Our Aquatic Friends
A fish that kept to mount, never placed on a stringer or gut. Wrap fish in a fairly wet towel and then place in a plastic bag. Making sure that the bag will cover the whole fish, and the fins are flat along the fish. Wrap tape around bag several times and place in freezer. If unable to take to your taxidermist this method will allow you to keep your trophy in the freezer for several months with no damage. If no freezer is unavailable, place on ice and making sure it doesn't lay in the water in the bottom of the cooler.
Our Four Legged Furry Friends
With all fur bearing animals, allowing the specimen to cool off before wrapping it in a bag is a must. With large animals such as bears, allow hide to cool then roll up, keeping the head on the outside, then place in plastic bag. Smaller animals such as coyote, fox, otter, etc. allow body to cool before wrapping it in a plastic bag. Do not gut the animal and clean off any excess blood before placing animal or hide in bag. Wrap well and tape it tight. If you cannot bring it to your taxidermist, place animal in the freezer or on ice. Making sure it doesn't lay in the water in the bottom of the cooler. It is very important on fur bearing animals to keep cool if you cannot freeze. If not hair will slip and the specimen is lost.
Our Feathered Friends
In all birds handling is the most important thing. Not grabbing them by the head or neck only by the feet or for larger birds like turkeys, sitting on top of them while wings are flapping will prevent further damage to the feathers. Wiping off any excess blood, not gutting any bird. After the bird is cleaned up, place in plastic bag enough to cover entire bird. Any bird with a large tail I recommend a cardboard shroud and bag wrapped around burden showed lightly and taped around bird several times. If you cannot bring it to your taxidermist, place bird in the freezer or on ice. Making sure it doesn't lay in the water in the bottom of the cooler.
Any Shoulder, 3/4 or 1/2 Mount
In all shoulders mounts when in doubt leave more hide, all taxidermist would rather cut off excess. Your first cut is too lay the shoulder straight up and down, measuring 12 inches behind front leg ( large animals such as moose and buffalo add two feet.) Make a cut around entire animal. While facing the animal, your second cut is to insert your knife a few inches below the ear and follow the spine down to cut the previously made cut. Cut 12 inches down on the front legs and then around the entire leg. From the back of the front legs start at the to cut you just made, follow the back of the leg into armpit and continue to angle cut to the first cut you made (around the body). At this point skin the cape of up until the back of the head then cut off. There is no needed amount of meat to be left for measurements. Your taxidermist will be able to get the measurements from the skin after tanning. In all 3/4 or pedestals mounts the same cuts are made except the first one, with this type of mount, the cut is made just in front of back legs and again around the entire animal
There are two types of skin when it comes to life size, check with your taxidermist to see what they prefer. One cut that is used in all rugs and short hair animals’ specimen. With the animal laying on its back first cut from the center of its chest down to the vent. Second cut is from the paws/hoofs down to the cut you just previously made. Skin out a specimen cutting off the feet or hoofs and the just behind the head. Keeping the paws/hoofs and head attached to the skin. The second method is the dorsal cut. Have the animal on its belly, first cut behind the head down its spine all the way to a few inches from the tail. Skin down to the paws/hoofs and around neck. Again keeping paws/hoofs and head attached to the skin, then cut them off.
Take photos even more so in fish
In your destination look for local taxidermist to skin and freeze specimen before leaving on trip.
Ask your outfitter about properly handling and getting a trophy back before leaving on trip.
No tags in the ears.
Check on proper tagging and regulations for bringing trophies home and across borders.
Bring salt for packing trips and remote areas.
And remember cool before freezing.