Sawtooth Mountain Taxidermy

Keeping your memories alive.

Field Care Guide

Skinning Your Trophy

***Remember, the quality of your trophy begins with YOU in the field! 

I would be more than happy to provide assistance with skinning your trophy, contact me as soon as possible, and I will come to your location.)

Now, here's some tips for successful skinning:

1.  Once your animal is down (congratulations!), your hide needs to cool. Skin it as soon as possible.  Heat is your enemy and can cause  bacteria to grow which makes the hair fall off (slipage).

2.  Hang the animal head down with its nose a foot or so off the ground.  (If you have a larger animal, you may have to work on the ground.)

3.  Cut through the hide and completely around the animal's body behind the front legs.

4.  Cut all the way around each front leg above the knees. Then keep cutting straight up the back of the leg to the armpit and then from there go straight back to your center cut.

5.  Skin out from the circular body cut to the leg incisions; free the hide from the legs.

6.  Cut a straight line along the top of the back to within no less than 2 inches of the antlers.  Cut out to each antler in a "Y" incision.

7.  Using your hands and knife, peel/skin the hide down, around and put over the head and rack as far as possible.  Pull it tightly out of the way.

8.  Cut all the way around and through the thick neck meat, down to the spine bones.  Grab each side of the neck, crack a vertebrae joint and the head should pop right off.  You're left with a long, flowing cape with the animal's head inside.  (You can carry your trophy to me this way for a shoulder mount.  Or, you can make the finishing cuts - keep reading. However, if you're not comfortable with this, please just bring it to me.)

9.  Lay the animal's head on a clean workbench or table.  Cut and pry the hide from around each antler, leaving as little hair as possible on the pedicels.  A flat-head screwdriver in addition to your knife works well for this.

10.  Use a small, sharp caping knife to cut off the ears as close as you can to the skull.

11.  Using your fingers to guide your caping blade, cut beneath and around the eyes.  Run the blade as tight as you can to the skull bone.  Be careful not to clip off the eyelids.  This is not as hard as it sounds, just go slowly and be careful.

12.  Continue to skin down the top, sides and bottom of the face to the tip of the nose.  Cut off the lips and nose close to the facial bones; leave them attached to the cape.

13.  Bring the fully caped animal to me and I will turn the ears, split the lips, etc.

14.  The antlers!!!  Saw down through the front of the skull at the eye sockets; make a second cut low behind the "horns" and through to the eyes; the skull plate will pop right off.  Be careful not to crack or break the plate or it won't be eligible for the record book (if that is something you care about).

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