By Pat Carrothers
Protect the deer's head as you drag it out of the woods. You want to put the hooves above its head. Plan for a way to shield the head and hide while you are dragging it out of the woods. Avoid sharp branches or rocks that lay on the floor of the forest. Then get your deer to a taxidermist as soon as possible.
If you have to pack out the deer head, be careful not to cut into the neck hide. You want to deliver much more hide than it seems like you should attached to the head. That's why they call it "caping," since you leave a long cape of hide still attached to the head of your trophy with no incisions in the neck, especially the front neck. Start skinning for the cape just behind the front shoulders.
According to Bill Vaznis, professional hunter and writer, there are three common mistakes to avoid.
Do not slit the deer's throat to bleed it out. This kind of error is nearly impossible to repair. If the deer is dead it has already bled out.
Begin caping (skinning) your buck from BEHIND the front legs, pull the hide back towards the head and sever the head at the base of the skull. This will give your taxidermist an ample amount of hide to work with. If you must cut the hide, cut it along the top of the neck. Your taxidermist can sew the hide.you will never see the stitches.
If you can skin a fox or mink, skinning out the head of your deer is easy. If not, get the head to a taxidermist ASAP or put the head and hide in a freezer. If you elect to freeze the head and hide.do not salt it or it will spoil even though it is in the freezer.
The outcome of the taxidermy process greatly depends on what you do when you field dress your deer and how you care for the head or pack the head for the taxidermist.
Steve Sorensen, TheEverydayHunter.com, sums it up this way:
"The hunter should handle his buck like it's the raw materials for top notch art. Keep it clean, cool it as quickly as possible, protect it from the wind in the back of your truck, and get it to the taxidermist as soon as possible."