South Carolina Association of Taxidermists        

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Taxidermy Field Care.

Field care plays a great part in producing an incredible mount. Use our tips below to insure your mount has to best chance to become a one of a kind work of art.




Mammals:

When you begin to field dress start at the anus, cut around the genitals towards the sternum. Try to make this cut up the center of the belly as short and straight as possible. At this point if it is at all possible bring the trophy to your Taxidermy Studio and we will be more than happy to take care of skinning your trophy for you.

There are 2 methods we use for skinning Mammals: Ventral and Dorsal. The Ventral method is used for rugs and lifesize mounts. The Dorsal method is our preferred method for skinning a trophy for a lifesize mount. But if you are skinning in the field please use what is more comfortable for you!

Ventral Method:
  1. Start by making Incisions down all 4 legs. For the hind legs, start your cut at the pad cutting down the back of the leg stopping at the anus. After that is completed to both hind legs move to the front legs. Start at the pad and cut to the elbow, at the elbow turn your cut to the center of the chest. Be sure to stay in front of the arm pit.. Do Not Cut Through The Armpit !
  2. Now you can begin to skin the animal. You will need to sever the feet at the ankle and wrist joint. Lastly you will cut the tail at the base where It attaches to the body.
  3. The final step is to skin the neck down to the head. Once you reach the base of the head, detach the head from the neck at this point! Skinning is now complete.
  4. Now you will need to fold the skin with the hair facing out. Try to do this so that the head and paws are on the outside of the skin as well. Slide the skin into a bag and put directly into a freezer! Your skin is now safe until you can get to your Taxidermy Studio!

Dorsal Method:
  1. Position the mammal so that it is laying directly on its belly if possible. Make a cut starting between the shoulders down the center of the back to the base of the tail. Detach the tail at this point.
  2. Now you can begin to skin one side of the trophy. Once you have reached the knee you will need to force the leg up through as you skin.. After you have skinned down as far as possible cut the leg off and the leg is now free from the skin. Repeat for the other leg on the same side. Once one side is skinned repeat the same process on the opposite side.
  3. Now we can move on to skinning the upper chest and neck down to the base of the head. Once you have reached the base of the head detach at this point. The skinning is now complete.
  4. Now you will need to fold the skin with the hair facing out. Try to do this so that the head and paws are on the outside of the skin as well. Slide the skin into a bag and put directly into a freezer! Your skin is now safe until you can get to your Taxidermy Studio!


Caping for a Shoulder or Pedestal mount:
  1. At a point in the middle of the animal make a cut completely around the body. Be sure to leave plenty of skin behind the shoulders. We can always trim off excess skin but not add to a short hide!
  2. Cut around the front legs at the knee. Make a cut down the back of the leg to the elbow. From the elbow follow the back of the arm pit around to the center of the chest. Do not cut through the armpit area!
  3. Now you can cut down the center of the neck or tube the neck to the base of the head. At this point you detach the head from the neck.

Now you will need to fold the skin with the hair facing out. Slide the skin into a bag and put directly into a freezer! Your skin is now safe until you can get to your Taxidermy Studio!

*It is very important to leave legs cape and armpits long. The newer forms and custom pedestal displays will often use more skin than in years past!

 

Birds:

Try to keep the bird as clean as possible. If your bird is bloody wash the bird with cold water in the same direction the feathers lay. Place a cotton ball or paper towel into the birds mouth and vent to keep bodily fluids out of the feathers.

We like to wrap turkey heads with a wet hand towel or paper towels to help protect from freezer burn. This will aid in capturing more detail during the freeze dry process. If possible fold the birds head under a wing. Slide the bird into a bag and put directly into a freezer. Your bird is now cared for until you can get it to your Taxidermy Studio!


Fish:

  1. Do not gut your fish!
  2. Take as many photographs of your fish as soon as possible. This will help us to restore your fish to its natural colors.
  3. Wrap the fish in a wet towel. Next wrap in a plastic bag, label and freeze. Be careful not to damage the fins in the freezer.


For those catch and release anglers we offer high quality reproduction fish mounts. All we need from you are 3 key things.

  1. Measure around the fish at the biggest spot to find the Girth of your fish.
  2. Measure your fish from nose to tail to find Overall Length.
  3. Lot's of fresh photographs!