Field Dressing & Caping Instructions
When field dressing a trophy to be mounted, do not cut into the brisket (chest) or neck area. If blood gets on the hide to be mounted, wash it off with water as soon as possible. Also, avoid dragging the deer out of the woods with a rope. Place it on a sled, rickshaw, or 4- wheeler. Ropes, rocks, or broken branches from a dead fall can easily damage the fur or puncture the hide. If you do need to drag it out, attach the rope to the base of the antlers and drag your trophy carefully. Use caution with late season kills to prevent the antlers from coming off. (DO NOT DRAG BY THE BACK LEGS)
It is important to Field Dress your kill as soon as possible, especially gut shot animals. However, if the kill and recovery was quick, you could cape the animal first to make the field dressing easier/cleaner.
1. With the animal on its back, make a shallow cut through the skin just below the breastbone. Make sure that you start your cut well away from the brisket allowing plenty of uncut skin for your shoulder mount. Insert two fingers of the free hand, cradling the blade, to hold the skin up and away from the intestines (Figure A.)
2. Cut straight down the belly and around the genitals, separating but not severing them from the abdominal wall. Slit the belly skin all the way to the pelvic bone (Figure B.)
3. Cut deeply around the rectum, being careful not to cut off or puncture the intestine. Pull to make sure the rectum is separated from tissue connecting it to the pelvic canal. Lift the animal’s back quarter, reach into the front of the pelvic canal, and pull the intestine and connected rectum into the stomach area.
4. For shoulder mounts, do not cut open the chest cavity. Cut the diaphragm away from the ribs all the way to the backbone area. Reach into the forward chest cavity, find the esophagus and windpipe, cut them off as far up as possible (Figure C.), and pull down through the chest.
5. Roll the deer onto its side. Grab the esophagus with one hand and the rectum/intestine with the other, pull hard. The internal organs will come out in one whole piece.
Caping for a Shoulder Mount
1. With a sharp knife, slit the hide circling the body behind the shoulder at approximately the mid-way point of the rib cage behind the front legs. Slit the skin around the legs just above the knees. An additional slit will be needed from the back of the leg and joining the body cut behind the legs (Figure 2A and 2B.) *****Cut on the back side of the front legs where the brown and white hair meet. Follow that hair line up to where the leg meets the body, then “V” it towards your first cut that was around the body, NOTE: DO NOT DAMAGE THE BRISKET AREA (CHEST)
2.Peel the skin forward up to the ears and jaw exposing the head/neck junction. Cut into the neck approximately three inches down from this junction. Circle the neck cutting down to the spinal column. After this cut is complete, grasp the antler bases and twist the head off the neck. This should allow the hide to be rolled up and put in a freezer until transported to the taxidermist. These cuts should allow ample hide for the taxidermist to work with in mounting. Remember, the taxidermist can cut off excess hide but he can’t add what he doesn’t have.