Helpful Tips


* Always have appropriate tags with your trophies when you take them to Naturally Wild Taxidermy.

* Do not cut off the ears for attachment.

* Songbirds, Eagles, Hawks and Owls are protected by Federal Law and can not be mounted unless with special Federal permit.

* For times where you are hunting with no available freezer, fully skin the animal, flesh, and salting the hide. This is the only method in remote locations that can preserve your hide for later mounting.

*We do not recommend freezing salted hides as the salt will not allow the animal to fully freeze. 




Caping for a Shoulder Mount

1. With a sharp knife slit the hide circling the body behind the shoulder at approximately the mid-way point of the rib cage behind the front legs. Slit the skin around the legs just above the knees. An additional slit will be needed from the back of the leg and joining the body cut behind the legs (Figure 2A and 2B).

2. Peel the skin forward up to the ears and jaw exposing the head/neck junction. Cut into the neck approximately three inches down from this junction. Circle the neck cutting down to the spinal column. After this cut is the head off the neck. This should allow the hide to be rolled up and put in a freezer until transported to our studio. These cuts should allow ample hide to work with when mounting. Remember, we can cut off excess hide but he can't add what he doesn't have.

Skinning Life-Size Big Game

The Dorsal Cut –  This is skinning the animal down the back. From base of tail to back of head. Then it is cut down and peeled off the carcass. Skinning down legs and cutting leg and leaving foot& leg bone in. Also leave the head and skull in hide. Freeze or take to the shop ASAP.


The Flat Incision – is used in rug mounts and other variety poses. The area to be cut is shown in Figure#1. Make these slits (cutting the feet free from the carcass) .The head detached as with the should mount.

How you handle the animal matters. Without a good specimen, there are problems before work even begins. Skin begins to decay immediately upon death, so take care of your specimen as soon as possible. Keeping it cold slows this breakdown; freezing stops it. Always freeze specimens if they cannot be delivered to taxidermist within 24 hours. If you ever have any questions feel free to contact Samantha.

NEVER cut the throat
NEVER hang animal by the neck
NEVER cut up through the brisket
NEVER get the hide wet (when possible)
NEVER drag animal by the neck (or at all if possible)


ALWAYS get the animal to Naturally Wild Taxidermy immediately. 
ALWAYS freeze your animal if you can not get to the shop.
AWAYS save PLENTY of hide. Too much is better than too little.

SMALL MAMMALS
Animals, coyote sized or smaller, should not be skinned unless by a professional. Don't gut the animal. Small mammals, especially carnivores, will spoil quickly because of their thin hide and bacteria. Call Naturally Wild to schedule a time to drop off the small game animal, as soon as the carcass cools completely, put it in a plastic bag and freeze it.


BIRDS
Do not gut the bird. Cool the bird immediately to prevent feather loss. Rinse any blood from the feathers with water. Schedule a time for drop off at Naturally Wild the same day or freeze. When freezing, place the bird into a plastic bag and tie loosely. Be sure not to damage feathers. Leave the tail feathers sticking out of the bag if necessary.


FISH
Take good pictures immediately onsite, at the water’s edge. Measure the fish from nose to fork of tail. Then measure the fish directly in front of the dorsal fin, located in center of the back, with the exception of pike, burbot, and other fishes whose dorsal fins are located further back. These fish should be measured around the center of the largest part of girth.

Great Taxidermy begins with Great Field Care!