Whitetail Creations by Marlon Slayton
Quality Taxidermy for Memories that last a life time.
Proper field care of your downed deer is of the utmost importance. The difference between a quality finished mount and one that is not, can depend a lot on how you care for the deer after it is shot and before it is delivered to the taxidermist. Bacteria is the biggest problem because it causes the hair to slip, especially on the belly area where the skin is thinner and the roots of the hairs are not embedded very deep. Bacteria thrives with moisture and warm temperatures. In early bow season, it is imperative that you field dress the animal as soon as possible and that you let air get into the chest cavity once it is field dressed. Your deer then should then be processed soon, before bacteria has a chance to start causing spoilage which can ruin a perfectly good cape.
If you cannot keep your skinned cape and head cool and refrigerated, it must be placed in a plastic bag sealed tightly and frozen right away. DO NOT PUT YOUR DEER HIDE OR CAPE INTO A PLASTIC BAG IF IT IS NOT TO BE FROZEN IMMEDIATELY. A plastic bag causes moisture to form inside the bag, even in a refrigerator and bacteria will start forming quickly especially in warmer weather. If you put your cape or hide in a refrigerator, keep it in a open box or conatiner so that air can get to it. Do not let water get into your hide or cape (as from bagged ice) as bacteria will soon follow. If your cape or hide has a lot of blood on it, clean it off as best you can. If it is wet, wipe it off as best you can and get it frozen right away. REMEMBER THAT MOISTURE IS YOUR BIGGEST ENEMY WHEN IT COMES TO BACTERIA. BACTERIA WILL RUIN YOUR CAPE OR HIDE IF YOU DO NOT PROPERLY CARE FOR IT.
Please never drag your deer through the woods or over frozen fields. This will most times, cause hair to break off. A deer's hair is hollow in the winter months. It helps the deer to withstand extreme cold weather. As the hair is fluffed out, it allows air to form around each hair and prevents body heat from escaping. That is why a deer can have snow or frost sitting on it's back without it melting. It also makes it more bouyant when swimming rivers and lakes. But, unlike the summer hair that is short, course and not hollow, the winter coat is very prone to breaking. Every year I get nice bucks in that have been dragged and have broken hair, especially on the front area of the lower neck and brisket area. Sometimes the damage is slight, but sometimes it is severe. Bucks often have battle scars from tines etc., which are natural blemishes, but patches of broken hair can be prevented. If you do have to drag your deer, try to keep the head up high and prevent the brisket or front leg area from making a lot of contact with the ground. You can also wrap a tarp around your deer or place it on a sled. If you have an atv, you may have a rack to put it up on. DO NOT DRAG YOUR DEER WITH YOUR ATV. Damage is almost certain!
If you do have a cape that suffers a lot of damage and is not a good specimen for mounting, I suggest that you ask a buddy that is not mounting the deer he shot, if you can use the cape from his buck to mount with your bucks antlers. If it is about the same size animal, it will work great and your trophy can then be proudly displayed.
In warmer weather, please do not hang your deer by the hind legs for very long. The blood and body fluids run into the neck and face area of the deer and make for a big mess when your taxidermist has to skin the head. Hang your buck by the antlers with the head up in the air. The blood and body fluids then run down and out of the cavity. Also, the cavity dries quicker and there is less chance of bacteria forming in the neck and head area. Do not be concerned that the neck stretches when hung by the antlers. It does not affect the look of your finished mount and your taxidermist can still get all the correct measurements he needs. Just wrap a rope around the base of the antlers and pull it up. Try not to put the rope around the neck for very long because it can cause hair to be broken where the rope tightens.
If you have any questions or concerns on the proper care of your trophy, visit my 'Contacts' page here at my web site and leave a message, or call me 219.869.1517
Thank You and GOOD LUCK!
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