How to Properly Skin Animals

As a taxidermist for over 20 years, I have seen every possible way that hunters have butchered or ruined their trophy animals by improperly skinning them. I have had guys actually cut the heads of their deer and bring them to me to turn into a shoulder mount. My standard reply is that I am not a magician. Fortunately, most hunters aren’t like those guys but we must master the art of skinning for taxidermy or tanning purposes.

In my opinion, no animal skin should be wasted. Having your skins tanned or used for mounting seems like a good way to not waste any valuable parts of a game animal that took a lot of effort and time to harvest.

Again, the internet is a valuable resource for finding videos of how to skin just about everything. There are also many feature length DVD’s on the subject that are available and easily found with an internet search. I would also go to www.taxidermy.net and browse thousands of posts that are taxidermy related. If videos are not adequate for you to learn with and you need to physically see what you want to learn, visiting your local, and hopefully friendly, taxidermist is an awesome way to learn and see how skinning is properly done.

If you think you might need practice caping an animal off of the head and face, then go to your local game processor and ask for discarded deer heads to practice on. Even if they are does, you will still learn how to remove the head skin off of the eyes, ears, lips and nose.

Sometimes as a hunter you don’t always have the ability to kill an animal and get it straight to the taxidermist without bacteria setting in and beginning the rotting process, so learning how to properly skin and cape an animal will make you a more competent hunter and a good example to those around you. There is no such thing as being over-educated, so learn all that you can learn and keep improving your skills, even in outdoor skills.  

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