Known as a shoulder mount, where the animal is skun from behind the ribs up to and including the head, tanned and fitted to a urethane form, which in most cases the skull cap with horns or antlers has been attached, then worked on and posed, is a great way to preserve the memories of a hunt. A trophy is a very personal thing, whether the biggest taken, or a first. Just because it is no record breaker, doesn’t mean that it has less meaning to the hunter. And we treat all trophies with care, from the time they come in the door and tagged, to when they are finished and picked up. Deer, goat, boar and small game can be shoulder mounted by us.
Urethane forms come in many different sizes and poses. For example, a deer can be a left, right or straight pose, in an alert, semi alert or sneak position. Some alterations are possible to a form; say more turn of the head etc. Displayed to show the best features,
or to conform in a room, it is the customer who decides what he or she wants.
Only the best taxidermy supplies are sourced, both in Australia and overseas.
Depending on the situation, sometimes I tan head skins myself, but have sent them out to be tanned. The same applies to flat skins these days. Smaller, lighter hides are usually handled in house, with heavier, thicker hides going to the commercial tanner. Either way, I can give you an idea on cost.
Care must be taken when dealing with your trophy. Bad management can result in a rotting hide and hair slip. There are a few hard and fast rules. Never store a skin in a plastic or nylon bag. It will spoil quickly because air cannot circulate around the skin. Try and learn how to cape an animal, how to carefully remove the head skin and to split the ears, nose, lips and eyes. There are heaps of DVDs, and Youtube footage of the process. Try this link for a basic how-to on the subject: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSoXw98fhQg
Practice on smaller animals, or ones less important. You don’t want the trophy of a lifetime on the deck, and not know how to deal with it. Take measurements if possible. A soft dressmakers tape can be used for this. Measure from the corner of the eye to the tip of the nose. Next measure the neck about fifty mm below the ears around the circumference. Lastly, measure around the chest behind the front legs. These measurements will help the taxidermist calculate what sized urethane form to use on your trophy.
Always carry plenty of salt with you on extended trips. The two kilo bags available in grocery stores are fine. When you have removed the hide, and turned the ears, split the lips, eyes and nose, remove any large lumps of fat or meat from the hide. Lay the skin on the ground and place a heavy layer of salt all over it, being careful around any folds in the face and around the edges. Wrap the skin flesh to flesh, keeping the salt sealed in and place it in a hessian bag. Hang the bag in the shade for twenty four hours. Salt drags all moisture from the hide, stopping bacteria from spreading, so if you are transporting the salted bagged skin home in your vehicle, make sure it is in a bucket to catch any moisture. After twenty four hours, shake the wet salt off the skin and reapply more before bagging it again. The cape or skin can be taken to the taxidermist at any point in this process.
If you have access to a freezer, after the cape has been removed from the animal, forget about turning the eyes etc., just let it cool down, double bag it and freeze the skin until you can get it to the taxidermist. Smaller animals such as foxes can be treated in the same way. Just let them cool down, double bag and freeze the whole thing until you get home. Learn the right cuts to skull cap a trophy, so you don’t have to bring back the whole head. A normal wood saw can be used. Remember, it’s better to have a bit more skull attached to the horns or antlers than not enough. Again, if you have any queries whatsoever, give me a call, I’m only too happy to help. For a basic guide check out this Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkrxTNPjdEA