A properly cared for bird will make the mounting process easier and produce a much higher quality display and mount. Following is a list of helpful guidelines that the author has compiled over the last 40-years. They have been field-tested and proven to work. If you have chosen a nice trophy, these guidelines will assist you in delivering your prize to the BIRD STUFFER without doing further damage or possibly destroying your future mount.
FOR THOSE WHO DON'T LIKE TO READ, WHO WANT IT SHORT, SIMPLE AND TO THE POINT, HERE IT IS.
!. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER! KEEP THE BIRD WET. DIP THE BIRD IN WATER (WATER WILL NOT HURT A DUCK! )
2. PUT THE BIRD IN A ZIP LOCK BAG OR ROLL IT UP IN A HEAVY DUTY GARBAGE BAG. DO NOT USE NEWSPAPER, WALMART BAGS OR PANTY HOSE.
3. CALL THE BIRDSTUFFER RIGHT AWAY. YOUR FREEZER CAN DAMAGE YOUR BIRD IN JUST A MATTER OF DAY. DON'T WAIT.
(NO NEWSPAPER or PANTY HOSE)
IF YOU'RE SERIOUS ABOUT COLLECTING TROPHY MOUNTS AND WANT ONLY THE BEST...READ ON!
Newspaper acts as a sponge drawing moisture from the skin at a rapid rate. The new frost free freezers can damage or destroy bird skins in a short period of time. Combined a frost free freezer and newspaper can destroy a skin in as little as a month. Panty hose offers no protection to the skin from freezer burn. Blood soaks into the panty hose sticking to the feathers. Ask yourself this question. When you purchased meat from your grocery store, was it wrapped in newspaper or panty hose? These items offer no protection from freezer burn.
Once you have retrieved your trophy, place a small ball of cotton into the mouth. This will protect the feathers from fluidsthat drain out of the mouth. . I'M NOT WORRIED ABOUT BLOOD. STRONG CAUSTIC DIGESTIVE JUICES DRAIN FROM THE MOUTH, RECTUM AND SHOT HOLES TO THE BELLY OR ABDOMINAL AREA. iF YOU LET THESE DIGESTIVE JUICES STAY ON THE BIRD, THE FIRST LAYER OF SKIN WILL BE DAMAGED BEYOND REPAIR CAUSING THE FEATHERS TO COME OFF WITH THE SKIN. THIS IS WHY IT'S IMPORTANT TO SATURATE THE BIRD WITH WATER, ESPECIALLY THE BELLY AND AROUND THE RECTUM. TAKE THE BIRD OUT IN THE YARD AND USE A WATER HOSE WITH GENTLE PRESSURE TO SATURATE THOSE AREAS.
Once you have wet the bird down , set it aside ( NOT ON THE SUN ) where the air can circulate around it to allow the body heat to fully escape. When you arrive home,
wrap paper towels around the feet and head of your bird. Secure the paper towels to the bird with string or rubber bands. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT: Dip the bird in a
bucket of water or use a water hose to thoroughly wet the paper towels and bird. While the bird is dripping wet, immediately bend the head over the back and place it in a large garbage bag.
Then put the bird into your freezer.
Get the birds to the taxidermist within a few days of the hunt and allow the specialist to continue its care, storage and mounting. Retrieve the birds yourself (do not let your dogs retrieve birds) to prevent any damage to the body whatsoever.
Try to choose a mature specimen. The best specimens for mounting are taken in late season. January or Feburary. Look for a bird that is not missing a lot of wing feathers or that has any bald spots. THE BIRD STUFFER, uses artificial heads.If the bill has been hit with pelletts don't worry we can easily fix that problem Don't be too critical in your field evaluations. What may seem like a disaster to the untrained eye may only be a minor and easily correctable situation to the specialist. If the bird is not mature enough or damaged too bad I will not mount it.
...To cool the bird down as quickly as possible! Heat of any kind is the major culprit to bird skins. Decomposition begins immediately and heat accelerates this natural process. The first areas to start decomposing are around the eyes and rectum. This is due to the high levels of moisture and bacteria. To thrive, bacteria needs moisture and heat. Take away the heat and you will slow down the decomposition drastically.
There are a couple of things that you can easily do to cool the carcass down fast. The first thing is to dip the bird into the lake water. This will not only help dissipate the body heat, it will also help to prevent blood clots. Dip the bird underwater. While the bird is under water, useing your hand, rub the feathers on the belly back and forth starting at the tail moving up to the breast. This will allow the cold water to reach the skin. DON'T PLACE THE BIRD ON ICE UNLESS IT IS IN A PLASTIC BAG. tHE ICE WILL STICK TO THE FEATHERS.
I never recommend putting a fresh killed (warm) bird in a plastic bag. The birds own body heat will cause bacteria to develop causing decomposition around the vent (Rectum )area. If for some reason you must place the bird in a plastic bag make sure that you have ice on hand and place the bird:
(BELLY SIDE DOWN).
Properly freezing the specimen...There are some obvious reasons that a bird cannot be delivered immediately to the taxidermist. Some of these are financial, maybe the taxidermist could not be reached. For these reasons, you need to know how to properly freeze the bird without totally destroying it. The most important thing that you need to know is: DO NOT USE NEWSPAPER to wrap a frozen bird. Newspaper acts as a sponge, quickly drawing moisture out of the feet and head area which causes freezer burn.
if you don't believe me, next time you purchase meat, take it out of the plastic and wrap it in newspaper. Better yet, go rip off your wife's panty hose and wrap your meat in her panty hose. Take your lunch to work one day. Wrap everythin in newspaper and panty hose. I should charge more for birds wrapped in newspaper and panty hose but those clients have done enough damage to their mounts.
After the body heat has cooled down, (approximately 1 or 2 hours), place it in a garbage bag. The garbage bag works perfectly every time and it's simple. When placing the bird in the freezer, bend the head back and let it rest on the back of the bird. NEVER place the head under the wing. Bend the neck and place the head on the back of the bird. There are two important reasons for doing this...
...The first and most important is that the head is one of the first parts of the body to thaw. If the head is under a wing, it might be 7 or 8 hours before the head can be uncovered
and skinned. This means that the head sits there decomposing for 7 or eight hours.
...The second reason is that blood can leak out of the mouth into the downy feathers of the side pockets. The side pockets on a mount are what nice wheels and tires are to a luxury car. It's important not to damage these areas.
THE HAZARDS OF BLOOD
When blood dries, it forms into a clot. Feathers are very delicate. Blood and feathers are not compatible at all. The blood on a specimen needs to be removed or saturated with water. But becuase of the time factor, not having enough experience and a million other reasons, it is impossible to remove all of the blood.
I have access to a number of formulas and chemicals on the market to remove blood. Like every other thing, some are excellent and others are junk. I have an excellent track record for removing blood from my client's mounts. However, to be perfectly honest, a lot of feather structures are damaged in the process of removing clotting blood. Blood clots do slow down the mounting process some what. Even though time is a factor, I"m mostly concerned with the finished product.
Let's make a comparison. just imagine that you met the world's best portrait artist. He has offered to paint (free of charge) a portrait of your one-and-only child: the most cherished
thing on earth. The only thing he asks is that you bring him a high-quality canvas on which to paint. When you go to purchase the canvas you quickly realize that they range in price from 200 dollars
to many thousands. As you're shopping, you discover a damaged canvas with a hole in it. You haven't done your homework by reading up on canvases such as the sportsman would do if he were
contemplating a mount. You take the canvas to the artist and he mentions the hole but you start complaining about how expensive canvases are. A couple of months later he calls you up and when you
arrive at his studio, you are amazed at the beautiful, realistic painting he has created of your child. The colors are vibrant and the composition is perfect. But right in the center of the subjects
forehead is this obvious and distracting hole. A dried blood clot on your bird's skin is to me what a hole in a canvas is to the painter.
Gravity continues to allow blood and digestive juices to seep ou of pellet holes, the mouth and the rectum. When you put the bird in the freezer the digestive juice and blood continue to drain and puddle in the bottom of the bag. Because of this, keep the bird as wet as possible. Blood clots can seriously effect the overall mount. A blood clot in the plumage of a beautiful bird is no different than a wad of chewing gum stuck in the long flowing hair of a beautiful woman.
SUMMARY OF FIELD CARE
** Keep bird wet**
1. Broken wings, damaged bills and shot holes can be repaired.
2. Don't let your retriever get the bird.
3. Place a cotton ball or paper towel in the mouth and gently poke it down the
4. Let bird lay in water to cool before placing it into
5. Don't place bird on hood of car.
6. Keep bird out of sunlight.
7. Cool bird as quickly as possible.
8. Carry by feet only - never by neck or wings.
9. Wrap the legs & feet with wet paper towels.
10. Pour hydrogen peroxide on shot holes and bloody
11. Place Ziplock sandwich bag over head and bend
head over back.
12. Submerge bird one last time in water and wrap it
in (2) large garbage bags, freeze immediately.
Let me share some interesting information with you. Bird skins are very fragile. Especially the feet. Keep the bird wet.
Bird skins have approximately one-half-inch of fat on them. This fat is removed by a wire brush attached to a high-speed motor. Once the fat is removed from the skin, you could easily read a newspaper through it. Some bird skins, such as woodducks and doves, are as thin as the skin that peels from your back after a severe sunburn. Years of practice developing manual dexterity and a sense of touch are required when working on bird skins.
Skins are washed numerous times in solutions containing sufficats that actually makes the water "wetter" as to fully hydrate the skin. Here, at the BIRD STUFFER facilities, we use a syntrifical-force hydrator that I have developed. This is the reason our mounts are so clean and natural in appearance.
We cast each bird's skull so that we get an exact fit. The skull and the bill are then cast in a mold. Some taxidermist still use the old outdated method of using the original skull and bill. Not only does the bill shrink using this method, but, it is impossible to clean the skull of all meat, tissue and ligaments. This can lead to infestations of dermestid beelles, commonly known as carpet beetles, into the rest of your collection.
Shot Hole or Missing Feet: This is not usually a problem.
Shot Holes to the Bill: No problem! We'll reproduce the head and bill at no extra charge.
Feathers Missing and Bald Spots: These can be a problem, but sometime they can be fixed/ The BIRD STUFFER has mounted thousands of birds over the past 40-years and more than likely,
he has the solution.
CALL ME ANYTIME, IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS (423) 697-743
By law, the FEDERAL MIGRATORY BIRD TAG below must be printed and attached to EACH bird to be shipped. Print and fill out all of the information accurately then "twist-tie" the tag to each bird.