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How to Prepare a Deer Head for Taxidermy

If you shoot a deer and want to have it mounted, you will need to prepare the deer for taxidermy right away.
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If you've killed a deer and decide to mount it up on the wall, you will need to take the deer to a taxidermist. However, the process of preparing a deer head for a taxidermy is more complex than simply taking the harvested deer into a shop. There are several steps you must complete prior to taking in your deer head for mounting. If you follow the simple steps needed to prepare your deer head for mounting, your local taxidermist will be able to quickly prepare the head so you can proudly display it on your wall.

Find a reputable taxidermist prior to going hunting. Call the taxidermist and ask them about their preferences on deer preparation. It's important to also talk to the taxidermist about mounting options for your deer head at this time.

Gut your deer immediately after killing it. Prior to making the abdominal slit for gutting, keep in mind the type of mount you want. For mounting a deer head, you will probably want to do a shoulder mount. Begin your abdominal slit about halfway down the torso of the deer and continue cutting all the way down to the anus and then completely gut the deer.

Take your gutted deer home, being careful not to damage the hide while moving the deer. Skin the animal, removing the hide from the meat. While doing this you should leave a generous amount of cape, at least three feet long. The cape is the excess skin that extends from the head and neck, looking like a cape.

Remove any flesh you may have left on the hide after skinning. Use a flesh knife to do this and remove all of the muscle tissue and fat from the deer, so only hide is remaining.

Rub non-iodized salt on the skin of the deer and either take the deer immediately to the taxidermist. When rubbing the salt, make sure you get a thin layer of salt into all of the cracks and crevices of the skin.

Put the deer head and cape into the freezer if you can't take the deer to the taxidermist immediately. Wrap a towel around the deer's ears, face and nose and then place a heavy plastic bag over the deer head. Make sure not to fold or roll up the cape as this can cause the cape to lose hair and become unusable.

Deliver your deer head to the taxidermist and make sure to discuss specifics of the mounting and how you want the deer's nose, eyes and mouth presented in the mounting.

Things You'll Need:

  • Flesh knife
  • Plastic bag
  • Salt
  • Freezer


While skinning, if you get blood on the part of the deer you want to have mounted, wash it off as soon as you can with warm water.

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