Are you part of the process?
To be honest, most taxidermists don’t like clients taking up their time after a specimen has been dropped off. Time truly is money to the self-employed and it is understandable that someone might not like being bothered, but this is not good business.
You should have a taxidermist who lets you be part of the process. I don’t mean that potential clients should call and stop by all the time either. However, you should be allowed to look at taxidermy supply magazines and choose your style of manikin that your specimen will be mounted on. You should also be allowed time to look at your walls and determine which direction and which pose would fit best with your environment or your house plan. This is your mount and any good taxidermist will honor your wishes as long as you are not too intrusive into their daily business.
Beware the low price.
There is no greater sin in the world of taxidermy than a price that is too good to be true. Let me describe a common situation in regards to low prices. A large city with multiple taxidermists should have at least four or five studios that charge $400.00-$800.00 for a standard deer shoulder mount. In this same city, there will be an ad somewhere for deer mounts that only cost $250.00. Although it might sound intriguing, ignore it every time. Trust me. For that low of a price, the materials, tanning and overhead cannot be paid for, so you would be dealing with a taxidermist who essentially cannot even pay their bills, let alone the fact that they are not being paid for their time. Does that sound like a good idea? Nope, so don’t ever be seduced by the super low price that sounds really great. You might never see our trophy again.
Never fully trust other people’s recommendations. Again, quality is a recognizable standard and should never be based on opinion, especially other people’s opinion. It is ever hunter’s responsibility to know what true quality is and if your buddy or co-worker is deciding which taxidermist you are using, that means that you took a shortcut and you owe it to yourself to be more diligent than that. Again, study animal anatomy and scour photos of live animals in different settings and poses. Alert deer look different than relaxed deer do and we all should know the subtle differences when it comes to facial features.
Finding a taxidermist is unlike any other endeavor, so don’t take any shortcuts if possible.