Okay, RNC, here it is:
A little more information on the skinning process For those that don't know how and are thinking about having a bird mounted at some point, it would be a good idea to learn.....you might need to cape a bird sometime in a situation when you won't be able to get it frozen or to a taxidermist. It's a lot easier to deal with a cape than with a whole bird. The tools you will need are a sharp knife and/or razor blade knife and some shears for cutting tendons and/or bones. Note that there are some slight variations to the skinning method....this is just the method I use.
First of all, if it will be a while before you can cape your bird, you can go ahead and field dress it by making your regular incision around the vent. When you begin to cape the bird, you can enlarge the incision upward toward the sternum if you need to. this will give you a little more room to work. Keep the cut in the center of the breast. You can cut all the way up to where the downy underfeathers stop and the breast display feathers start if you need to.
Once you have made your cut, start peeling the skin back away from the meat and muscle as far as you can around the breast and down the legs toward the drumsticks. You can do some of this without using a knife, but at some point you will have to use your knife to carefully separate the meat from the inside of the skin. Work down the drumsticks as far as you can and down toward the tail.
At this point you want to separate the drumstick bone from the thigh bone by cutting through the muscle at the point where you think the joint of these two bones is. Cut through the joint and muscle until the drumstick and thigh are separated. Work the skin on down the drumstick toward the start of the scaled part of the leg. You can do this partly without using a knife, but you will probably have to use your knife some, too. Roll the skin all the way down until you are as close to the joint of the leg as you can get. At this point you will cut the meat off of the drumstick, leaving the drumstick bone attached to the leg. Do this for both legs.
Next, you will continue to separate the skin down toward the "popes nose" at the tail fan. Once again, you will have to cut some, but much of this can be done by prying the skin off of the meat using your fingers. After you have worked down and around the back of the tail fan, you will cut the "popes nose" off, but leaving the skin intact along the back of the bird. At this point you will have both legs and the tail fan cut free of the carcass but still attached to the cape.
From here, you will peel the skin down the back and around the breast, using a knife as needed, until you have worked your way up to the wings. You are basically turning the skin inside out as you are doing this. The wings are separated from the carcass by cutting slightly into the breast meat where the wings attach to the back/breast. At that point you should see or feel the joint where the wing attaches to the body, and you will cut through that joint, once again being careful not to cut through the skin, if possible. This is a difficult area because the skin is firmly attached in the underarm area of the bird. Don't worry about trying to get all of the meat off of the wings at this point. You can do that later. Cut both wings free of the body, making sure not to cut through the cape on the back side.
Once you have both wings free, it is simply a matter of continuing to peel and skin toward the head of the bird. The breast sponge makes things kind of messy here, but the skin should peel fairly easily at this point up the neck. When you reach the narrow area of the neck below the head, just cut through the neck and separate the carcass from the head. What you should be left with is the entire cape in one piece with the fan, legs, wings, and head attached to the cape, and hopefully with no holes in the skin other than the one you made on your initial incision.
At this point you can continue with the remainder of the skinning and meat removal, which I will get into later if anybody is really interested, or you can put the bird in cold storage and worry about the rest later. Hope this wasn't too confusing to everybody.