,
and ears is invaluable toward producing a quality mount. Damage to a hide
is costly to repair. Some types of damage simple can not be "fixed" by
the taxidermist. Many trophies are ruined in the first few hours after
death. As soon as the animal dies, bacteria begins to attack the carcass.
Warm humid weather accelerates bacteria growth. In remote areas, or areas
not near your taxidermist, a competent person may be required to cape out
the hide in order to preserve it.Every taxidermist has a preferred method
of caping a hide. Contact your taxidermist prior to your hunt in order
to get instructions on their caping requirements. However, the following
techniques are generally acceptable.
Skinning Life-Size Big Game
There are two
major methods of skinning for large life size mount such as deer, elk or
bear. These methods are the flat incision and dorsal method.
The flat incision
is used for rug mounts and for a variety of poses. The ar3eas to be cut
are shown in Figure 1. Make these slits (cutting the feet free from the
carcass) and pull the skin off the carcass. The head is detached as with
the shoulder mount.
The dorsal method
of skinning involves a long slit down the back (from the tail base up into
the neck) The carcass is skinned as it is pulled through this incision.
The feet /hooves and the head are cut off from the carcass as with shoulders
mount explained later. Only use this method with approval and detailed
instruction from your taxidermist. Use this method only when the skin can
be frozen quickly after skinning.
If you Can't take your hide immediately to a taxidermist, freeze it to
your taxidermist's specifications.
for a shoulder mount
1. With a sharp
knife slit the hide circling the body behind the shoulder at approximately
the mid-way point of the rib cage behind the front legs. Slit the skin
around the legs just above the knees. An additional slit will be needed
from the back of the legs (Figure 2A and 2B). 2. Peel the skin forward
up to the ears and jaw exposing the head / neck junction. Cut into the
neck approximately three inches down from this junction, Circle the neck
cutting down to the spinal column. After this cut is complete, grasp the
antler bases and twist the head off the neck. This should allow the hide
to be rolled up and put in a freezer until transported to the taxidermist.
These cuts should allow ample hide fro the taxidermist to work with mounting.
Remember, the taxidermist can cut off excess hide but can't add what he
doesn't have.Note: When field dressing a trophy to be mounted, don't cut
into the brisket (chest) or neck area if blood gets on the hide to be mounted,
wash it off with snow or water as soon as possible. Also avoid dragging
the deer out of the woods with a rope. Place it on a sled, rickshaw, or
4-wheeler. The rope, rocks or a broken branch from a deadfall can easily
damage the fur or puncture the hide. If you need to drag it out with a
rope, attach the rope to the base of the antlers and drag your trophy carefully.
sized or smaller, should not be skinned unless by a professional. Don't
gut the animal. Small mammals, especially carnivores, will spoil quickly
because of their thin hide and bacteria. If you can't take the small game
animal immediately to a taxidermist, as soon as the carcass cools completely,
put in in a plastic bag and freeze it. With the epidemic of rabies evident
in many areas of the country take every safety measure necessary when handling
Do not gut
the bird. Rinse off and blood on the feathers with water. Take the bird
immediately to you taxidermist or freeze it. Put the bird into a plastic
bag for freezing being careful not to damage the feathers, including the
tail. If the bird's tail feathers do not fit in the bag do not bend them.
Let the tail stick out of the bag and tie the bag loosely.
Do not gut
your fish. If you can not take your fish immediately to a taxidermist,
wrap it in a very wet towel and put it in a plastic bag, making sure all
the fins are flat against the fish's body (to prevent breakage), and freeze
it. A fish frozen with this method can be kept in the freezer for months.
Note: a fish will loose its coloration shortly after being caught. A good
color photograph immediately after the catch may enable the taxidermist
to duplicate the natural color tones of that particular fish.
appropriate tags with your trophies when you take them to your taxidermist.
Do not cut the ears for attachment. · Songbirds, Eagles, Hawks,
and Owls are protected by Federal Law and can not be mounted unless with
special Federal permit. · For situation where you are hunting with
no available taxidermist or freezer, ask your taxidermist about techniques
to skin out the entire cape (including the head) and salting the hide.
This is the only method in remote locations that can preserve your hide
for later mounting.
of the various diseases that wild game can transmit to humans, always use
extreme caution when handling the carcass. Use rubber or latex gloves and
thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water after handling.
Joey Murphey Taxidermy
372 Pine Forest Road
Chunky, MS 39323
JOEY MURPHEY TAXIDERMY - WWW.MSTAXIDERMIST.COM