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Page Name: [1550] * Hunting Information 'Field Care' Type: Blank:
Category: Hunting - Field Care - Information
Produces/Services: Proper field care for Mammals - Trophy
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One of the most important factors contributing to a nice trophy on your wall is proper field care.    Field care is skinning, cooling and protecting the cape as skin is of the utmost importance.  Skinning can be one of the most abused parts of field care if one does not know how much skin is actually needed and where to cut!  I'll use a whitetail buck for an example, as it is the most sought after North American trophy.  We, in the wildlife art/taxidermy industry receive some real aberrations almost like the chain saw massacre.  Everyone wants a beautiful, majestic trophy to adorn their wall, but some appear to have been skinned/caped with a machete after several nips of Cutty or Black Jack. 

Common mistakes: 

Shoulder Mounts

  • Cutting throat (unnecessary, animal harvested with high powered rifle will bleed.)
  • Cutting brisket (unnecessary).
  • Cutting down through hair (always cut from the underside up through the skin).
    Diagram A
  • Cutting too far forward (circumference cut should be 6 behind front legs).
    Diagram B
  • Cutting forward to brisket and front of legs (never cut through white hair, cut forward to back of front leg on the line where white and brown hair meet on the side. 
    Diagram C
  • Then cut down back of the front leg. 
    Diagram D

Life Size

Cut from tip of tail forward to a point between the front legs.  Then cut out to each leg, following hair patterns. Preferably on the back of each leg to the pad on each leg, then around the paw pad to the claws or to the hoof.

These may seem insignificant, but to the artisan trying to make your trophy perfect, conversely, they are very important!  If there are questions, please contact a Texas Taxidermy Association member in your area for proper skinning instructions and field care or visit our website


The most important factor initially is temperature.  It is ultimately important to get the temperature of the cape/skin down below blood temperature, preferably to 40 degrees as quickly as possible to prevent bacteria from becoming active and causing hair slippage!  It is very important to keep the cape/skin hair dry also.  So keep the cape/skin cool and dry with the flesh side folded in.

The cost of hunting overall continues to rise, which ultimately makes our trophies more valuable.  Everything has doubled in price in the past ten years, including taxidermy supplies, so up goes the fees associated with quality.  We need to insure our trophies are properly cared for from the start.  The folks skinning the trophies aren't mounting them and aren't always as careful as they could be.  Often times though, it is dark, wet, cold or all of the above.  The manikins have also changes with longer briskets, so having enough skin properly cut is of the utmost importance.

The Texas Taxidermy Association is dedicated to the art of taxidermy to educate both our membership and the general public in the proper preservation and lifelike presentation of valuable personal trophies and memories.  The Association, a non-profit organization, provides support to conservation groups including the conservation force.  Feel free to contact any of our board or members for assistance, questions or advice concerning your trophy's skinning and care.

Keep your powder dry and have a good, safe hunting season.


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