From Harvest to Taxidermist – How to Manage Your Trophy

From Harvest To Taxidermist How To Manage Your Trophy

June 10th, 2023


By Zach Lazzari

Our hunters here at Table Mountain Outfitters enjoy high success rates, and many will want to preserve the memories of their adventure with a shoulder mount or other taxidermy.

If you are considering a mount, do some advance planning to help make sure you get what you were hoping for and a quality end product. Of course, our guided hunters have the advantage of hunting alongside our expert guides who will manage the caping and processing. Even so, it’s best to have a plan in place before your hunt.

Caping and Field Dressing

Find a Taxidermist for Your Wyoming HuntIt pays to communicate with your taxidermist before the hunt. Ask about their preference for caping or skinning styles and try to decide if you want a shoulder mount versus a full body mount in advance. A shoulder mount is the more common choice but certain animals deserve a full display.

If you need recommendations for a taxidermist, please let us know. We’d be happy to put you in touch with one of our recommended local taxidermists here in Wyoming. We highly recommend selecting a taxidermist that’s an expert on the particular species you’ll be hunting. For example, antelope are not deer. Therefore, we’d recommend going with a high quality Wyoming taxidermist who is familiar with the intricacies of that species.

When you’ve contacted your taxidermist, then be sure and also communicate your wishes with your hunting guide when you arrive for the hunt. Make sure you are both on the same page.

When we skin an animal for a shoulder mount, it’s always best to leave as much neck, chest and shoulder hide as possible. Many taxidermists want the hide intact down to the middle rib section. You will still retrieve all the meat by rolling up the hide but having that extra room to work really helps the taxidermist. Pull the hide all the way up to the base of the neck and separate the head from the carcass.

If you’re hunting on your own this year, we recommend researching video tutorials in advance and carry notes in the field if necessary. You really want to take your time and get this part done correctly. Again, those hunting with our guides this season will have the benefit of an expert handing their trophy.

In most cases, leaving the skin attached to the skull is just fine. This leaves the technical caping cuts around the eyes, nose and lips for the professional taxidermist.

Transportation from the Field

From Harvest To Taxidermist How To Manage Your TrophyAfter the field dressing process, the meat is removed and the head and cape are ready for transportation from the field. We recommend using a quality game bag for the head and cape. This will keep it clean and maintain breathability during transport.

If you plan to leave your animal with a taxidermist here in Wyoming, we can have it picked up or delivered very quickly. If you plan to take it out of state however, long term storage and care before taxidermy will require a full caping and cold storage to prevent decay. For best results, only store for a day or two and get the animal to a taxidermist ASAP.

Storage and Taxidermy

This part really depends on the amount of time between harvest and delivery to a taxidermist. Using a local taxidermist means you can immediately deliver the animal without any risk of decay or freezer burn.

If you must store the hide and skull for a few days, keep it cool and dry. Using a cooler where the hide will not contact the ice or moisture is ideal. For longer storage, clean off blood and roll the hide before wrapping tightly in a plastic bag. Remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn and store in a deep freezer. Freezing is really only necessary for remote hunts that require time between harvest and taxidermy.

In most cases when traveling to and from Wyoming, you’ll be able to skip the freeze and go straight to the taxidermist for a clean mount.

Contact Us with Questions

If you have questions about an upcoming hunt or how to prepare, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are booked for the 2021 season but it’s not too soon to begin preparing for 2022 or beyond! Give us a call at 307-632-6352 or send us a message.

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