Proper field care is the first and most important step in the process...
Mammals, including capes for headmounts
Caping instructions are available on request. Do not drag the animal on the ground...this wears off hair and can leave a bald spot on the shoulders. NEVER cut the throat to bleed the animal out. When caping, cut well behind the front legs and NEVER cut through the short, fine hair in the armpit. Follow the long hair line on the back of the legs and meet the mid body circumference cut. More cape is better than not enough and this will give you more options for poses. Always let the cape or hide air out until it is cool to the touch and then fold it up skin side to skin side so that it doesn't dry out. Keep it in a cool place out of the sun. Once cool, they can be kept in a plastic garbage bag or game bag. Keep flies away. Don't put them in a cooler without being in a plastic bag with melting ice. The wet hair can promote bacterial growth and cause hair slippage...especially on antelope. Either freeze or bring it to my studio as soon as possible. Leave the skull in the cape when possible so proper measurements can be taken. Cut the neck off at the last joint at the skull. Too much neck holds heat in and can cause slippage. Up to a $100 discount will be issued on lifesize skins with dorsal incisions (down the back instead of the belly). Please contact me on skinning instructions before your hunt. Sometimes this is not necessary. Do not salt the cape or hide without proper fleshing unless it is absolutely necessary in order to save it. Don't freeze a salted cape or hide. An hourly rate will be charged on excessive and time consuming repairs to the skin, like slit necks and cut armpits.
If the fish can't be delivered fresh the same day, wrap it in a soaking wet towel and put it in an airtight plastic garbage bag, seal with tape and freeze. Avoid freezing it in a curved position in order to save freezer space. Never wrap the fish in newspaper or paper towels. Newspaper dries out the fish even when frozen and paper towels leave an unnatural pattern in the parts that will be molded and cast (the head and fins). An accurate length measurement with the tail pinched like an official record measurement is useful. A few quality photos are always helpful as this will be used to customize the paint scheme.
Wrap feet in wet paper towels to prevent drying out in the freezer. Place bird in an airtight plastic garbage bag and freeze. Avoid early season birds as these usually have pin feathers that can shed out during the mounting process. Nylon stockings are not necessary.