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Elk cape issue

Discussion in 'Deer and Gameheads' started by mrdux, Oct 4, 2010.

  1. mrdux

    mrdux Member

    I got in a huge KY elk last night. It had been taken Sat morning and arrived at my shop a 6PM Sunday without being frozen or even kept in a cooler. It was laying in the open bed of their truck. The rack is going to net around 370s according to somebody who scored it rough up there. I guess they felt it was too much trouble to bag it or at least ice it down better? There was about 20 inches of neck meat still attached to the skull with a bag of ice placed up inside the caped part of the skin. The temps had been in the 60s during the day but low 40s at night. When the guy pulled up at my place and I looked over the side of his truck, I could smell the sour smell that I fear meant big time trouble. When I started caping it off, the neck meat was turning green and the sour smell filled the entire shop. It was not a decay or musky elk smell, it was SOUR! I got the cape off without noticing any slippage but as soon as it was removed, I mixed up about a cup of bactericide in enough water to sink it. I left it in the mix for about 10 minutes, rinsed it off lightly, hung it to drip for a few minutes then straight into the freezer. The cape measured 13X36 with extremely short hair so I figure it will be hard to replace it if needed. Any thoughts on whether this thing may survive? I was shocked at the lack of care since I have done work for the guy, and his step-son who shot it,in the past and we talked at length about how it needed to be cared for before they even left for the hunt. The boy is around 15 and this has to be the animal of a life time. They were in too big a hurry to stay around and explain much of why it wasn't taken better care of. My 1st instinct was to get it caped, try to kill some of the bacteria then get it frozen ASAP. Any ideas of what else I might have done? This was a 1st on such a trophy.
  2. Jim Kimball

    Jim Kimball New Member

    In my opinion you should have turned everything and then got it salted ASAP...
    Now that you froze it, you will have to thaw it and that will take time that you don't have..

    Good Luck..

  3. Best answer you will ever get.

  4. oldboar

    oldboar Taxidermy...do the impossible:)

    Not the end of the world that you froze it.

    Do not give up hope!

    Mix up a nice big batch of pickle, and throw it in there to thaw. When thawed enough to turn and split do so....but keep dunking it in the pickle as you go.

    This will be a wet nasty process, but will curtail the growth of any bacteria.

    Once you've split and fleshed sufficiently....salt heavily.

    I've saved some BAD skins this way....

    Best Wishes,

  5. tazzymoto

    tazzymoto Active Member

    Do you know anyone close that has a pressure tanner? If not you can get some Aluminumsulphate 5 lb mix with 5lb salt in luke warm water 10 gal and place the cape in, move the skin a few times during the first 24 hrs, hang and drain split and flesh return to the solution for another 24 hrs and move the skin around several times take out and shave then back in again, drain , shave, apply tanning oil, fold up and freeze. When your ready to mount, just thaw prep tumble and mount.
  6. Curt

    Curt Family Life member of the NTA

    Just finished up a stinker like you talked about. I used a bunch of stop rot and worked it straight through til ready to mount used a pressure tannner and it came out lookin good. Have faith, and best of luck.
  7. as soon as it thaws or in the process of thawing stop rot it , although i agree w/ jim i would have gotten it salted for sure
  8. Cathy

    Cathy N.E.A.T President

    Stop Rot worked for me on a smelly bear. Green neck and everything...
  9. Bill Dishman

    Bill Dishman Well-Known Member

    I get them in like that quite often. The necks are so thick on Elk that they retain a lot of heat,and start to spoil quickly, but the skin is a lot tougher.
    Just prep and salt, im betting it will be just fine.
  10. Acid bath and aluminum sulfate would set the hair.

    Just mix a acid pickle at 2pH or less and add 4 cups of aluminum sulfate. Lots of room for the cape to float and stir it every 30 minutes for the day.

    This will set the hair then on the third day you can turn the lips ear and eyes.
  11. backstapwillie

    backstapwillie 2011 Montana Bow kill

    Get it fleshed and salt the crap out of it next time.
  12. mrdux

    mrdux Member

    I have a pressure tanner at the shop. What process do you recommend? I have some of the synthetic crystals and maybe still have some of Steve's crystals. Mine is the small version and figure it would be a stretch to get any kind of tan done in it with such a big cape.