Trophy Field Care and Prep

Caping Big Game for a Shoulder Mount

  • Follow the diagrams at right.
  • Never cut up the brisket (chest and neck area) when field dressing.
  • Never attempt to remove the skull.
  • Don't cut the cape too short -- Your taxidermist will remove any excess. 
  • Take it to your taxidermist A.S.A.P or freeze it.
  • Never hang or drag your deer with a rope around its neck.  This will damage the hair and show on your mount.
  • Attach the rope to the base of the antlers and drag it carefully out of the field.


  • Take a good color picture ASAP--True color fades fast.
  • Don't let the fish flop around -- This will cause scale damage.
  • Never gut your fish.
  • Ice down the fish and get it the taxidermist ASAP.

If you're not able to get it to the taxidermist right away:

  • Measure the fish from nose to tail.
  • Make sure the fins are flat against the body.
  • Wrap it in a very wet bath towel.
  • Place it in a plastic bag, seal, and freeze.

Field Skinning of Large Life-Size Game

*Skinning Large Game for a Rug-Style Mount:

  • Follow the diagram at right. 
  • Never remove the skull or the feet.
  • Freeze the hide ASAP.

*Skinning Large Game for a Life-Size Mount:

  • This is done depending on the type of mount and position you choose.
  • Make sure you have detailed instructions from your taxidermist or have an experienced guide skin the mammal. 
  • Incisions made in the wrong areas may show up on the finished mount.

*Skinning for a Shoulder Mount:

  • Follow the Caping instructions for a deer -- Never remove the skull.
  • Always leave enough hide -- It can not be added later during mounting.

Small Life-Size Mammals

  • Do not skin or gut the animal.
  • Small mammals spoil very quickly -- Get it to your taxidermist ASAP.

If you can't get it to your taxidermist ASAP:

  • Wrap the muzzle (nose and face) in a wet towel and place it in a plastic bag and freeze ASAP.


  • Never gut the bird.
  • Make sure the feathers remain flat -- Do not bend.
  • Cool the bird with ice ASAP.
  • Take the bird to your taxidermist or freeze it by placing it in a plastic bag.
  • Make sure to lay it out flat without damaging the feathers or the tail.

Tips and Suggestions:

  • Proper care on your part is very important.
  • Shot placement on the animal can show on your mount.  Don't shoot in the head or neck.
  • Don't cut the throat.
  • Don't leave it hanging too long or drive around with it to show it off.  Hides will spoil very quickly especially in warm weather and can not be saved.
  • When in doubt, freeze it.

Doing your part in the field will ensure you have the best looking mount I can produce.

  1. Make sure you have the proper license or paper-work with you.
  2. Bring the correct deposit amount with you.
  3. Bring any reference photos of your fish.