You may be a trophy hunter who knows how to hunt, but how are your field prep skills? Here’s some of the basics of what you need to know about skinning big game in Cody, WY for taxidermy purposes.
Before talking about the methods of skinning big game for mounting, it’s important that you know about caping. It is a critical step in the field preparation process. Caping is the process of skinning a trophy animal—a job that, unless you’re knowledgeable in how to do it, is best left to your taxidermist. Caping is a crucial step that requires experience and steady hands, especially since the delicate parts of animals are easy to damage. This includes the nose, eyes, mouth and ears, all of which are needed to be kept intact and in good condition for the taxidermist to create a quality mount.
Damage to a trophy animal can be hidden, but it will cost you. Unfortunately, there are some types of damage that can’t be fixed even by the most talented taxidermists, which is why the steps you take immediately after a hunt matter so much. Within the first few hours the animal carcass begins to grow bacteria—warm and humid weather makes this worse. If you plan to hunt in a remote area away from your taxidermist, it’s best to have a knowledgeable person with you who can cape out the hide quickly for preservation.
Skinning large game
Contact your chosen taxidermist prior to your hunting trip and ask about their preferred method of caping. They may send you caping instructions and their requirements. The flat incision and the dorsal method are acceptable techniques for skinning big game like deer, bear and elk.
The flat incision
The first skinning technique is called the flat incision. This method is regularly used for creating rugs, lifelike taxidermy mounts and other popular trophy mount poses. Your taxidermist can provide you with a diagram that shows where to cut. The goal is to make slits in the hide and carefully cut the feet free from the animal carcass. Once you have made the proper cuts, the skin should pull off of the carcass with relative ease. The head will become detached later. Also, be aware that you will need to freeze the hide if you cannot get it to your taxidermist right away. Freeze according to your taxidermist’s specifications.
The dorsal method
Another technique used to skin big game is called the dorsal method. When following the dorsal method, you or a professional will make a long slit down the back of the animal. This cut needs to run from the base of the tail and all the way up to the neck. When you use this method, it’s important to know that the carcass is skinned while being pulled through the incision made along the back. In addition to skinning, the feet or hooves and head are cut from the body. Only use the dorsal method when the skin can be frozen right after skinning.
Call Nature’s Design Taxidermy for more information about skinning big game in Cody, WY for taxidermy mounts!