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almberg

Bear field care for taxidermy

7 posts in this topic

With bear season right around the corner, I thought I'd share a few tips on proper field care for those who may be wondering. Bear hides easily slip (lose their hair in spots) if not properly prepaired. Once your bear is down, it's best to get the skin off as soon as possible. Skin from paw to paw, on the front and back legs, and then up the belly from the vent to the chest area. The feet can be left in the hide and the head severed at the atlas and left in the hide. It's nearly time to get it in a freezer, but first lay the skin out in the shade for a while to allow the body heat to escape. Bear fat is a great insulator and holds body heat much longer than deer etc. The most common areas where I see slipage, is in the folds of a bears skin. This is due to not cooling before freezing, as the inner folds stay nice and warm while the extremities are already freezing. Once the hide has cooled, fold it skin to skin with the head out on top and place into the freezer. It's best to have the skin in a cardboard box or breathable bag rather than a plastic bag. One last point. Don't salt the hide before freezing. Salt does nothing good for an unfleshed hide. In fact it only makes a wet dripping mess as it draws moisture from the skin, plus it hinders the freezing process. I wish everyone a safe and successful season!

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Great tips Almberg. Really helps to have it come from a taxidermist. Someone who does the work and knows how to prep a trophy the correct way. Pictures of your work look excellent.

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The skinning would be the same for either a rug or lifesize.

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I've never dealt with a taxidermist that wants a cut down the belly on a bear that is going to be a chest or full mount. The hair isn't as thick on the belly and the stitching tends to show. A dorsal cut (down the back) in these situations is much better as it's easier to conceal. It's also not a good idea to cut down the legs for a bear that will be a full mount or chest mount. The skin should be rolled down so no stitching after the fact is required.

The original posters directions are on par with what I've done for rugs, but I'd consult my taxidermist before following his advice for full or half mounts.

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That's a good point Charlie. I should have stated to contact whatever taxidermist you use to see what their preference is. I was speaking for myself as I prefer bears skinned ventrally. For the hunter that doesn't have alot of skinning experience, the ventral cut is the easiest and fastest way to get the hide off. For an experienced taxidermist, mounting a ventrally cut lifesize bear is not a problem. But again, like Charliepete said,see what your taxidermist prefers and go from there.

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Great post Brian, after meeting you last year at the Man Barn, and seeing some of the mounts you have done on your HSOforum, I hope someday to get out bear hunting because I know where the hide will be heading. Hopefully MUC will have us back again this fall. That Aligator Gar is scarey looking.........

Now what about caping out a deer? My CEO, COO, CFO has declared no deer heads in the house. She has conceded European mounts (which I like better), but I need to shoot a big 'un first.

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