1.  With a sharp knife, slit the hide circling the body behind the shoulder at approximately the mid-way point of the ribcage 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. 


 2.  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 spiral 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 you can transport it to the taxidermist. These cuts should allow ample hide for the taxidermist to work with in mounting.  REMEMBER, the taxidermist can cut off excess hide, but he can't add what he does not have.

When field dresseing a trophy to be mounted, do not cut into the brisket (chest) or neck area.  If blood gets on the hide to be mounted, wash it off with snow or water as soon as possible. Also, avoid dragging the deer out of the woods as best you can.  Place it on a sled, rickshaw, or 4-wheeler. Rope, rocks, or a broken branch can easily damage the fur or puncture the hide.

How To Cape A Deer by Mike Reimer from First Baptist Church Hollis on Vimeo.


If you are proud enough of your trophy to mount it, here are a few helpful tips to save your deer from any damage.

  • Don't cut the brisket area when field dressing
  • Don't cut the neck or throat area
  • Warm weather, blood and bacteria can ruin a deer's cape, as well as oil and fluids in the back of a pickup
  • You can take your deer to a processor or taxidermist if you are unsure of your caping skills.  MIKE'S TAXIDERMY offers free caping to his customers.
  • Put a bag of ice in the chest cavity if you are pressed for time to take care of the cape immediately.
  • If you put your mount in the freezer, make sure it is very well wrapped.  An animal can freezer burn very easily, and the cape can be ruined.  If you want to think about it before mounting it, make sure the animal is completely sealed in several garbage sacks or plastic bags.