Folks go hunting for different reasons. Some hunters do it for sport, some do it solely for food and others want to bring back a trophy. If you are the latter, then hopefully you have done your research on how to properly hunt and prep a wild animal for taxidermy purposes. Hunting for a trophy is a bit different from hunting for the meat, as there are measures you need to take to ensure the trophy animal remains in good condition until it reaches the taxidermy shop of your choosing.
In other words, don’t ruin your big game hunting trophy before it gets to your taxidermist! Here are some helpful tips from the taxidermy pros:
• Avoid aiming for the animal’s neck: While it’s usually best to aim for one of the more vital points on an animal, there are times when the only way to take it down is with a shot to the neck. It may be necessary, but a shot to the neck needs even more consideration if you are planning on a shoulder or head mount. Repairing a neck wound so it doesn’t show on the final product is possible, but your taxidermist will likely require more time to work on it.
• Final head shots are not necessary: Like causing damage with a shot to the neck, a head shot—whether the main target or as a follow up—can also result in a ruined animal trophy. Again, you need to aim for vitals that are away from the head area. Do this to avoid destroying the cape, antlers or horns.
• Refrain from slicing the neck hunter-style: After a kill, you might decide to get in there and start prepping your trophy to send to a taxidermist. But remember, slicing straight up the neck is a bad idea. In fact, chances are you will destroy the cape in the process, and repairs are not likely to turn out too great. To be sure you’re doing field prep right every time, ask your preferred taxidermy shop for detailed “how-to” instructions.
• Clean up blood: Animals with light colored hides are quick to get stained by their own blood. It’s difficult to remove blood that has soaked into a hide, so be prepared with a lot of paper towels. Watch for and clean up blood immediately after a hunt, during field prep and throughout the time it takes to transport your trophy back home.
• Don’t leave animal trophies unattended: After a hunt, it’s best to not leave the animal unattended in the back or on the top of your truck. Predators like birds, insects and other animals will begin to gnaw or feast, which will cause damage to important parts, like the hide, eyes, nose and ears.
One wrong move, and you could end up destroying the best memory of your trophy hunt. If you would like trophy field preparation advice before your next adventure, then talk to an expert taxidermist on the Nature’s Design Taxidermy team. We can also assist you with filling out our pre-hunt taxidermy order form. Contact us today!