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Field Care

If your looking to get something taxidermied then the field care before getting it to your taxidermist is one of the most important steps. Its very easy for skins to have hair fall out (this is known as slip or slippage) or other issues because it hasn't had the necessary care it needs before being frozen or salted.

Freezing or salting your skin immediately is the best option once it has been skinned. If this is not possible put your skin on ice and have it frozen or salted as soon as possible. If its not fresh enough to eat, it's not fresh enough for me to use.

When bagging your skin always bag it in an open container or a hessian bag, plastic encourages bacterial growth and increases the risk of problems with the skin.

SkinningSkinning

Field Care - Skinning Field Care

First know what you want, a shoulder, pedestal, 1/2 or full-size mount. When skinning, or if your guide is skinning make sure they make the right cuts!

Here are the correct cuts for each:

Skinning for Taxidermy - Shoulder

Shoulder

Skinning for Taxidermy - Pedestal

Pedestal

Skinning for Taxidermy - 1/2

1/2

Lifesize

With lifesize there are a few different skinning method's - I'll list all of them but if your not confident then I find the H cut is easiest for beginners, though my preferred cut is dorsal.

Skinning for Taxidermy - H Cut

H Cut

Skinning for Taxidermy - Case

Case

Skinning for Taxidermy - Dorsal

Dorsal

Splitting and SaltingSplitting and Salting

Field Care - Splitting and Salting Field Care

Once your skin is off it needs to be salted with fine grain, non iodised salt, give it a good cover to absorb moisture - there is no such thing as too much salt.

On most capes I do a layer up to 1 cm thick. For bigger animals such as deer or pigs it's better to have the salted skin on an incline to help fluid drain.

The eyes, nose and ears will need to be "split" and "turned" - though if your not confident, or haven't done it before leave it to a taxidermist! Just make sure to give these spots extra attention with salt if you do leave them. You can even leave the entire skull in and sever it from the neck - but the skin and head must be frozen to ensure it doesn't slip.

Splitting Eyes

Splitting the eyes is to cut down the muscle around the eyes and thin it down until its down to the eyelid.

Splitting Nose

Splitting the nose is like splitting the eyes. Work down around the nostrils and work between any folds of skin, being careful not to cut the nose pad.

Turning Ears

Turning ears is to separate the skin on the back of the ear from the cartilage in it. As your skinning down the head I find it easiest to leave the ears attached to the skull as long as possible. Work your knife down the ears being careful not to cut the skin. Once you work past the ear muscles at the base of the ear its easy to tell what is cartilage and what isn't.

I am always happy to help or expand on any information you need, Feel free to contact me.

Lifesaving TipsLifesaving Tips

Field Care - Lifesaving Tips Field Care

If you want a bit of extra insurance, mix up a half vinegar half methylated spirits mix and spray it onto sensitive areas - Generally the face, especially ears or anywhere blood has pooled.

Remember - open container and hessian bags, not plastic!

Always use NON-iodised salt, not iodised salt.