What to do once you shoot your trophy –

Field dress:  DO NOT cut any of the hair above the breast bone as this cuts into the brisket area that is needed for a shoulder mount.  (i.e.  make sure not to cut hair that is within 4″ of the front legs.)
Removing from  the Woods: When dragging your deer out of the woods, DO NOT  tie a rope around the neck as this may damage the hair.  Either grab the horns with your hands or tie the rope around the horns.
Cool down: Do this immediately without  thawing and refreezing your specimen to prevent bacteria from ruining your trophy. Treat your cape as well or better than your meat because heat and moisture cause bacterial growth, the main cause of hair slippage.
Picture taking tips:

  1. Make sure the tongue is in. Either tuck it in or cut it off.
  2. Wipe off any blood on the deer and on your hands. (Note: If you take the pictures before you gut it there is a lot less blood.)
  3. If you’ve already gutted the dear, cover up the blood on the cavity with your backpack, bow, or leaves and other natural habitat. Having the bow/gun on the deer is visually appealing.
  4. Take the picture at the level of the deer’s nose. (i.e. the person taking photos will have to kneel down or lay down).  This makes the rack look the largest
  5. Take lots of pictures from different angles to capture the different sides of the antlers.
  6.  If you have face camo on make sure to get a few pictures without it on.By eliminating or reducing these factors you will increase the quality of your trophy

How to Cape a Whitetail for a Shoulder Mount

  1. Hang your deer up by the hind legs.  Notice the cut is thru the skin just behind the tendon.legs

 2. Make the initial cut around the entire belly of the deer approximately 4” above the armpits as shown below in the right picture. Cut around the entire animal at that height

capinglegs3.  Next, cut the hide around each front leg approximately 4″ down from the armpit as shown above.

4.  Connect the cut in the belly with the one on the legs by cutting   the hide up the leg on the outside of the white hair as shown by the tape in the pictures.   (i.e. don’t cut thru the armpits which are needed)capingneck

5. Carefully skin the hide starting around the belly and working your way down as above.  Be careful in the armpits since the hide is thin.

skinleg6. Continue skinning by cutting the white membrane between the hide and the meat. Once you get close to the top vertebrae, you will have to hold the skin open as shown in the pictures.

7. Once you’re as far up as possible, cut through the meat at the top vertebrae and twist the neck off.

8.  Bring to the taxidermist or freeze immediately in double plastic garbage bags to prevent damage.  Do not allow thawing and refreezing of your specimen. Keep it dry, cool and bug free for the best results.