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I don’t normally get very excited about deer hunting in the heat of September, but on Sunday, Sept. 21. I decided that it was time to put up a tree stand and see if I could see any sign. I didn’t get to the woods until late that evening (after 5:00 p.m.) so had little time to look for a sign if I were to get the stand up.
By the time I got the stand up, a little after 6:00, I decided that I would just sit and enjoy the cool breeze that had blew in with the cool front and see if I had made a good choice in location (of course I had my self-bow and arrows with me). I hadn’t sat there more than 15 minutes when I heard movement in the leaves and looked to see a couple turkeys passing by just out of range for my self-bow. After they had passed for a while the decision was made to leave for the car even though I still had about 45 minutes of shooting light left.
I hadn’t gone more than 50 yards from my stand when I heard a deer snorting at me (maybe I should have stayed until dark). I was about a half mile from where I had left my car, and before I reached my destination I had saw seven more deer. Considering that I hadn’t really gotten serious yet about hunting, the fact I didn’t see any antlers was irrelevant. In Missouri you can take two deer and two turkeys on your archery permit and can purchase additional antlerless permits. This hour or so looked promising. Where there are doe deer there will be bucks, so let’s talk about how to preserve your trophies you want to have mounted for the best results.
Even though we do not mount turkey at Kosh Trading Post, there are some suggestions that I can make (thanks to a good friend and retired taxidermist) for the hunter that wants to have their trophy preserved.
Of course always know your local game laws and permit requirements and follow them to the letter. When you go to have any specimen mounted by your taxidermist, you will have to fill out and sign the required paperwork. If you think that you would be interested in having a turkey mounted, talk to the taxidermist of your choice to see if he wants you to try to do any of the skinning or if he prefers to do it all himself. As you can do a lot of damage if you don’t know what you are doing, you will probably want to get the bird to the taxidermist that day. If that is impossible, he will probably want you to put the entire bird into a garbage bag, fold head under wing and place it in a (frost free) freezer and get it to him as soon as possible. If you are a duck hunter, remember that migratory birds fall under both state and federal control, and your taxidermist will also have to have both permits.
Even though we don’t mount turkeys or any migratory or endangered species, we specialize in deer heads (both shoulder mounts and European mounts) and small furbearers. The biggest enemies to any specimen that you want mounted are heat, moisture, and dirt, so be very careful how you handle them.
When you are skinning the deer remember DO NOT CUT THE THROAT as this can be very hard to hide. When you field dress the deer, stop your cut where the rib cage starts. Try to save the entire front half of the deer hide for the taxidermist. I don’t mind throwing away the extra, but where you cut it is the end of the mount if it is too short, unless we can find another cape (hide), and that will cost extra if we can find it. Work the hide up the neck to where you remove the head, but don’t try to skin the head yourself as this will ruin the cape unless you have experience in doing so.
After it is skinned (caped) out, get it to your taxidermist as soon as you can, but if it is going to take a while put some 20 Mule Team Borax on it (not salt), wrap it up in a garbage bag and place in a frost free freezer. Remember that the ears and nose will freezer burn if you keep them too long, although I can normally make a good mount even with some freezer burn. If you are one of the first to get your specimen in, I normally have some returned in by Christmas (first come first serve). If you don’t feel that you can skin out the deer without damaging the cape, we will normally skin it for you (time permitting) at no extra charge if we are mounting the head for you.
The last thing I want to remind you of is that due to CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease), most states have requirements for deer and the deer family killed out of state upon entering the state (check your state requirements).
In Missouri if a deer is killed out of state and transported into Missouri with the skull or any part of the spine attached, you must report it as the taker within 24 hours and deliver it to a licensed meat processor or taxidermist within 72 hours unless you are just traveling across the state and will be out of the state within 24 hours.
There also are requirements as to how you can dispose of the remains (such as no part may be discarded in any water source), so be sure and do your homework on the regulations on the state you hunt, live or may be transporting your game through.
Happy hunting, and we will try to answer any questions you may have. You may contact us at Kosh Trading Post in Koshkonong, Mo., or phone the store at 417-280-6304. We will try to follow up with more articles of interest ranging from how to preserve fish for mounting (skin or clone), trapping articles, etc.