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Where Did I Go Wrong ?

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Clovis Point, Jun 23, 2019.

  1. Clovis Point

    Clovis Point Active Member

    This is my 5th mount, but the first I have done at my shop and not at my mentors shop.

    This deer was brought to me the day it was killed and I actually caped it out. After caping I dropped it in the freezer without removing skull /antlers or doing much fleshing. A month or so later I thawed it and removed the skull and antlers and did a little fleshing and back in the freezer it went. A few weeks later (after I finally got my sink plumed in) I thawed it again and washed it in arm n hammer detergenent and decided to paint the skin side with stop rot after reading so many good things about it. Then froze again.

    Tonight I was going to turn my ears and finish fleshing everything and start my DP process (using Bess Maid). As the deer is thawing I notice this.

    Bad. So bad.

    I’m really really upset. I’ve got another cape that I received a few weeks after this one (only difference is cape number two was already caped when I got it) and everything I’ve done to one I did to the other. I’m dreading thawing our number 2.

    Uuuugh. What can I do other than just start over with a new cape ? I’m so [email protected]$?ing pissed at myself and disappointed. These are not my own deer. These people trusted me with their trophies and I have ruined them. [email protected]!.

    Attached Files:

  2. Jon S

    Jon S Well-Known Member

    Sounds like too much freezing/thawing. The ears always thaw first and begin to decay while you are waiting for the rest of the cape to thaw. Then when you washed it you get slippage on the ears. Ears are always the first to slip.
    You need to reduce the freezing /thawing cycles. Get the cape fully fleshed and salted or DP'd. The stop rot can help you, but it needs to go on the ears in the beginning.

  3. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    Agreed. Wish you had taken it off the skull after you skinned the deer. That just a few additional minutes. We do thaw and re-freeze twice before mounting, but all capes are pressure washed inside and out before the initial freeze. This removes most of the blood, and allows us to work on a clean cape while fleshing the face and shaving. Then, capes are tossed in a washer with a half cup of granulated washing powder. After washing, they are draped over the dasher and spun inside and out. They then go into a dryer half full of dry towels, and are tumbled on air dry for 30 minutes...skin side out, then an additional 30 minutes hair side out. I rarely ever lose a cape, and do about 140 per year. BTW, I also use DP.
    Clovis Point likes this.
  4. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I suggest caping, turning, splitting and fleshing and then put in salt or freezer. Washing isn't necessary until you are ready to DP IMO.
  5. Clovis Point

    Clovis Point Active Member

    After reading the last sentence I’m glad you went into such detail. I have a few questions. Do you only apply your DP by physical application or do you tumble with DP+some other type of media such as corn cob grit or sawdust ? Also what washing powder do you use ?

  6. Mike Powell

    Mike Powell Well-Known Member

    It appears you may have frozen it with the ears still wet after you washed it. Freezing a wet cape will often produce that kind of slippage. I know this from experience!
  7. Paul B

    Paul B Active Member

    Ears are the thinnest area of skin and can slip first. The Arm and Hammer has a PH of like 12, that is probably the cause. If thats all there is thats slipping, mount it up and touch up the ears with an airbrush
  8. msestak

    msestak Well-Known Member

    did you do anything different at your shop than you did at your mentors shop ?
  9. I may be able to shed some light on why the hair possibly slipped.
    From what I understand about the freezing of hides and capes is that it is not the ideal especially if it may be avoided. The reasoning behind this is bound water which is found in the skin, muscle and between working parts (eg. ear skin and cartilage in lymph) expands upon freezing due to crystallisation. The crystals are larger than the water molecule in liquid or room temperature ambient. The ice crystals increase in spacial area the slower that they form ie. quick freezing equivalates to smaller ice crystals whilst slower formed ice has larger crystal sizes.
    With slow crystal formation there is the possibility that the cell membrane which holds the structural integrity of the cell around the hair follicle may rupture thereby removing the pressure around the follicle which holds it in place therefore creating the hair to slip.
    As mentioned by Paul B the ears are thin skinned and therefore don't have a great amount of hold on the follicle at commencement of the preparation stage.
    I would surmise that the skull was wrapped in the cape prior to freezing to save freezer space which in effect is placing an insulative barrier around the ears and skull which would create a slower freeze therefore larger ice crystals. The more that the item is frozen and defrosted the greater the cell membrane broken down.
    Simultaneously the longer the flesh is exposed to enzymatic and bacterial activity the more decomposition that occurs within the skin structure and at the follicle root. These biological effects may be reduced whilst frozen or halted whilst dehydrated via salting (at re-hydration biological activity will recommence) or chemical action.
    Regarding what to do with the capes to rectify the issue I can't be offer much helpful advice but if is only the ears that have slipped perhaps you could mount the specimen with its head and neck thrust forward as if it were reaching for food. Its ears held back into the hair thereby hiding the slip but still making the most of the skin to present the beautiful animal that it is.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2019