Are you on a hunting expedition and you have succeeded in catching a huge deer? Do you know the best method of preserving it? Have you ever heard about capping or mounting deer? This article is specially written for you. It highlights how you should prepare a deer head for mounting, how to cape a deer for a shoulder mount and how to mount a deer skull.
Taxidermy is the act of preserving an animal by mounting to study or display it. It is commonly practiced on mammals, reptiles, fish, birds, and mammals. Animals are typically taxidermified for various purposes such as study skins, hunting trophies, and natural museum displays. A professional taxidermist should be familiar with tanning, painting, sculpture, and anatomy.
1. Ancient Skin-mount
Deer is skinned without opening its body cavity. Preserving chemicals are then applied, or the hide is tanned. It can be mounted on a mannequin that is made from polyurethane, wood, wire, and wool. Clay usually installs glass eyes which are also available from various suppliers. The animal is frozen and later thawed to be skinned. A taxidermist takes several body measurements.
The legs bones’ and the skull is retained and used to form a mannequin that is made from galvanized wire and wood wool. Alternatively, the deer can also be molded in plaster, and one of its replicas is made using various methods. The final frame is made of glass cloth, and polyester resin and polyurethane is made in the final production process. The animal is removed, and a pattern produces its form. Forms can also be created by first sculpting deer in clay. Glass eyes, a tongue, and artificial teeth are then added to the form.
2. Freeze dried mount
Deer is mummified while it still has its fur. All tissues except the internal organs remain intact. The animal is first positioned in the desired pose after which it is put inside a special freeze dryer. The dryer freezes the deer, and it also forms a vacuum inside the chamber. Pressure moisturizes the carcass hence allowing it to dry. Vapour pressure influences the drying rate as low pressure slows down the drying rate. Caution should be taken as rapid freezing minimizes tissue distortion.
This method captures deer’s expressions as it appeared when it was alive. The freeze dryer is expensive, and it needs proper maintenance. Freeze-dried mounts are prone to insect damage as the carcass has fat, dried tissues which insects can feed.
3. Reproduction mount
In this method, the actual body of an animal is not preserved. Instead, its detailed measurements and photos are taken for a taxidermist to create its replica in fiberglass or resin which can be displayed. The animal is not killed. Reproduction mounts are standard in sports fishing, and they are designed for swordfish, bass, and rout. It is also used in preserving endangered animal species such as rhinoceros and lions.
An animal is hunted with tranquilizer rifles, and while it is unconscious, a hunter poses for pictures with it as it is measured to measure it and to create its replica. The size of fiberglass trophy head to be purchased is also determined. It is displayed on the wall as a representation of the animal’s head.
4. Re-creation mount
They are a precise description of an extinct or extant species, and they are created using the skin, fur, and feathers of other animal species. A re-creation mount might include original sculptures and carvings. Its part is not made from those of the animal species being portrayed.
Hunters often enjoy displaying the antlers of an animal they’ve killed to remember the hunt and to respect the spirit of that animal. Mounted antlers are a source of pride, showcasing the size of the animal, and thus the skill of the hunter. Mounted antlers are often used as decoration above a mantle or elsewhere in the home. If you don’t want to pay a professional taxidermist or purchase a ready-to-use mounting kit, there are ways to do the mounting yourself.
How to Prepare a Deer Head for Mounting
Cut the antlers: Cut through the antlers’ base and ensure that you retain a section of the skull plate. A hacksaw would be efficient when cutting through the bone. Alternatively, you can mount the whole head.
Clean the flesh: Bits of flesh left on the head will rot and attract insects. You can remove them using the following methods.
- Using beetles. Skin the skull and place it inside a terrarium that has dermestid beetles to eat the meat. The terrarium should accommodate the antlers and bones. Once flesh has been eaten, rinse the skull and brush it with a soft brush. Keep it wet and store cover the terrarium.
- Using simmering water. Simmer water and insert the bone into a pot. Ensure that the antlers are not immersed in water.
- Using maceration. Thoroughly clean the skull’s plate and remove flesh. Place a bucket of water outside to grow bacteria. You may add baking soda to hasten bacterial growth and occasionally change the water.
Clean tiny pieces of flesh: Rub the bone with a wire brush and borax.
Bleach the bone: Place the skull plate in a plastic container with 40% hydrogen peroxide. Avoid submerging the deer antlers by wrapping them in foil to retain the natural color. Completely cover the bowl and leave it for about 12 hours.
How to Mount a Deer Skull
Drill holes in a wood plaque: The number of holes depends on the skull plate’s size. They could be two or three. Place them where the plate will settle on the plaque preferably in the middle.
- Drill several holes in the skull’s plate: Use the thickest part as it can steadily hold the mount in position. The holes should match the position and size of those on the wood plaque.
- Secure the antlers: Insert several drywall screws into the holes in the skull plate and the wood plaque. They should be rigid enough to support the antlers.
- Cover the deer bone: You can use felt, leather, silk or velvet to cover the plate. Add an extra inch of the material to wrap the skull’s edges and ensure that you cut some holes for antlers to protrude. Firmly secure the back with staples or tacks.
- Hang your mount: Use a sturdy tab to display your mount.
Mounting deer is an essential process that a hunter can’t skip. Any newbie hunter can get detailed instructions on how to cape a deer from this article. You should select the appropriate tools for you to have an attractive final display.