top of page

Caping out a deer/elk



Sharp knife

Spare blades


Fine food grade salt

Game bag

Latex gloves


There are several ways to go about caping a deer, elk, moose, etc. but it’s pretty much the same basic concept. Make an incision at the base of each antler on the back side. Come down into a V shape; at the point of the V continue down the back of the neck. Be careful not to cut hairs while skinning out the cape and replace the blade when needed. It is always better the cut the cape longer than to cut too short. Cut at least 12” behind the front shoulder when caping elk, deer can be cut at 8” but could also be cut longer. Continue to skin out the animal. When cutting around the front legs go at least 7-8 inches down the leg. When you get to the back of the head, skin up far enough so that you can cut the head off the neck. If you cannot get your animal to a taxidermist right away or you are unable to freeze it, you will have to skin out the head yourself. There are many helpful videos on youtube that can show you how to do it. If you are in a remote area, are unable to freeze or take the hide to a taxidermist right away, you will need to salt it to prevent the growth of bacteria. Try to work quickly especially in warm weather. Heat and moisture will cause bacteria growth and result in hair slippage. This means the hair will fall out of the infected area.

Always check with your taxidermist prior to hunting season to see how they would like the animals to be skinned. Animals that are to be mounted as rugs should be Ventral Cut (see diagram) as well as animals that are to be mounted as lifesize. 


Do not

Use rock salt

Get the skin wet

Leave the cape in the sun


The biggest mistake most hunters make when caping a deer is cutting the cape to short.

bottom of page