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
Fishing line or artificial sinew
Acrylic paint – black, brown, natural, gray
Borax – 1 lb.
Alum – 1 lb.
Salt – 10 lbs
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.
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