Rocky Mountain Tanners
Custom Hide Tanning
Custom Tanning Colors
Hide Shipping Instructions
Hide Preparation Tips
How To Salt Your Hide
Meet the Taxidermist
Field Care and Tips
How to Cape
How to Skin the Face
Furs and Hair on Hides
Skinning the Face Off of Antlered Animals
-scroll over the pictures and read through all the text before beginning
Begin by making the stem of the "Y" cut. You only have to go past the cut off part of the neck a few inches to allow the cape to slip around it. Always cut from the meat side to the hair side of the hide.
The stem of the "Y" should stop between the ear butts.
Make the branch of the "Y" extend to the back of each antler.
Use your knife to begin skinning around the antler burrs, neck, and ear butts.
Once you have skinned around about half of the ear base, separate the ear base from skull.
When you reach the ear canal, slice through it where it is about the diameter of a dime. Proceed to skin out around the rest of the neck up to the throat.
Use a regular screwdriver to pry the hide from around the antler burr using a twisting motion. While a screwdriver will separate most of the hide, sometimes it is necessary to use your knife but do so sparingly and do not cut through the hide.
Once the hide is free from around both antler burrs, continue skinning with your knife towards the eye sockets and past the throat. DO NOT cut through the back of the eyelid!
Lay the hide back along the head. Insert your finger between the eyeball and the back of the eyelid.
Peel the hide forward again and cut through the inner eye skin on the finger nail side of your finger. This will ensure you don't cut through the eyelid.
Continue cutting through the inner eye skin around the eye. Be careful not to cut through the hide in front of the eye.
Proceed skinning under the jaw and on the forehead.
The pre-orbital gland is another tricky area. Make sure to skin all the way back into the concave area as to not cut through the hide.
This picture shows the depth of the gland on a mule deer. Elk are even deeper so take your time.
Once you are past the pre-orbital gland, locate the corner of the mouth . Similar to skinning around the eye, cut the inner cheek on the finger nail side of your finger to avoid slicing through corner of the mouth.
Fish hook the corner of the mouth and continue to detach the lips from the jaw bone.
Be careful not to cut through the lips or under the chin.
Flip the head over and do the same on that side of the mouth.
Skin down to the nose.
Find where the top of the muzzle turns to cartilage and detach the nose by slicing through at that point.
Follow the cartilage/bone junction as it curves towards the nose. Leave as much lip skin on the hide as you can as you cut under the upper jaw.
Now that the nose is removed from the skull, finish skinning off the chin. Again, leave as much lip skin on the hide as you can.
When you have completed skinning the face off, turn the hair side of the hide back to the outside. Make sure none of the flesh side touches the hair side, place in plastic bag, and freeze until you can take your cape to the taxidermist. DO NOT SALT!