1. Welcome to Taxidermy.net, Guest!
    We have put together a brief tutorial to help you with the site, click here to access it.

First Whitetail shoulder mount ?

Discussion in 'Deer and Gameheads' started by stokedlight86, Aug 2, 2016.

  1. stokedlight86

    stokedlight86 Member

    I am new to the hobby of taxidermy and am grabbing at every project and opportunity to practice on pretty much anything I can get my hands on. About a month or so ago I tackled my first whitetail shoulder mount. I always seem to run into new issues and problems with ever attempt and I try my best to chuckle at my failures and count them as learning experiences. This keeps going on I'm going to have a barn full of "interesting" looking mounts hahaha.

    So my question lies here. I skinned out the cape, went along with the process Ive used to tan all the hides I've done; skin, flesh, thin, salt, pickle, tan rinse, mount. The tanning process went well for the most part no slippage or anything too major except...I took my measurements and ordered my form prior to tanning and afterwards the neck on the cape was drastically smaller than the form. I know I took the correct measurements so I'm thinking that the cape shrunk during the tanning process. Everything else stayed pretty much in proprtion except for the diameter of the neck tube. I ended up shaving down the form and fighting to get the cape pulled on and now the mount looks okay except for the glaring fact that the neck looks super thin and the brisket patch didnt line up so well.. I used Mckenzies rub on tan if that info helps. what can I do or use to avoid shrinkage or to loosen the skin to allow me to stretch it back out. When I say the skin was tight I was pulling with all 200 lbs of me and it was a fight, that neck tube shrunk down to 1/2 the size. Thinning issue?
  2. To me it sounds like maybe your neck wasn't thinned down enough.

  3. Dave Byrd

    Dave Byrd Active Member

    stokedlight86, Learn to use dry preservative on the next one. You can use your initial measurements directly from the unskinned cape for a corresponding manikin without the fear of it not fitting. No need for excessive thinning and all the stretch you will need. I think you'll find it more enjoyable...especially as a beginner.
  4. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I don't see a neutralizing step in your process. That is an important step. I use Liqua tan and I can get one to two inches more stretch than the green measurement.
  5. stokedlight86

    stokedlight86 Member

    Tanglewood your correct I didnt put that step in but yes I do neutralize after the pickle, I was rushing through the typing I didnt want to get to wordy before I actually asked my question. I appreciate the responses and I will look into DP for my next mount. Just saying that brings up so many questions and because all I've ever done is tan things I wonder if DP is easier why do people even tan then? I have a boar form that I already purchased and I did buy Rick Carters Boar mount DVD, Im a little nervous with hogs being so thick skinned that Im gonna run into the same problem especially in that humpy neck/shoulder area.
  6. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    Did you dry it completely after salt and before pickle? I see no mention of re-hydrate in there. The thinning stage comes after being in the pickle and then returned to the pickle, then neutralized and then proceed with the rest of the steps.
  7. I see where you said you thinned it after fleshing. Not sure how much actual thinning you can do on a raw hide. You need to thin it a lot after the pickle. The cape will swell up and the skin gets really thick then resulting in considerable shrinkage. That is when you need to thin it down. The best way to do that is on a fleshing machine. If you don't have one then you are best off using the DP method or send the salted cape out to be tanned.
  8. stokedlight86

    stokedlight86 Member

    I'd like to apologize for taking the time to write out this post but not taking the few extra minutes to fully explain my tanning procedure. Like I said I' am not a professional in any sense but am trying to learn as I go and do things right. I never let the skin completely dry out stiff if that's the "rawhide" your speaking of. After I flesh it i salt the hide to set the hair and help with bacteria, after the salt I rinse he hide down and then it goes in the pickle (thinning comes after the pickle). I have to believe that I did not thin he neck area down enough. I understand the swelling concept of the pickle and found through trial and error that thinning right out of a pickle is important. I was just a little confused because I've mounted a couple of full body coyotes, some small mammals and this deer was the only time I noticed such shrinkage. I don't have another whitetail cape available to work on at the moment but I wish I did so I can try this again and let you guys know how it turns out.
  9. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I thin the cape until I get a blue hue. You can't always get a blue hue through out the entire cape, so you have to be careful. Deer backs and necks are a lot thicker than coyotes. A tanned hide shrinks in the tan and you can stretch it back out and then mount it. If it gets wet, it becomes wet leather. A DP hide shrinks on the form after it is mounted so great care must be taken to keep the hide from moving too much. If it gets wet you have a wet semi raw skin. Many have great success with Stop Rot and DP.
  10. Paul B

    Paul B Active Member

    A pickled deer hide must be shaved down as TT said, especially a mid season deer as the skin gets thicker as the colder weather sets in. A round wheel as the only way to thin down evenly and properly.
  11. GWebb

    GWebb Well-Known Member

    Another big problem many beginners have is the hide getting stretched length-wise during the pickling/neutralizing/tanning process. After that is done, stretch that sucker for all it's worth width-wise, and when mounting, keep moving the skin back up toward the top of the head/upper neck area as you sew. An invaluable tool that I would have never dreamed to be as handy as it turned out to be is the Stout Ruffer. For help moving/adjusting the hide on the form, removing foam and prepping a form prior to mounting, I wouldn't be caught without one.
  12. dwimberly

    dwimberly Member

    in my opinion a lot of taxidermist don't DP because they feel like tanning is a better process . When you mount the deer, the hair is set, no bacterial issues etc... when you DP the hair in the animal is not set. Actually after you mount the animal the hair will turn loose in the roots ager about 4 days and if you pull on the hair it will fall out. As the animal cures out the hair will tighten back up in the animal and everything will be fine once completely dry. I love DP my mounts and have for years with no issues. I have tanned as well and to me it has its purposes but for deer, I see no reason. As long as you flesh it properly and leave nothing behind, DP works great and there is no shrinkage before assembly. Give it a shot and see what you think.