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Mounted My 1st Roe Deer. So Chuffed!


Elk hunter
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Last September I took my first ever sika deer and a roe buck on the same day off my lease in Scotland and promised myself I would mount the pair. Well as my taxidermy skills are improving and earning money I have undertaken the next step.

 

6 point roe and 7 point sika

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After speaking to my friend Wayne the taxidermist, it was time to continue my teaching so a couple of week ago on Sunday I went to start. I know how to skin and skin efficiently, but not good enough to mount. I won't bore you all the ins and out but it took me about an hour to skin the head off. It was very easy when the time is taken, but then the hard work is the eyes and mouth. As theses are the part very difficult to repair.

 

Removing the head from the hide.

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Wayne skinned the sika and I copied it on the roe as the sika is one of the high lights of my stalking career, i did not want it messed up, hence Wayne did it. After the skull was removed I had to turn the ears inside out and open the lips up too. This was so the tanning solution get right into all the areas to stop the pins or fur falling out. I managed to freezer burn the ears which caused me some problems. Ended up having to soak them to rehydrate them. Got there in the end and thinning the lips out was very time consuming. To finish the day was salting the hides for 24 hr prior to the tan. The sika skin is being stored for now.

 

Cape off.

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Ears inside out.

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After the bank holiday I went back to continue. Spent the whole day de fleshing the roe and thinning the hide. This involved using in effect a grinder to remove the excess material off the skin. This helps when the skin dries and sets, the thinner the skin the less it shrinks. Took me all day and my brain was fried, had to concentrate all the time. As it was far too easy to cock it up, nick here or there could ruin the hide.

 

Thinning out the hide.

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Painstaking.

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I did a second day this week was all about removing cartilage from the nose, eyes and ears. Very intricate work with a steady hand. In the afternoon I just watching and took notes. As another animal was being built up with clay and mounted, It was a great opportunity to learn, plus help me do more myself later.

 

Yesterday I returned to mount the skin to the form. Although it was it was a good roe, it's neck was not overly large. This meant the foam form was to large and I had to do some sanding with a rasp, keeping the shape at the same time. A good couple of hours went by before everything fitted. A case of sand, fit sand, fit again time consuming.

 

Sanding the form.

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See if it fits.

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After making sure the skin fitted the form, the ears were next. I had to fill the ears and remould them to shape. If you have ever seen a victorian taxidermy deer head often the ears are all shrivelled up. Filling and moulding ect stops this in the long term. Again another time, labour intensive job, but worth it.

 

Filling the ears.

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By lunch lunch it was onto the form. Inserting eyes and building up with clay. Way harder than it looks and Wayne made me perceiver. Layer after layer till enough was done to lay the hide over. Everything I'd done for the past two days and prior to that was coming together.

 

Antlers fitted.

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Clay and moulding.

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Putting the skin over the form and positioning the eyes started to give live back to days of tedious work. Moulding the mouth, cheek and lips made it look like a deer. But sewing it back together was tough and fiddly, took an age. Fortunately while sewing the ears just seemed to position them selves.

 

Wonky ear.

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All that was left to do was the finishing touches......mmm....its not easy to bring it to life. All in the eyes, that where the soul lives. Shaping, moving, scraping the clay under the skin, bought everything together within 20 min out of days of work.

 

Ive lots of watching and tweaking over the next week, but the results speak for themselves. I have shoulder mounted my first roe deer and can say that I did 85% of the work myself under Wayne's watchful eye. I've a long way to go but what an incredible journey I'm on. Wayne has be so patient and a great teacher giving a little at a time. Over the moon with the finished head and have the upmost respect for the art of taxidermy.

 

Andrew.

 

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just an inquisitive question the foam form that you used do you buy them and sand to fit the skin? or do you take a mold of the head and inject foam and let it set?

i take my hat off to you a fantastic job well done

i would be well chuffed to be do anything like that

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