Each specimen should be treated with great care and delivered to Upper Miss Wildlife Artistry as soon as possible; please resist the urge to show off your trophy until the mount is completed. This will ensure the highest quality care and taxidermy preservation possible.
If you have doubts about the condition of the specimen, feel free to bring it in for a free inspection and an honest appraisal of its condition. The most critical variable to consider is time: the sooner a specimen receives attention the better the quality of finished work you will receive, regardless of field condition.
- Do not bleed or cut the animal on any part of the body that would be included in the final pose.
- Do not drag your large game, or mis-treat the hide in any way with ropes, straps, etc.
- For life-size mounts, cool the animal as soon as possible after death, and deliver to UMWA as soon as possible. If you can not deliver with in a few hours lay the animal out in your freezer flat and freeze. Once frozen, double plastic bag the animal, and deliver ASAP. For head and shoulder mounts, field dress and cool body cavity, cape asap, and deliver to UMWA. If you can not do so freeze the cape and head in your freezer, bag after frozen and deliver to UMWA ASAP.
For European Mounts and Antler mounts, remove head and bring to UMWA, or freeze head and bring in ASAP.
If you plan on mounting a fish, it is wise to prepare in advance.
- Have a large cooler or live well filled with ice. Once a fish is harvested, you may wipe the fish clean with a wet hand or wet soft cloth, to remove any body fluids, vegetation, etc.
- Place the fish in a plastic bag, lay flat making sure the fins are tucked close to the body and in a natural position and pack the fish in ice. Squeeze the air out of the bag and wrap in a second bag. Sealed double plastic bags are recommended to help prevent dehydration of the specimen. Do not use newspaper or wet towels, as they can freeze to the fish and may pull scales, stain or damage the skin when the taxidermist removes it.
- Bring to UMWA as soon as possible, household freezers may cause dehydration in the fish if stored too long.
It pays to plan ahead if you want a reproduction, as you should have certain tools in the boat.
Make sure you are aware of all regulations and the handling of fish, (especially if seasons are closed), and that you are within your legal right.
Remember that the first goal is to release a healthy fish. You should have your tools readily available and with in reach.
When planning for having a replica made, you will need:
a net or cradle
- hook outs
- bolt/hook cutters
- a flexible measuring tape.
Always work at unhooking a fish in the water, whether in a net or in a live well. Use hook cutters for badly hooked fish and remove as many hook fragments as possible. Once the fish is free from the bait, allow it to recover in the net in the water. This is a good time to get an accurate length and a largest girth measurement. Prepare the camera by turning on and setting up, getting the boat positioned for good lighting, etc.
Once the fish is relaxed, get a firm grip on the jaw with one hand, and support the fishes body weight with the second hand. Quickly lift and hold fish horizontally for multiple pictures from different angles and get some close up pics of head/gill area and bold color areas. Only keep the fish out of the water as long as you can hold your breath, then put the fish back in the net if you need more time. Let the fish rest and get some more oxygen before taking more pics, and then release as soon as possible.
Remember that time out of the water is a major stress factor for delayed mortality, keep it to a minimum. Water temperature also plays a role For example, if you are fishing for muskellunge and the water temp is 82 degrees, most agree that a water release is necessary for reducing stress. You may want a disposable under water camera in the boat, to snap a few water releases.
Release the fish and watch it to make sure that the fish is healthy and able to swim away freely on its own. Our ethics in this new era of catch and release are critical to the fish survival and our privilege to fish for them. It is our responsibility to know how to handle fish in way that is safe not only to the fisherman but to the fish as well, promoting good stewardship of these marvelous creatures. What better way to relive a brief moment in time, than to release a creature to her home environment while still having a reproduction memory on the wall to share with all?
2. Continue fishing and making memories and bring your pictures and measurements to UMWA at you convenience.
Birds are, without a doubt a beautiful gift to man. That being said, all birds are not created equal. If you have a choice, pick out a mature bird, in full plumage and good color, with few pinfeathers, and with little damage.
If you hunt with a dog, make sure she has a soft mouth; or else retrieve the bird yourself. Do not wring the neck of a crippled bird. You may wipe a bloody bird with a damp hand or damp soft cloth and then cool the bird ASAP. Do not bag or cover until it is cool. Wrap in double plastic bag and deliver or freeze ASAP. You may tuck the head under a wing to help protect this delicate tissue.