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Author Topic: How to mount a Whitetail Deer  (Read 11960 times)

Offline Michelle_Nelson

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How to mount a Whitetail Deer
« on: April 21, 2007, 09:49:54 AM »
Well I've had these pictures on my digital camera for a few weeks now. These are just the basics. I didn't go into a whole lot of detail. Basicly this is how you mount a deer if everything goes smooth and their are no bumps in the road along the way.

First off when you first recieve the deer you have got to cape it off the skull. I use a "Y" Incision for this on all my deer. Their are a few other ways of making your incision. One is a "T" Incision and very few taxidermists like to make a "V" Incision and chisel the skull plate off the skull.

"Y" Incision

"T" Incision

"V" Incision


Befor you make your incisions you will need to measure the cape. You will take 3 measurments "A" , "C", and "D". Your "A" measurment will be from the tip of the nose to the front corner on the eye. Your "C" measurment will be around the neck right behind the ears and tight under the chin. Your "D" measurment will be 3" bellow the ears. For this post we will use the following measurments A=7 1/2" x C=21" x D=25".

The "Y" Incision and the "T" Incision are almost identical. The only differance is the cut on top of the head. Basicaly what you do with both incisions is once you have made the incision work the skin around the antler bur either with a knife, scalple blade or a screw driver. Now sever the ear butts from the skull. Hold the front of the ear butt as you cut the ear butt free from the skull making sure you keep this knife as close to the skull as possible. This will hopefully help you from cutting a hole through the cape.

Now work the cape down to the eyes. Put your finger into the back corner of the eye. Now pull the skin outward while you continue to skin the cape off the skull. Remember to keep the knife or scaple close to the bone.  This will keep you from cutting the delicate eye skin while skinning the cape off the skull. Befor you get to the mouth flip the deer over so you can see the mouth. Now grab the lip and roll it up. Work your knife around the jaw line. Keep in mind you want atleast 1/4" to 1/2" of inner lip skin left on the cape. You will use this skin later.

Turn the head upside down so you can skin out the neck. work the cape all the way down to the head and neck junction and sever the spine at the skull this will free the meat. You should only have the skull left now you can finnish taking the skin off the skull. Once you have completed that you can now cut the horns off of the skull. Make your cut streight down on the forhed about 1 inches infront of the horns. On the back of the skull make your cut parallel with the eyes.

Offline Michelle_Nelson

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Re: How to mount a Whitetail Deer
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2007, 09:50:24 AM »
Once you get the cape off the skull you need to turn the eye's, ears, nose, and lips. Becarful not to cut through the skin on either of these areas because they are very thin and a pain in the rear to fix if you are not experianced. Also remove all the meat and membrane off the face. Now you have to flesh the main body of the cape. Get all the red meat and membrane off of the cape. It doesn't have to be perfect if you are going to tan the cape. If their is a little membrane left that is alright.

For this next step you are going to need 25 lbs of NON- IODIZED salt. Best place to get this is at a feed store. It might run you $5.00 a 50lbs bag. Remember you can never realy use to much salt on a cape. Now rub salt all over the cape. Make sure to get it into the creases. If you don't get it in all the creases than it could cause hair slippage in those spots.

Now lay the cape out flat and put a thin layer of salt on it. Now roll the cape up and put in on an incline over night to allow it to drain. Next day shake off all the old salt and rub some new salt onto the hide. Lay the hide out flat on an incline and let it set for 2 more days. If the salt is wet however the next day change the salt with new salt. After the 2 days are up you are ready to tan the cape.

In a 5 gallon bucket put 4 gallons of water and 4 lbs of salt. Mix the solution until the salt is pretty much disolved. Keep in mind not all the salt is going to disolve. Now place the cape in the solution until it is soft again. Probably only take an hour or 2. While cape is rehydration in the solution you can mix the pickle bath. I will not go into detail because their are dozens of different pickles.

Once the cape is rehydrated put it in the pickle. Make sure the pickle has a pH of 2. Leave the cape in the pickle for 3 days. On the third day pull it out and shave it down. The pickle will cause a chemical reaction in the skin and make it swell up almost 2x as big. Shaving it means thinning the skin. Once you have shaved the skin put it back in the pickle for 24 hours.

Now that the cape has been pickled it is time to neutralive it. Pull the cape out of the pickle and allow it to drain while you mix the neutralize bath. All you need is a 5 gallon bucket with 4 gallons of water and 4 oz. of baking soda. Mix the solution up and place the hide in it for no longer than 20 minutes. This will cause another chemical reaction in the hide and cause it to swell up again. At this time you can shave the cape once more.

Now you are ready to tan. I will not go into detail with this because their are dozens of different tans. If I were using an EZ100 tan I would mix up the tan making sure it had a pH of 4 befor I place the hide in. I leave the cape in the tan for 20-24 hours. Once I pull the cape out I roll it up in a towel to get all the excess moisture off. Than I take my tanning oil and rub it all over the skin side of the hide. Turn the cape hair side out. Fold it up and put it in the frig overnight. The next day it is ready to mount.

Offline Michelle_Nelson

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Re: How to mount a Whitetail Deer
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2007, 09:50:54 AM »
Now it is time to mount your deer. Use the measurments you took off your deer ( A=7 1/2" x C=21" x D=25" ). Make sure when you took these measurments that your tape measure was tight around the neck. When I order a form I generaly subtract 1" from the "C" and "D" measurment. So I will be ordering a 7 1/2" x 20" x 24" whitetail manakin.

Once you recieve your manakin you will need to test fit the cape on the manakin. It will slid on alot easier if it isn't burned and roughed up. Make sure the incision will come together in the back.

Now you will need to burn your makakin. I usually use a small propane torch. This will harden the mold release and it will sand off easier. Once you have it burned you will need to sand down the face. Use a dremal tool and cut slots for the tearducts and around the lips for the lip skin to tuck into. Use a Rougher to rough up the main body of the form.



Now use a dremal tool or a knife or anything you prefer and dig out the foam in the nose. Don't dig out to much or you will have to repair that later. You will want to dig it back a bit inorder to give depth to the nose. After you nave completed that use your speed septum tool and install the speed septums in the nose making sure they are centured.


Offline Michelle_Nelson

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Re: How to mount a Whitetail Deer
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2007, 09:51:39 AM »
Now it is time to install the earliners. Simply remove the cartlige inside the ears. Insert the earliner and test the fit. If the earliner is to big trim the edges til it fits. Once you get them trimmed and fit right mix your ear adhesive and smear it all over the earliner and insert it back into the ear. Now work the skin around until the hair line pattern is correct. Now set them aside and let them set up.

Once the form is sanded and roughed up and the ears are set up go ahead and slide the cape back on the manakin. You will need to set the antlers. Pull the cape up over the face and set the antlers on the form. The skull plate on the horns should set flush with the top of the manakins head. If not trim the bottom of the skull plate til it does. All deer are different and their horns set different. some are set farther back and others are closer to the eyes. For this post we will go with the the average. Their should only be about 1 - 1/4 inches of skull plate in front of the horns if not trim it as well. Once it has been trimmed place the antlers on the manakin and see if the skin will reach up under the antler bur. If it does you are ready to bondo the horns.



The horns need to be tilted properly on the head. You don't want them to be layed to far back or to far forward. I am not going to go into deail on this either. I will say an easy way to do this is measure from the tip of the nose to the tip of both main beams.



Once the bond is set up you will need to drill 4 holes. I use 4 - 3" drywall screws. You want the screws to slid into the holes but not to loose. Use a drill bit accordingly. Now use a 3/8 inch drill bit and counter sint the 2 front holes. The 2 back holes will be covered up with clay.

Offline Michelle_Nelson

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Re: How to mount a Whitetail Deer
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2007, 09:52:13 AM »
It is now time to set the eyes. First off pull the face of your cape off the manikin. Like so.....



Now use a little bit of clay in the back of the eye to set them in the manikin. Make sure the pupils are parrallel to the floor if the deer is looking streight ahead. If the deer isn't that is a whole new ball game and I can't go into much detail on that subjet. It's something you will learn over time.



Now take some clay in your hand and roll it out into a rope. bout the size of a dime maybe a little smaller. Run the rope bout 1/2 inch infront of the eye back around to the back of the eye. Now roll another rope out til it is a little smaller than a pen. Run this one along the bottom of the eye. Smooth it off with your finger. keep a cup of water handy to dip your fingers in it makes it a whole lot easier too smooth the clay. Now take a little piece of clay and insert it into the front of the eye to fill in the gap and smooth it off as well. Once you have the eye brow sculpted in roll out a very thin piece of clay and put it against the eye on the brow about 1 inch long. This will be sculped in as an eye lid.

Once you are finnished with the eyes smear some clay on the nose to smooth it out where you installed the speed septums. The nose pad ofn the cape is so thin it will show any deformities on the manikin. You will want to put a small piece of clay in front of the tear duct as well.

The clay work shold look like this after it is complete!




Offline Michelle_Nelson

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Re: How to mount a Whitetail Deer
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2007, 09:52:36 AM »
Now that you have the clay work done on your face. Put a rubber glove on and smear hide past all over the face. Make sure not to get any in the hair. If you do wipe it off with a damp rag. Also make sure you get glue in the tear duct and lip slots you cut with the dremal tool. If you get some glue on the eye wipe it off with a Q-tip and water.



Once the glue is on the face pull the cape back over the face on the manikin.

Now it is time to tuck the nose. I have a special tool I use for this but you can use anything that works. Trim the nose skin so you only tuck about 1/4 inch or so. center up the nose pad on the form and tuck the nose skin into each nostril on the manikin. Put 2 pin's in the front corner of the nose and the top of the nostril. You will use a brad and insert it into the back corner of the nose. The brad will stay their forever so don't wory bout removing it. Once the skin is in place and aligned. Stuff plastic up inside the nose to seep the skin from puilling free.

Now for the lips. You will want to trim 1/4" of skin out of the back corner of the cape. You will also want to trim the lip skin. You will on'y need about a 1/4" or so. The reason why you trim the lip skin from the back corner of the mouth is to keep it from puckering when you tuck it. Start with the top lip and tuck it first. Befor you tuck the bottom lip take a small roll of clay and put it just under the nose on the bottom lip. Now tuck the bottom lip leaving the bottom lip exposed just under the nose. Do not expose the bottom lipe any wider than the nose. Maybe 1" of bottom lip under the nose should be perfect. Now work the clay around til it makes the bottom lip look full.

Once you have comleted that you will want to pin the top and bottom lips. Starting with the bottom lip and than pinning the top. I use 2 1/2" "T" pins for the bottom lip and 1" "T" pins for the top lip.




Offline Michelle_Nelson

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Re: How to mount a Whitetail Deer
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2007, 09:53:05 AM »
It is now time to work on the eye's. You will want to make sure when you prep your cape befor you begin mounting it that the eye skin is as thin as possible. The thicker the skin the more shrinkage you will get. When you go to set the eye's you will want about 1/8" to 3/16' of inner eye skin to tuck. The inner eye skin in the picture below is white colored.



Once you have trimmed the skin take a brad and put it in the front corner of the eye skin. Just befor it goes from white to brown. Now insert the pin just infront of the glass eye. This will help keep this area from pulling as the cape ans clay dry. Now tuck the rest of the eye skin up between the glass eye and the clay. Keep pushing the clay back up against the eye so thier won't be a gap when it dries. Once the clay is tucked modle in the upper eye lid.



If you look hard you can see the brad in the front corner of the eye. It is recesed so when i do my finnish work after the mount is dry you will never know it is their.... Make sure when you tuck the eye skin and model in the eye lid that the eye lashes are at a 45 degree angle to the eye.

Once you are done with the eye. You will need to take a tucking tool or a screw driver and tuck the tear ducts. One tucked I use a T pin cut off in the shape of an "L" and Tuck 3 of them in the tear duct to keep it in place than I take that small piece of clay I put in the front of the tear duct and smash it back over the tearduckt to close it....


Offline Michelle_Nelson

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Re: How to mount a Whitetail Deer
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2007, 09:53:49 AM »
Once the eyes are set go ahead and screw the horns on top of the manakin.



Use some clay and build up the top of the head. Also use a scale and weigh out 2 - 8oz balls of clay. You will use these to model in the ear butts.



Using your 6 inch needle.



You will want to sew up the 2 "Y's" coming off of the antler bur. Stopping at the "Y" junction.


Offline Michelle_Nelson

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Re: How to mount a Whitetail Deer
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2007, 09:54:09 AM »
Once you have the 2 "Y's" sewed up set your ear butts. This is probably going to take you a while because you have to sculped in the the muscle detail.



Now sew the cape the rest of the way down the "Y" incision. Once this is complete wet the hair and comb it until it lays flat and the way you want it. Than you will cut some plastic screan to staple over the incision. This will keep the hair around the incision from standing up as the mount dries.


Offline Michelle_Nelson

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Re: How to mount a Whitetail Deer
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2007, 09:54:36 AM »
Ok your icision is all sewed up and it is now time to turn the deer upside down. Roll the cape up to the ears and put another rubber glove on. Smear hide paste all over the main body of the manikin as so...



Now roll the hide back up onto the form. Align the brisket and put 10 staples to keep it lighned up. Now flip the deer back over and put 10 staples at the top. make sure the arm pit is ligned up as well. Staple the hide all the way around the back of the form and trim it off.



Run your hands along the detail of the mount and make sure their are no air bubles. If you find some poke the skin with your needle and the air will escape.

Offline Michelle_Nelson

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Re: How to mount a Whitetail Deer
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2007, 09:55:31 AM »
Once you have completed all these steps set the mount aside and let it dry for 2 weeks!




Offline Michelle_Nelson

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Re: How to mount a Whitetail Deer
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2007, 09:55:58 AM »
Now that the mount has set aside for 2 weeks it should be ready to finnish out.  I use an airbrush to paint my mounts.  Befor I paint however i use my air compressor to blow the mount off and anything that has colocted on the hair like dust durring the drying process.

I also do any epoxie work needed and let it dry befor i paint.

I will use Flesh, Superhide White, Bass Belly White, Black, and Burnt Umber.  I mix my own colors when i paint deer. I don't use what comes streight out of the bottle.  It's close but not close enough for me.

For the Inside of the nose I use Flesh, Bass Belly White, and a few brops of Black.

For the Ears I start with Flesh and lightly spray the inside of the ears.  i let that dry and come back with a tooth brush and brush any over spray off the inside ear hair.  Than I lightly spray a 50/50 mix of Superhide White and Bass Belly White over the flesh so it hase a light flesh tone to the ear. 

For the eyes I use 50/50 mix of Burnt Umber and Laquer Thinner.

For the out side of the nose I dot it with modge Podge and paint it with Black.  he modge podge adds texture to the nose.

  This is the finnished Product.


Offline Choclab

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Re: How to mount a Whitetail Deer
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2007, 11:29:05 AM »
Wow.......great pics!
Eastsider stuck on the wetside......

Offline Ray

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Re: How to mount a Whitetail Deer
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2007, 11:56:37 AM »
Great write up!

Offline wannahunt

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Re: How to mount a Whitetail Deer
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2007, 09:05:52 PM »
Thats' alot of good information. I have always thought it would be fun to learn to do my own game mounts. So it sounds like you this this for a living? Do you have a Taxidermy shop? If so where at and do you do lessons?

 


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