Trophy Mule Deer
Deer Mounting: How To Protect Your Trophy For The Taxidermist
Want To Mount That Deer Head?
By Pat Carrothers
When you finally get that prize deer, you want to do everything you can to preserve the moment. That could mean taking a deer to the taxidermist for mounting. If you do everything correctly, your hunting success can live on right on the walls of your house.
First, it is important to field dress a deer in the woods. You have to cool down the meat as soon as possible and other aspects of the deer will not spoil as fast.
Anytime you go hunting and expect to field dress a kill, you need to have a few essential tools with you. Make sure you have a sharp skinning knife such as a Havalon Piranta-EDGE. The knife needs to be an item you are comfortable with no matter what brand you choose. A short knife is usually easier to handle but you will want to make sure it is sharp and at its best. There’s nothing as dangerous as a dull knife. It is also a good idea to pack disposable gloves and a few bags so you can carry your trash out of the woods.
Plan on about 20 minutes to field dress your deer. If you have never gone through the process before, it may take longer. If you’re an old pro with a Havalon, you’ll be done in five minutes or less. To make the process go faster and easier, you may want to include a hunting buddy. You could also take along water and paper towels to help you clean up after you are finished field dressing.
To field dress the deer, first put on the disposable gloves to prevent the transfer of any disease. Put the deer on its back and find the sternum. You will then get out your knife, cut from sternum to crotch clear through the hide and membrane. Make sure you do not cut into the guts.
Once the cut has been made, take the guts out of the deer starting at the crotch. You can do this while cutting the membranes that link the spine to the interior of the deer. Be careful not to cut too closely to the spine or you could damage the tenderloins. As you make these cuts and pull out the guts, expect to see plenty of blood.
As you near the end of this portion of field dressing, find the last membrane, sever it, and pull the rest of the guts from the deer. You can then cut through the pelvic bone and cut the skin around the anus so you can pull the colon out. Some prefer to cut around the “vent” first and work their way forward. The key is to keep bacteria off the meat you want. At that time, you can take the heart, liver, and lungs out.
How To Protect The Deer Head For Mounting
Protect the deer’s head as you drag it out of the woods. You want to put the hooves above its head. Plan for a way to shield the head and hide while you are dragging it out of the woods. Avoid sharp branches or rocks that lay on the floor of the forest. Then get your deer to a taxidermist as soon as possible.
If you have to pack out the deer head, be careful not to cut into the neck hide. You want to deliver much more hide than it seems like you should attached to the head. That’s why they call it “caping,” since you leave a long cape of hide still attached to the head of your trophy with no incisions in the neck, especially the front neck. Start skinning for the cape just behind the front shoulders.
According to Bill Vaznis, professional hunter and writer, there are three common mistakes to avoid.
1. Do not slit the deer’s throat to bleed it out. This kind of error is nearly impossible to repair. If the deer is dead it has already bled out.
2. Begin caping (skinning) your buck from BEHIND the front legs, pull the hide back towards the head and sever the head at the base of the skull. This will give your taxidermist an ample amount of hide to work with. If you must cut the hide, cut it along the top of the neck. Your taxidermist can sew the hide…you will never see the stitches.
3. If you can skin a fox or mink, skinning out the head of your deer is easy. If not, get the head to a taxidermist ASAP or put the head and hide in a freezer. If you elect to freeze the head and hide…do not salt it or it will spoil even though it is in the freezer.
The outcome of the taxidermy process greatly depends on what you do when you field dress your deer and how you care for the head or pack the head for the taxidermist.
“The hunter should handle his buck like it’s the raw materials for top notch art. Keep it clean, cool it as quickly as possible, protect it from the wind in the back of your truck, and get it to the taxidermist as soon as possible.”
Deer Recipes – Killer Ways To Cook Deer Meat
Yes, You Can Learn To Make Melt-In-Your Mouth Venison
By Pat Carrothers
Once you’ve claimed the big game, aged and processed the deer, and placed all of the meat into the freezer, you then have to figure out ways to cook venison so you and your family can enjoy the meat you provided. There are quite a few ways to cook venison. Some of the methods involve using dry heat, grilling, roasting, braising, and even stewing. Here are some guidelines to help you make sure the venison is tender and tasty.
If you want to broil some venison, you will be most pleased if you use chops, steaks, or loins. These pieces of meat have all the fat trimmed from them and they work well when they are broiled. Since the pieces are lean, you may need to add a little salt pork or bacon fat before you place seasoning on the meat. Then, preheat your broiler and let the temperature rise before you place the meat on the rack. Make sure the rack is far enough away from the heat source so the meat does not burn or get tough. Broiled meat is usually done before you think it is so check it often.
The best cuts for grilling are the rump and loin, but there are others that can turn out well. You want to marinate your meat before grilling, or you can simply apply cooking oil to each side. This helps ensure the texture of the meat is not tough after it is cooked. Be careful if you add salt before grilling because that can make the game meat dry out. Once the meat’s on the grill, cook it to your desired level and enjoy the great aromas.
Chops, steaks, and loins work well when pan-fried. These types of meat have no natural fat, so you will likely want to add a little oil to keep the meat savory and moist. When the pan heats up, season the game as you like, or you can marinate it for a few hours before you throw it in the pan. I’ll dash a lot of tenderizer on the leanest cuts and fork it in to help prevent tough chewing. Once the pan is ready, set the meat in and watch for the blood in the cut to appear on the top. Once you see this reaction, flip the meat over and repeat the process until it’s done.
Oven roasting is good for the rib roast or loin portion of the deer. Before you begin cooking the meat, make sure it’s free from excess fat and then season it with any herbs or spices you might enjoy. Do not add too much salt, however, because this can dry the meat out during the cooking process. Save salt for after it is cooked. That’s a good rule for any meat. If it’s a bone in roast, put the bone on the bottom of the pan. Let the meat sit in the oven at 300 degrees for 20 minutes for each pound of meat in the cut. Use a meat thermometer to make sure the center of the meat is ready before you remove it from the oven.
There are many other ways to cook venison including braising, stewing, grounding and plenty more. Experiment with small cuts of meat to find your favorite and then you can go back and cook more in the ways you most enjoyed.
Venison can be switched out for red meat in any of your best recipes, with one big warning sign, “Caution – Tough Chewing Ahead.” Venison is a naturally lean meat. That can lead to putting a hockey puck on everyone’s plate if you don’t manage it right. Here are six tips to help you serve killer venison:
Six Tips For Great Tasting Venison
- Never overcook venison or other lean meats. They will dry out and become tough. Venison is not usually good past the medium well range. If you choose to roast the venison, try covering the pan with foil for the last 15 minutes. The juices will spread out evenly and the meat will cook with less drying.
- Slow methods of cooking, such as roasting, are generally the best way to keep the venison moist.
- Do not add salt to the meat before you cook it. Salt can remove juice and dry venison. Salt is for the table or at least for right before serving.
- Make sure all the connective tissues are removed before you cook venison. These tissues leave an undesirable taste that can ruin the overall effect. Our Havalon Baracutawith fillet blades is great for trimming venison! I guarantee you’ll love it, and if you don’t, we’ll give you your money back.
- Marinating venison is highly recommended. The acids in a marinade (like wine, vinegar or citrus juice) help tenderize the meat and add flavor. Oil in the marinade helps keep the meat moist.
- Venison burgers taste great on the grill, but they may need extra moisture since the meat is very low in natural fat. You may want to wrap a piece of bacon around the patties or place an egg in the mixture to bind it together as it cooks. I often lay a strip or two of bacon over meat roasts too. With bacon, how can you go wrong?
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