Proper field care is essential to preserve the animal until it reaches a taxidermist.
If possible, use a smaller rifle to decrease the size of the kill wound. DO NOT shoot the head, but the body. Head woulds are very hard to fix and can compromise the end look of your trophy.
After the kill, the animal should be placed in a trash bag, sealed shut, and then placed in a freezer or taken to a taxidermist within 3 hours.
Upland Birds and Waterfowl:
If using hunting dogs, remember that they can harm the body and feathers of your bird. If a trophy worthy bird is killed, it is best to pick this one up by hand. If the bird is still alive – DO NOT RING THE NECK! Put pressure on the chest until it is no longer alive.
Women’s pantyhose work great to preserve a bird’s feathers. Just slide the bird into one leg of the pantyhose going with the natureal grain of the feathers. Wrap in a plastic bag and place in a cooler.
Place killed turkey in a trash bag and seal. If any large feathers have been lost by the kill, pick them up and carry with you. The more feathers, the fuller your final mount.
A lot of hunters want to keep the breast meat from their turkey. If the turkey is taken directly to a taxidermist, it is best to let them remove the meat for you.
Place fish in plastic bag and completely cover. Then put in cooler or freezer. If you have a camera handy, take an up-close picture to capture the lively color in the scales. This will aid the taxidermist in grasping the true colors of your trophy.
Field Dressing: Instead of cutting vertically up the rib cage towards the head, cut 3-4 inches below the rib cage and cut down. The chest hide should stay intact. Then reach up into the chest and pull out the esophogus to clean out the organs. Depending on weather conditions, the cleaned cape and head should be in a freezer or at a taxidermist in approximately 3 hours to preserve it properly.
Caping Out: Skin about half of the full deer. Start at the middle of the body working your way towards the head. When you get to the legs, go 6 inches down the leg and cut up the underside of the leg. Make a second cut from the skinned leg across the chest back to the middle of the belly. This will allow the cape to be skinned away from the chest and off around the legs. Pull in full, until you reach the base of the head. Then saw the bone to remove from rest of body. Place in trash bag.