Though this may seem like a very simple process, I am amazed at the number of taxidermists who do not utilize this massively simple and highly effective method. In fact, I spent about half of my 22 years in this trade, doing it with ear openers and a knife. I had blown out ears, numerous knife cuts, and an excesses amount of loose connective tissue left on my ear cartilages. I honestly can’t take credit for this method, so I must give credit to my good friend Joel Trammell of Madill, OK, who taught me the method many years ago. For the last few years, I have been utilizing the services of a split, turn, salt, and tan service, offer by one of the biggest tanneries in the nation. All my ears came back with several knife marks, small holes, and excessive connective tissue on the cartilage. I spoke to the manager of the tannery about turning ears with my method and he had never utilized it, but was truly interested in teaching his employees. I explained it to one of the employees at a show once, but I am not for sure how his experimentation turned out. Anyway, here is my current method of splitting and turning ears. This method is relatively a simple process involving a sharp knife and the ultimate set of ear openers, your thumbs. There is a much smaller chance of blowing the ears out, it is super fast, and it leaves the cartilage super clean. I have found this method works extremely well on all the deer species and most other medium-sized gameheads. Photo 1 shows the typical mule deer ear, a sharp boxing knife, and my ultimate ear openers (my thumbs).