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  #1  
Old 08-09-2006, 08:19 PM
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Default Caping a Deer Head

Due to the calls - PM's -- and emails, this will be an attempt to do an instructional thread about caping a deer head.

With the change in Georgia's law concerning transporting deer parts from CWD states -- quite a few hunters will need this information.

For starters -- we'll assume you know how to hang the deer by it's back legs and skin down to the head?

If not - just remember to cut off the front legs at the knees which allows you to pull the front legs out of the skin. -- Kinda like pulling your arm out of a long sleeved shirt. -- Do not make any cuts underneath the legs or in the brisket area.

This drawing shows how much skin your Taxidermist needs to produce a quality mount.

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Old 08-09-2006, 08:26 PM
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This drawing shows where to remove the head after skinning all the way up to near the ear bases.

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Old 08-09-2006, 08:39 PM
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At this point you should have the head separated from the body with the skin still attached -- it also will be easier if you now move to a table or some sort of platform. (view this photo).

This begins the actual caping process. -- I know quite a few hunters who have been charged 75.00 to 100.00 by out of state processors to perform what I'm about to show you. -- Not bad for about 15 minutes work?

O.K. -- Please note in the photo, - there is an area straight up the center - back --- of a deer's neck which is darker than the areas on both sides.

This is where you will make your first incision. -- This incision needs to be centered and made with one clean - straight - long cut with no stopping and starting if possible.

I usually go inside the skin up near the back of the head and push the knife blade through first. -- Then I line up with the center of the dark area and pull the knife toward me which allows me to keep it centered until I stop approximately where the deer's shoulder blades would be. - By pulling the knife toward you and from underneath it eliminates the possibility of cutting any hair.


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Old 08-09-2006, 08:52 PM
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This is what it should look like after making your first incision.

In Taxidermy this is known as the "Long Incision" method. -- I prefer this method since it allows us to mount the deer back with a bigger neck.

I'm also showing this method because it would be the most simple for a beginner and the "Short Incision" would probably be more time consuming and difficult for you. -- Especially in the field.

Be sure the cut extends all the way up and past the bases of the ears. -- Then we have to branch off to the back of each antler.

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Old 08-09-2006, 09:13 PM
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This shows each cut branching off to the antler bases. -- Be sure to carry the cuts all the way into the bone at each base which will give you a cleaner -- easier removal of the hide around each base.

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Old 08-09-2006, 09:25 PM
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The best tool I've found for the next step is a medium size, flat blade screwdriver. -- Sometimes on a fresh deer, a small hammer helps separate the hide as you tap the screwdriver while moving around the base.

Be sure to keep the screwdriver blade pointed toward the bone and snugged up tight against the bottom of the antler burr.

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Old 08-09-2006, 09:31 PM
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Notice in this photo -- as we work around the antler bases -- we're also skinning toward the ear bases with the knife.

As you free up more skin from around the antlers -- it will allow slack to begin exposing more of the ear bases.


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Old 08-09-2006, 09:51 PM
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Now we have enough slack skin to expose the ear bases. -- Each base must be cut loose from the neck so we can finish removing skin from around the antler bases.

When cutting/freeing the ear bases be sure to stay tight against the neck or you could possibly cut through the skin between the rear of the eye and base of the ear.

Notice in this photo the ears are now free.

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Old 08-09-2006, 10:04 PM
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Next we finish around the antler bases while working forward toward the eyes.

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Old 08-09-2006, 10:11 PM
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Now we're clear of both antlers. -- Look close and you can see the rear part of the eye socket and we're almost to the corner of the mouth.

At this point -- insert one finger into the eye opening and pull outward as you skin. -- Be sure to make your cuts tight against the rim of the eye socket while pulling outward with your other hand.

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Old 08-09-2006, 10:15 PM
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It should look like this if you stayed tight against bone while pulling outward.

Now you can see the corner of the mouth becoming exposed.

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Old 08-09-2006, 10:25 PM
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Located in front of each eye is a gland. -- Some call it a pre orbital gland --- tear duct gland -- identity gland -- whatever.

This gland is recessed into bone and is another instance where you must pull -- as you cut.

Just be sure to go deep enough with the knife point while pulling outward with your other hand and you'll be O.K.

I've circled the gland removed and left on the skin -- and the indentation where the gland originally was located.


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Old 08-09-2006, 10:31 PM
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At this point -- go inside the corner of the mouth with your left hand and pull outward.

Cut through at least one inch behind where the mouth begins. -- This will begin exposing the teeth.


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Old 08-09-2006, 10:34 PM
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Keep skinning forward until you reach the nose pad on top and still like about one inch on the lower section.

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Old 08-09-2006, 10:40 PM
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At this point -- flip the head over and lay it back resting on the G2's.

Staying close to the gums -- make the upper incision along the orange line I have drawn. -- Cutting toward the rear until you join where the skinning stopped before.

Be sure to stay tight agains the gums -- all the skin is needed on the bottom part of the nose pad.

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Old 08-09-2006, 10:45 PM
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When skinning from the front meets where you stopped previously ---- this is what you will have.


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Old 08-09-2006, 10:48 PM
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And now -- the finished product.

Lay the skin out flat and cut away any meat or tissue that remains. -- Then it is ready to be rolled -- double bagged -- sealed -- and frozen.

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Old 08-09-2006, 11:08 PM
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Moving now to the antlers.

Three cuts will be required to remove them.

One forward and straight across in front of the antler bases.

Two other side cuts.

It's kinda crude but I tried to airbrush dots showing where the cuts must be.

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Old 08-09-2006, 11:11 PM
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Completely removed.

At this point -- some will boil the remaining meat off while others remove it with their knife.

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Old 08-09-2006, 11:16 PM
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That should cover it..

Tools you will need;

Flat screwdriver
Small hammer
Knife
Latex Gloves
Saw

Go slow and take your time. -- You've waited all year for the hunt so no need rushing now.

Hope this helps.
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  #21  
Old 08-10-2006, 06:07 AM
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Ok Woody has just finished this and we moved it out. WOW! remind me to not kill a deer in a cwd state. I think I would prefer to leave the head intact and stop after the first photo
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Old 08-10-2006, 07:56 AM
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Same here Jim, I assure you it's easier said than done. I've seen it done and I wouldn't attempt it on a deer I wanted mounted.

I guess if I had a chance to practice on a few that I didn't have to worry so much on how they turned out it might be alright and I might could get to the point that I'd feel comfortable doing it on a trophy.

Till then, I'll leave it to the pro's.
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Old 08-10-2006, 04:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huntnnut
I'll leave it to the pro's.
Believe me -- it only looks hard.

15 minutes and you're ready to kill another one.

Anyone going to a CWD state this season should print these directions. -- You may need them or risk losing your entire deer when you return?
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Old 08-10-2006, 04:48 PM
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I was wondering how you caped a deer head. Thank goodness I have a father in law that use to do taxidermy work. But then it will be off Woody's for the mount.
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Old 08-10-2006, 05:06 PM
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Woody,

A good thing about the way you showed folks that will also make it easier on them is the fact that they would not be skinning out the ears. The ears are probably the toughest part to skin out, though it appears that's being left for the taxidermist in the way you have shown. Is this not correct or did I miss something?
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