Why is my deers neck so small?

Submitted by mcp on 02/14/2004. ( )

I just got my deer back from the taxidermist after almost 15 mos. The deer looks nice quality wise. However, the neck is very skinny, I killed the deer in mid nov (rut) and it had a swelled up neck. I don't understand why it looks so different now. ? The pictures I have of the kill look like night and day from the mount. It is the same cape, because the one ear has a split in it from fighting. I'm not real happy about it. It looks like a freaking doe with a nice rack. Any suggestions why it is like that? I have another deer that I got mounted by the same taxiderimst a few years ago, that was 3 lbs heavier than this deer, and had about the same size neck at the time of kill. They look about 25 lbs different. Not even close. :(

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sounds like you need

This response submitted by Ray on 02/14/2004. ( hunterray2002@yahoo.com )

to contact him or her the taxidermist and explain to him whats wrong with it and why you are unhappy about it. never know some not all but some will refund a portion of your money or redo the deer at no charge. as i said some, not all. but deffenetly contact the taxidermist that did the mount. .

Photos are disceiving too.

This response submitted by John C on 02/14/2004. ( )

Weight is not always in the neck, after you have killed many, many deer you will see they are like people, some carry weight in the shoulders and hips others have huge swollen necks. Deer like people are not all the same size, weight is relevent. I have seen 150 lbs deer with 25 inch necks and then seen 225 lbs deer with a 21 inch neck all killed within just yards of each other.

Ask your taxidermist if he took any measurements and if you can see them. That will be your proof. Sometime deer seem to grow in your mind over time.


This response submitted by mcp on 02/14/2004. ( )

I guess I was just venting when I posted this.
After I got home and hung the deer up, I stewed over how it looked. I couldn't believe it was so skinny. The job was very nice, it looked great...it just looked like a doe with horns. I ended up calling him a little while ago because I couldn't stand it, and we talked about it. I asked him what the measurements were. He said 7x19. While I had him on the phone, I got my soft tape and measured it. 7x17.5. ? No idea whats up with that. I thought they were supposed to actually end up being an inch or more larger than the initial measurement after they are mounted. Is this true? Anyhow we discussed it some more and he offered to redo the mount with a new cape and make it the right size. I accepted. I know it won't be "my" deer, but at least it will look right size wise.

John C, I agree...photos can definitely be decieving. However, I have killed a load of deer, and though we don't have big bodied deer where I am....they still get all rutted up. This one was. It was basically the exact same size as the one I have mounted already...body and neck wise. I pulled that one down and measured it for kicks. 7x21 ? I don't know what happened. Like I said before, it's defintely my cape...the ear was cut. Maybe he didn't restrech it at all after the tan. ? I know they can shrink up quite a bit tanning. Who knows. I just wish it would have been done right to begin with.

LOL, as I'm typing this my 6 year old son come in and says "dad, you gotta get that thing off the wall, it just doesn't look right. No deer has a neck that skinny" :O WOW...

The funny thing is, when we were at the shop...he was the one that brought up the conversation to begin with. He turns to the taxidermist and says "That thing looks funny. Why is it's neck so skinny?"

Kids, you gotta love that from the heart, flat out, honesty. :)

Different storke for different folks.

This response submitted by John C on 02/14/2004. ( )

Do a search and look up DP dry preserviative and tanning.

You can take a dped hide and stretchhhhhhhh it a lot bigger.
Normally a tanned hide will be the same size, I put the cape on a one inch smaller form, eliminates alot of problems, but the measurment over the cape is the same.

My guess is the hide did not get relaxed enough and maybe did not get the hide fleshed thin enough.

Since he is going to make it right thats all you can ask him to do.
Good luck.


This response submitted by Ray on 02/15/2004. ( hunterray2002@yahoo.com )

See aren't you glad you made that call. lol.


This response submitted by mcp on 02/15/2004. ( )

I'm glad I called him. I honestly was not expecting anything out of the call, and I didn't ask him to fix it. I just wanted him to know how I felt. He's a good guy, and I'm glad he made the offer. Although he didn't sound real happy about it. Unfortunatley I'll end up with a different cape, but hopefully it will look just as good. Since it was just finished, is there anything he can do to stretch the cape that's on it? I'm guessing that it's too late.

John, I don't know a whole lot about taxidermy, but he uses some sort of 1hr tan (McKenzie tan maybe?) so I have no idea about the stretching part. I was just told a while back by a friend that works with a taxidermist, that most hides after they are tanned need to be worked back to the original size. I have no idea. He told me that most deer they do when finished, run about 1-1.5" bigger than the original measurement taken on the meat. Is this not true? I'm just curious.

For probably 15 years I've been interested in learning to mount deer as a hobby. I just haven't made the time to really go for it. After this I think I'm gonna go ahead and research it and try and learn to do it myself. Then if I mess it up, I can only blame myself.
Anyone have any good pointers on how to get started? Thanks :)

my 2 cents

This response submitted by MarkV. on 02/15/2004. ( MarkV.33@centurytel.net )

I don't usually respond to that many posts but this one is interesting. If you shot a deer with a 19 inch neck that is what a I would give you. Not 1 inch smaller or even 2. The deer should have been that size when you picked it up. Most deer capes if tanned properly will let out at least an inch or 2 when shaved and tanned which sounds like was not done to yours. It sounds like it may have been shrunk and the taxidermist just ordered a mannikin without trying to stretch it out bigger or shave it thinner.At least he offered to do something about it for you thats a good taxidermist and buisness man. I never was a big believer in the 1 inch smaller sizing theory in my opinion it just isn't correct. Go ahead and blast me guys on this one I can take it,Mark


This response submitted by George on 02/15/2004. ( georoof@aol.com )

I'm with you.

Put In What You Take Out.

This response submitted by Old Fart on 02/15/2004. ( )

I ALWAYS use a form that is the exact same measurement as the carcas it came off. When I don't have measurements I try the cape on a form and use one that fits comfortably, never tight. A cape should always fit loosly on the form. Measuring a raw cape is just asking for trouble. The next time that you skin a deer that has the neck attached to the head try this: When the cape is completely off the head and neck....PUT IT BACK ON... and see how it fits!

thanks mark

This response submitted by mcp on 02/15/2004. ( )

It only makes sense that it would be at least as big as it was. My buddy that I was talking about earlier, said they like to make them a hare bigger because that is what most of their customers like...bigger necks. I don't really know what happened for sure. Could be a mixup in the form, could be he just didn't work it out...who knows. All I can tell you is that it does measure 1.5" less now, and the form it's on doesn't really have neck muscles or anything...which I think makes it look even skinnier. I am glad he will take care of it for me. He is a good taxiderimist and does alot of work, and has done plenty of work for me and my friends. I guess things like this happen now and then. Unfortunately, it's usually to me. LOL!

Thanks for all the replies :)


This response submitted by paul on 02/15/2004. ( )

pics can also be decieving, a live deers neck in an alert upright position will never be as big as a dead deer piled up or shoved into the corner of a pick up box, a properly tanned and relaxed cape mounted on a properly sized form should give a nice replication of your deer when it was alive, if the last time you saw your deer alive was 15 mo. ago standing 100yds away maybe he was a true pencil neck, ive seen 1 or 2 of these


This response submitted by mcp on 02/16/2004. ( )

Thanks for the response. I agree like I said earlier...pics defintiely can be decieving many times. However...I know without a doubt, this is not the case here. To begin with, my deer was taken in the 3rd week of Nov. Like I said earlier, he was in full rut with a swelled neck. He was not a giant deer, but proportionally his neck was big for his body size. The pics look like 2 totally different deer. What I got back looked like how bucks look in August, no neck what so ever. Heck I've shot bucks of similar body size during early bowseason that had bigger necks than what I got back.

I'm only guessing because I obviously am not an expert, but I'd think that a 1.5" difference at the top of the neck, could only grow to an even larger difference as the neck goes down and gets bigger. ?
The other thing that I think makes it look weird, is that his head looks extra long, because the neck is so thin...even though it's probably not actually that long in reality.

When I took in the deer, I brought him 3 total. Mine and two of my buddies. The one had a huge neck. It came back with a huge neck. The other was a 1.5 yr old piebald spike buck. A beautiful deer, but small with a skinny neck. It came back, a small deer with a skinny neck. Mine was the only one that didn't look as it was.

small kneck

This response submitted by Laurier on 02/16/2004. ( houlel@onlink.net )

Mcp your taxidermist screwed up and put to small of a manikin.Tell him to rehydrate it, it will and remount it on a 19 inch neck.


This response submitted by mcp on 02/16/2004. ( )

Since it's already mounted, can it be taken off...resized and remounted? From what you are saying, it sounds like it could be done. I was wondering that earlier. He never said anything about that when we were discussing it. That would seem to be the cheaper way to do it if it can be done. Of course it might not be worth the trouble if he has capes available.


This response submitted by Laurier on 02/17/2004. ( houlel@onlink.net )

If the cape is tanned properly he can re-mount it I would get him to do that if he changes cape,then all you have is your horns on the wall.If he was to re-mount it it should be at his expence and if he changes capes it should also be at his expence.This is only if you are sure that your deer neck was bigger.I can always get a 20" cape on a 20" manikin.


This response submitted by mcp on 02/17/2004. ( )

Laurier, thanks for the response. I'm taking it back to him today. I will ask him if it is possible to do what you suggested. He told me the other day, hew would get another cape and make sure it was the correct size this time.
He uses some sort of quick tan (maybe McKenzie?) so who knows if it will work. And yes, he did say that it would be on his dime. I respect him for that, it's just good business. He knows that I've sent him a couple dozen heads over the last few years, and hooked him up with my buddy that has a butcher shop...which has sent him probably that many more.
If he can't use my cape, I'll be fine with another. I guess ultimately, I'd rather have another cape that looks right, than my cape that looks pathetic, like it does now. Thanks again. :)


This response submitted by Laurier on 02/18/2004. ( houlel@onlink.net )

You know if taxidermist used proper tanning methods instead of quick tan,liquid tan,spray tan,( DRY PRESEERVATIVES ? ) I just don't understand it lutan f or Rittels e-z 100 is the proper way to do it,I've been a proffesional taxidermist for 32 years always done my own tanning and do not lose capes or skins.MCP if he changes the cape get him to split the ear like the other,unless you do not want that.

Careful there . . .

This response submitted by Tony H. on 02/19/2004 at 19:40. ( )

Careful Laurier,

Unless you're a chemist, you have to be certain of what you say. lutan f or Rittels may be the same thing at McKenzie's brush-on tan, etc. DP, spray tans, etc. may (or may not) be lumped together BUT there are a lot of folks out there using McKenzie's (and Rinehart's) cream tans and I'm sure they neither appreciate nor agree with your assessment of their methods. Include me among them.

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