Good field preparation is essential and will save you money. When it’s time for transporting your trophy back from your trip make sure to follow our instructions on how to dress your animal. Bad field preparation can ruin your trophy and incur unnecessary costs. Professional Guides/Outfitters should all know how to prepare your trophy; however, there are many hunters and fishermen that do not know the best way to preserve their trophy while in the filed. Below are some guidelines to use. Make sure to always contact Sportsman’s Addiction Bugling Elk Taxidermy BEFORE shipping or bringing your trophy to us for any last minute instructions for the type of mount you want. Make sure (even on professional hunts) you take a camera and all the necessary equipment you will need for preserving your trophy so you minimize unnecessary problems and expenses.
Fish (skin mount)
We do not recommend this type of mount due to the cost of the trophy and it’s appearance through time.
- Do not place fish in a wire basket or on a stringer.
- Wrap fish in plastic wrap first and then place in a plastic bag.
- No gaffing of fish
- Freeze solid
- Caution: Fins become fragile when frozen
- Jaw mounts
- Freeze the whole head of the fish as instructed above
- Sword and any other billfish mount
- Cut straight down from the eyes
- Freeze as instructed above
Today, fiberglass technology has given the taxidermist an artistic edge. This is helping to preserve our world wide fishery for future generations.
The artistry of the taxidermists today specializes in fiberglass reproduction mounts, so you can tag and release your trophy.
Fish (fiberglass mount)
- Take a picture of your fish
- Make sure to open fins for the pictures (you may have to take multiple shots)
- Close up pictures of any oddities or abnormalities you want included
- Bill size if a billfish, sword or sawfish
- If Hammer head, measure the Front T
- If Thrasher measure it’s tail length
With these measurements you will receive a mount that is often hard to distinguish from a skin mount. Note: A fish will lose its coloration shortly after being caught. A good color photograph immediately after the catch may enable the taxidermist to duplicate the natural color tones of that particular fish, whether its skin mounted or fiberglass.
- Keep bird separated from others.
- Carry panty hose and thin wrap in a game bag to protect bird while in the field. Panty hose is the best way to keep bird tightly wrapped and feathers protected.
- Keep bird cool and dry.
- Freeze whole as soon as possible.Do not use any type of paper to wrap your bird. Use thin wrap or some kind of plastic only.
- Do not cut above the front legs when caping (removing skin from trophy) your trophy.
- Always cape your animal from mid-body forward.
- Keep in mind that extra cape is needed if wanting pedestal mounts.
- Keep animal cool and dry and deliver to taxidermist or meat processor as soon as possible for caping if you are not doing it yourself.
- Capes should only be salted if: they are skinned off the skull, eyes, lips, and ears have been turned, and all excess meat has been removed from the hide. This is the first step of the taxidermy process. Many folks fear this step as to cutting a whole through the hide. If unable to do this, the cape MUST be kept frozen.
- Always contact your guide/outfitter ahead of time to discuss the care of your trophy while in camp to establish if they have the facilities to freeze your animal and/or dress it for travel.
- Skull plates may be split for easier transportation or shipping. This should be as centered as possible.
- Fish and Game sealing requirements
- Most large species (such as bears), the skull must be skinned from
the hide and both be kept UNFROZEN until inspected by Fish and Game
- Small mammals should remain whole and frozen solid.
- Fish and Game requires on some animals, such as bears, you leave evidence of the animals sex (penis sheath or vaginal orifice).
- Larger Mammals should be skinned before field dressed.
- Remember to keep intacted the tail, feet and head
The most common problem with freezing mammals is the drying out of the ears, feet and face. This can make it more difficult to properly skin and prepare your mammal for mounting. For all mammals, wipe or rinse as much blood off the hide as possible, then do the following:
- Wrap the face with a wet towel. Be sure to cover the nose and ears. Use more than one towel if needed. Place a heavy plastic bag over the towel, squeeze as much air out of the bag as you can and use tape to keep it in place.
- For deer or other horned or antlered animals, wrap each ear with a separate wet towel and place a plastic bag over each ear. Then wrap the face from the bases and over the nose with another wet towel.
- Wrap each foot and the tail (except the tail on bear) in a wet towel and place a plastic bag over each one.
- If the animal is skinned, fold the skin flesh side to flesh side and fold or roll it up. Now place the entire animal or skin into a heavy plastic bag. I prefer Hefty Steel Sacks - they are the most durable and the most difficult to puncture. If the animal has horns, allow them to stick out of the bag if possible.
- Get as much air as possible out of the bag and tie or seal it shut. Seal the bag around the bases of antlers with tape. You need to keep as much air out of the bag as you can.