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A quality mount begins with you and proper field care. Many trophies are ruined by sportsmen not knowing how to care for their trophy. As much as you want to show off your trophy please do not ride it around in the back of your truck all day and never cut the throat of a deer. The best way is to get it skinned and frozen as soon as possible. When dragging an animal, never let the head drag. Keep the head up as much as possible as this could harm the skin and break off hair. With birds, do not hold it by the neck or wings, hold the bird by feet or by with its body resting in the palm of your hand.
With your animal hanging as normal skin down to the front shoulders avoid cutting into the brisket and armpit area. Cut off the front legs at the knee and carefully skin on down working out the front legs. Continue to skin on down the neck and stop approx. 4-5 inches from the skull, this is where you will cut the head off. At this point you can place in a plastic bag and freeze until you can get to the taxidermist. If you can't freeze it immediately keep it in a cooler on ice no more than a couple of days and keep the water drained.
Life Size Mounts
On most smaller life size mounts anything from a chipmunk up to the size of a coyote you will need to freeze it whole by placing the entire animal in a couple of plastic bags and freeze until you can get to the taxidermist. The main reason for this is that it is several different ways to skin life size mounts depending on the type of mount you want. On larger lifesize mounts such as deer or bear talk with your taxidermist before the hunt and have them go over with you on how to skin the animal. Most taxidermist such as DWC Taxidermy will have a preferred way to skin a larger lifesize mount. As always freeze or ice down as soon as possible.
When picking a bird to mount try to pick one that does not have badly damaged feathers. An easy way to handle birds to keep all the feathers in place is to take a pair of pantyhose with you on your hunt, place the birds head under the wing and slide the bird chest first into the panty hose. This will keep the feathers nice and flat against the body and is less likely to be damaged. Then place in a plastic freezer bag (with a Federal Migratory Bird Tag if available) and freeze the bird whole. Do not attempt to clean the bird but any blood can be wiped off the feathers with a paper towel and if possible place a piece of paper towel into the mouth to help keep remaining blood off the feathers. Large birds such as turkeys, use your hand and get all the feathers in place as much as possible and slide the turkey into a large trash bag being careful with the tail.
Never gut a fish you are planning to mount. Place in a plastic freezer bag and wrap the fish in a wet towel or fill the bag with water and squeeze out all air and freeze immediately. This will keep down freezer burn and in return will give you a better mount. NEVER EVER WRAP THE FISH IN NEWSPAPER OR PAPER TOWEL!!!