Glacial Lakes Taxidermy Field Care Instructions

     Good taxidermy begins with good field care. Without a good specimen, there are problems before work even begins. Skin begins to decay immediately upon death, so take care of your specimen as soon as possible. Keeping it cold slows this breakdown; freezing stops it. Always freeze specimens and seal in an airtight plastic bag to avoid damage by freezer burn.

     Once landed, donít allow fish to scar itself or tear fins by thrashing. Wrap in wet cloth. NEVER use newspaper or anything dry. To store, seal wet cloth-wrapped fish in double plastic bags and lie flat in freezer.

   Wipe off blood, smooth feathers (sliding head first into a nylon stocking works great) and seal in plastic bag and freeze whole as soon as possible. Birds left out all day may begin to slip and loose feathers. Inspect potential mounts carefully, birds with excessive pinfeathers and badly shot up often make poor mounts. When in doubt, bring to taxidermist before it is frozen, so they can 
check it out.

     DO NOT: slit ear, slash throat, drag or hang by neck. Avoid getting the skin wet or hanging for extended periods of time. Many taxidermists prefer to cape (skin head and shoulders) themselves. If this is not possible, cut as follows: cut all the way around carcass, BEHIND the front legs, then down backside of front legs to knees; cut neck skin from top of back to back of head; continue skinning neck up to head and cut off head, leave hide attached to head. Do not cut off antlers or horns from head. Deliver to taxidermist or seal in plastic garbage bag and freeze. NOTE: tines puncture bags easily allowing air to cause rapid freezer burn to ears, eyes, nose and lips. Take to taxidermist ASAP.

     Small and medium mammals should not be gutted, but brought to the taxidermist immediately or frozen whole, sealed in double plastic bags. Large animals, such as bear, should be skinned immediately, as hair may begin to slip within a few hours. After field dressing in the normal manner, cut down inside of legs to ankles or wrists and sever, leaving the feet in the skin. Cut off head at base of skull, leaving it in the skin. Remove excess meat and fat. Roll up and take to taxidermist immediately or freeze, sealed in a plastic bag.

     Dust your mounts frequently with feather or fleece duster in direction of hair, fur or feathers. Donít be afraid to groom mammal mounts-hair often gets messed up moving them. Smooth fur with fingers or dog brush. Eyes and nose may be kept clean with window cleaner and a Q-tip. Fish should be wiped with a damp rag. Occasional cleaning with warm water, dish soap and a toothbrush removes dirt buildup and helps renew gloss.
     Avoid placing mounts above an extreme heat source (such as a fireplace) or in strong sunlight. Tobacco smoke and grease smoke will rapidly yellow mounts. Once or twice a year you may lightly spray mounts with an insect repellent designed for pets to help deter potential insect infestation.

     If you have questions on your mount, donít hesitate to talk to your taxidermist.

Glacial Lakes Taxidermy
Doug Dexter, Taxidermist/Artist
14881 480th Ave.
Milbank, SD 57252
M-F, 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM and evenings/weekends
by appointment.