To ensure a top quality mount from Wildlife Reflections, the client must do his/her part in the field by providing some simple trophy care. Trophy care is a must to obtain the best possible mount. Proper care in the field will achieve this. Please visit with me before you go on your hunt. I will be happy to instruct you on some simple caping techniques and care. With more care taken in the field, the better your Trophy will be! Below are some guidelines to follow:
- Never drag the animal. This can pull hair out or cause it to slip during phases of the mounting process. If you have to drag the animal out of where it fell, place it on a tarp.
- DO NOT cut the throat.
- When field dressing, stop your incision at the breastbone. This will leave enough skin for a shoulder mount.
- Bring the animal in as soon as possible. I can cape your trophy out and then send the rack with you to show to your family and friends.
- Always hang your trophy by the hind legs. Skin down to where you stopped your incision at the breastbone. Make one complete circle cut removing what you have skinned. Continue to skin rolling the cape down the animal from the breastbone. Leave enough skin on the front legs by going to the knee. Continue until you reach the skull. Cut the neck back about six inches. Bring it to me or place it in the freezer.
- Birds are extremely fragile. It may be impossible to repair the bird if it is badly shot up.
- Never gut a bird.
- Wrap the feet with a wet cloth.
- If you have to freeze it, place some women’s leg hosiery around the bird. This helps with keeping the feathers straight and clean. Bring it to me as soon as you can. Birds will freezer burn.
Life-sized animals require some special skinning. It would be best if you could come down and visit with me on how this needs to be done if you cannot bring your trophy in right away.
Your guide or PH will most likely know how to skin your trophy for you if you are going on a guided hunt. I have had guides and skinners skin trophies a lot different than I do. They make more cuts in the skin than necessary. This makes for more sewing than is needed.
It would be in your best interest to visit with me so I can instruct you on what to look for while the guide is skinning your trophy with all of the time and money you have invested into your hunting trip. It never hurts to ask questions on how they are going to skin your trophy. It just might save you money in the long run. We may have to look for a replacement skin to match for parts if they cut something too short or off.
Fish are fragile as well. Great care is needed, as repairs on fish are time consuming and costly. Please try to keep your trophy fish separate from other fish you may have caught. This will help keep the fish from being scarred and the fins from being ruined.
- Never gut the fish.
- Do not place it on a stringer.
- Do not use wet newspaper to wrap the fish in. The ink will bleed into your fish.
- Wrap your trophy in a wet towel with the fins laid down carefully. Then place it in a plastic bag to freeze. Be careful to keep the fish straight when placing it in the freezer.
Trophy Care in the Trophy Room
Taking care of your trophy is a lot easier than hunting or fishing for it. There are some guidelines you should think about prior to picking out a spot in your home for your trophy.
- How much sunlight comes into the room? Will it shine directly on your trophy? Sunlight will fade out the natural color of your mammals hair. Fish mounts will have paint damage over time, due to the high temperatures from sunlight coming in through your window.
- Please be careful not to place your mount in front of or above a heater/AC vent. The force of heated/cooled air will have an ill effect on your trophy’s finished work.
- What is the humidity in the area you wish to display your trophy? The skin will contract moisture in the spring/summer and then dry out in the fall/winter months. This occurs much like your woodwork in your home. Keep your house at a constant climate (steady temperature and humidity.)
These are some of the problems I have ran into. Preventing problems are a big help down the road. Following, are a few cleaning steps that will be needed at least once a year or more after you get your trophy home. I like to do these steps quarterly. I do not think you can over clean your trophy.
- Carefully buff each eye with a dry Q-tip.
- Use a dust cloth lightly sprayed with Windex to gently wipe the mount off. Go with the flow of the hair or feathers. A vacuum cleaner on the reverse air setting also works well for dusting a mount off. Gently wipe fish off with a dry cloth. Just remember that their fins are extremely fragile and breakable.
- Antlers and horns will need to be wiped off with Liquid Gold dust spray to help maintain the oil level in them. Antlers and horns dry out over time. By doing this step you help them retain their natural color.
- Any habitat with your mount may be wiped off or carefully use your vacuum cleaner on the reverse air setting and blow it clean.