taxidermy preserve

Folks loved our recent discussion on how to choose a deer taxidermist, and several of you asked for a follow-up post on how to care for and preserve a mount once you get it home and on the wall. Hunting expert and long-time blogger Matt “Flatlander” Cheever, who has been covering this topic for us, explains:

Hi Mike: Let me share some tips that will keep that buck of a lifetime on your wall looking good throughout your lifetime and beyond.

First, the biggest enemies to a professionally mounted game head are light and heat. If at all possible don’t hang a mount directly over a heat source like the fireplace–I know it looks the best there, just be sure to keep it from extreme heat. Also avoid direct daylight, as sun will fade the hide. If you can draw the blinds when you’re not home, do so.

Keeping a mount looking fresh is easy and cheap. First, simply wipe dust gently off the hairs, working with the grain and not against them. Lightly blow off any other dust with compressed air (gently) if necessary.

Next, I like to use Cowboy Magic show horse spray on a mount; it helps it to keep a realistic shine, protects the hairs, and keeps dust from gathering on them. I brush the hairs very gently after spraying. Be sure to use a brush that won’t leave lines; you can use a dry, clean cloth in place of a brush if you like.

Use a small amount of glass cleaner (rub with Q-Tips) on the glass eyes.

Lastly, let’s not overlook those antlers. I prefer a 50/50 mix of Murphy’s Oil Soap and water. It helps keep antlers from drying out and becoming chalky. Apply the solution to the bases with an old tooth brush to get into the tight spots.

The horse spray, oil soap, and glass cleaner can be bought for around $20 combined, and those ingredients will do a dozen or so deer heads once a year for decades. It literally costs pennies a mount and takes only a few minutes to care for and preserve each one. There is no reason not to keep your mounts from looking like the bucks did the day you shot them.—Flatlander