A. The best care possible is to keep your dog from getting the bird. His mouth can do considerable damage to the feathers, which can cause un-repairable damage.
B. Put the bird head first into a nylon stocking. This will hold all of the feather next to the body preventing feather damage. Place the bird in the back of your hunting vest and finish your hunt without as much worry about damaging your bird.
C. Place the bird in a plastic bag, label species and the date it was shot. DO NOT SKIN THE BIRD. Place the bird in a freezer until you have time to get it to a taxidermists. The quicker it is in his/her hands the quicker you will get it back.
Big & Small Game
A. Most hunters know that the hide needs to be removed immediately off a big game animal. Small game (coon, fox, coyotes, etc.) can be placed in a freezer whole until taken to a taxidermist. The reason for this is bacteria growth which can ruin the furs or hides in a matter of a few hours if it is to hot. DON'T FORGET THIS!
B. Never cut off any part of the hide if you are considering a full body mount. If you do cut part of the hide off it can be saved and sewn back on at an additional cost.
C. If you are doing a head mount DO NOT CUT THE CAPE TO SHORT. Always cut in a circular cut around the specimen behind the front shoulders. You will need the hide from that point forward for a head (shoulder) mount.
D. Now skin the rest of the specimen right away or get it in a freezer. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL TOMORROW.
E. If you skin it yourself remove as much meat and fat as possible. The more meat and fat you remove the quicker the salt can penetrate and stop bacteria growth. Just be careful not to cut holes in your hide.
F. As soon as that is done, the hide needs to be laid out on the ground at an angle with no wrinkles in it flesh side up. Laying it at an angle will prevent body fluids and juices from pooling, causing a weakening of salt juice and fluid extraction. If juices do pocket this will cause that area to decay.
G. Do not lay the hide in the sun. It has to be in the shade to prevent grease burn and bacteria growth.
H. Now salt the hide using FINE GRANULATED NON-IODIZED SALT. Iodized salt will burn the hide. Rub the salt in to the flesh side until you have the entire cope covered. Don't dump it on and walk away. It has to be rubbed in. Salting stops bacteria growth and will turn the hide into a dried state for safe storage until tanning. After 24 hours shake salt off and resalt the hide. Let set for 24 hours. Roll hide up and put it in a plastic bag. Store in your freezer until you get it to a taxidermist.
I. DO NOT DRAG THE CARCASS ON THE GROUND AS THIS WILL CAUSE HAIR LOSS.
J. DO NOT lay game against or near a hot exhaust pipe while transporting.
K. If you cut the throat to bleed a specimen, remember 2 things:
L. Put your knife blade thru the skin where you want to start and then pull your knife towards you on an outward pulling motion to cut; this lets the hair move out of the way while your knife cuts coming out. This lets me sew this back together without hair loss so when you get your mounted trophy back you won't be able to tell that you even made a slice there. Cutting the other way your blade might slice hair damaging your mount.
M. CUT WITH THE GRAIN OF THE FUR WHEN GETTING AT THE JUGULAR, NOT AGAINST THE GRAIN.