Preparing trophies for mounting is a crucial step in preserving the beauty and integrity of your hunting achievements. In this article, we will focus on the concerns associated with preparing trophies from the plains and savannas of Africa, which often present unique challenges. By following the correct procedures for foreign field care, you can guarantee a remarkable trophy mount and cherish the memories of your hunting experience for a lifetime.
The Importance of Proper Field Care:
When it comes to trophy animals from Africa, many hunters encounter problems and complaints due to inadequate field care. Unfortunately, there are guides and outfitters who hire subpar services, which can result in disappointing outcomes. However, with a clear understanding of the correct procedures, you can avoid these pitfalls and preserve your hard-earned trophies. Let’s explore some essential guidelines for ensuring excellent field care and maximizing the potential of your trophy mounts.
Before skinning, it is crucial to take some basic measurements that will provide invaluable information to the taxidermist later on. These measurements include the distance from the tip of the nose to the front corner of the eye and the back of the skull, as well as the length from the front corner of the eye to the front base of the horn. Additionally, measurements of eye width and neck circumference are important. For a full or life-size mount, measurements such as overall length, leg length, and shoulder height are also required. Taking accurate measurements ensures the correct mold for the mount.
Proper Skinning Procedure:
To begin the skinning process, make two cuts from the middle/rear base of one horn toward the rear point of the skull, repeating the same steps on the other side of the head. It is advisable to make these initial cuts with the blade’s edge facing up to minimize the risk of slicing through the hairs. Continue with a long opening incision down the center of the neck, passing the shoulders. Carefully cut the skin around the horns, being cautious not to damage it. Skin down the face, being particularly careful around the eyes and mouth areas. Take note of specific techniques to preserve delicate areas, such as the ears and eyelids.
Once the skin, or cape, is removed, certain details require special attention. Turning the ears inside out while being careful not to break the edges is vital to preserving them properly. Opening the lips and removing surplus fat and flesh from the skin also contribute to better results. It is crucial to salt the skin as soon as possible to prevent spoilage, especially in hot climates. Salt should be rubbed into all areas of the flesh side of the skin, and multiple salting sessions may be necessary until the skin is dry enough for shipping.
Packaging and Shipping:
When preparing the trophies for shipping, ensure that each swine animal is separately wrapped to avoid contact with other skins. Attach shipping tags securely to all skins and horns, using corresponding tags to avoid confusion. Proper identification is crucial to avoid mix-ups and ensure each hunter receives their own trophies.
To enhance the preservation of hides in challenging climates, consider mixing salt with alum (aluminum sulphate) in a half-and-half ratio. This combination significantly improves the drying ability of the salt, making it especially useful during wet seasons. Avoid boxing the skins until they are ready for shipping to prevent insect damage. Regularly examine the skins for insects and treat them with a suitable insecticide recommended by the outfitter or guide.
Proper field care and preparation of overseas trophies is essential for achieving stunning mounts. By following the guidelines outlined above, you can ensure that your hunting achievements are preserved in the best possible way. Here are a few additional tips to consider:
Photography: Take high-quality photos of your trophy animals from different angles before and during the skinning process. These photos will serve as a valuable reference for the taxidermist, helping them recreate the natural pose and characteristics of the animal.
Field care kit: As a responsible hunter, always carry a field care kit with you. This kit should include a sharp knife, salt, plastic bags, zip ties, gloves, and other essential items. Having the necessary tools readily available will enable you to take immediate action to preserve the trophies.
Cooling: Proper cooling of the cape or skin is crucial, especially in hot climates. If possible, place the skin in a cool, shaded area immediately after harvesting the animal. Avoid leaving the trophy in direct sunlight or inside a hot vehicle, as this can lead to hair slippage and damage the quality of the mount.
Documentation: Keep detailed records of the hunting expedition, including the date, location, and any specific details about the animal. This information will be helpful for the taxidermist to accurately recreate the habitat and environment in the final mount.
Choose a reputable taxidermist: We have the necessary skills and experience to ensure that your trophies are mounted to the highest standard and reflect the beauty and uniqueness of the animal. Contact us today.
Remember, proper field care and preparation are crucial for the success of your trophy mounts. By following these guidelines and paying attention to detail, you can enjoy stunning and lifelike mounts that will serve as a lasting reminder of your hunting adventures.