Karl Matt
Taxidermist
Wingatweg 10
6832 Röthis
Austria
T: +43 (0)5522 / 44088
F: +43 (0)5522 / 440884
office@karlmatt.com

Hours of business:
Monday - Friday
8:00 - noon
2:00 - 6:00 pm
or by agreement!

Useful tips from taxidermist

An excellent mount starts on the hunt

  1. Furred game or birds which are molting are difficult to prepare for permanent mounting.
  2. Watch where the animal is standing before you shoot it - danger of falling. Damage to the fur and the trophy, difficulties in collecting the animal. Dragging the animal is not good, as it can lead to rubbed areas in the fur and missing hair is difficult to replace. The less damage there is to the fur or the skin, the better the mount.
  3. Choose the right caliber and distance if shooting with shot.
  4. Talk to a taxidermist before the hunt. That’s particularly important if you are going hunting abroad! Advance preparation is particularly important for foreign hunts. In foreign countries, skins must be preserved and treated according to EU standards, in order to ensure smooth imports. The requisite papers for the vet and customs have to be complete and applied for in good times. 

Treating the mount

 

To make sure that your mount looks its best - and like new - for as long as possible it is crucial that it does not stand in sunlight. The room should not be exposed to major temperature fluctuations. Mounts in a non-smoking hunting room stay fresh and look new for a long time. 

 

 Dusting every six months and spraying with insecticides helps to ensure that your mount has a long life. It is best to remove dust with a feather duster or a soft duster - not with the hoover! Using a woolen cloth is not good for the mount. This rubs the dust much deeper into the fur. When dusting, care must be taken to not dust against the coat’s direction of growth. Disheveled feathers are best smoothed with hot steam. Head/shoulder mounts of furred game and small mammals are best cleaned with dry shampoo. Glass eyes should be cleaned with water and vinegar. The fur is fluffed again with a hairdryer. 

 

It is better for the uninitiated to have this work done by a recognized taxidermist. If you care for your trophy from time to time, and enjoy handcrafts, you can relive the thrill of the hunt and show the animal a sign of respect. The best way to protect precious pieces is in a glass cabinet. Detergents damage feathers and fur. If you have a wall mount, it is best to use raw-plugs and hooks. Nails can rust. 

 

Antler and horn skull mounts turn yellow over time. Bleaching them again using hydrogen peroxide, as performed after boiling the trophy, hardly helps. It is better to mix whiting with methylated spirits and paint the skull using a paintbrush. It is best to keep this mixture fairly thin, even though this means it has to be applied in several coats. It is best to use wood or furniture polish on the mounting plaque.  

 

Raw preparation or pre-preparation

  1. If it is not possible to go straight to a taxidermist with the shot animal, the animal has to be pre-prepared in the field, so that the animal does not start to rot.
  2. All furred game should be gutted and cleaned on location. In the case of birds and small animals, the shot holes must be closed and any dirty feather or fur must be cleaned.
  3. Allowing the animal to cool is very important. A marmot which is still warm when it is put into a rucksack for transport will almost certainly be spoiled and it will not be possible to turn it into a good mount.
  4. If the animal is brought to the taxidermist later, it can be frozen after it has thoroughly cooled.
     
     Important: Do not cool wrapped in or laying on plastic - the hair suffocates on the underside. Then pack the animal well, so that it does not suffer any freezer burns and dry out. Fishes should always be frozen, as this makes it easier to remove the slime later.
  5. Avoid transport in nylon bags. Use well-aired boxes and lay the animal on twigs (pine branches) or newspaper. 

Skinning a roe buck to prepare for a shoulder mount

  • Abschlagen Rehbockdeck
  • Abschlagen Decke
  • Abschlagen Decke

Important: Leave enough hide on the head, and do not use a windpipe cut! 

However it is not always possible to give the animal to the taxidermist quickly after it has been shot. 

The hunter normally separates the parts to be mounted from the rest of the animal himself.  

One of the most frequent mistakes here is that the round cut at the lower end of the mount is not far enough back. 

The picture shows how to make the cut.  After this cut has been made, the skin is removed from the body up to the head, and finally the head is cut off at the top vertebra. The taxidermist thus receives the unblemished skin with the head. 

If you are on safari in Africa, for example, you will have to pre-preserve your trophies. To do so, you must remove the whole head and the skin. We understand preserving as making skins and furs durable.  

Types of preservation:
 Air drying: the skin is only dried in the air. Wet preservation: the skin is immersed in a solution of alcohol or salt. The most traditional manner is to salt or freeze the skin (the fastest type of preservation) 

Important:
 Before or after the kill, talk to the hunter accompanying you or hunt leader about what is to happen to the trophy. If the game is to be prepared, you must take this into account during transport and when gutting it. If you are planning a foreign hunting trip, you must talk to your taxidermist beforehand. He can give you useful tips to ensure that you not only have a successful hunt, but also so that the trophy you take home does not suffer any damage. It is the trophy that will be your longest lasting treasure from the hunt. 

Preparing horns or antlers from hoofed game (boiling)

Before you remove the horns or antlers, you must know how much of the skull you want to have in the trophy. 
 
 There are 3 versions:
 You can boil the entire skull,
 You can only remove the teeth from the upper jaw (long nose),
 or you can saw off the skull plate.
 
 To do that, we use a sharp, fine-toothed, broad-bladed hand saw or bone saw. As a rule, you should always saw off a little more than you want to have left on the trophy. The skull can be ground to the right size after boiling and cleaning. After cutting, the skull is placed in cold, if possible running water, so that the sweat is totally drawn off, and the flesh and skin becomes slightly softer.
 
 After 2-3 days the skull is ready for boiling. The trophy is placed in hot water. Only the skull should be placed under the surface of the water, otherwise the lower parts of the horns or antlers could loose their wonderful colour. Boiling water also damages the dark coating on a chamois trophy. It is not necessary to add anything to the water for boiling. The water should only simmer - you should not use a rolling boil. The fatty foam that forms must be scooped off frequently. The skull is boiled until the soft parts start to come away at the edges. Depending on age, this takes around 30 minutes for a deer buck or a chamois. After boiling, the bones are dipped in cold water until they are totally cold.
 
 Then all the soft parts are removed - a small, relatively blunt knife and a wire brush are ideal tools for this purpose. Of course, in the case of trophies with a full skull it will take longer until the skull is also clean from the inside. The brains and cerebral membrane are removed through the lower opening in the skull and through the nose. Pierce the thin dividing wall that separates the inside of the nose and the brain cavity. Use a long, narrow knife and a hook made of strong wire.
 
 After cleaning, the skull bones are placed into simmering water for quite a while. This removes the last fatty residues, which could otherwise leave horrible marks on the bleached bones. For horned trophies, such as chamois, mouflon, ibex, etc. the cores have to be removed from the skull, in order to be able to clean the inside of the horns.
 
 The skulls are dried once boiling and cleaning have been finished. The bones can then be bleached, which is best done using 30% hydrogen peroxide. The trophy is placed on a flat plate or similar, the skull is covered with thin layer of cotton wool or muslin, and this absorbent layer is then soaked amply with hydrogen peroxide. When placed in the sun, the skull then turns really white. Hydrogen peroxide is caustic, so you must make sure that it does not come into contact with the antlers or horns (hands).
 The horns are then placed back on their buds.
 
 We mount the trophies on plaques to protect the skull and for decoration.