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Thread: Looking for Resources on Caping/Boning Sheep

  1. #1
    Member AK_Kid's Avatar
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    Default Looking for Resources on Caping/Boning Sheep

    I'm an experienced moose and caribou hunter but first-time sheep hunter seeking information on how to cape and de-bone a sheep. I can dress a moose/caribou, but have always taken meat in on-the-bone for processing (a waste of money, I know). I'm having diffuculty locating a good instructional video or other resource that covers caping and de-boning a sheep, and I'm hoping one of you gents can steer me in the right direction. Any good information will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.

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    Member GD Yankee's Avatar
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    I'll tag along on your thread if you don't mind.

    Considering how keeping pack weight down is a sheep hunting consideration, do you successful sheep hunters carry salt for the cape and citric acid (and a spray bottle) for the meat?

    I've got a tag this year and I want to make sure if I get one that I do everything possible to get a good mount.

    What have you done to get the meat off the mountain-side? Lots of the forum "glory pictures" have the ram in a pretty precarious position. Do you pull off the hams, shoulders and ribs, deboning the rest on the mountainside? Or it is best to cape the shoulder up to the base of the head, then sort of quarter the carcass to get it back to camp for deboning?

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    We always brought ours out of the field on the bone. No citric acid powder at all and yes, we salted our capes. We generally left the salt in base camp because we had the meat and trophies there within two days at the most.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    We boned the one we got last season out on the mountain. I didn't feel like it was that much of a savings. If we had 2 rams down and a long walk back to the strip ahead of us at some point in the future then I probably would consider boning.

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    Russ Knight at Knight's Taxidermy (infamous for "Mounted in Alaska") has a set of laminated cards with detailed instructions on how to cape just abpout anything to include a sheep. Boning is not that diffucult, jsut stay close to the bone and insure you get everything. Harder to explain then actuelly do.

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    Member Lone Wolf1's Avatar
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    It's great that you're planning well in advance for your hunt, and you can solicit many good ideas before heading afield.

    Regarding the caping, sheep are often a "once-in-a-lifetime" trophy, so I strongly recommend that you get with your taxidermist and discuss the fine details of sheep caping and field care. Your particular taxi may have preferred cuts and tips. In general, sheep caping is like deer caping with a "Y" incision. Make sure you you take enough cape! Special attention is required to make sure you don't damage the pre-orbital glands and eyelids. Sheep have fairly thin hides, so take your time to prevent excess "skinning holes", especially in the face. Sheep hair is also hollow, and will trap blood in the hair shafts that can permanently stain the bloody areas. Therefore, keep the hair as blood-free as possible.

    Again, I highly recommend getting with your taxidermist well in advance of your hunt, and have the process fully explained. Good luck on a safe and successful hunt!

  7. #7
    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Like Lone_Wolf1 pointed out talk with your chosen taxidermist and make sure you take enough cape or you get a funny looking shoulder mount. Most people say to make the cut behind the rib cage, this is more than your taxidermist should need but it is better to have extra cape than not enough cape.

    Boning them out on the mountain saves a few lbs and if ounces add up lbs sure as heck add up! Boning them out takes a few minutes longer than quartering them.

    Bring some TAG bags from Pristine Ventures(Larry Bartlett), just about the lightest bags you can get and they work great.

    Take your time around the eyes they are a bit tricky with that gland or tear duct in the corner.

    Getting up around the horn bases is a little bit of a pain so make sure you have a skinny bladed knife like a Havalon or small folding knife that can get up in there. I noticed that if I pulled the hair back from the bases and made a cut around the bottom of the base then worked from under the skin till it connected with that cut it was easier than trying to just do it all form underneath. Hard to explain thats for sure!

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    If you want to see some excellent work and talk to a very knowledgeable taxidermist, give LoneWolf 1 a call, or also known as Dave McClannahan. There are a lot of good ones out there but Dave is passionate about his work.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    I was on the phone with Ken over at Knight's Taxidermy here in Anchorage and he wanted me to mention that they are more than happy to go over the caping / fleshing stuff with anyone who wanders through the front door, at no charge. He said that they have someone in there learning this stuff nearly every day. It might be worthwhile to give them a look-see.

    We have lots of other good operators in the directory too.

    You mentioned that you've done this with other species in the past. There's not really much different with Dall sheep, in terms of caping and fleshing. It's pretty straightforward if you've done it before. Still if you're a bit rusty I would get with any of the better taxidermists who are offering to help.

    Best regards,

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  10. #10
    Member GD Yankee's Avatar
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    Great recommendations and greatly appreciated. I'm definitely going to visit a few taxidermists and line one up before my hunts this year and take their advice.

    Mike, thanks for your great website and all the great people who contribute to it!

  11. #11
    Member AK_Kid's Avatar
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    Much obliged, guys. I grew up a meat hunter, not a trophy hunter, so caping (and boning) is actually new to me. Sounds like I need to get myself in to see a taxadermist.

    Have heard good things about Knight's. Are there other reputable taxadermists here in Anchorage folks would recommend?

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    Lone Wolf Taxidermy in Eagle River. I can send you some pictures of his work.

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