Proper Field Care of Your Trophies For Mounting
Copyright © 2001 Dan Bantley, Pennsylvania Institute of Taxidermy, Inc. Used with permission.
1. Keep the specimen cold and get it to your taxidermist as soon as possible! The animal, fish, or bird is starting to deteriorate as soon as it dies. The colder it is, the slower the rate of deterioration. The warmer it is, the faster it will deteriorate.
2. Be careful not to expose your specimen to heat when transporting. If the heat has not yet escaped from the animal it should not be hauled for a long distance in a closed trunk. The inside of a trunk can become quite warm from the sun. The bed of a pick-up can also have warm spots where the exhaust is close to the bed. Don't drive around unnecessarily. Show your trophy off after it is mounted.
3. Ventilate the carcass of a large animal if unable to skin immediately. Place branches under the animal so the air can circulate and prop open the body cavity so the heat can escape.
4. Don't assume your guide or outfitter knows how to take care of your trophy. It is a good idea to visit your taxidermist before going on a hunt to receive information on the proper care of the animals you will be hunting and the conditions you expect to encounter.
5. Keep the specimen or skin out of the sun. A specimen or skin exposed to the sun for an extended time can dry out, possible grease burn, and may slip.
6. Before salting - Flesh heavy meat and fat from the skin. Split the lips, nose, and turn ears. After salting - Allow fluids to drain. Shake out and re-salt the next day. Do not store in a plastic bag!
7. Do not leave a dead fish lay in warm water. Keep the fish cool and moist. Fish skin can be coated with borax to keep from discoloring. Place it under fins also. Fish can be packed in salt and kept for a short period of time (approximately 1 week).
8. Do not shove a bird to be mounted into your hunting coat. Place a piece of paper towel or Kleenex in the bill/beak to keep blood or fluids from getting on the feathers. Place the bird head first into a tight bread bag or nylon stocking, keeping the feathers and wings tight to the body.
9. Repairs are not always easy to conceal. Do not shoot unnecessarily. Use safety pins for ear tag. Be careful when dragging and hanging.