Skinning and Field Care for Fish, Watefowl, Birds, Gameheads & Life Size
For all birds, fish, and lifesize game from coyote size down, freeze the specimen whole in a plastic bag. Do not field dress or make any cuts. Try to wash or towel off any blood, dirt, or stains before freezing. Squeeze out excess air and lay flat in freezer. Seal the bag well (double or triple bagging is often a good idea).
NEVER EVER WRAP ANY BIRD, FISH, OR ANIMAL IN NEWSPAPER. Newspaper will draw moisture from your trophy and promote rapid freezer burn. It is acceptable to wrap fish in a WET towel and then place in plastic. Make sure the towel is wet; otherwise, a dry towel will also promote freezer burn.
Most deer sized game and larger are usually skinned when received at our shop. We have found that about 80% of the capes that have been skinned by the hunter are skinned incorrectly. Here are some important tips for skinning your deer or large game for a shoulder mount:
When field dressing, only split to the breast bone. Leave the legs long (below the knee joint). Follow the natural line on the underside of the leg. Split along this line to the armpit. DO NOT cut straight across the chest from the armpits. Instead angle at 45 degrees to the breastbone on each side to form a V. These cuts are necessary to leave enough cape to cover the chest of the form. Cut completely around the body of the animal about 10 inches behind the shoulders to leave plenty of length.
For life size mounts on large game, DO NOT cut through the scrotum or penis. Cut around them on one side. These areas are extremely difficult to repair when cut. Remember, if you are unsure, call before you cut! Contrary to popular outfitter opinion, a "good taxidermist" cannot always repair errant or incorrect cuts. Improper skinning immediately reduces the quality of your finished mount.
Georgia now has restrictions on deer and elk imported from CWD states. Cervids from these areas must have all brain and spinal tissue removed. Please call if you have any questions as to whether the state you are traveling to is on Georgia's restricted list.
"Your #1 Source for Professional Waterfowl, Deer, and Fish Taxidermy!"
Wildlife Artist Greg Gallman
Full - Time Chattanooga, Cleveland, Tennessee and North Georgia Area Taxidermist for over 25 years