Taxidermy isn’t taxing. More than 38.5 million Americans own a hunting license, tag, or permit. Many of them experiment with taxidermy.

Taxidermy may sound morbid. Yet it helps a smart hunter preserve an animal and keep track of their kills. If you want to bring the animals you’ve killed into your home, you should study the taxidermy process. 

How should someone preserve an animal? How can a taxidermist keep the skin intact and usable? How do taxidermists make an animal seem alive? 

Answer these questions and you can master the best taxidermy techniques in no time. Here is your quick guide.

Preserving the Animal

The first step for taxidermy is going hunting. A taxidermist will know hunting essentials so they do not damage large portions of an animal’s body. They can kill animals with a blow to the head, or they can use animals that died of natural causes.

Once an animal has died, the best taxidermist will put it into the freezer. They can put the body of a small animal in an airtight plastic bag so it will not spoil. 

In the meantime, the taxidermist will prepare a plaster cast. The skin will go on top of it. 

Maintaining the Skin

A taxidermist will then return to the animal. They will use a sharp knife and remove the skin slowly. Many taxidermists cut a seam up the abdomen of the animal and peel the skin off with tweezers. 

But they do not throw the skin away. They rub salt into it and let it sit overnight. The salt toughens the skin and kills bacteria on it.

Reptiles have thicker skin than birds and fish. Taxidermists use alcohol to preserve reptile skin and borax for bird skin.

Arranging the Form

After a few days of preservation, the taxidermist will place the preserved skin over the plaster cast. Some animal skins may have aberrations where pockets of fat were under the skin. The taxidermist can stuff bits of newspaper into these areas.

The taxidermist then needs to sew the split in the skin closed. When that is done, the taxidermy is complete. They need to find a good place to display their work.

Mounts can make the animal look like it is standing in its natural environment. Companies like All-Taxidermy make their own mounts. Many taxidermists buy third-party mounts as they require a lot of work to make.

The Essentials of the Taxidermy Process

The taxidermy process requires a few basic steps. A hunter must not damage an animal’s skin while killing it. As soon as it dies, it must go into the freezer so it does not rot. 

After some time, a taxidermist will remove the skin from the animal’s body. They will then toughen and preserve it so it does not decay. 

Once it is tough enough, the taxidermist will place it over a plaster cast. The cast can go onto a mount that resembles a habitat. 

Taxidermy is one component of hunting. Read more hunting guides by following our coverage.