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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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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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Old 08-10-2006, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huntnnut
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?
You are correct Milton. -- This way of doing it leaves reversing the ears --- turning the lips -- and all the tedious work for the Taxidermist.

If you've skinned a deer -- you should not have any problem following this.

As I said -- 15 minutes tops.
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Old 08-13-2006, 05:17 PM
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I am glad there are folks like you and Taxis that can do that well. I'd be afraid of messing the job up. Nice to see the effort involved. If I get one worth mounting I'll just do the first cut of the cape and ruch that bad boy to a pro to finish the job. Great post!
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Old 08-13-2006, 06:11 PM
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Woody,

After looking over your directions more carefully I do believe I could do it w/o much fear of ruining the cape. However, it would probably be more like an hour and 15 minutes verses 15 minutes...

Btw, you may want to include your guidelines for cape storage in this thread.
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Old 08-14-2006, 04:43 AM
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Default caping a buck deer

Woody, hope you don't mind me adding: I like to take a measurment from top of the black on the nose to the end of each main beam to assure a correct tilt of the antlers when mounted. Old school maybe, but I also like to leave more skullcap attached behind the antlers. Do your taxidermist a favor, rinse the hide well before bagging and freezing. Keep 'em accurate as possible with measurements and digital reference photos. Measure from tip of nose to tear duct, tip of nose to back of head, smallest cir around the throat. Good instructions Woody.
Folks you can practice on those you aren't going to mount, then when the big one comes along you'll have experience. You might even perfect the short incision method, for less sewing and a slicker neck.
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Old 09-02-2006, 11:18 PM
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Woody, i work at mcmicken in cartersville, are you puting this on here for the people bringing deer from cwd states or from ga too. i know how much of a pain it can be to make the skin fit how it should around the burs when someone has hacked it up. these are great instructions
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Old 09-03-2006, 09:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crowe1187 View Post
Woody, i work at mcmicken in cartersville, are you puting this on here for the people bringing deer from cwd states or from ga too. i know how much of a pain it can be to make the skin fit how it should around the burs when someone has hacked it up. these are great instructions
crowe -- thanks, and yes this is an effort to help those who hunt CWD states.

If they print this out and have it with them on the hunt -- it could keep them from possibly losing their entire deer.

I know what you mean "around the burrs" -- looks like a twelve year old skinned it with a chain saw??
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Old 09-11-2006, 07:05 PM
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Thanks for the detailed information, Woody.

You really opened my eyes as to what is needed. I now have even more appreciation for the work that a quality taxidermist does.
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Old 09-15-2006, 08:39 AM
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I could do it, but if I get one worth hanging on the wall, I'm just gonna' bring him to you Woody.
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Old 10-13-2006, 05:39 PM
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Great Post woody, It's amazing how many guy's ruin a cape by not properly caping it, this is usually done by getting in to big of a hurry and not paying attention to what they are doing
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Old 11-09-2006, 12:21 AM
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Thanks for the great post Woody! DocGlenn and I just got back from a successful mule deer hunt in Colorado. The only taxidermist that was willing to cape our deer wanted $150 per deer ($300 total) to cape them. Luckily Glenn had printed your instructions and we were able to cape both deer fairly easily ourselves. I would guess it took us about 2 hours to do, but we were going pretty slowly. I feel certain I could accomplish it in about an hour next time.

Thank again.
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Old 11-15-2006, 09:00 PM
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Thanks Jorge ---- that makes the time and effort worthwhile.
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Old 11-15-2006, 09:09 PM
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I will add that one tool that I found particularly helpful is one of those utility knives that has the push-up blade that you can snap off a section when they get dull and push up a sharp blade. Absolutely the best skinning tool I ever purchased and the best $1.89 I ever spent.
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Old 12-23-2006, 05:03 PM
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Bout like a European mount with the skin attached. I could have done that myself instead of wasting $14.00.
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Old 08-30-2007, 12:40 PM
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With the season close, I wanted to be sure I got a refresher on caping a deer.
Maybe I'm not the only person...TTT
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Old 12-26-2008, 08:18 AM
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Thanks again WOODY!

TTT
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Old 12-26-2008, 08:37 AM
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Mod's, this thread would make a very good sticky for all of us. Thanks Woody
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Old 12-26-2008, 08:44 AM
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this should be a sticky at the top

great info and can save a lot of $$$.

thanks woody for the instructional
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Old 12-26-2008, 09:33 AM
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I agree, this should be a sticky. Great post!
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Old 12-26-2008, 11:05 AM
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would look even better in a TAXIDERMY FORUM!!!
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Old 12-26-2008, 01:12 PM
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Appreciate the good instructions, photos, and time & effort to post this. Thank God for Woody.
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Old 12-26-2008, 01:37 PM
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Great explanation, I have done this and he is right about it not being that hard but I didn't finish in 15 minutes it was more like 45. I think the more you do the better you get.
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Old 12-26-2008, 02:58 PM
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Woody, Thanks for the details that is pretty much the way I was taught to do it as well with one exception. I was taught to cut just far enough down the back of the neck to get the skull out (a few inches. I'm not criticizing your method, just curious for my own knowledge why it's beneficial to cut all the way down the back of the neck? I've seen it done by alot of others as well, but never understood what they liked about doing it that way. Again, thanks for the post....
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Old 12-26-2008, 05:36 PM
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Thanks a lot Woody, your time is very much appreciated and your expertise is invaluable.
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Old 12-26-2008, 05:55 PM
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Quote:
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Thanks a lot Woody, your time is very much appreciated and your expertise is invaluable.
x2....thanks for the info
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Old 12-26-2008, 08:06 PM
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Thanks Woody,
I'm a rookie and this is well above my skill set. But I love the info.
If I happen to get a wall hanger, I'll find your place...I'll skip a few dinners so that I can have you do it right!
Thanks again for your efforts.
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