Big Game Heads: Capes should be cut according to the pictures below. Cut the cape longer if in doubt. Bring it in within a day or two depending on temperatures, or freeze it. When gutting an animal for a head mount, stop at the rib cage for the best quality. It is best to wipe wet blood off the hide.
Beware of any special CWD rules for deer, elk, moose, and caribou. When transporting or importing these species to/in Minnesota, be aware of regulations. You may need to fully cape the heads out in order to bring it to me. Call ahead of time with questions. Please note I have a location in Grand Forks I can meet you at for skinning out North Dakota deer, elk, and moose.
Big Game Life-size and rugs: If possible, call before skinning or gutting a life-size mount for best options. For ½ and Lifesize mounts I prefer them only cut from the tail almost the head straight down the back of the animal, then the cut through the neck and tail bone. Next step would be to tube out each leg, to do this remove each leg from main body. Then pull each leg like out, and skin them down the leg as you pull, then cut through the meat and bone near the ankle to detach. Life-size hides and rugs should be skinned like the bear picture, with straight cuts. Don’t cut hair or parts of hide off. Wipe as much wet blood off the hide as possible.
Small Game: Bring small game in ASAP for proper skinning. If not able to bring it right away, freezing it whole is the best option. Either way, wipe wet blood off of hide. To freeze it, stretch it out with the front legs extended forward and back legs extended backward to cool and freeze it faster. Freezing in this position allows for easier skinning while still semi-frozen, helping to prevent spoilage which can happen quickly with small animals.
Skulls mounts: Should be brought in fresh or frozen. If you can’t bring in fresh or freeze within a few days, remove hide and as much of the eyes, brain, and meat as possible.
Fish: Should be wrapped in an old wet towel, then placed in a plastic bag laid flat in the freezer. This will protect the fins and the fish from damage and help prevent freezer burn.
Birds: Should be handled with CARE IN FIELD as much as possible. Wipe undried blood off and frozen whole quickly. Double bag them in Ziplock or garbage bags with as much air removed as possible. Turn head along wing. Could also wrap feet and head/bill with damp paper towels. For turkeys wrap the head in paper towels and get a Ziploc over the head with as much air out, seal as best you can, then wrap tape snugly around bag. A dry paper will absorb blood as head thaws. Then place in double garbage bag, with as little air as you can. For turkey fan-only mounts, the tail section can be removed and frozen, but leave adequate amount of feathers for mount, along with beard and feet if spurs are desired.
Skinning Bear Rugs, and some life size mounts use the below picture. The best cut for most longer haired life size and half-life size mounts is up the back from tail to head, with the legs tubed out and leg meat and bone cut though near the ankle.