The best taxidermy in Cody, WY starts with good field dressing. Decay begins mere hours after death, and waiting too long means a lower quality trophy. However, you may be hunting in a remote location or facing other circumstances that limit your access to a freezer or taxidermist. Here are precautions you can take in the field to preserve your prize:
- Bring ice: You may have to keep several coolers of ice in your truck or at camp, but this can be a significant item for helping preservation. Ice works whether you are hunting large game or fishing for that trophy trout. It will maintain your quarry until you’re able to get to a freezer or a taxidermist. Ice can also help with birds, as long as you cushion it in bags to prevent feather damage.
- Don’t fish without your towel: Wet towels are instrumental when out for trophy fish. If you are not going to be near a freezer for a little while, you can preserve fish in the field by soaking a towel and wrapping it around your catch. Keep the fish lying flat and straighten the fins before wrapping. Put it on ice once it is protected. Some anglers also place the fish in a plastic bag after wrapping the towel for extra protection.
- Know where to cut: When field dressing an animal you intend to use as a trophy mount, do not cut into the neck or chest. Wash off any blood from these areas as soon as possible, too. The notion that an animal needs to be “bled out” after it’s hunted is a myth.
- Transport carefully: Never drag your quarry on the ground. Get help to pack it out or use a sled, rickshaw, cart or four-wheeler. If you do not have much choice other than dragging, do so very slowly and carefully. However, do not expect your animal to remain in perfect condition, either.
- Avoid gutting: Fish and small mammals should only be skinned by a professional. Carnivores, especially, have thin skin and will spoil quickly. When you catch fish or hunt mammals that are coyote-sized or smaller, keep plastic bags on hand to preserve them. Once you have them sealed in the bag, place them on ice until you have access to a freezer.
- Consult with your taxidermist: If you are hunting or fishing in a remote location, consult with your taxidermist before leaving on your trip. Ask about preferred methods of caping (skinning a trophy animal) and receive instructions. While caping is best left to a competent professional, you may have no choice but to remove the hide in the field in order to preserve it. Before risking damage to your trophy, ask your taxidermist about their preferences, so you do not compromise their ability to do that work before it starts.
Nature’s Design Taxidermy is available for all your needs related to taxidermy in Cody, WY. Contact us when your trophy is ready for preservation or to ask questions on best field practices.