Choosing a Taxidermist, Part One

Every hunter spends a lot of money, time and effort obtaining their trophy animals, but it amazes me how many successful hunters stop doing their diligence after an animal is harvested. Selecting the right taxidermist is just as important as any other step in the hunting process. I have been doing taxidermy for over 20 years and here is what you need to know to choose your taxidermist wisely.

It is a fact that most hunters do not know what constitutes a “good mount.” Most think that if the cape and antlers are present, it looks pretty good. That is false of course, and there are a lot of “hackidermists” out there churning out bad work. You owe it to yourself and your animal to preserve your trophy in a quality manner that will last a lifetime.

The first thing you need to know about selecting a taxidermist is to never rely on someone else’s opinion of that taxidermist. You can take an opinion under consideration, but I don’t let people recommend what vehicle I buy without checking it out myself. You should check out every taxidermist’s work in person. Look at photos of live animals and memorize what their eyes, nose, mouths, antler burrs, and tear ducts look like and then compare all mounts to photos of live deer. 

If you are satisfied with the quality of the work, find out what a taxidermist’s turn-around time is on animals. It should never be longer than a year, period. If a taxidermist is taking longer than a year, then he might be good at mounting animals but he is a lousy businessman. Do you want a lousy business person handling your trophy of a lifetime? Bad business practices lead to bad business and that means out of business. Will your trophy be safe? Business ethics is just as important as any other item of consideration.

Never believe it when you hear that someone is so good, they take longer than a year. That is bunk. If someone was really that good, they would hire a helper to do non-skilled labor to keep their scheduled times under a year. Again, bad business is bad business. It takes me 24 hours of labor to finish a deer mount from the beginning to the end, so why do you want a guy that waits a year to do 24 hours of work? You don’t.