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How to Cape Your Trophy Deer

Once you've harvested your trophy deer, you may decide that it's one you want to preserve with a mount. Properly caping the animal and making sure you leave enough hide is key when it comes to getting any kind of shoulder mount, to ensure the taxidermist has enough to work with.

Below are step-by-step instructions on caping a deer.

Step 1

Start by hanging your deer, I find it easier to hang the animal upside down, especially if you have already gutted it.

Cut around the second joint of the hind leg, you can easily break the leg off by putting pressure at the joint and spinning the leg off.

Follow the hair line between the white and tan color of the hind quarter to the tail, cut around the anus. Cut around the remainder of the leg and peel the skin down towards the head. The fresher the animal is the easier it will peel.

Step 2

Cut all the way around the knee and snap the lower leg off.

Always leave more hide than you think your taxidermist will need, I promise they won’t mind trimming the extra and you can never replace what you cut to short, Especially if you want a pedestal mount that requires extra back and shoulder.

Step 3

When you cut up the back of the front leg follow the natural brown/white line of hair, up over the armpit and along the rib cage parallel to the sternum, Next you can either cut around mid torso at the base of the sternum or peel the whole hide down to the neck and leave the excess skin for your taxidermist to work with.

Never cut your cape shorter than the end of the sternum, no matter if you decide to cut around the body or leave the entire cap. Your taxidermist will appreciate it. Continue skinning down to the base of the skull regardless of if you leave the whole hide or just the cape.

Step 4

Skin as far down the neck as possible and find where the vertebrae in the neck and skull join together, here you can either slice around the vertebrae and spin the head off by having another person hold the body still and twisting in the opposite direction or you can use a hack saw and slice through the bone, ideally at the joint.

Step 5

Leave the head attached to the cape for your taxidermist to handle, the skin is very delicate and it’s best to leave it to a trusted taxidermist to finish the skinning process. As you can see, this process of caping will leave your taxidermist plenty of brisket and armpit to work with!

The biggest key to a clean cape for an excellent mount is to leave plenty of hide and not cutting into the actual armpit. Take your time when cutting, if you go slow, peel as much as possible, and don’t slice holes in the hide your taxidermist will thank you!

Be sure to follow Abigail on Instagram at @abigailstark08.

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