I have mounted my first 3 deer heads using dry preservative. They look pretty good for a beginner! I have 6 deer heads mounted by different commercial taxidermists. Some are 20 years old. They show signs of shrinkage, but I don't know if they were tanned or dry preserved. After all the comments about shrinkage of DP heads, I MIGHT be convinced to try tanning. So what is the best method for tanning? Should I have the cape sent off to a commercial tannery, or is there a prefered method by which I can tan the cape myself. I decided to learn to mount deer for hobby. I don't plan on becoming a commercial taxidermist, and may mount a deer or two a year...if I'm lucky enough to get one. Heck guys I just want to have fun at this, and have a mount I can be proud to say 'I did this one myself', and have it last.
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The best place for you to learn on how to do this and chose what method you would like would be either Bruce Rittel's site or just e-mail him, and Mark from Knobloch's. They both have a great way for home tanning. In fact Bruce's EZ-100 is used by many tanneries.
If you what to do this at home for a hobby you can get by with nominal costs. It can get pricy when you really what to do it and what quality hardware to use. But for the home person who just wants to do this is no real problem. This is how most of us started. Just a couple of hides then more. So enjoy it and have fun.
Hi Mike, If you are only doing a couple of mounts a season why invest in the equipment(ie..hide flesher)or the time to thin the hide by hand( I shudder at the thought of doing this ever again !) you need to properly tan your own capes at home?
I would send them out to a professional and concentrate on mounting the animal. Also If you do not like to send them out you can aways try tanning your own it's always an option and something everyone should try once or twice if nothing else you will appreciate what the commercial tanners do for us.