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steps for proper caring of your trophy

How To: Properly Maintain & Clean Your Taxidermy Mounts

Glass cases are the easiest and best way of preserving your mount and protecting them from dust, insects, or accidental damage. When this is not an option the, best alternative is to keep your mounts displayed in a room temperature environment.  To avoid mold growing on your trophy from humidity or dampness, avoid storage in basements or garages. Additionally, avoid big windows where sunlight can shine through and bleach the hair over the years. Do not place your mount over a wood burning stove or fireplace as moderate heat can cause damage.




Mounted heads can be dusted with a clean soft cloth or by vacuuming with a soft brush attachment, following the direction of the hair as it lays naturally. Never brush against the natural direction of the hair, as this action can cause the hair to break off or pull out.

After dusting your mount, you can spray your mounts with a sheen spray (such as Show Sheen). This will give yor mount a shine and also minimize dust build up. Next clean the eyes with a dampened cotton swab and then polish them with a clean dry swab. Oiling Is the next step. On antlered game, an oiled spray such as pledge should be applied to the antlers with a cloth. This will keep the antlers from drying out and help them retain their natural color and soft sheen.  Note: oil such as linseed oil will darken the horn.

Rugs, Small Mammals, Life Size Mounts 

Mounts should be cleaned and oiled in the same manner as Game Heads. Although knowledgeable Taxidermist use permanent moth proofing, it is advisable to annually moth proof all Mammal mounts and rugs.


Regular moth proofing spray, available in an aerosol cans, which is safe for clothing is sold in most hardware stores, can be used for this job. Spray a very light mist all over the mount and comb into the hair.


On furred animals such as lox, the fur can be fluffed up to a natural appearance, by using the blower side of a vacuum or a hair dryer.



Insect infestation can ruin any mount. It can happen to anyone's trophy and to any highly acclaimed taxidermist that did the mounting or tanning. It can happen on professionally tanned hides or ones that were dry preserved and mounted. Symptoms include hair loss, small larvae on the mount, and little rice crispie-sized skins that the larvae shed. The insects responsible for this are demisted/carpet beetles or moths. These insects can ruin a whole collection of animal mounts. These are the same bugs that you find in any grain product such as dog or cat food. They are in carpets and eat wool clothes. Only the larvae eat the mounts, not moths or beetles.

It is recommended to have your home treated twice a year to avoid any problems. To rid these insects, you will need to let off bug bombs in the house or put a garbage bag over the animal and spray raid into it. Tie it up and let stand. You may have to do this multiple times to kill new larvae being hatched. If you are unsure of what to do or prefer professional service, call an exterminator.

12 Most Common Insects that Feed on Fur, Feathers, and Hides

  1. Carpet Beetle, Anthrenus verbasci

  2. Furniture carpet beetle, Anthrenus flavipes

  3. Black carpet beetle, Attagenus unicolor

  4. Common carpet beetle, Anthrenus scrophulariae

  5. Larder beetle, Dermestes lardarius

  6. Hide (or leather) beetle, Dermestes maculatus

  7. Black larder beetle, Dermestes ater

  8. Webbing clothes moth, Tineola bisselliella

  9. Casemaking clothes moth, Tinea pellionella

  10. Carpet (or tapestry) clothes moth, Trichophaga tapetzella

  11. German Cockroach, Blattella germanica

  12. Brown-banded cockroach, Supella longipalpa

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