Caping for a Shoulder Mount

  • With a sharp knife slit the hide circling the body behind the shoulder at approximately the mid-way point of the rib cage behind the front legs. Slit the skin around the legs just above the knees. An additional slit will be needed from the back of the leg and joining the body cut behind the legs; There is a ridge of hair on the back of the legs making it easy to follow up the leg, just be sure to stay out of the armpit region. (You may also tube skin the legs and let the taxidermist make the slit.)


  • Peel the skin forward up to the ears and jaw exposing the head/neck junction. Cut into the neck approximately three inches down from this junction. circle the neck cutting down to the spinal column. After this cut is complete, grasp the antler bases and twist the head off the neck. This should allow the hide to be rolled up and put in a freezer until delivered to a taxidermist. These cuts should allow plenty of hide for the taxidermist to work with in mounting. Remember, the taxidermist can cut off excess hide but he can’t add what he doesn’t have.

Capping Shoulder Mount

Note: Caping the face should be left for the taxidermist. Properly skinning the delicate nose, mouth, eyes and ears is invaluable toward producing a quality mount. Sometimes it may be necessary to cape the face so that the hide can be frozen without the antlers, such as with a moose or elk. If this happens, make a “Y” incision along the back of the cape on up to the back of the antler burrs. Be careful caping around the burrs, keeping the knife blade as close to the skull as possible. Be sure to cut the ear butts close to the skull. Leave eyelids and lachrymal (eye) glands intact on cape, leave as much nose cartilage attached to the cape and obtain as much of the gums as possible. Once caped off the skull, the hide should be folded skin to skin and rolled into a ball, placed into a bag as air tight as possible and then placed in a freezer. The antlers can then be cut from the skull. Deliver cape and antlers to a taxidermist as soon as possible.

**Head and Neck shots should always be avoided whenever possible. Dragging and 4 wheelers are very detrimental on big game mounts in the shoulder areas as it removes top hair and hair completely from the shoulders.
Field Dressing