Need help finding the right mannikin

Submitted by Valdo on 1/6/02. ( )

Hi. I really need help finding the right mannikin for my deer head. I'm a beginning taxidermist and don't have much experience altering mannikins. When I shot my whitetail deer I took all the proper measurements. The most important measurement (eye to nose) was six inches. However, when I received the mannikin I thought it looked small but upon comparing the frozen skinned deerhead with the mannikin, the length from eye to nose matched perfectly so I didn't think much of it afterwards. Now that I have tanned the skin I notice that the measurement from eye to nose remains the same but it seems that my deer had a bigger mouth and had more meat on the face. I find the mannikin too thin around the nose area. What seems disconcerting to me is that the length from the jaw to the brisket area is by far greater than that of the mannikin. I thought that ordering the mannikin using the eye to nose measurement would give me a mannikin that is somewhat close to the actual deer. I had already prepared the mannikin and was about to put the hide paste but decided to test the skin on the mannikin and noticed that huge difference. So my question is, Should I order a bigger mannikin? Should I order a mannikin that has an eye to nose measurement of six inches but has a neck and shoulder size of a much bigger animal? Or should I remeasure the tanned skin and order accordingly. Please help. I don't want to be wasting money ordering all the different sizes of mannikins to see which one fits.

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Yes, no and maybe.

This response submitted by John C on 1/7/02. ( )

Most of the time the face lets out on a tanned deer cape. and the mouth stretches hugely. If the body of your deer was a lot larger than the mannikin, you may need a larger mannikin. This being your first deer, I feel you should order a larger form just to see. They can be returend if not altered. but its only $40.00 or so.

Another thing is that all manufactorers dont have the same standard for mannikins, these are left a lot to artistic interpetation.

Is your deer cape dry or wet?

this to makes a difference. Now if the body is that much larger you really need a bigger mannikin.

You want the skin to be a little loose, so you can adjust it over the first four or five days to align the brisket, throat patch, adjust ear butts etc.

For me if the deer was a 18 I drop to a 17 1/2 to get what I need.

this is why

This response submitted by Bill Yox on 1/7/02. ( )

...guys like me constantly say that the eye to nose is NOT the most important measurement, rather just a reference. Yes, you have the right idea, go ahead and order another based on the neck numbers. Good luck to you.

AMEN, Bill

This response submitted by George on 1/7/02. ( )

I'm glad you said that. I think most beginners think that, but it's just not true. Those neck measurements are absolutely CRITICAL.

4th season

This response submitted by b.s.rhea on 1/7/02. ( )

This is my 4th season of doing taxidermy for the public on the side.I do around 100 heads a year and have never ever ordered a form from taking a eye to nose measurement.The only measurement I ever take is the neck.This goes with my own state deer as well as texas ,and illinois deer also.


This response submitted by Valdo on 1/7/02. ( )

I guess I'll have to order a bigger mannikin. I won't make the beginner mistake of relying on the eye to nose measurment only on my next deer. I have just one more simple question. How much shrinkage should I expect on the face area. Or is it okay for the skin to be a little loose at the beginning of the mounting. Again, thanks for all of you that have responded.

Hide Paste

This response submitted by DE on 1/7/02. ( )

If you use a good hide paste and dont go cheap with it you will be able to jockey the skin around and take up all the slack immediately as well as allow you to position the hair patterns accurately, the trick is getting all the air out from between the skin and the form then it will stick like well ...glue!
Note to b.s.rea I agree that the neck size is the most important measurement but I think not taking the eye to nose measurement is just as bad. I personaly have mounted for example 24" necks on rutting deer with heads from a VERRY stocky 6 3/4" dwarf buck to 8 1/2" and these deer came from within 100 miles of each other I personaly feel that we owe it to our customers to give them an accurate representation of the deer that they took and pay us good money to mount. I could stretch or shrink the hide to whatever I have handy but if given a picture of the animal I try to match it by repacing the head with another size or style or altering it. This is my own personal opinion and don't mean to judge but I thought it should be said.

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