Choosing the Right Taxidermist Vital to Trophy Quality
Selecting a taxidermist to mount that big buck or stringer of lunkers is just as important as choosing the right hunting or fishing equipment. The ten-point buck is field-dressed and loaded for transportation. The angler is on the way in from the fishing hole with a live well full of big, beautiful bass. Both of these sportsmen plan to have their game mounted for display on their cabin walls. The choices they make about taxidermy will determine the quality and beauty of their resulting trophies.
Choosing the Taxidermist Before the Kill
According to professional taxidermist Paul Kantor, it is essential to select the person best qualified to mount that once-in-a-lifetime prize before the hunt or fishing trip begins. Kantor says that simply leaving the prize game with a guide to be mounted and shipped by an unknown taxidermist will almost certainly result in disappointment. “Think of this,” states Kantor, “someone’s going to inherit this mount one day.”
Questions About Taxidermy Training, Certification, and Licensing
The initial conversation should include inquiries about training, years of experience, certification, and licensing. Many books on taxidermy are available, prompting enthusiastic readers to give it a try. A professional taxidermist is far preferable to an amateur who will be practicing on customers’ trophies. Customers whose top criterion is cheap price risk for inferior results.
Questions About Taxidermy Methods and Materials
Animals can be preserved by tanning or by use of a dry preservative. Although some skilled professionals can get good results from dry preservatives, tanning generally gives better results with less risk of shrinkage. The quality of materials such as eyes, noses, skulls, and beaks make a huge difference in the lifelikeness of the finished products. Using high-quality forms and beaks will give more beautiful results. Ear liners provide better shape and stiffness. Some taxidermists offer only limited poses, while others are willing to pose the animal as the customer desires. Of course, better quality and wider choice result in higher prices, but the results are well worth the expense.
Satisfied Taxidermy Customers Are Happy to Give Referrals
The customer should ask the taxidermist for referrals. Ideally, these will be people so pleased with the taxidermist’s work that they will be happy to show off their trophies. The best advertisement is often word-of-mouth. Every person who sells a service knows that excellent work speaks for itself.
Top-Notch Taxidermists Compete in Shows
Taxidermists who consider their work an art form are proud of what they produce, and they enter the best examples of their work in competitions. When choosing a taxidermist, it is a good idea to ask about participation in shows and competitions and any awards received.
Paying a Visit to the Taxidermist’s Shop
After narrowing down the choice to a few licensed, well-trained taxidermists with excellent reputations, it is time to visit the shops. The shop should be clean and professional in appearance. A strong odor of decay is a red flag, suggesting improper storage of game. The taxidermist should be proud to show the prospective customer examples of his or her work and discuss options for posing and mounting game.
Careful Selection of Taxidermist Results in Natural, Artistic Trophies
Diligent research and comparison allow the sportsman or woman to take that big buck or stringer of lunkers to a carefully selected taxidermist. Knowing that the taxidermist is a licensed, trained, professional artist, the hunter or angler can anticipate the day when the beautifully preserved and posed game will hang on the cabin wall for all to admire.