The following should be done when you have a trophy head and you want to have a shoulder mount done.When you have field dressed the animal, remove the cape. Make an incision completely around the body in line with
the back of the shoulders. The incision should pass around the top of the front legs. This will be nearly one-third of the body skin, and all of it is needed for a good mount. Take a little more cape ( it is better to have too much cape than too little).
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Now roll the trophy onto its belly in order to make the next incision. This cut extends along the back of the neck
from the shoulder incision to the top of the skull. A lot of big game animals have a color pattern down the back of the neck which can be used as a guide. For example, whitetails have a dark bank of hair down the back of their neck, use this as a guide for making you incision. At the top of the skull, make two short incisions to the base of the antlers. All of these cuts should be made by inserting the knife point beneath the skin and cutting upward. That way very little hair will be damage. you can detach the skin from the antler burr by prying the skin away from the burr with a blunt instrument, such as a screwdriver, or the back of a knife blade.
However, on horned game such as pronghorns, goats and sheep, the skin must be cut away from the base of the horn.After you have freed the skin from theantlers, work the neck and shoulder skin toward the head by cutting the
membrane that holds the skin to the muscle. If you work carefully, you will be able to remove the bluish white skin cleanly from the shoulders and neck, and will not cut the cape. It may not be necessary to skin the entire head at the time of the kill if the head and cape are small enough to carry.
Cut through the neck muscle at the base of the skull, then by twisting the head, you will break the head and cape
from the spine. If the spine is too difficult to break, cut through it at the base of the skull with a saw.You can now record some measurements.- First record the distance from the tip of the nose to the front corner of the eye. – Second measure from the tip of the nose to the back of the skull.Both of the these should be straight-line measurements against the unskinned face; do no follow the curvature of the head.
The third measurement is the circumference of the neck at the base of the skull, the smallest part of the neck. These three measurements are important for mounting the head and they should be recorded in the field. You can take other measurements later when the final skinning of the head is done.If the daily temperature is below 40 degrees and the head can be taken to the taxidermist in two or three days, you won’t need to skin the head in the field. Make sure that you hang the head in the shade where the air can circulate freely, and the head and
cape should remain in good condition for several days. Prompt removal of the cape is especially important in moderate or warm temperatures in which the cape must be salted to ensure that it does not spoil.There are five important steps to remember in order to prevent field damage to the deer cape:Don’t lie the trophy on the ground. The body heat is trapped between the animal and the ground.
This will prevent proper cooling, resulting in the skin decay that causes hair to slip.Whenever possible, hang the bagged trophy so that the air will circulate and cool it, then skin as soon as possible.Don’t put the cape or skin in a plastic bag.Don’t let the trophy come in contact with outside heat sources, such as the hood of a vehicle, mufflers, or
camp lights.Avoid direct sunlight on the trophy.
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