You’ve finally harvested that spectacular trophy buck! You know this is the one you need to mount. What should you do next? Remember, this is more than a trophy–it’s a reminder of what was possibly the most special hunt of your life. You want to do this right. Here’s what you need to know about handling your deer right after the kill and caring for your trophy once it’s mounted.

After the Kill

It’s important to handle your animal with care in order to present the best specimen to your taxidermist. Clean your animal of excess blood and be careful not to damage the hair on the way to your vehicle.

If you decide to cape, or skin the animal yourself, don’t cut the throat and be careful not to cut the skin too short as this will make it difficult for the taxidermist.

Remember, your taxidermist can also do the skinning, and most likely has a lot more practice. Try to get the carcass to the taxidermist as soon as you can to make skinning easier. If you can’t get there as soon as you’d like, freeze the animal.

Remember the hide should be hung in a well-ventilated area to dissipate any heat buildup. It should never be rolled up. Avoid placing any part of the carcass in plastic bags unless you need to freeze the animal.

Some Popular Mount Options

Antler Mount – Antler mounts are simple, inexpensive, and eye-catching.

Synthetic Skull Mount – If you’re looking for a skull mount, using a synthetic skull is a cost-effective option that can be done by either you or the taxidermist.

Traditional Skull Mount – The traditional skull mount is a little more expensive than the synthetic skull if mounted professionally, but this can also be a satisfying DIY project.

Shoulder Mount This is unquestionably the most popular mount. It looks great, and some hunters have undertaken this themselves. If you’re feeling brave, there are kits available to help with the project.

Wall Pedestal Mount – This style mount has a little more presence than the shoulder mount and is something to seriously consider.

Traditional Pedestal Mount – The traditional pedestal mount will beautifully fill the corner of your room and make people take notice. A real conversation starter!

Full Body Mount – This option is spectacular and pricey, but a choice you’ll never regret. This job is best left to a professional.

Caring for your Mounts

Now that you have your dream trophy, it is important to care for it properly. The last thing you want is for your mount to fade or discolor. Properly cared for, trophies can last for generations! Keep your specimen clean and dust-free but be careful not to rub the hair in the wrong direction as this can cause breakage, giving your mount a moth-eaten appearance. Always be kept or displayed in a temperature-controlled area to preserve its appearance.