Bow Hunting Whitetails: How To Cape Out A Buck (Episode 251 Transcript)

This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.

GRANT: Deer season’s now open in several states, and wanted to share some tips that we’ve learned to help you have a better season in the field and preparing that trophy to take him home.

GRANT: And that just puts hair everywhere. You notice Gene is going from the inside out, and it’s extremely smooth…

TERRY: Hey pretty girl. Hey pretty girl. Got you a set of twins, hadn’t ya? They were in that Broadside food plot.

GRANT: Archery season opens a couple of weeks in Kentucky before it does in Missouri, so it’s a great opportunity to get an extra hunting trip in each year. We join our friend, Mr. Terry Hamby, at the Kentucky Proving Grounds, and he purchased this property four or five years ago. We’ve been under a habitat and deer management program for that whole time. We’re looking forward to see the bucks we’ve produced this year.

TERRY: (Softly) We’ve managed this property under the Dr. Woods tutelage for three years now, and we’ve got our age structure right where we want it, and we’re really excited about this hunting season. And, uh, it’s a little warm today, but it’s deer season; we’re in a tree; I’m here with Adam; it just couldn’t be much better than this.

GRANT: A deer herd can only be as productive as the soil it’s walking on. The nutrients come out of the soil. Mr. Hamby’s been producing and using Antler Dirt for several years, so I’m very excited to see the size of the bucks going into this season.

ANNOUNCER: is brought to you by Bass Pro Shops. Also by Reconyx, Trophy Rock, Muddy Outdoors, Non-Typical Wildlife Solutions, Eagle Seed, Nikon, Winchester, ScentMaster, Dead Down Wind, Antler Dirt, LaCrosse Footwear, Redneck Hunting Blinds, BloodSport Arrows, Prime Bows by G5, Outdoor Edge Knives and Flatwood Natives.

TERRY: Okay, now I may trade bows. (Laughter)

GRANT: Great time to get together with friends, shoot our bows, a little jostling back and forth, and see whose gonna hunt what stand, on the first afternoon hunt of the season.


GRANT: Right there, that big ole (Inaudible)…

UNKNOWN: (Inaudible)

GRANT: Adam Brooke and I hunted a stand we call Little Iowa, cause it looks over a large soybean food plot with a bedding area close by, and we were treated to several young bucks using the area.

GRANT: My friend, Gene Price from Trophy Rock, joined us on this hunt and he drew a stand we call Food Plot #8. Just after dark, some of the guys got a phone call that Gene needed some help at #8.

GRANT: We all grabbed our gear and met up at Food Plot #8 to find Gene smiling and ready to take up the trail.

ALL: Right there.

UNKNOWN: (Inaudible) Right there, right there, right ahead, right to your right.

GRANT: A doe. Look at that big thing. Wahoo.

GRANT: Welcome to Kentucky.

TERRY: Welcome. Congratulations.

UNKNOWN: That’s a dandy.

TERRY: He’s got some tall brows.

GRANT: Yeah. That’s a dandy.

GENE: When I seen that big crooked brow tine out there about 300 yards, I was like, boy, if he makes it to me, I’ll, he’s definitely a mature buck.

GRANT: The comradery of following the trail together, recovering the animal, and listening to the hunter tell all the details of the hunt is one of the things that drives me as a bow hunter.

GRANT: We wanted to take this opportunity early in season to show you the appropriate way to cape out a trophy buck, in case you’re travel hunting and you can’t just take the head to a local taxidermist.

GRANT: One of the most important steps of preparing the cape for your mount is in the field. When Gene eviscerated this animal, he stopped at the sternum, right here. You don’t want to split the pelt any further down than the sternum, so the taxidermist doesn’t have to sew all that up.

GENE: So, we’re gonna start just off of the rib cage toward the rear of the deer. Always remember, keep your knife to the inside, so you’re not cutting a bunch of hair, getting hair all over the meat, and also, giving your taxidermist more hair to work with.

GRANT: Gene showed us the huge advantage of when you’re making the cut around a pelt to work with the knife in, coming out, versus cutting through this hair, which just sheds hair everywhere – not only making it a little ragged for the taxidermist, putting hair all over your meat. With this technique, there’s almost no hair on the meat.

GRANT: Once you’ve separated the pelt into two pieces, it’s simply a matter of working the pelt down.

GRANT: The next really important step is making a slice right down, and following where the brown meets the white hair on the leg. It seems really odd to slice right through the pelt, but the taxidermist will sew this up in such a way that the hair overlaps, and you’ll never know the pelt was cut. Here’s a little trick that will make this easy, especially, if you’re doing it by yourself out in the field, or something. Make a slight incision right through the ribs, and that’s not to hold the deer stable, but you can fold the skin up, stick it in there so it’ll hold it out of the way, so you can clearly see how you’re operating here. Otherwise, this hide wants to flap down, and it’s always in your way.

GENE: All right, so what I’m gonna do next, I’m just gonna make a circular incision around the leg, and start my division on the white and brown.

GRANT: Most guys cut with their knife outside going in, and that just puts hair everywhere. You noticed Gene is going from the inside out, and it’s extremely smooth incision and limited loss of hair. Once that incision is made, you simply separate the pelt from the muscles, freeing that part of the pelt.

GENE: Now, after I’ve cut up – got it just in to the armpit area. Now, I’m gonna make the shortest incision that I can, straight across to the sternum where we field dressed.

GRANT: Once again, cutting from the inside out. This is critical, right here, because this is a part people are gonna see, when this is mounted in your home. And if you’re hacking from the outside in, you cut through a huge amount of hair. When you’re pulling the knife from the inside out, the hair just pushes out of the way, and you see no hair falling down. That’s a huge tip for a better looking mount.

GRANT: This is where Gene shot the buck. And you can see a huge hole from the broadheads. It’s really important to take your time around any existing hole in the pelt, so you don’t rip it larger and cause more damage.

GRANT: You know, if you’re not a long ways from home like Gene, this might be where you want to stop and take this to the taxidermist. And if you’re gonna store it in the freezer a while – Gene, what we want to do is pick this up.

GENE: Yep. We just want to pick this up, fold this forward. The parts that will get freezer burnt are the nose and ears.

GRANT:  So, we want to protect the nose and ears – especially, if you’re gonna put this baby in the freezer a long time. Keep that from getting freezer burnt.

GENE: This is a part where it can get a little bit tricky at. You really – no deer’s gonna be the same – you need to look and find a distinguished line to cut in between the burs. If you look, this deer has a little red line right there with some black hair. I’m gonna make an incision from there to there, to give the taxidermist the least amount of stitching possible, to make your mount look the best that it can.

GENE: I’ve made the smallest cut possible that I could in between the antlers. Now, I’m gonna start cutting down between the ear buds, keeping that incision as small as I can, until I know how much I’ll need to get the cape to start going over the skull.

GENE: This can be one of the most difficult parts. We’re switching tools here, usually, a good, dull, flat screwdriver – not sharp – and a pair of needle nose. We want to take the bur, the hide, away from the bur of the antler. This is an area you don’t want to cut it away, because it’ll shrink and open up. There is a line there. You have to physically pull it away from the bur.

GENE: All right. Now, we’ve got the cape, or the hide, clearly removed from the antler base. Now, it just turns back into a skinning process. Probably, your second most important incisions is – are the ear buds. You can kind of see; you just want to stay tight to the skull. They’re really fatty looking. Stick your finger inside the ear, so you can see where the end of it is, and just use as much discretion as you can to stay as close as you can to the skull.

GRANT: Now that the ears are free, Gene’s just gonna simply skin out the rest of the skull, make sure the incisions large enough where the hide simply fits over the skull, work it all the way down to the tip of the nose.

GENE: Okay. We’re to the point, now, where we’re at the eye socket. I usually just stick my finger in, my thumb in, my finger, and just start cutting around the eye socket.

GENE: Another critical area we’re to right now is the tear duct. Just remember, stay close to the skull and take your time.

GRANT: Gene, it’s important to cut and pull at the same time, isn’t it?

GENE: Yes. You need to – there’s that little film of skin, of connective tissue, there – you have to keep it visible, and keep cutting at it.

GENE: As you can see, we just made it through the jaw. It’s pretty easy, straightforward. Stick your finger in, go to the inside. You’ll see this little textured part. Just stay in it. Now we’re to the nose. This is where a little bit of care comes into place. I’m gonna shortcut this one and not skin the nose all the way out. I’m gonna cut through the cartilage, into the soft pallet of the mouth, and give the taxidermist plenty to work with. Now, I’m gonna skin around the bottom jaw. Just gonna pull his lip down, and just start working backwards.

GRANT: When you roll it up, you want the hair out, that’s the part that offers the most protection – those hair follicles. On the skin on the inside, you want to protect them from any chance of freezer burn. After it’s rolled up, we get it very tight, with all the air pushed out of a trash bag, seal that all up, put it on ice. You’re ready to go home, make a taxidermist happy.

GRANT: Gene removed the pelt off that mature buck with one blade. Not just one knife, one blade. This is the Razor Blaze from Outdoor Edge. So you can simply remove the razor, put it back in. What makes this different from other knives that use a scalpel, or a razorblade, is it’s got this steel reinforcement that makes it extremely strong. You noticed when Gene was prying around the antler burs, around the ear buds, it didn’t twist and break like a razorblade would. The Razor Blaze allows me to have one knife to do the job.

GRANT: I hope you have an opportunity to have some great visits with your hunting buddies this year, but most importantly, find a place to get by yourself and be quiet, and listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching

GENE: Man. I’ll tell you what. I, I didn’t think he was gonna make it to me because he was spending too much time in that Broadside. I’m telling you, he didn’t pick his head up four times, maybe, from when he came out at the end of that field until I shot him. He didn’t pick his – I mean he was just eating the whole way up, all the way. He never stopped eating. (Fades out)