When you hang you deer for butchering, do you hang it head up or head down? I've done it both ways and seen it done both ways by others. Each method has advantages as gravity assists. I think I prefer head down. How about you?
I've always favored the head up method, though I cannot say why, besides perhaps I don't enjoy seeing the blood seeping out the nose and mouth especially on a deer to be mounted. On my trip to Indiana this year though, they held a firm head down tradition. It worked out fine, especially since the day got a bit warm and I stuffed a bag of ice in the exposed chest cavity to help in the cooling process. That worked great! I normally have my deer "done" rather than butchering them myself.
I'd also have to say that I've always thought deer just simply look better hanging by the rack too. But all butchers I've watched want them head down to facilitate skinning.
We've done all of our animals head down and hanging by their hocks weather they were deer, elk or what ever. This way when you split the carcass in half you just start at the hinds and saw your way to the neck. If you ever watch a butcher shop do it they always do it heads down.
As far as having a head that you want mounted that should be the second thing that you cut off after you have finished cleaning the animal. That way you don't have to worry about something happening to the cape to where you are going to have to buy yourself a new one.
I also hang them both ways. In the field, unless it's big like an elk, I hang them head up. Just tie around the base of the antlers and pull it up. I've hung a few elk head up, but most of them I had to cut into pieces to get out of the woods.
I find them easier to skin when the head is down, so even if an animal is hanging head down at home, I'll switch it to skin it.
This year I had to cut my elk in half to drag it out of the woods. When I hung it at home, the front half hung head up, and the back half hung feet up.
And I agree again with Critter. If you're going to have an animal mounted, you want to get the cape off right away or the skin can spoil and the hair will slip. The cape should be completely skinned, fleshed, and salted or the whole thing quickly frozen as soon as possible.
I recently completed my first skull plate mount of my buck antelope from the 2010 season. I used a kit from Van Dykes, and I thought I would pass along the tips my dad shared with me, as well as one or two I figured out on my own. I have only completed the one antelope kit, but these tips should work for kits for other species as well.
1. Leave as much depth to the skull as possible when you remove the antlers/horns from the skull of the animal. This...