Whitetail Deer Shoulder Mount




Introduction: Whitetail Deer Shoulder Mount

About: Retired software engineer. Like the outdoors, canoeing, camping, hunting and fishing. I’ve built 3 cedar strip canoes and 2 cedar strip kayaks and use all of them. I built 3 acoustic guitars and play all of th…

Things I learned during my first attempt at taxidermy of the Whitetail deer I took while hunting my property.

I’ve always wanted to try to create a shoulder mount, so I found a book written by an old time taxidermist (“Taxidermy Guide” by Russell Tinsley) and decided to give it a try. Here is an account of my first attempt

for more information look here: http://jimmar.hubpages.com/_3v4wkz561vqja/hub/Whitetail-shoulder-mount-The-basics

Step 1: Measuring the Hide

This is the first step and is fairly critical in order to purchase a correctly sized form. Forms are usually specified as type of posture, straight upright, right turn upright, left turn semi sneak, full sneak, etc. etc. and with three critical dimensions

A--Nose to Corner of the Eye

C--Behind the ears

B—the circumference 3" down the neck behind the ears

Step 2: Skinning and Caping

There must be adequate hide to cover the form, therefore the cape should be cut just behind the front legs. Excess hide can be removed later. Begin to remove the hide with a sharp knife working towards the head. When you reach the ear bases cut the ears away from the skull, the cartilage will be removed later. The area around the eyes is tricky, leave as much of the eyelid attached as possible.

Step 3: Ordering Supplies

You will need the following:

Foam form of proper dimension and pose that you like

Plastic ear liners

Glass eyes

Modeling clay

Fishing line or artificial sinew

Acrylic paint – black, brown, natural, gray

Glovers needle

Borax – 1 lb.

Alum – 1 lb.

Salt – 10 lbs

Hide paste

Finishing nails

T shaped push pins

Scalpel or very sharp knife

Knife or homemade hide scraper

Step 4: Preserving the Cape

Any chunks of flesh remaining on the cape must be removed by scraping or cutting away with a razor sharp knife. The lips must be split and fleshed. Excess flesh must be removed from around the eyes and nose also. The cartilage must be removed from ears.

The recipe to complete the preservation (pickling) of the cape requires 8 lbs. of salt, 1 lb. of alum and 1 lb. of 20 Mule Team Borax, and a container that holds 5 gallons of liquid, I used a plastic tote. Put 3 gallons of water in the container and dissolve the salt, alum, and borax in 1 gallon of water by boiling in a separate container. Pour the 1 gallon into the 3 gallons, stirring, then allow it to cool. Completely submerge the hide in the liquid.

Step 5: Cleaning the Cape

Once the hide is removed from the pickling the flesh side should be scraped thoroughly to remove the membrane. Any extra flesh remaining in the nose or around the eyes and lips should be carefully scraped away. Now is the time to sew any holes in the hide.

Step 6:

Attaching the antlers, eyes, and the cape

Mannequins will usually have a wood backed cut out for the antler skull plate. With the mannequin hung on a wall at eye level trim bone away from the skull plate and place the antlers into the cut out.

Before permanently mounting the antlers, take a small amount of clay to place in each eye socket of the mannequin. Push the glass eyes into the clay then stand back and look at them carefully to be sure they are straight. Pack more clay around the eyes and blend into the mannequin.

Next, drill holes through the bone and attach the antlers to the wood backing of the mannequins antler cavity with dry wall screws.

Step 7: Finishing

Using the glover’s needle and a 15 lb. test fishing line or artificial sinew, sew the opening between the antlers together using a baseball stitch. Insert the needle each time on the flesh side of the cape. Stitches should be about ¼ inch apart. The skin must be tight around the base of the antlers because it will pull away as the hide dries. Press balls of clay into the inner ears to help them stand up and keep them anchored. Smooth the hide onto the mannequin and use finishing nails to hold down any areas that want to sag, like under the jaw. Tuck in the skin around the eyeballs and anchor the corner of the eyes with finishing nails, leaving enough exposed so it can be removed later. Tuck in the nose and the mouth so that they look as natural as possible.

for more information: http://jimmar.hubpages.com/hub/Whitetail-shoulder-mount-The-basics

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    Question 1 year ago

    where did you get the foam pose base, the glass eyes, and the plastic ear bases? i want to go hunting with my dad and maybe skin and stuff my prizes but it would be my first time. do you have any other tips?


    2 years ago

    Thank you for sharing. You did a great job with an extremely detailed step by step guide. I was wondering if you ever thought about doing this professionally? I am trying to start my own company and would love some guidance and help. Let me know what you think, here is my website for reference. oregontaxidermist.com


    8 years ago on Introduction

    i hope to get a big buck this year and do this it would be amazing. how long does it take to do this?


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    thanks. Me too. Fleshing and preparing the hide takes the longest. I didn't keep track but I'd guess the whole process takes about 12-16 hours man hours but overall about 2 months for curing, drying, etc.