Decomposition begins immediately upon death. The sooner you take care of your acquired specimen, the better the quality of the finished product.


More Info: Field Dressing
  Small Mammals
CAUTION Because of the various diseases that wild game can transmit to humans, always use extreme caution when handling the carcass. Use rubber or latex gloves and thoroughly wash hands with soap and water after handling.
Make twin cuts under the chest. Start from the first circular cut around the rib cage and continue along the back of one leg to join the cut you made above the knee. Then do the other leg.


All Seasons Taxidermy
With the animal on its back, make a shallow cut through the skin just below the breastbone. Make sure that you start your cut well away from the brisket, allowing plenty of uncut skin for your shoulder mount. Insert two fingers of the free hand, cradling the blade, to hold the skin up and away from the entrails.
Cut straight down the belly and around the genitals, separating but not severing them from the abdominal wall. Slit the belly skin all the way to the pelvic bone. Be sure to start the incision below the cape line.
Do not cut open the chest cavity or into the brisket. Cut the diaphragm away from the ribs all the way to the backbone area. Reach into the forward chest cavity, find the esophagus and wind pipe, cut them off as far up as possible and pull them down through the chest.
Roll the animal onto its side, grab the esophagus with one hand and the rectum/intestine with the other. Pull hard - the animal's internal organs will come out in one big package with a minimum of mess. Wash off any blood and/or debris on the hide.
Cut deeply around the rectum, being careful not to cut off or puncture the intestine. Pull to make sure the rectum is separated from tissue connecting it to the pelvic canal. Pull the rectum out and tie string tightly around it to prevent droppings from touching the meat. Lift the animal's back quarter a bit, reach into the front of the pelvic canal, and pull the intestine and connected rectum into the stomach area.
With a sharp knife, slit the hide circling the body behind the shoulder at approximately the midway point of the rib cage behind the front legs. Slit the skin around the legs just above the knees.
Peel the skin forward up to the ears and jaw exposing the head/neck junction using your knife as little as possible to avoid nicks. Holding the hide out of the way, cut into the neck approximately three inches down from the head/neck junction. Circle the neck, cutting down to the spinal column. After this cut is complete, grasp the antler bases and twist the head off the neck - complete with antlers and cape.
Double bag the cape and freeze, removing as much air from bags as possible. Make sure antlers do not puncture bags to reduce risk of freezer burn.
Animals coyote size and smaller should not be skinned or gutted. Small mammals deteriorate quickly due to their thin hide and bacteria, so freeze as soon as the animal is cooled. Double bag, removing as much air as possible