Here are some suggestions to help the customer select the best bird possible for that display area on the mantelpiece or on the wall.
Mature Bird – Look for a mature bird with good coloration. Look at the tail, a rough or uneven tail usually means that the bird is a juvenile which has yet to go through its first molt.
Pinfeathers – Check your bird carefully for pinfeathers. Generally speaking, the earlier in the season the bird is taken the more pinfeathers it will have. Pinfeathers are newly growing feathers that have a soft shaft and these WILL fall out during the mounting process.
Damage – Check your bird for damage. Look at the head feathers and see if they not damaged and that the head feathers are nice and full. Damage to the bills is not a problem as we will be using reproduction heads on most of the birds. Look for broken feathers in the tail as well as the wings. Shot-up wings will not make the best flying mount. We can alter the pose to hide some of the damage.Prime Birds – Again, generally speaking the later into the season, the better the feathers will become. Look for the adult bird with full feathers and good coloration.Blood – Please do not worry about blood on your birds. We will be washing the bird skin and will be able to remove all traces of blood.
Here are a few Do’s and Don’ts that will help in the field:
Don’t:Don’t wring the bird’s neck. Either grasp the breast from behind the wings and squeeze firmly for one to two minutes or spread the wings out and place your knee in the center of the back and press your weight firmly down until the bird succumbs which usually takes a short period.Don’t place the bird in a sealed bag. Place the head under a wing and place the bird in a cool and DRY place allowing the bird to cool.
Don’t gut the bird as there is already enough damage done in the field.
DO:Do retrieve the bird personally if at all possible. Hunting with a dog is one of the greatest experiences in waterfowl hunting but personally retrieving the bird will prevent broken or ruffled feathers.Do prevent feather breakage. Placing the bird head first into a nylon stocking is a great way to protect your bird.Do keep your trophy dry.Be sure that the head is under a wing and then place in a plastic (Ziplock) bag, making sure that it fits and is not “crammed” into the bag and most of the air has been removed. If you feel that you will not be able to get your bird to us soon, wrap some wet paper towels around the feet and legs as this will help prevent freezer burn. Lay the bird in the freezer flat making sure that the feathers and tails are not bent.
DO NOT wrap your bird in newspaper! Newspaper will draw out the moisture from the skin and will cause freezer burn damage to the head and feet.If you are using a frost-free freezer you will not be able to keep your bird in that freezer for a long period of time. These freezers will cause the bird to dehydrate and develop freezer burn.Get your bird to your taxidermist as soon as possible.
Keep your mount as clean as possible. We recommend using either a feather duster or a small piece of polyester pillow filling material stroking in the direction of the feathers.
DO NOT use any chemicals (Pledge, liquid cleaners, etc) on your mountsDO NOT use a vacuum on your mountKeep your mount away from children and especially pets. Wings, tails, and necks can be broken off. We have had mounts returned where a puppy has chewed off the head of a mount.