Learning Taxidermy...

sethdeyo

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I spend alot of time at my buddies taxidermy shop. It's always a good time. Listening to hunters stories and seeing some impressive animals. We are in the southeast corner of Vermont and get work in from New Hampshire, Mass, and Vermont. He has been kind enough to teach me few things...which has really just shown me what a skill and art it is to do quality work. I do my own turkey fans, euro mounts, and have learned to skin fish, and cape deer. This past fall I took a couple of does. After seeing him mount a couple hundred deer I wanted to give it a shot myself. I figured a doe would be a good one to start with. I caped it out and fleshed it. After that most things are done in pairs...turning ears, splitting lips, turning and thinning nostrils and eyes. He would do one side and let me mangle the other. After that the cape was sent out to the tannery. When returned it was time to thin lips, eyelids, nostrils, and fully turn ears. This is when a rookie like me just makes more work for himself...basically I learned to sew much more than I ever wanted. Prepping the form was easy, rasp it so hide past and cape bond well, cut a slot for lips to tuck as well as slot for tear ducts. Then it gets much, much harder...setting the eyes in clay and forming them to look correct, bondo ears (that had to be sewn in multiple places because I ripped them when turning), and then covering form in hide paste and fitting cape. Then sew some more. Now it's time to tuck the eyelids, and lips...eyes are tough...especially when you rip the eyelid while thinning and forget or don't know any better and don't sew it back together first. Again he would show me on one side and let me mangle the other for half and hour and then come fix it for me. After it dried for a couple of weeks it was time or the finish work...apoxie sculpt the eyes and nostrils, creating texture on the nose with modge podge and painting ears, eyes, nose pad, and lips with an airbrush. I can't really take any credit for the final product. He was not going to let me put a mount on the wall that looked terrible. He makes everything look very easy...it's not! I had a great time and got a great perspective on just how difficult the art really is. I know some people like to complain about prices. I can say these guys are not making a killing. Expenses are insane. The skill it takes to put together a quality mount that will last is incredible to me.
 

OutdoorsmanNH

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Taxidermy is definitely not a easy job and requires a individual with a high tolerance to patience. It's a skill and art that a talented individual gains over time. Every taxidermist that I've met and talked with has endless work and usually a year turn around rate.
Not a bad skill to learn and develop a business for certain people. Thanks for sharing your experience. The stories told and heard from the clients must be great to hear and I'm sure there are some good stories told.
 
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Really great post. Maybe some time you could post some pictures of you and your friend at work.
 

sethdeyo

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The stories and characters are hilarious. Some hunts are the typical sitting in a stand, the deer walks up and goes down within eyesight...others not so much. I will try and get some pics. Shouldn't be to difficult as I am usually leaning up against the wall drinking a cup of coffee while my buddy works. I think I can probably find time to snap a pic or two.
 

sleeping giant

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you should consider joining the New England Taxidermist Association, great bunch of people willing to share ideas and a great way to learn the art! Pete Lajoie
 

OutdoorsmanNH

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you should consider joining the New England Taxidermist Association, great bunch of people willing to share ideas and a great way to learn the art! Pete Lajoie
If I knew of this association a solid decade or two back I probably would have started something up. All I could find years ago was DIY self videos and booklets. This is definitely a good career to get into.
 

sethdeyo

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you should consider joining the New England Taxidermist Association, great bunch of people willing to share ideas and a great way to learn the art! Pete Lajoie
Thanks for the suggestion Pete. The more time I spend around it the more interested I am. It is amazing to me to watch the animals "come back to life".
 

SportsmanNH

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Taxidermy is definitely one of those jobs that I will not be doing a DIY on considering that all my sculptures in Art class in school left alot to be desired . LOL
I'll just pay the professional for his service on this one. LOL
 

Jlighty

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Definitely cool. Given I've never had anything mounted, what are the costs typically associated with having a head mount done in NH? Anyone offer any insight?
 

OutdoorsmanNH

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Definitely cool. Given I've never had anything mounted, what are the costs typically associated with having a head mount done in NH? Anyone offer any insight?
My last mount was $500.00 and that was back in 2011. I have a neighbor who uses a guy and does decent work and was shocked to hear that the last mount he had done was $285.00. I'm sure that he has raised the price a bit. It's always a argument in my house as to where the mount is going to be placed lol! Luckily my girls have my back and it's in the living room now,before it was in the basement. Your local to me so when the time comes just give me a ring or text and I can tell you a couple places close by.
 

jvan

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Well written!
You definitely understand and explained why mounts are so expensive. Shipping costs are crazy too. The oversize boxes for forms. Shipping to tannery etch etc...
But its awesome to watch a customer pick up his mount and se the smile on his face
 

nbbucks

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Nice job! i do my own taxi as well. It's very time consuming but if it looks bad I'm the one to blame. The reason I do it myself now is because I had some poor work done by taxidermist.
 




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