How to Skin a Deer for Taxidermy

The charm of deer hunting lies less in the meat and more in the trophies and the valuable hide that can be obtained. Often the biggest challenge in hunting is keeping everything intact long enough to make it to the taxidermist. However, if you master the technique of skinning the deer just right, you can be sure of preserving the hide perfectly, after which the taxidermist can take over.

Things Required:

- Rope
- Skinning knife
- Salt
- Towels
- Paper bag

Instructions

  • 1

    To begin, make sure you field dress the deer right after shooting it. It is essential to remove the innards from the carcass as soon as possible – this will keep the skin of the deer in good condition, and help it last until it is time for the taxidermy. Once this is done, you can proceed to hang the deer up from a large tree by its hind legs, using a sturdy piece of rope.

  • 2

    Next, use your skinning knife to begin the delicate process of skinning the deer. Make a slight cut (not too deep), and using this as a starting point, begin slitting the skin from each hock, moving gradually down towards the inside of the lower abdomen. All your cuts should be clean and straight – do not get impatient or messy, and leave the skin in tatters.

  • 3

    Then, in order to loosen the skin around the front legs, proceed to cut around both of the deer’s knee joints, and then expand this cut, taking it inside the forelegs, and then moving upwards towards the chest cavity.

  • 4

    Once this is done, start working once again on the cut that runs along the inside of the abdomen. This cut needs to be expanded, and should run from in between the hind legs of the animal, all the way up to the base of the neck. Then, proceed to use the knife to cut in a circle around the neck of the deer, cutting through the skin completely.

  • 5

    Now, after all the cuts have been made, it is time to start easing the skin off the deer. Grasp a bit of skin near the deer’s hind legs, and start pulling it down gently but firmly. The cuts you made should have loosened the skin, and your firm tugging should cause the skin to start peeling down and off the deer. Keep the knife handy, and slice through any remaining bits of connective tissue between the hide and the deer’s flesh – if the skin happens to be stuck on firmly at parts, you can also use the knife to cut it clean from the flesh.

  • 6

    Finally, once you manage to get the skin off the carcass, lay it down flat and use a towel to dab at any pools of blood or fluid on the hide – do not rub too hard, however, as this might damage the hair. Then, spread a thin and even layer of salt on the flesh side of the hide, bring its edges together to form a pouch, and place this hide pouch in a paper bag until you make it to the taxidermist.

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