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How to Cape a Deer

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With a sharp knife slit the hide circling the body behind the shoulder at around the mid point of the rib cage behind the front legs. Slit the skin around the legs just above the knees.


An additional slit will be needed from the back of the leg and joining the body cut behind the legs.


Peel the skin forward up to the ears and jaw exposing the head/neck junction. Cut into the neck approximately three inches down from this junction. circle the neck cutting down to the spinal column. After this cut is complete, grasp the antler bases and twist the head off the neck. This should allow the hide to be rolled up and put in a freezer until delivered to a taxidermist. These cuts should allow plenty of hide for the taxidermist to work with in mounting. Remember, the taxidermist can cut off excess hide but he can't add what he doesn't have.


Caping the face should be left for the taxidermist. Properly skinning the delicate nose, mouth, eyes and ears is invaluable toward producing a quality mount. Sometimes it may be necessary to cape the face so that the hide can be frozen without the antlers, such as with a moose or elk. If this happens, make a "Y" incision along the back of the cape on up to the back of the antler burrs. Be careful caping around the burrs, keeping the knife blade as close to the skull as possible. Be sure to cut the ear butts close to the skull. Leave eyelids and lachrymal (eye) glands intact on cape, leave as much nose cartilage attached to the cape and get as much of the gums as possible. Once the hide is totally caped off the skull, the hide should be folded skin-to-skin and rolled into a ball, then placed into an air-tight and placed in a freezer.


The antlers can then be cut from the skull. Deliver cape and antlers to your taxidermist as soon as possible.

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