I really like Yuri Rulin in Taylorsville, excellent taxidermist. He always asks that we bring him the animal to skin if possible. If not, just bring us the refrigerated raw hide asap and he does the rest. For shoulder mounts he has us tube skin it from the last rib up to the base of the head. It is a real pain, but makes for almost no cuts in the hide and gorgeous mounts. He makes a small Y cut up behind the antlers and skins out the skull from there.
Other taxis that do a great job, will ask you to go up the spine to the base of the head and then sew it up. No big deal. But as a general rule of thumb try to give the taxi as much hide as possible, they can always cut it down but growing a new hide doesn't work so easy.
I have also been really impressed with what I've had Mike at Sage Basin do for me, and his workshop always looks incredible. He's in AF and on here, and I'm sure many other members can give him a ringing endorsement as well.
As CROC mentioned, the velvet on the antlers is extremely sensitive so make sure you don't handle them too much....in fact, try not to touch the antlers at all if possible. I learned this the hard way on my first big archery buck. We drug the animal by the antlers and I let the antlers rest/rub on the bed of the truck the entire ride home. I went ahead and got it mounted anyway but the velvet looks pretty bad. It was all my fault....no blame on the taxidermist whatsoever.
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