Hunting seasons are upon us, and it’s a great time to get out and soak up all of Mother Nature’s best. This is the prime time for the many outdoorsmen who call Louisiana their home.
If you’re fortunate enough to harvest an animal worth mounting, here’s our annual review on what to do to ensure a suitable mount.
Make no mistake: the handling of a trophy can and will have a huge effect on the quality of your final mount. It’s generally hot and humid in the early season, so handle with care. It’s essential to getting your preferred mount cool and dry. Our high humidity and warm temperatures are a great recipe for bacteria to grow. Don’t waste valuable time; get your item cooled down as quickly as possible.
Be as careful as you can be when you have to drag a deer. Dragging causes abrasions and possible hair loss. Also, be gentle in handling a possible deer mount.
Leave ample skin and then some when you’re making external cuts on a mounter. Be careful not to make unnecessary cuts that would cause additional sewing and leave an unnecessary mark.
Wipe off blood very gently and, once again, get your mount cool quickly.
Teal season has already kicked off. With teal, wipe off any excess blood with the grain of the feathers. Be gentle. Don’t grasp the bird by the delicate neck feathers and handle it by its feet or bill. Never place a potential mounter on a duck strap. Keep it separate from other birds.
It isn’t necessary to force head under wing when freezing. Simply and gently place the bird in a freezer bag and let the head assume a natural position. Don’t freeze with the neck straight for fear of breaking the neck once it’s frozen hard.
If you’re fortunate enough to catch a fish worth mounting, handle it with care. Be gentle; don’t slam dunk the fish in the ice chest, possibly loosening scales. If you can’t get the fish to a reputable taxidermist quickly, then freeze it whole. Do not wrap it in a towel or paper, which further dehydrates fish, causing scales to loosen. Simply place it in a seal-tight plastic bag and freeze it whole. Keep hands off the fish and handle it carefully by its lower lip. Get it to a preferred taxidermist ASAP!
The general rules start with being gentle with the possible mounter. Get it cool, preferably frozen, as quickly as possible. Placing possible mounters in the refrigerator is not sufficient. Bacteria forms in the cooler, and will eventually begin to break down and make your would-be prize unsuitable for mounting purposes. When in doubt, freeze it!
A little common sense goes a long way to the handling of a possible mounter.
It’s a fine time to be a sportsman and enjoy the great outdoors. Have a fun and productive season, and, as always, put safety first.