Picture Courtesy of Avery Prostaff- Jeff Coats

Taxidermy Tips

  1. TAXIDERMY TIPS

    Game care begins in the field. The minute that special bird hits the water proper field care for taxidermy begins. Retrievers hold a place in our hearts as retrievers as well as conservation tools.

    However, as a taxidermist, it is often that a client brings a bird that has been retrieved by a "hardmouth" and licked for several hours in the blind. It is within this time span feathers are generally lost. For this reason try to keep all mountable birds separated from retrievers.

    Back to the basics, these instructions will greatly increase the odds for a quality mount:

  2. Retrieve the bird yourself if it is potentially a trophy.
  3. Do not carry birds by their necks, this could cause feather loss. Always carry trophies by the feet.
  4. If the bird is not dead, try "if at all possible" not to wring the neck. Pressure can be applied in the "wingpits" with your thumbs, this can be described as if you were pushing into your armpits. Simply hold the bird tightly with both hands until the bird succumbs.
  5. After retrieval, keep the bird in a dry place, out of harms way.
  6. Keep as much blood and dirt from soiling the feathers as possible. Keep in mind, this can be removed by us later, yet, it is best to KEEP IT CLEAN.
  7. Keep the bird wet to prevent blood from drying.
  8. Broken bones and busted beaks are generally not a problem. However, lost feathers cannot be replaced!
  9. Keep birds cool and put them in the freezer ASAP.  Place head inside sandwich bag then fold neck and head over back. Place them in a plastic bag, PLEASE DO NOT WRAP IN NEWSPAPER OR PANTYHOSE. Plastic bag only and seal it up.
  10. Get the bird to us quickly. The faster we get it, the better shape it will be in, and the quicker you will get it back.

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    Do not field dress the bird. Deliver to taxidermist whole.

    Do not place bird/birds in direct sunlight.

    Do not place bird/birds in plastic bag, cooler/ice chest, or with other warm birds until they have had time to completely cool down.

    Do not wrap birds in newspaper, for this will draw out moisture from the skin and will cause freezer burn damage to both the feet and delicate tissue of the head.

    Do not keep bird/birds in a self defrosting freezer for a long period of time. This will cause birds to dehydrate and develop freezer burn. If you don't have a deep freeze, get birds to taxidermist promptly.

    These are the things that you can do to help yourself have a better mount. They are simple and easy to do.

    Keep the bird wet.
    Use plastic garbage bags.
    Carry bird by the feet.
    Cool birds down before placing in plastic bag.
    Call or E-Mail if you need help.