Curious if most of y'all cape the elk out completely saw the horns and pack it out that way or cape to the back of the skull disarticulate it from the spine and pack skull cape and horns all together ?
It depends if you feel comfortable skinning out the skull with delicate areas like the tear ducts, eyes, lips, & ears. I'm no taxidermist, and the animals I've done I found time consuming, but if you feel comfortable, and have the time in the field it's less weight to carry out.
i just leave the cape attached to the skull that way i can let a professional take care of it. I tried it once and screwed up on the eyes and boy i was pissed at myself for the longest time. So never again will i try it myself.
Thank you USMCvet and Bullhunter. I believe I will follow y'all's lead and let a pro do the tedious work. Do y'all salt the cape if you are returning to the backcountry I.e. Your buddy is still hunting
Unless you have a freezer to stick it in salt it. Once the hide is removed hair will start to slide unless the moisture is removed. Don't be shy with the salt, put a healthy layer on it and fold the hide so it's inside to inside. Once it's back in your truck try not to put it in a plastic bag if it will be there for awhile unless it's in a cooler packed with ice.
I appreciate help on cape and packing I certainly fall into the novice area as far as caping big game. But must ask what about the heart. It taste so good and does anyone make sweetbread of the pancreas and thymus / thyroid Btw I don't like liver.
If I can get the head to the taxi within a day or 2 I will just leave the cape on the head and let the taxi do it, if not then I'll go ahead and take it off the skull. Elk hides are less susceptible to hair slipping than other hides.
If your not comfortable caping it out yourself, go visit your taxi and watch him do a few. Once you do it yourself it's not to hard but tedious like was stated before. I have not had the problem of having to worry about caping one, can't seem to kill a big enough bull.
Thanks elkman and Ruttin. I will pack plenty of salt and hopefully be able to get the cape to the taxidermist in short order. I just know I would be pissed at myself if I ruined it. But all has been good sound advice I appreciate it
On another note, If you plan on doing it yourself, the Havalon knives definately should be your knife of choice. There are a lot of delicate/precise cuts to made(especially the tear ducts) that are tough with a sharp surgical knife let alone a basic folding/gutting knife. I worked at a taxidermy shop for 3 years. I know they are tough. I've done thousands and know that if you don't take your time, its easy to make a cut you can't sew back together. Good Luck!!
I leave it on the skull my self but im usually only back in 3 or 4 miles tops so its not worth sitting up on the mountain to do it, how ever my next one im planing on a full body mount so Ill be there a while . best To talk to a taxi first no matter how you do it.