Caping out a Deer for Taxidermy

In the field

For those that have not caped an animal yet and want to get their next Trophy mounted, here are some tips.
Once you shoot the Trophy and if the air temperature is more than 25°, try to get the trophy to some shade as soon as possible. The body of animals start to break down as soon as you kill them.
Heat, particularly combined with moisture, speed this process up.

A common mistake happens when the initial cuts are made.
First cut is around the girth about 20 centimetres behind the shoulder (figure 1). This cut can
become crooked if the animal is lying in an awkward position. With all the cuts, you have to take
note of which way the skin is pulled or try to position the animal so the skin sits normal.

The second cut is around the knee. This should be close to the knee (figure1 and 2).
Some people cut closer to the chest and in some cases that will not be enough cape for the taxidermist.

The next cut is important. This is done from the back of the leg, the side that is facing towards the
back leg. The cut should be heading towards the back leg, up to the cut that went around the girth.
Do not cut in towards the centre of the chest (figure2). A lot of people do this, and very often this
will leave a short cape, which means the mount will have to be shortened.

The last cut is up the centre of the back. This cut can also
become crooked if the animal is lying in an awkward position. Cut up to half way between the ears
and the horns or antlers. Then make a “V” cut to the base of the horns or antlers (figure 1).

After carefully skinning out the animal you can cut it off at the base of the neck and work on the face
or take it to the taxidermist (figure 3). We charge $50 an hour to skin out animals for clients. You
need to cool down the cape and head and not let the skin side dry out. So once it is cool you can fold
the cape, skin side to skin side, and this will prevent it from drying out.

Now to work through the steps involved to get the skin off the head.

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