Hello to all here on AH , Here's a few tips from a taxidermist view of your next trip The quality of your mount depends on NOT just the taxidermist, tho' that is a very big part of it. A whole lot depends on the Skinners and fleshers and salt shed help that your PH has hired to do the important work of preparing and salting your skins. Here is a quick and easy way to make sure they are doing the job right and correctly. This IS EASY !!!!! You don't have to be a pro at this.... If you don't know how to prep a cape or skin , just act like you do. Take some time and spend it in the shed, not just a moment. Spend some time SITTING, literally, in on the process, Watch them and be interested. That alone keeps them on their toes, They will think you know how to do it. Offer them a smoke, If you don't smoke take some with you, they are a great tool for personal interaction. Look at the skins and look for any RED meat or Yellow or white fat on the skin. if you see it touch it pull on it point to it and nod your head showing them you see it, they know its not suppose to be there. If they don't acknowledge it pull your knife and cut if off the cape. You just let them know your interested and know what they should be doing. No red meat should be on the cape before salting EXCEPT very small amounts of the lip muscle and eye muscle when and after it is split open. The lips should be completely laid open, splitting is what we call it, The easiest way to describe splitting to a layman is look at a hotdog bun that is not cut, the bun is the lip of your game , a knife is used to slice the bun open to put in the hotdog without cutting thru the back to open it flat. Same goes for the lips so the salt can do it's work and penetrate to the hair roots and set them, small amounts of red lip muscle can remain to strengthen the hide during shipping. The salt will penetrate 1/8 to 1/4 of red tissue and still preserve the skin anymore and you risk dermis and hair loss. The nose should be laid open also and the cartilage should be opened in the middle. Just as the lips are done. Ears , these have to turned inside out for the salt to work. The ears when done correctly LOOK like and ear turned inside out. Think of your socks. Watch yourself take off a pair of socks grabbing them from the top and pulling them off. They look the same either way. The ear is skinned the same way. It takes patience and a steady hand not to cut holes in ears. Look at the skinning of the ears. If they look like 1/2 ears they are not done right yet. You should get at least 3/4 look of the ears turned 7/8 look is better. The base of the ear, the cartilage base , the red meat should be off the base as clean as it can get. The skin before salting should have NO RED TISSUE, BLOOD CLOTS, VIENS, WHITE FAT OR YELLOW FAT ON IT AT ALL AND NO GREASE, Salt will not and can't preserve a hide covered in grease the salt will not penetrate it ! All the bones on the feet on life-size mounts should be removed. If you can't stick your thumb into a hole where the hoof is that last 1" or 2" toe bone is still in it. It will slip hair their unless removed. The hoof can remain but look INSIDE and make sure the bone is taken out. The skin it should be clean and white , before salting , with one exception....where you shot it there will be a big red spot that is the bruise and it's inside the dermis fibers, no worry. That's the salts JOB. Lastly before salting, the eyes. THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. Look at the eyes as a small set of lips in a circle, Think of a bagel..Okay stop laughing I'm trying to do this in the ultimate layman's terms. The eyes have muscles all around them. Like taking your knife and cutting the the bagel middle and NOT CUTTING thru the center hole of it. The lifting the edges of the bagel and inserting your favorite spread. The bagel is the eye and your favorite spread si the salt. It has to get into the bagel without damaging the center ( the eye ) and preserve the eye skin and lashes. make any sense.? That's how and eye is split open and salted. Salting the skin,NEVER USE OLD SALT. The salt should be fresh and not wet feeling or clumpy. Used salt even re dried has the proteins and bacteria still in it from the previous use and will not wick anymore from your skins and damage them. This is Important.... The salt that SHOULD be used is FINE GRAIN. JUST Like table salt. NOT ROCK SALT. I truly mean it ....the finer the better. The large rock salt type granules will not touch all the skin as needed. SEA SALT is not the best to use. The minerals in Sea Salt are not kind to capes for taxidermy. The salt when the hide is ready should be RUBBED into each and every crevice of the skin,the lips and eyes rubbed well, very well with the salt. The skin should be Laid out flat and covered with at least 1" of salt EVERYWHERE for 24 hours " IN THE SHADE. INSIDE , NEVER IN THE SUN, EVER ! DRY A CAPE OR LIFE-SIZE SKIN IN THE SUN OR OVER HEAT AND YOU WILL NOT GET IT MOUNTED IT WILL BE UNMOUNTABLE ! After 24 hours shake of all salt and re-salt with fresh salt leave another 24 hours. After that shake off and hang to dry in a building or out of the SUN! 3/4 dry fold never fold a completely dry hide it will crack the fibers and then when tanned break apart. Interacting with your skinners for even short time as they work in the skinning shed makes that personal connection deeper and your watching them shows you care about there job and they job they do for you. The campfire will still be there in a few minutes, Take the time to interact in the shed it will be well spent !