Trophy Preparation





Most of us dream of the day that we will take a wall hanger whitetail buck. Let me first say that in my opinion all deer are trophies, but for the sake of argument we will simply use the word trophy in how you define it after all a trophy deer is a personal thing anyway.


There are some things to consider when taking a trophy buck. First and foremost you want to shoot the buck through the vitals for humane and cosmetic reasons. Shooting an animal in the head or neck makes a lot of extra work for the taxidermist and after all his time is your money.


So what do you do once your trophy is down?


Do not cut the throat of an animal that you want to have a head mount of. This is a mistake many hunters make.

Try not to drag the animal for any distance because this can cause hair damage.

Cape the animal out as soon as possible.

If you do not know how to do this take your buck to your taxidermist right away or have your meat processor cape the head out for you.


If you choose to cape the animal out yourself it is relatively simple. Start about 10 inches behind the shoulder and cut completely around the animal.

Initial Cuts.

The next incision will be made about six inches down each   front leg. Cutting completely around each leg.

Once these incisions have been made, join incision #2 to incision #1. To perform this, make a cut from incision #2 through the armpit area until you reach incision #1.

Next skin the specimen all the way up the shoulders and neck until you reach the head.  Cut off the neck meat and sever the spine at this point.


Place the cape on ice as soon as possible.

 Remember to keep it dry and cool.


Skin down to the head. You can sever the meat and spine as close to the head as possible.  Our neck measurements are taken off the tanned hide, not the neck meat.

Be sure to get the caped head to the taxidermist as soon as possible. If you cannot, you may choose to store it in your freezer for the time being. Wipe as much blood as possible from the hair and keep it as dry as possible.


 Moisture and bacteria will cause the hair to fall out of the cape. Double bag the cape and tape the bag around the antler burrs or horn bases to prevent air from entering the bag and causing freezer burn. (make sure the cape has cooled down before placing it in plastic)

Don't leave the cape in your freezer for too long or your cape may suffer freezer burn and this may affect your final mounts appearance.


Make sure you have the appropriate tags with your trophy when you take it to your taxidermist.




Deer cape ready for the taxidermist





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