Trophy Field Care Guide
by McKenzie Taxidermy Supply
Field Dressing Tips
A note of caution: Because 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.
With the 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.
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 the pelvic bone.
Note: Start the incision below the caping line. (see picture for caping below)
Cut deeply around the rectum, being careful not to cut off or puncture the intestine. Pull to make sure the rectum is separated from 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 wind pipe, cut them off as far up as possible and pull them down through the chest.
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.
Caping, the process of skinning out a trophy animal, is best left to the taxidermist. Their experience skinning, especially the delicate nose, mouth, eyes, and ears is invaluable toward producing a quality mount. Damage ito a hide is costly to repair. Some types of damage simply cannot 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 perserve 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.
Caping for a Shoulder Mount
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 leg and joining the body cut behind the legs.
Remember, the taxidermist can cut off excess hide but he 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.
The Flat Incision - The flat incision is used for rug mounts and for a variety of poses. The areas to be cut are shown to the left. 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.
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.
Always have appropriate tags with your trophies when you take them to your taxidermist.
This document is copyrighted by McKenzie Sports Products, Inc. and is intended to help hunters avoid common mistakes in the field. Printing of more than one copy at a time without written permission is prohibited.