A Mississippi taxidermist told the Clarion Ledger special care needs to be taken when handling velvet antlers if a hunter intends to have the early-season buck mounted.

Ellis Solomon of Ellis Solomon Taxidermy in Brandon, Miss. said, “I think the biggest mistake is (a hunter grabs) the rack. Velvet is skin, but it’s a lot more delicate. It will tear if you stress it enough. Don’t drag (the buck) by the antlers. When you handle (the antlers), you’re tearing and twisting that velvet. Don’t drag it by the antlers and don’t drag it over anything. Just try to handle (a velvet rack) delicately.”

Solomon said another enemy of velvet racks is moisture and advises to keep them dry if at all possible. “Try not to get (the antlers) wet. Water actually accelerates microbial damage. Bacteria can’t grow without water.”