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Thread: Questions for the Taxi's

  1. #1
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Default Questions for the Taxi's

    I have been watching the video series on the backwoods taxidermy site and trying to get a good idea of how to take care of a cape just in case I connect on my fly out hunt this year. First off I will talk to the taxi that I choose before heading out to get some pointers but as a layman the vids seemed pretty good and I certainly have a lot more insight into what is involved w/ turning ears, ringing mouths, splitting lips etc.

    The vids show a bird beak knife which looks light and I am thinking about taking one along for cutting between horns. Other than that I will have a Havel knife to do most of the work.

    The guy in the vid uses a 7 cut on the deer instead of the Y or T to work around the antlers. I am guessing that this will not be too effective on a sheep and that a Y cut would be preferred so that there was no cut on the thin strip of fur between the horns themselves. I am curious what the general consensus is on that though.

    The bear on the site they worked the ears manually. The deer they used a tool. I don't see me taking the tool out in the field for a sheep but I am very curious if anyone has any tricks for turning ears in camp. I am curious about both bear ears and sheep.

    I get that "cleaner is better" but I am curious just how close you need to be to prevent damage. Is there a "good enough" where the salt will do the job and get me through a week or so in the field to get the hid back to my guy? I am mainly worried about eyes, nose, lips, ears in regards to that.

    Tear ducts? I have read and seen on vids where they trim them out and keep them on the hide. It seems that they ring the eyes and leave them on but I am not sure how to treat them in the field. Can I just get most of the meat off around them then salt thoroughly?

    Last question.... do you charge the same for a properly turned, fleshed, prepped cape that you would charge for a guy that brought one still on the skull? I will obviously need to talk to any taxidermist that I choose about this ahead of time but I am curious what the general feeling is about it. I can certainly see where a poorly done cape w/ holes would create more work in the long run so would expect to see repercussions there. What I don't want to do is spend a bunch of time scraping, trimming, turning in the field to get it fully prepped and have it not return any benefit over having just worked it enough to make sure the hair doesn't slip.

  2. #2
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Jon I'm no taxidermist, but I have done a few capes. The best thing I have found to get the hide off by the horns is a straight blade screw driver. You want to pry the hide away as opposed to cutting it away. You need that hair to cover the horn bases, sure you have seen horns with hair around them, will take away from your mount.

    A good piece of hard wood carved down can be used to turned the ears, you want to cut the hide away from the cartilage.

    The main thing is keep it cool, clean and dry. Treat the cape like you would meat. Most taxidermist want it fleshed right before you add salt, salting a hide that has not been fleshed causes it to be really hard to flesh once the salt sets. Be careful, river rise quickly and you can lose your meat and trophies.

    The taxidermist I have used charge an hourly rate to do hide prep if they have to do extra work, like removing the skull.

    I take salt and use it only if I have to, but better to salt an improperly fleshed hide than let it slip. You can seal the cape in a plastic bag or 5 gal bucket and use the river to cool it just like meat, must stay dry. If I had to do this I would cool it in the river in a water proof bag and remove it at night to air out and cool in the night air.

    If you can keep the meat you should be able to keep the cape safe as well.

    Here is our hides form the Brooks, hanging in the shape and air drying. After one windy day the hide was air dried.



    Hope you get one this year.

    Steve
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
    Founding Member
    http://www.residenthuntersofalaska.org/

  3. #3
    Member sharksinthesalsa's Avatar
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    hey lujon...i will first suggest that you spend a day with the taxidermist you will use for your trophy and do what they ask you to do.....as for me i prefer the "y" cuts on everything except goats...generally the smaller the "y" the better....yes if you brought me a nice clean salted cape i would charge you 0 extra dollars....if you brought me a cape with the head still in it i am going to charge you to skin the head charge you to turn the ears lips and nose and charge you to flesh the cape....have your taxidermist demonstrate the turning of the lips nose and ears to you, how they want it done....do not remove the cartilage from the ears.......i do not use a tool on any animals ears up here i used to use them alot on deer in michigan but every thing i do by hand up here....bears and sheep you can do without a stick or rod to help reverse the ear but moose deer caribou goats wolves fox a dulled stick or the end of a sharpening steel works nice to put pressure on the connecting tissue so that you can turn it all the way....you must turn the ear fully to the edge of the cartilage....if you do not you will have hair slip....when turning lips you must completely fillet the inner lipskin from the outer hide so that it lays flat...rub your forefinger and thumb together over the area that you are cutting if you feel a ridge you must continue...leave as much as the inner lip skin attached to your cape as possible and do not cut the "corners" of the mouth....you must also split the cartilage that makes the septum of the nose and "turn the nostrils"....also do not cut off the tear ducts...i would say this may be the most common mistake made by people who skin their own animals....bears and goats and predators you dont' have to worry about so much....deer moose sheep caribou all have prominant tear ducts and a taxidermist needs all of that skin to make your mount look as nice as possible...and just like the lips the eyelids should be turned .....as for fleshing you must remove all fatty tissues and heavy bits of red meat....salt cannot penetrate these materials...if you cannot remove every single bit of flesh that is ok.....but when you do salt your hide dont' let it dry....roll it up and let it "brine"......if you are doing this on the first or second day of a ten day hunt you must do it more precisely and cleanly than on the 9th day of the same hunt....if you have to take care of a hide at the beginning of the hunt it may be completely dry or it may be ruined by the end of a hunt...if that is the case...don't use all your salt at once....get your cape as turned and fleshed and clean as you possibly can then put a healthy but not heaping amount of salt all over it...roll it up and put it in a game bag....and as stid said before clean cool and dry....make a shade with a tarp and hang the hide from a limb or something...keep it off the ground...after the first day...rub the salt back into the hide with your hands so that all the edges and hidden parts are sure to be salted...then put on another coat of salt...if you wish to now you may drape over a limb and dry...but only if everything is turned and fleshed.....drying before all this is done actually makes things worse....i know you are a sheep hunter and everyone loves their sheep to be nice and white but not everyone knows how to keep them clean...it is pretty simple and my may already know...but if you get blood in the hair of your sheep cape you must keep it moist until you can thoroughly rinse it out in a CLEAR creek or other CLEAR water...this is done before all turning and fleshing....once rinsed you can hold onto the side of the cape and "snap" it and the water will come out of the hair....all over you...as for knives...i like the regular victorinox knives for all my skinning and cutting...i will take two of these with a good sharpening tool on a sheep hunt and use them for the entire process skinning boning turning fleshing.....i prefer the "sheeps foot" rather than the hawk bill or the pointed variety...the sheeps foot is the flat bottom blade with the rounded over nose....you may find a screwdriver will work for prying the skin from around a september moose or caribou but i'd never try this on an animal in velvet or any animal that has horns rather than antlers...i hope this answers most of your questions, if not feel free to ask....one last thing....skin lifesize sheep like a bear rug only dont cut up the neck stop at the brisket....and cut down the back of the neck only enough to get the skull/horns out and cut around the testicles not through the middle of them.....this reduces the amount of blood in the hair and makes the finished mount not have an orange line down the middle of the back.....you may do the same with goats but the blood thing is not as important...goats have a different type of hair.....never ever get your goat wet....especially if you have to carry it anywhere....most tanneries charge more for animals cut down the back "dorsal cut" than they do for under belly cuts "ventral cuts"..so taxidermists charge respectively
    "early to bed, early to rise, fish like hell, and make up lies"

  4. #4

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    sharksinthesalsa has given good advice. He mentioned to wash the sheep cape in clear water. I would like to add by saying DO NOT wash the cape in water that has stirred up glacial silt in it. The silt will leave a dirt stain on the hair that probabley won't ever come out. Good luck on your hunt.

  5. #5
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Someone rep sharksinthesalsa for his great post, system says I have to spread the wealth. Again sharksinthesalsa, great info and thanks for posting.

    Steve
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
    Founding Member
    http://www.residenthuntersofalaska.org/

  6. #6
    Member sharksinthesalsa's Avatar
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    i will note that some sheep do have natural rock stain that like aksquirrel said will never come out....two years ago atleast here in south central we had horrible weather during the spring and summer months very very wet....the sheep were very dirty naturally and many mounts showed the color of the rocks the sheep were living in.....rinsing will get rid of alot of blood...but sometimes not all of it but it will never get rid of the natural "rock stain" of a certain animal...only bleaching the cape after the mount is completed will do this...and only to a point....however i do not recommend the bleaching either as it shortens the overall life of the mount
    "early to bed, early to rise, fish like hell, and make up lies"

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