Contributors to this thread:
What do you guys do with a caped mule deer hide when you are out of state? I mean, a cooler that would hold the horns would have to be enormous and I’m not sure I feel comfortable skinning it off the skull. I have probably caped 20 whitetails but all personal and kept in a full size freezer in my basement specifically for caped whitetails.
For deer, elk, whatever...I cape it out completely...all the way off the lips! I do this out in the field, before packing meat out.
Lay it out in camp, take off most of the excess meat, and salt the heck out of it. I travel with both meat and cape wrapped up in a tarp, then a double sleeping bag (like a giant burrito).
I layer dry ice on top of it, and go. Good for two days, quarters on the bottom are usually frozen. Been doing this for 25 years now.
Facing out the cape off a deer or elk is not that hard. If you know a good taxidermist they can show you how or look it up online. After getting it off the skull, you can roll it up and put it in your cooler. If the deer is in velvet, that’s a more difficult issue if you are traveling. I’ve not had good luck injecting them. Have had decent luck getting them in the freezer or just drying them in a cool place.
Last year, I had to put a tarp on my passenger seat and set the skull with velvet antlers on top so that the air conditioning in the truck could blow on it the entire 500+ mile trip. I was fortunate that there was a guide there that had a freezer and put the cape in it overnight to freeze before my drive. The antlers wouldn't fit.
"The antlers wouldn't fit."
I primarily hunt blacktails so most racks fit on the passenger side floor, but I always cape out the neck/head and put it on ice for the ride home.
Where has our world gone when "cape" gets auto-corrected to "vape"?
The first thing a hunter should learn is how to cape and cut the skull plate. I see hunters debone elk quarters because of weight meanwhile they are lugging around a complete head, horns and cape attached to it...lol. If you salt do not attempt to freeze, it won`t happen. Salt pulls the moisture out of the skin and needs to drain off the hide, not puddle. Never "roll" a cape up....always fold in 2-3 layers. You will trap any heat and moisture on the inside of the "roll" and bacteria will start up. Do as mentioned above about removing larger chunks of meat and salt....fold and let drain then hang over a branch out of direct sunlight to start drying. This tightens the hair follicles. If you get slick you can learn how to turn the ears. Splitting the lips and nose isn`t really needed in the bush.