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Animals, coyote sized or smaller, should not be skinned unless by a professional. DO NOT gut the animal. Small mammals, especially carnivores, will spoil quickly because of their thin hide and bacteria. If you can't take the small game animal immediately to the taxidermist, as soon as the carcass cools completely, put it in a plastic bag and freeze it.
NOTE: With the epidemic of rabies evident in many areas of the country take every safety measure necessary when handling your game.
Do not gut the bird. Rinse off any blood on the feathers with water. Take the bird immediately to your taxidermist or freeze it. Put the bird into a plastic bag for freezing, being careful not to damage the feathers, including the tail. if the birds tail feathers do not fit in the bag, do not bend them. Let the tail stick out of the bag and tie the bag loosely.
Do not gut your fish. If you can not take your fish immediately to a taxidermist, wrap it in a very wet towel and put it in a plastic bag, making sure all the fins are flat against the fish's body (to prevent breakage), and freeze it. A fish frozen with this method can safely be kept in the freezer for months.
NOTE: A fish will loose its coloration shortly after being caught. A good color photograph immediately after the catch may enable the taxidermist to duplicate the natural color tones of that particular fish.
Always have appropriate tags with your trophies when you take them to your taxidermist. Do not cut the ears for attachment.
*Songbirds, Eagles, Hawks, and Owls are protected by Federal Law and can not be mounted unless with special Federal Permit.
*For situations where you are hunting with no available taxidermist or freezer, ask your taxidermist about techniques to skin out the entire cape (including the head) and salting the hide. This is the only method in remote locations that can preserve your hide for later mounting.