Taxidermists possess skills that are unique and sometimes special, but they can only work with what is given to them. That is where you come in, because it will be your specimen that they will be receiving and you owe it to them and to your animal to have a certain set of basic skills and the knowledge of what it takes to make your taxidermist’s job easier. As a full time taxidermist myself, I always take more pride in a customer’s piece when I know that they really care about the whole process. A happy taxidermist creates a lot of happy taxidermy customers, so a little learning by a hunter can make for a better overall experience. Here are some tips that will help you become a better taxidermy customer.
Before your hunt, stop by and ask details on how your taxidermist would like you to skin or prepare your specimen. This will not only make a great impression on your taxidermist, but it will ensure that you are doing your part in properly taking care of your trophy. Taxidermists hate it when people bring in capes or hides that have been butchered, and often a client will claim, “Well, my buddy told me to do it this way.” Ask to observe a cape being turned and fleshed and salted. This will not only make you an expert, but it will then allow you to help others learn a valuable skill that is not that common.
If planning remote hunts with one or more buddies, request a seminar. Seminars are a best kept secret for hunters. Talk to your taxidermist and ask him if he would be willing to give a couple-hour seminar on how to prep a cape or anything else. If you get enough people, a taxidermist might be motivated for the pure advertising possibility. If you belong to a club or organization, that would be a good activity idea as well. There is no excuse for not educating yourself and your cherished outdoor memory deserves as much effort as you can spare.
Be prepared when you drop off your trophy. Always plan on having half the total mount cost ready for a deposit, and always bring your license and tag information so proper records can be kept. Time is money, and when a taxidermist has to wait on you to call later with that info, it is an inconvenience.
If you happen to fall on hard financial times during the time your mount is being completed or after it is done, don’t ignore your taxidermist. Pick up the phone and call him. Every good taxidermist will work with you since they want to eventually get paid. Ask for a payment plan or offer to trade them something of value. This is called bartering and it used to be standard procedure in this country, so don’t be afraid to ask. Most taxidermists will be willing to trade for guns or optics or other outdoor related items. Good communication benefits everyone and a small business owner will really appreciate the honesty and courtesy.