Lifelike taxidermy relies on proper management from shot to delivery to the taxidermist.
You have just harvested a dream animal. What now? How do you get your trophy home?
By Clint Gower Wild Horizon PH
1) In the bush
Shot placement plays a role, especially with the smaller animals. Besides the bullet hole, small amounts of hair slip occur around impact points. Remember this for your shot placement.
Get your photos done as quickly as possible. These are also important - you only get one chance to do them right. Photos and memories will be all you have until your trophies arrive home.
Keep the animal cool (shade) and get to the skinning shed as soon as you can. Cool the animal with water if necessary.
Certain species such as klipspringer, nyala and gemsbuck, are more susceptible to damage than others.
2) The skinning shed
In Africa the skinning process is usually done by a professional skinner. Watch him work, you will learn a few interesting tricks.
Remember that the animal’s blood will not damage your skin – there is no harmful bacteria in it.
The skin may need washing and a quick dry before salting. Particular attention to the skin edges is needed so they don't curl to exclude the salt. The salt stops bacterial growth and thus decay.
Skulls are cleaned and allowed to dry.
Tagging of the skins and skulls gets the correct information to the taxidermist – in this case the dreary paperwork is important. This also doubles as an application for your trophies’ export permit.
5) At home
Try to keep your trophies in a dry environment away from sunlight. Keep dust free and you can also spray occasionally with a household insecticide (check if compatible first).
Enjoy your memories!