If you’re relatively new to hunting, you may have never heard the term “field prep” before. However, if you plan on sending your game to a taxidermist for restoration and mounting, you’ll want to get up to speed quickly.
Field prepping trophies is an integral part of the taxidermy process, and if you don’t do it correctly, you might lose your chance to have a beautiful trophy created.
What is field prep and why is it important?
Field prep is the process of preparing a freshly hunted animal to be sent to the taxidermist. This work is typically done “in the field,” or right after the hunt. Field prep might include gutting the animal, skinning it (also known as caping), making careful cuts to prepare for specific mount types, prepping the animal for freezing and careful transportation.
There’s a saying in taxidermy that goes, “A beautiful mount begins in the field.” This is true, because a taxidermist can only create beautiful trophies if the hunter has taken the necessary steps to get an animal, its hide and other important parts ready to be shipped. Without careful field prep, your taxidermist might not have enough intact hide to work with.
Top tips for field prepping trophies
When getting ready to field prep your newest game, you don’t want to rush in unprepared. Take your time, work carefully and follow these tips to ensure a great result:
- Handle the carcass with care: Always be gentle when working with the carcass so you keep it as intact as possible. You don’t want to tear, cut, stain or otherwise damage the carcass of your trophy. If you do, your taxidermist won’t have enough usable material to work with and your trophy may not look as good as it should, or it may not even be salvageable at all.
- Know when gutting and caping are appropriate: Every animal needs different field prep work completed before you can send it to the taxidermist. For example, deer should be gutted and sometimes caped in the field, while small mammals, birds and fish should never be gutted or caped by the hunter. If you aren’t sure of the proper method for field prepping your desired trophies, call your taxidermist and ask so you can receive the best end product possible.
- Safety first: It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of the hunt and rush to field prep the animal, but you should always take safety precautions to protect yourself and the future trophy. Always wear gloves—this is extremely important when handling small game because they have a higher chance of carrying rabies and other infectious diseases. Additionally, wash your hands after handling any game, whether you wore gloves or not.
- Have shipping information ready: Once an animal is killed, it’s best to get it to your taxidermist as quickly as you can so bacteria can’t cause damage to the hide and your taxidermist can work with as much usable material as possible. You should always have your shipping tags ready before you hunt so you can adhere them as soon as field prep is over and get your trophy out the door.
Once field prep is done, make sure you send your game to a reliable taxidermist who can create beautiful trophies. Nature’s Design Taxidermy provides premier taxidermy services for a full range of animals. We even offer nationwide delivery services. Call today to learn more!