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Trophy care


Birds require a little extra care to make sure they are in the best condition for mounting.

Many hunters hunt with dogs.  Unfortunately, not all dogs treat birds gently when they are retrieved.  If you shoot a bird you think you will want mounted, retrieve it without the use of a dog.  While repairs can be made, bite and chew holes are avoidable.  

Try to avoid “wringing” the neck of a bird you intend to mount.  The intense twisting of and subsequent breaking of the vertebra can cause damage to the skin and leave patches of feathers missing in the area the neck was twisted.  Grasp the bird under the wings at the shoulder joints and compress the rib cage.  This will crush the heart and kill the bird quickly.

When first killed, birds are warm and feathers dislodge easily.  Allow the bird to cool before placing it in any container or bag.  Set the Bird in an area to preclude additional damage to cool or place it carefully in your hunting coat.  Once cool, fold the wings in and lay the head over the back or tuck under a wing.  Carry a plastic bag in your coat and put the bird in a plastic bag away from the others so it will not be damaged.  Try and keep as much debris off the bird as possible.

Birds bleed when shot.  The blood soaks the feathers around the shot holes.  This is to be expected.  Do not worry about blood, it can be removed.  If the Bird is bleeding profusely from the mouth, take a piece of toilet paper, paper towel or something similar and push it down the throat.  If the bird is leaking from the other end, do the same there.

When you get home, repackage the bird for freezing (or deliver the bird to the taxidermist).  To repackage the bird, place in a clean plastic bag as mentioned above.  Remove as much air as possible and then tape the bag closed.  Place this bag in a second plastic bag remove air and tape.  Avoid a frost free freezer if possible as this can dehydrate the bird.  If you do not have a regular freezer a frost free freezer will work.

Mark the plastic bag with the name and gender of the bird, the date shot and the location shot.  If you are going to save it over a hunting season, write your hunting license number on the bag as well.



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