Proper Field Care For Your Trophy Bird


Maybe it's your dog's first retrieve, the first time you shared the duck-blind with your loved one, or perhaps its that once in a lifetime hunt, proper field care of your trophy bird will ensure your taxidermist will have the best specimen to work with.

So you're sitting in the duck blind or walking the fields and you've just downed your bird, now what?
Things to keep in mind when you retrieve your trophy bird while in the field:
    • It is best to only select mature adult specimens with complete plumage. The later in the season the better. Young and early season birds have pinfeathers, which are soft quills. These fall out during the mounting process which results in less then ideally feathered bird. Pinfeathers can be found along the side-pockets of the bird or at the base of the tail.
    • For that real special bird, the once in a life-time bird, it is probably best to retrieve that bird by hand rather than by dog. As gentle as we think our dogs mouths to be, feather loss can occur which can greatly reduce the quality of the finished mount. 
    • If the bird is not dead in hand, DO NOT wring the birds neck. One way in the field to overcome this problem is to lay the bird on it's back and apply pressure on it's chest until it's dispatched. This allows the job to be done with minimal damage to the feathers.
    • As soon as the bird is dispatched, the head should be tucked under the wing before rigor has set in. This allows the bird to be stored in the freezer in such a way as to not have any damage occur to the head/neck area through the storage process.
    • Keep the bird out of the warm direct sunlight as this can increase the rate at which the bird's skin can spoil. Place the bird in a cooler if one is available.
    • Blood, dirt and bullet holes in beaks are generally not a huge problem. However, lost feathers cannot be replaced! The bird will be cleaned during the mounting process, but it is best to try and keep the bird as clean as possible as this will ensure the feathers aren't damaged.
Now that you have arrived home from your trip afield, now what?

Once you arrive home with your trophy bird:
  • You can store your trophy bird in a used clean bread bag or Ziploc . Just ensure that ALL the air is removed from whatever storage method you are using to ensure the best protection against freezer burn.
  • When placing your bird in the storage container of your choosing, make sure again that the birds head is carefully tucked under its wing protecting the easily damaged neck area during the storage process.
  • Place the bird in the freezer as soon as possible.
  • The most preferred method is to contact your taxidermist and set up a time to drop off your trophy bird as soon as possible. Visit Nature's Vision Studio of Taxidermy, LLC's Contact Page to schedule an appointment.

Field Care



This video was made to help hunters  properly care for their trophy before bringing it to the taxidermist.  If you are fortunate enough to harvest an animal that you would like to mount be sure to watch this video to get your mount off on the right foot. Although this video describes a whitetail deer, the same methods apply to any gamehead animal including elk, moose, antelope, bison etc.

Deer and Game Heads

At Nature's Vision Taxidermy we want to make sure your trophy is the best it can be and that starts with the best specimen. If there are any questions or concerns with preparing your trophy please feel free to call with questions. You can also bring your trophy to our studio where we can help you prepare or skin your specimen,