The following precautionary steps will help you get your trophy from the field to the wall in perfectly mint condition.
Step 1: Don't go old school and cut your trophy buck's throat after the shot to let it "bleed out," because this move can potentially ruin your mount. A non-beating heart is not pumping any blood, which means the animal has already bled out.
Step 2: After carefully field dressing your buck, turn the animal over and allow the blood to drain from the cavity. This will help keep excess blood away from the meat and cape.
Step 3: Never tie a rope around the buck's neck when pulling or dragging the deer. The pressure and cutting from the rope will severely damage your buck's hair.
Step 4: Avoid dragging your buck across rugged ground or along gravel and paved roads. Dragging can generate bald spots and scuff marks that are very difficult for a taxidermist to repair.
Step 5: Always try to use an ATV, horse or vehicle to transport your trophy out of the field. If this is not an option, utilize a cart, plastic sled or simply tie the buck between two poles and carry your trophy out of the woods.
Step 6: Make sure your animal is properly caped-out. If you're not comfortable handling this step yourself, then take the animal straight to the taxidermist and allow him to do the job. You may also ask a professional butcher or hunting buddy with more experience to cape out your buck.
Step 7: If you're unable to go straight to the taxidermist, then store the cape and antlers inside of large thick-walled plastic garbage bag. Doubling up on the bags and securely tying the open ends will help prevent possible damage from freezer burn.