Do you cape out your trophy or pack out the head?

Discussion in 'Backpack Hunting' started by Wyodog, Apr 22, 2014.

  1. Wyodog

    Wyodog Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    243
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2012
    I am curious as to what the rest of you backpack hunters are doing with your game head for the trip out. Do you cape your trophy or pack the whole head? Also if you do cape out the head and cut off the horns, what type of saw do you carry? Personally for me it depends on the amount of time I have and the distance I have to travel. I like to cape and remove the horns but I am now considering not carrying a saw to save some weight.
     
  2. mtnwrunner

    mtnwrunner Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,135
    Joined:
    May 12, 2009
    Well, there are a ton of variables. However, I usually cape and just pack out the horns. If I am backpacking, I try to be as light as I can and there are a ton of saws out there for around 6 to 8 ounces or so. If there is bad weather or you just want to beat feet outta someplace, you can just back the head and cape but man, the older I get, the less weight I want to carry so I mostly bone stuff out and just carry the meat, cape and horns. And I don't mount much stuff so most of the time, its just the horns.

    Randy
     

  3. Timber338

    Timber338 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,616
    Joined:
    May 10, 2011
    Up until now, I simply do a nice job of cutting the hide off the body/neck and then leave it attached to the head and carry it out in one heavy load. But my last nice bull with the head and hide together weighed about 100 lbs. When I get older that's not going to be very much fun.

    But overall I just would be angry with myself if I screwed something up by caping the hide off the head in the field. It's a lot of work to just quarter a big bull, especially doing it alone, and it's easy to make mistakes when you get tired, knives get dull, etc. So for now I leave the delicate work to the taxidermist.
     
  4. CPGfan

    CPGfan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    953
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Always cape in the field! If I don't have a saw I just remove the lower jaw to save weight. When they are fresh it's usually no more than a 15-20 minute job if you've done several of them. I will usually not take the time to do bears in the field and usually let the taxidermist do them.
     
  5. Wyodog

    Wyodog Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    243
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2012
    I have caped a bunch of animals but I need tools to do it Justice like a screw driver knife and a saw to cut off the horns and a tape to measure the cape. That adds up to weight I have to carry all day every day. Has anyone tried cutting off the antlers with one of those cable saws designed for splitting the pelvis?
     
  6. 6fatrat

    6fatrat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    111
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2014
    I always cape my animals in the field. You don't have to split the lips or turn the ears until you get back to the trailhead. Tell your taxidermist you need to learn how to cape your animals and to call you when he has a European mount for you to practice on. Buy a Forschner 5" Victorinox knife and a small scalpel with replaceable blades, a couple disposable rubber gloves and a Kevlar glove for the non cutting hand and you're good to go.
     
  7. Wyodog

    Wyodog Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    243
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2012
    6fatrat,

    I cape somewhere between 20 and 50 animals a year. I stared the thread because I am interested in what the rest of you do and I am curious has to weather or not you cut off the antlers and if so what light weight saw or method do you use. I have not weighed an elk head with the bottom jaw removed so I don't know what the weight savings is to cut the horns off. That would be a good experiment to do this coming fall.
     
  8. 6fatrat

    6fatrat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    111
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2014
    I have an old Coglans [ ?] folding hand saw, weight about 8 ounces. I prefer to remove the antlers in one piece attached to the skull cap. Twice in heavy cover a 362" Elk in the Gila and a 43" Shiras in Northern Idaho I have made a zig zag cut through the skull cap to make it easier to pack out. Both of these hunts were solo self guided. With your knife skills, I would recommend packing a small saw.
    Steve
     
  9. Wyodog

    Wyodog Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    243
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2012
    I've got a "zip saw" made by NAP that is designed to cut the pelvic bone when field dressing. This is the one with the handles to hold onto not instead of rings. It weighs next to nothing and packs up niece and small. This afternoon I took it to a set of antelope horns I have in the garage. I was able to cut the skull plate down the eye sockets fairly easy. The hardest part was holding the head still while I used both hands to operate the saw. This might be easier with the larger elk or deer skull. At any rate is was able to cut the skull and the saw is nice light weight package. I guess the big question for this saw now would be weather or not it is durable enough to get the job done without breaking or wearing out. It could also serve to cut branches or sticks for shelter, firewood, splints etc. Do any of you have experience with this saw or one like it?
     
  10. MHO

    MHO Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    600
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2010
    I normally cape it out. I use the havalon piranta with the rounded #10 blade to cape the head. For the skull I use a gerber gator saw. Saves a lot of weight.
     
  11. 6fatrat

    6fatrat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    111
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2014
    In the new Campmor catalog [www.campmor.com] pg. 107 has a folding Sierra saw similar to mine, $15.99 weight 51/4 oz. 7'' blade.