I recently decided to try mounting my first bird which was a ruffed grouse. The skinning process seemed fairly easy until I got to the head. Can anyone provide me with the "basic process" of skinning a bird such as a grouse for mounting? Like I said, I got the skin off fairly easily until the head. I'd also like to know if I can just rub some Borax on the skin and then proceed to "stuff" the bird. How long does the drying process take and will the skin still be flexible after it dries with the borax? Other than body molds, is there any other options available for making the body of the bird? I'm just trying to get the overall "basic" procedure for skinning and mounting the bird once the skin is removed, assuming i'll ever be able to skin the darned' head! ANY information would be greatly appreciated.
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I would suggest getting the Breakthrough Bird Taxidemy Manual and maybe some videos so you can watch a bird being skinned.
I would consider the grouse you are working on an adventure in skinning practice. Then I'd go to the local library and see if they have any publications on taxidermy "HOW TO".. most do.
Even just the "Basic" procedure for MOUNTING a bird is considerably more complicated than skinning and stuffing. Any of us could probably sit here and type out a lengthy syllabus on the basic procedure, but honestly you need a general understanding of how and why.
To answer your questions however...
No you can not just rub borax on the skin.. It MUST be cleaned and defatted.
No the skin will not be flexible after it's dried. It will be crispy.
There are many things to stuff a bird with... it all depends on what you are stuffing it for. Materials range from: wood, cloth, excelsior, plastic, foam, saw dust, old rags, you name it.. it could probalby be used.. The results may be questionable.. but I'm sure somewhere along the road in the past everything has been used.
Go get a book and do some research... you'll find everything that you need to know there, and it will probalby make a heck of a lot more sense to you than trying to read it here.
Take and make a small "C" incision behind the ear on the skull. Then easily pull the head through the incision while skinning back the skin off the head. Eventually the skin should be skinned back to the beak while still intact, then clean all the meat, eyes, and brains from the skull. Do by scraping and cutting some of the bone underneath to get to the brain. Then rub borax in head and on skin. Fill skull back with a mixture of clay and cotton. Put just clay in the eye cavity and set eyes. Pull skin back over skull and sew up with 2-6 lb. fishing line. Then proceed w/ mounting! This is just a basic procedure, there to much info to apply there to type out!.
you can pull the skin all the way to the beak, without making an incision. I repeat, most of the time. just use caution.