The bow hunting trip of a lifetime is finally ended! Or has it?? The animal hunted is lying on the ground and the vision of a mounted head or a real animal rug is in your head. Now what? It is important to follow certain steps to ensure that the hunt ends with a taxidermy trophy. Cool and dry is the key to preserving the trophy from the trip.

It is important to know the proper skinning techniques for the particular animal hunted. Each animal has to be skinned per that animal type. The hunter needs to be prepared for the proper field skinning and care technique of the prized animal that is now on the ground and soon to be on the wall. The size of the animal does matter. There are packable how-to-skinning- guides that fit easily in the pocket of the hunter for a quick reference. Remember that skinning for a taxidermy trophy is different than skinning for a butcher. If it is a larger animal, the animal should be skinned all the way to the head and the head removed with the skin. This allows the animal to be more easily preserved in a freezer or cooler and hinder bacterial growth which is the enemy of the new prize.

Remote locations and temperature can have some serious impact on preserving the wildlife trophy. It is important to know what needs to be done in order to provide the taxidermist with an animal that can turned into a prized trophy. Remove excess fat and tissue from the hide after skinned, it is easier to do while skinning than at a later time. Also, don’t forget to split the lips and nose. Rinse off any blood. Most importantly, salt the hide properly. Pack salt inside the ears and on the split lip and nose and the fur side of the muzzle as well. Don’t forget the feet and toes. Salt will draw out moisture. Salt will allow this trophy mount to be a couple of days in the field.

Once the hide is taken care of, do not store this hide in a plastic bag. The hide needs to breath. Always use a burlap or game bag. Store in a cool dry place and avoid placing the bag in direct sunlight (and the exhaust from a vehicle). If possible hang the bag to allow the hide to drain. These steps are what will provide enough hide from the animal for the taxidermist to perform their magic on.

Obviously small mammals require different care than the 1,000 pound moose. Coyote-sized animals should not be skinned or gutted. These smaller mammals need to be dropped off at a taxidermist as soon as possible. After shooting the game and the carcass as cooled, it is possible to place the carcass in a plastic bag and freeze it until an appointment with a taxidermist can be made.

The trophy from the bow hunting trip is now on the wall. There are ways to ensure the mount will stay looking healthy. Keep the mounted animal out of direct sunlight. Avoid severe changes in temperature. A spot that is has a year round trophy safe atmosphere. Smoke from a fireplace is harmful to the mounted animal. Keep the mount clean with a soft dry cloth or feather duster. If at all you are in doubt about the care of your mounted trophy, get advice from your local taxidermist.