Illinois Outdoors at
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Marc Anthony of Goodfield owns and operates Look Alive Taxidermy and Non Typical Hunter magazine. Anthony grew up in central Illinois and spent eight years as a commercial pilot before giving that up to spend more time with his wife Jan and three children, Victoria, Drake and Elesa. Anthony hunted on and off as a child but started seriously at age 30 and focuses on bowhunting for deer and turkeys. He's arrowed four bucks that meet the Boone and Crockett Club (net) standards and 20 Pope and Young Club qualifiers. Anthony is on the Pro Staff for Muzzy broadheads, Bear Archery, Vital Gear, Natural Predator, Non Typical Hunter and several other companies. He also is a member of the Outdoor writers Association of America, OWAA.


Non-typical Hunter

A Web log by Marc Anthony

Illinois hunting and fishing

Where to cut for that trophy buck!

September 23, 2010 at 04:13 PM

One of our loyal readers sent me a message last week and asked for me to write a short article on how to cut the cape for a trophy mount. I stated to him that cutting the cape off of the head would create a problem if it isn’t done right, so I’ll just mention where to cut the head off and how to prepare it. When done correctly, it will save your hide (literally) and allow your mount to be done in the manner in which you prefer!

Here are a few tips if you happen to shoot a deer that you want to mount. Follow these tips as they are easy and will prevent a lot of heartache! First, after shooting your deer, try not to drag the deer in any manner that will allow the head and neck area to scrape against the ground. You DON’T want the hair to be rubbed off and/or damaged. Field dress the deer right away to prevent more intestinal gas from building up and forcing gas into the capillaries and arteries. You will then need to cut off the head about 4” BEHIND the front legs! If in doubt, cut it longer! A short cape is almost worthless to a taxidermist, especially if you want a shoulder mount. Now when I say cut the head off I mean cut the CAPE 4” behind the front legs and roll it up as you cut. You can actually cut the head off at the neck (at the shortest point of the neck). You can keep rolling up the hide toward the head as you cut by taking your time and very carefully separating the hide from the meat. You can stop when you get close to the jaw. From there, you can simply just cut the neck off. Now you don’t have to lug that neck around with the head and you can place it in a bag which can then be refrigerated. Leave the face for your taxidermist and DON’T try to remove it! Believe me, you’ll do more damage than good if you attempt the face.

It is of utmost importance to COOL DOWN THAT HIDE! I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again, bacteria will form on that hide if you don’t cool it down causing “slipping”. Slipping is where the hair will fall off! Many times you won’t even notice it until after the cape is tanned and by that time, you’ll be liable for the tanning costs. So get it cooled down! Besides, if you gut it, clean it and cool it down in a speedy fashion, you won’t get that “gamy” taste some people complain about! No such thing as gamy. Gamy taste is spoiled meat…period! Yes, there are some animals that have a strong taste but this gamy taste most hunters refer to is just poorly prepared meat! Think of it this way: Meat processors kill, clean and refrigerate meat in a flash to preserve flavor and you should too! Yes, you can age it by hanging it but clean it and cool it down first!

Here are some pictures for you to look at:

Illinois hunting and fishing

Notice how far back the front legs are! Make sure you cut behind these legs for ample hide to cover the mount.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Notice where the legs should begin on this mount. You MUST have enough hide to wrap around the back of this form! If you are getting a pedestal mount done, you’ll need even more! Bottom line, if in doubt, cut more, not less. One last bit of advice is to NOT cut the brisket area which is between the two front legs or your taxidermist will have to sew that area and he may charge you extra. You can still field dress the deer by stopping the incision 4’ back from the front legs.

OK, now kill a deer !


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