In Parts 1-6 of this taxidermy series, I have discussed ways to choose and deal with a taxidermist, and I have also mentioned some do’s and don’ts in those dealings. When you get the call that your mount is complete and ready for pick-up, you need to realize that the process is not yet over. While it might be tempting to barrel down to the taxidermy shop and run your mount home to put on the wall, you will need to do some follow up work. By staying well informed about how to best maintain your mount, you will ensure that it will last a lifetime.
When you go to pick up your mount, look it all over really well before accepting it. Make sure you don’t see any nails or thread hanging off of it anywhere. These are common items that are often overlooked and they will need to be pulled or trimmed before you head home.
If you are happy with the quality of your mount, then ask your taxidermist what you can do to keep it clean and fresh looking. Antlers dry out over time and they need to be treated with some form of oil-based product that will give it moisture and keep the natural color from fading. Ask you taxidermist what products he recommends and what methods he thinks you should use to clean your mount.
One of the biggest mistakes that guys make when picking up mounts is to be unprepared to transport the mount. Bring some blankets and pillows and if you have something large, bring bungee cords or some tie-down rope. I have seen a few mounts get damaged on their very first car or truck ride. It does not need to happen. It will just cost you money if something gets dinged enough to need repair.
Finally, always keep your mounts out of direct sunlight. UV light is a mount killer. It will fade your mount’s natural colors fast so avoid window light at all costs. Also, keep your mount away from a direct heat source like a wood stove. Animal skins that are tanned are actual leather and extreme heat is not good for any leather at any time. The same can be said for moisture. A lot of people hang their mounts in a garage or shop that might have strong moisture content at times.