Proper care of your trophy is really the final step in a successful hunt.
When you invest your time and hard earned money into a particular animal no one can blame you for wanting to preserve the memory and give that monster whitetail or sable a place of honor in your trophy room. If you want premium results from your taxidermist, that job starts the moment you pull the trigger.
Before you render the animal out, you’ll need to do two important things, take plenty of pictures and take measurements. The reason for the pictures is self explanatory. Every animal is different and a good taxidermist should have the ability to see those differences. Not every moose looks the same or Idaho Mountain Lion Hunts or mule deer, you get the picture. Next I always carry a small cloth tape measure with me on my hunting adventures, because if you are really a perfectionist nothing beats measuring your trophy on the ground. Some key measurements are eye-nose, circumference behind the ears, length from nose to base of tail, circumference around midsection and so on.
Next is to get the hide off that critter as soon as possible. If you wait a day to skin, while your in the field, you’re asking for problems no matter what temperatures are like. I don’t care if it’s in the winter time, just sit down and go to work on that trophy animal right away. It will pay dividends. Then, if you have the option, take the hide directly to your taxidermist. Do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars! This is the best way to insure proper preservation of the spoils of the hunt. If you don’t have the option of going directly to a professional, get your specimen cold as soon as possible. This can be a refrigerator or freezer, a river or bury it in the tundra if you have to, but just get it as cold as you possibly can. The only exception would be if you are hunting in an extremely warm climate with no refrigeration available. Then you’re only option will be to render the cape and salt it immediately. This process is no quick learn and I’ll save it for another post.
Very simply put, if you want to give your trophy the respect it deserves, take good pictures and measurements and get it to your taxidermist as quickly as possible and in the best shape as possible.