1. Select the right specimen. Birds taken early in the season often have "pin feathers" that will fall out eventually during the mounting process. This will lead to a less than satisfactory mount. Generally birds taken late in the season will have better plumage and give you a more desired end result.
Here's a Pheasant that was brought to me early in the season by a customer. The birds plummage appears to be alright, but after careful examination...The bird is full of "pin feathers"! All of these purple shafted feathers know as pin feathers would've fallen out during the mounting process. Pinfeathers are quite easy to see in the neck and flank areas.
2. NEVER ring the neck of a bird you intend to have mounted! Instead, squeeze the bird on the outside of the chest cavity and apply pressure! Be careful not to disrupt the feather tracks. Do not use head puncture tools on the market!
3. NEVER gut your bird!
4. Try to keep your dog from retrieving any bird you intend to mount! (Especially Upland game)
5. Handle bird by the feet in the field! Avoid holding by the neck!
6. Do not wash blood off your bird! (We will do this later!)
Go from this in the field...
To THIS in your trophy room!
7. Freeze your bird as soon as possible! Double wrap in a plastic bag. Take a damp cloth or paper towel and wrap around the feet of your bird and use a pair of twist ties to secure! Also, wrap wet paper towel around the bill where it meets the feathers on the head. This is to insure your head & feet do not become freezer burned and dry out! Gently tuck the neck of your bird to the side of it's chest!
8. Store bird in a chest freezer or make arrangements to get me the bird.
9. Remember...A little care in the field, will go along way to insure you have a top quality specimen on your mantle