Ben Mears is a professional taxidermist who has been preparing deer for mounting for many years. In these videos, he explains how to cape your deer for a shoulder mount.
How To Cape a Deer for Shoulder Mount
When you field dress your deer that you want to take to the taxidermist to shoulder mount, be sure you leave enough cape to work with. When field dressing your deer, be stop cutting when you reach the chest bone on the under side. That provides extra skin for the taxidermist to glue around the form. Cut around the knees and use the white line on the front legs as a guide, come up four inches past the leg crease and cut around the back of the deer. That should be enough for a standard mount or pedestal. You can leave the whole hide, but the main thing is to leave enough cape for the taxidermist work with.
How to Remove the Deer's Cape from the Skull
If you have to cape your own deer, it's easiest to start in the mouth area. Taxidermists need the lip skin, about 3/4 inch. Cut between the jawbone and the edge of the lip and peel it down. Then move underneath the nose, leaving about the same amount of skin as on the bottom jaw. Be careful not to cut through the skin. Cut down through the septum on the nose and then start cutting back up. When the lips and nose are done, turn the head around and do a Y incision at the back of the skull. Most deer will have a black line down the back of the head. Make your incision down that hair pattern about 4-5 inches. Part the hair to find a place to cut without cutting the hair. Come under the antler burr and cut through the skin. Start skinning the V flap on the top to get it off the skull. Then cut on top of the ear and peel around. Cut from the base of the ear to the skull beneath the skin/hide. Be sure not to leave any hair on the antler base.
The most difficult part is cutting around the eyes. Where the skull opens for the eye socket, cut right in front of the bone. Be careful not to cut through the tear duct skin. You'll cut back around to the cuts you made at the mouth and the cape should come right off. Watch this video for a detailed look: