At Deer Hunting Guide, we love finding the right combinations of mounts and positions to show off the trophy bucks we've taken and think you should too. From simple antler mounts to elaborate full body mounts, these are the different types of deer mounts and poses to give you some ideas for your trophy room.
Let's face it, you spend a lot of time and effort hunting deer, from food plots and mock scrapes to setting up tree stands and ground blinds. Now it's time to show off the results of all your hard work.
Deer Mounts Poses
If you're mounting your trophy at the shoulder or mounting the whole body, then you have enough to work with to mount the deer in different poses. With small changes in position, you can make the mount portray different emotions and create various moods as a decoration.
With a full upright mount, the buck's head is raised above his shoulders, and he's looking straight on. This mount shows off the power of the buck's shoulder and neck muscles, not to mention the size of his antlers. He looks like a proud, mature buck who's confident about his status and territory.
We recommend using this mount sparingly. It might be tempting to mount all your bucks this way, but you should save it for the best ones because an entire row of full mounts can look uniform and stiff.
With a semi-upright mount, the buck's head is still above his shoulders but bent about halfway down instead of all the way up as in the full upright. While this doesn't show off the buck's shoulder muscles as dramatically, it does look more natural and allows you to vary the direction the buck is looking. This way your mounts look more unique and dynamic.
With a full sneak pose, the buck's head is parallel to his shoulders. This requires stretching his neck out straight so that he appears to be moving and sneaking through the woods to confront another buck. It's a good idea to sprinkle this type of pose into your trophy room to give a sense of motion and conflict.
The semi-sneak pose is similar to the full sneak, but the buck's head is angled slightly up and not perfectly parallel with the shoulders. Like the semi-upright, this is a good mount to mix in with the others because you can turn the bucks' heads so they're looking in different directions. This creates variety and a dynamic feel to your trophy room.
A full pedestal mount is a type of shoulder mount where you display the deer from the shoulders up but you set it on a pedestal rather than with the head and neck extending out from the wall. A pedestal mount is usually positioned lower down and gives a better view of the buck from multiple angles. Of course, it also makes the cut at the deer's shoulder more obvious.
A wall pedestal pose basically just means positioning the buck parallel to the wall rather than perpendicular to it as you would a normal wall mount. This means you can see the cut, but it also lets viewers see the flank of the buck's shoulders rather than just its head. It also saves you floorspace since you don't need a pedestal.
For us at Deer Hunting Guide, we aren't huge fans of the wall pedestal mount, at least if you have a lot of other types of mounts. If you'd like, it makes a good first mount, but if you start collecting more shoulder mounts, we recommend taking it off the wall and putting it on a pedestal.
Unique Types Of Deer Mounts
For a good taxidermist, the type of deer mount that you want is only limited by your imagination.
Here are some very unique types of deer mounts that I have come across over the years.
Whitetail Buck Jumping Over A Staircase Bannister
This is one of the coolest deer mounts that I have seen. This hunter is obviously very creative, which probably helped him to successfully harvest this mature whitetail deer.
Whitetail Buck Mount Sniffing His Shed Antler
Another very creative deer mount pose that is sure to spark some conversation. Whitetail deer shed their antlers every year and we spend some days in the late winter and spring shed hunting.
Deer Mounts Poses Variations
Even when you've decided on a mount, you still have a lot of choices when it comes to exactly how you pose the buck. You can change which way it's looking, how its ears are positioned, even its mouth.
This positioning can dramatically alter the look and emotion of the buck, so you should consider what you want to portray. And, like with all mounting choices, it's best to mix it up so that all your mounts don't look the same.
If you're mounting the buck in a semi-upright or semi-sneak pose, you can turn its head to the right. This adds some variety, but don't do it in a way that hides the antlers.
Like looking right, you can turn the buck's head left with the right pose. Mix this in along with looking right to shake things up, but don't stick his nose in a corner or anything like that!
Though not a common position, you can ask your taxidermist to put both of your mount's ears tilted forward. This makes it look like the buck is cautiously listening for something and is best with sneak mounts.
The problem is that positioning the ears forward can cover up the antlers a bit. It also doesn't look as dominant as ears back. In other words, don't combine it with an upright mount, and use it sparingly.
One Ear Forward One Ear Back
If you don't say otherwise, many taxidermists will position your buck's ears one forward and one back. This looks lifelike and adds movement to your trophy room since living deer usually bat their ears back and forth.
We'd also recommend using this variation for most of your mounts, saving ears back for your most majestic bucks and ears forward for your sneaks.
Posing your trophy with an open mouth may seem a bit weird if you're used to traditional trophy rooms, but it's becoming more popular, especially with hunters who want to create as elaborate and lifelike a trophy room as possible.
Some hunters even like to mount their bucks looking up with their mouths open to imitate a grunt.
Another popular open mouth variation is the Flehmen lip, this is when a whitetail buck curls his lip, exposing his teeth and gums to get a better smell and taste of the pheremones that a whitetail doe is giving off during the rut.
If you do decide to mount a trophy with its mouth open, make sure to add other lifelike variations to your trophy room like alternating ears and sneak poses. Consider adding some woodland decorations as well to complete the image.
Different Types Of Deer Mounts And How Much Does It Cost To Mount A Deer head
While most of the poses are for shoulder mounts, the most typical type of mount that we'll describe in detail below, there are plenty of other ways to display your trophy. Some of them might save you some money too.
With an antler mount you basically skip the taxidermy altogether and just display the antlers. You can display them various ways, but the most common is to attach them to a plaque at angles as if they were attached to an invisible deer head.
$100 – $150. If you pay for a taxidermist to clean and mount the antlers, it'll usually run you a bit over a hundred bucks. However, if you do it at home, you can find kits as low as $25 you can combine with just a few hours of your time.
Also called a "skull mount," the European mount involves cleaning and boiling the buck's skull so that all is left are the bones and antlers. A taxidermist can do this easily, so it's often a cheaper option than a shoulder mount. That said, you can do it at home if you're willing to brave the gooey mess.
Skull mounts go great with western-style trophy rooms.
$150 – $250. While we'd recommend avoiding the hassle and just paying a professional taxidermist to do your European mount, you do have the option of buying a synthetic skull mounting kit. Usually under $50, these kits involve a fake skull, so all you have to do is attach the antlers.
The shoulder mount is by far the most common. It includes the buck's shoulders, neck and head. This minimizes the amount of taxidermy required while still showing off the animal's musculature and allowing for varied poses.
Shoulder mounts are also the most versatile. They have enough of the animal's body to portray action and emotion, but they don't take up too much room. As a result, you can fill a trophy room with dozens of shoulder mounts.
$400 – $1,000. Because shoulder mounts are so popular, the price varies widely by location and professional. The average price across the US is around $700.
Full Body Mount
With a full body mount, you preserve the buck's entire body and pose it accordingly. Of course, this takes a ton of work and is by far the most expensive.
Like shoulder mounts, you can pose a full body mount to give the impression of movement and various emotions. In fact, it's even more lifelike since you see the whole body. However, they take up a lot of room and floorspace, so it's best to reserve it for a single impressive trophy buck that you want as a centerpiece in your collection.
$2,000 – $6,000. The price for a full body mount will also vary significantly based on the location and renown of the taxidermist. High-end professionals that also handle exotic and big game may charge close to $10,000. Your local taxidermist is likely to charge a few thousand at least.
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You have a ton of options when it comes to trophy deer mounts and poses. With different combinations, you can evoke different emotions and create a dynamic atmosphere that shows off the power and beauty of the bucks you've taken. If you're just starting out, we recommend talking with your local taxidermist to decide the best direction for your trophy room and your first deer head mounts.