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Wildlife Visions Taxidermy Facts

Correct trophy field care is essential and directly affects the final quality of the mount. Keep all trophies clean, fresh, and protected from flies. Deliver to the taxidermist fresh if possible, otherwise frozen. If skins are salted, they must be thoroughly fleshed first.

Birds and Small Mammals

Proper field care for birds

Waterfowl, and upland birds make beautiful mounts, either single or in groups, birds will let your imagination run wild. With a little care you will not only have a memory of the hunt, but a wonderful work of art.
Feathers are fragile, treat each bird with care. After you have taken a bird you want to mount, clean off as much blood as possible, use a soft cloth or tissue. If you have planned ahead, you may want to bring cotton balls. These can be placed in the mouth and nostrils to keep blood from leaking out onto the feathers. Do not field dress the bird! Instead, fold the wings back in the natural position and slip it gently into a paper bag. Once again, if you planned ahead, a ladies nylon stocking works the best. It lets air flow easily over the bird to cool it off and keeps the feathers laying nicely. At this point, either place the bird in a cool place or freeze it until you can get it to your taxidermist.
When selecting a bird to mount, their are a few things to remember:

Birds will offer the opportunity for you and your taxidermist to design a mount that is personally yours. From simple standing ducks on a piece of driftwood, to a covey of quail bursting out of a bush, to a flock of teal landing in a marsh, birds offer a chance to create a mount to your tastes and the size of your wallet. Select only mature specimens for mounting. Once the bird or animal is in hand, take care to avoid additional damages. Do not carry birds by the neck. Smooth and align feathers and fur to their natural direction. Wipe blood from white feathers with a dampened cloth. Place a cotton ball in the mouth, vent, and against any visible shot holes. Do not skin. Deliver fresh or freeze as quickly as possible. Before freezing, wrap bird feet in moist paper towels to prevent dehydration in the freezer. Lay the bird's head alongside the body, wrap the entire bird in newspaper, then in a plastic bag. Include a label in the bag with your name, address, phone number, hunting license number, and date and location taken. Once in the plastic bag, freeze immediately.

Big Game

If you plan to have a big game animal mounted, do not cut the throat or drag the animal with the shoulder rubbing on the ground. When gutting the animal, do not cut up into the brisket. Try to keep the animal dry, and do not hang or drag the animal by the neck. Do not allow the animal to lay in mild temperatures for even a short period of time. Do not allow the animal to lie in the sun. When skinning the animal, leave plenty of extra cape. Cut the cape off well behnind the back of the front shoulders. If possible, deliver the complete head and cape to the taxidermist as soon as possible. Do not allow the hide to air dry without proper fleshing and salting. If you need to salt the hide yourself, use a fine non-iodized salt, not rock salt. If you will not be at the taxidermists within a day or two at the most, you will need to turn the ears, and split the nose, lips, and eyelids. After salting, some drainage will occur. After this drainage has stopped, re-salt the cape, and roll it hair-side out. Keep it cool or frozen until you get it to your taxidermist.


Handle trophy fish as gently as possible, avoiding bruising, scale loss, and fin damage. Do not place the fish on a stringer or in a fish basket. Avoid the use of gaffs. Do not clean or gut the fish. If possible, take color photographs of the fish from several angles as soon as possible. Wash the fish with cold water to remove slime and blood. Wrap the fish in a damp paper towel, and place in two plastic bags. Freeze straight immediately.

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