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Taxidermy.Net Forum  |  Beginners, Training & Tutorials  |  Beginners  |  Topic: Mink Concept and Questions « previous next »
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Author Topic: Mink Concept and Questions  (Read 1603 times)
Krysta
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« on: May 15, 2012, 12:37:59 AM »

I'm going to be working on a mink very soon and want to make sure I do the best job possible.  Of course I have some questions that I'm in need of answers for.  The mink is a black ranched mink and the mount will be an open mouth mount.  I'm very aware of it need alterations and already know how to tackle that issue, the form I'm using is the MINK-15 from McKenzie.



1. Mink toes- The way I have them drawn, is how they move?  I want to make sure I know the bones in the toes so that when I clay them I put them in the correct position.  I recall that what they look like when I was remove some bones from a mink pelt I got a while back.

2. Mink Ears- I read up most make earliners for them, what type of material would you suggest?  Plastic would be the way to go from what I searched on here.

3. You guys have some suggestions on some poses?  Everyone is telling me to have the mink hold something as an idea.

4. If I go with it holding something, what should it be?  I heard a fish would be great.  If I went with fish, where can I find a painted reproduction fish for it?  McKenzie has them but they are only painted on one side and I don't like that one bit.  If the fish is a no go, maybe some feathers might work to show of a recent kill.

5. The habitat, a lot of people suggested a snowy scene but that will gather dust over time which will be a pain to clean.  I was thinking on a scene where grass is show up but there a little snow on the ground to show winter turning into spring.  I also wanted rocks in the scene but from what I researched, mink live by water and a rocky terrain will most likely not work.  Would this idea work?

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bigrack10p0inter
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2012, 08:36:51 AM »

I believe John Bellucci posted something about using apoxy sculpt for the ears, maybe he will chime in and answer your question. I have used it in small mammal ears with good results.
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George Roof
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2012, 09:09:59 AM »

Apoxie or any of the sculpting epoxies will work for the ears.  So will Critter Clay as they're relatively small stubby ears to begin with.

I'm not sure about your question on the toes.  The last digit of the toe will be with the nail or claw down. Mink use those claws and they don't retract like a cat's (the way your diaphragm depicts).

As for habitat, you're right on about a snow scene.  Mink do live near water but there are LOTS of streams and rivers that have rocky banks. I'd suggest recreating a diorama depicting the habitat in YOUR area so that people who see the mount will have some recognition factor working.

As for the prey species, the mink eats anything near the water abode it lives in. PERSONALLY, if I were doing a fish, I'd get one and mount it conventionally so that it would fit the mink's mouth and the pose that I wanted. It's great practice to learn both fish mounting as well as fish painting. You obviously have some artistic talents, so just push your envelope a bit.
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MLP
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« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2012, 09:54:34 AM »

Your questions reflect a good work ethic and show your commitment to do things well.  Your drawings express your artistic ability, which is generally accompanied by creativity and imagination.  That can be a great strength in taxidermy, but one that needs to be harnessed.  As an art major in my early years in college, we were reprimanded for "recreating" exact likenesses of anything.  In taxidermy, the goal is to be as life-like as possible, to recreate exact likeness.  Be sure to use good reference photos (there are tons of them on the internet) to get accurate dimensions and sizes.  Use your creativity and your drive for excellence in tandem and you'll do well, I am sure.
By the way, you could also consider crawfish, a frog, mouse or a small bird as prey in the mouth.  I once mounted a bobcat exactly as it had been shot - its front paw over a dead guinea fowl and feathers hanging from the cat's mouth.  Be sure and post pics of the finished product!
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I do very much believe we are to hate sin and love the sinner. We just need to also understand that the sin I hate the most should be my own and the sinner I love the most should be the one who has sinned against me.
Krysta
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Location: New Jersey
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« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2012, 02:10:36 PM »

I do have apoxy sculpt around so I'll use that for the earliners.  I think I have an idea brewing on how to tackle them.

Apoxie or any of the sculpting epoxies will work for the ears.  So will Critter Clay as they're relatively small stubby ears to begin with.

I'm not sure about your question on the toes.  The last digit of the toe will be with the nail or claw down. Mink use those claws and they don't retract like a cat's (the way your diaphragm depicts).

As for habitat, you're right on about a snow scene.  Mink do live near water but there are LOTS of streams and rivers that have rocky banks. I'd suggest recreating a diorama depicting the habitat in YOUR area so that people who see the mount will have some recognition factor working.

As for the prey species, the mink eats anything near the water abode it lives in. PERSONALLY, if I were doing a fish, I'd get one and mount it conventionally so that it would fit the mink's mouth and the pose that I wanted. It's great practice to learn both fish mounting as well as fish painting. You obviously have some artistic talents, so just push your envelope a bit.

The question about the toes might have sounded confusing how I worded it.  I was asking if my diagram I drew is how mink stand on their feet.  I tried to look up skeletons of minks but the photos are hard to make out the feet articulation.

The habitat for my area is swampy, I live behind a small stream that runs into a pond.  I was think maybe a swampy scene now that you mention it.

The fish would be a cool idea but I have no real knowledge of mount fish which I'm afraid if I do try it that it would take away from the mount. I actually was pondering on the idea of maybe having the mink carrying an egg of a common pheasant or a ruffed grouse since they are native to my area and will prey on them.  It would be easy to recreate the egg since I can sculpt and texture it.  The only thing is I couldn't find any photos of a mink stealing an egg and not sure if that would work.  I was also pondering on the idea of the mink holding pheasant feathers to show a sign of a recent kill.

Your questions reflect a good work ethic and show your commitment to do things well.  Your drawings express your artistic ability, which is generally accompanied by creativity and imagination.  That can be a great strength in taxidermy, but one that needs to be harnessed.  As an art major in my early years in college, we were reprimanded for "recreating" exact likenesses of anything.  In taxidermy, the goal is to be as life-like as possible, to recreate exact likeness.  Be sure to use good reference photos (there are tons of them on the internet) to get accurate dimensions and sizes.  Use your creativity and your drive for excellence in tandem and you'll do well, I am sure.
By the way, you could also consider crawfish, a frog, mouse or a small bird as prey in the mouth.  I once mounted a bobcat exactly as it had been shot - its front paw over a dead guinea fowl and feathers hanging from the cat's mouth.  Be sure and post pics of the finished product!

Thanks for the tips.  I'm actually an art major in college as I speak and always used info stuff I've picked up.  I'm good of the reference photos, I have enough that will help me with the mink.  I was worried about the open mouth references but I have some really goods ones that will help me.

I looked up other prey animals as well, a mouse would be a good one but I'm fresh out of mice at the moment.  I usually freeze the ones my cat kills but this year he was very violent and ripped apart the mice he caught, he even ate half of one.  Birds would be an idea but there so many are protected and I would need a small bird.  I was thinking crayfish but they only sell crayfish in a swimming or walking pose and being that they are freeze dried, probably wouldn't be a smart idea to altar them so they look like a dead crayfish.  As mentioned, I was think of maybe having it hold some pheasant feathers and have them scatter around the habitat.
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MLP
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« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2012, 02:21:16 PM »

English sparrows or black cowbirds (not egrets) are unprotected as they are not native to the U.S. and can be harvested anytime, for any purpose, and they are EVERYWHERE.  Chicks or young chickens would be another possibility.  That's good idea with the pheasant as well.  The fish is still a good idea as well, I just wanted to throw some other options at you.  Good luck!
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I do very much believe we are to hate sin and love the sinner. We just need to also understand that the sin I hate the most should be my own and the sinner I love the most should be the one who has sinned against me.
Bill Motzer
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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2012, 08:40:37 PM »

 Krysta, Im working on one similar and found a few good pics. I hope they help answer some of your questions. Brian Harness did an article in Breakthrough on using the real bones. Skin them all the way out like you normally would to the toe nail, rather than remove the bone leave it intact. You can wet tan the skin and when you go to do the feet, very little clay is needed and the real bones are there so you can position the toes accurately. When I get into the shop ill look and see what Breakthrough issue it was and let you know. Its a good read. ;)









I love the action in a pose like this.

 
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Krysta
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Location: New Jersey
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« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2012, 09:43:24 PM »

Krysta, Im working on one similar and found a few good pics. I hope they help answer some of your questions. Brian Harness did an article in Breakthrough on using the real bones. Skin them all the way out like you normally would to the toe nail, rather than remove the bone leave it intact. You can wet tan the skin and when you go to do the feet, very little clay is needed and the real bones are there so you can position the toes accurately. When I get into the shop ill look and see what Breakthrough issue it was and let you know. Its a good read. ;)









I love the action in a pose like this.

 

That picture of the bones helps me a lot and those are some very good tips you gave me.  Let me know which Breakthrough it is.  :)

I got the alternations done just a few minutes ago, the mink is a monster, he's really big from looking at the test fitting.  Got to see if I plan to alter it into an action or just leave it as is. 
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Matt
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« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2012, 11:44:01 PM »

I think your thought process and layout is great. You are doing your homework and that will go along way with anything you do in this industry. I mount alot of small mammals and for the ears I like to use critter clay and my hide paste. I will roughly shape an earliner out of critter clay and slide it in with alittle hide paste and shape. It has work really well for anything with smaller ears. Good luck on your project and keep us posted.
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Krysta
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Location: New Jersey
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« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2012, 12:54:47 AM »

Thanks guys.  :)  I've been making sure I really thought this mount out.

Here's how far I've gotten tonight.  I spent 5 hours altering as this was the first time I did an alteration on my own.  I want to post these photos so that I can hear from you guys if I did it correctly. 













The form is very rough still, I'll be filling in and smoothing the form down tomorrow, the neck is definitely too thick in some areas and will be correctly that.  The skin seems to fit like a glove on the form but I think I'm going to have to alter the legs tomorrow.  I know minks are weird with their anatomy.

The jawset I just did a few minutes ago, sadly I don't have a mink skull on hand so I have to use some photos of some.  I'll be refilling the gaps in with apoxy sculpt since I took a little too much out.  For some reason I feel the jawset isn't set right because of the side view. On the other hand, minks jaws don't seem to open as wide like coyote for-say.

Let me know how I'm doing and if anything need to be corrected, I want to make sure this mount is done correctly to a T.
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George Roof
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« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2012, 08:58:15 AM »

It looks as if that neck is too long as well.  Remember, vertebrates only have 7 neck bones and I just don't think a minks are that long.  I may be wrong - it won't be the first time, but it just appears that way. If I'm right, the neck isn't too thick.  Shortening the form will allow the hide to expand.
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Krysta
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Location: New Jersey
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« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2012, 10:24:44 AM »

It looks as if that neck is too long as well.  Remember, vertebrates only have 7 neck bones and I just don't think a minks are that long.  I may be wrong - it won't be the first time, but it just appears that way. If I'm right, the neck isn't too thick.  Shortening the form will allow the hide to expand.

I'll test fit the mink on the form later today when I got it all smoothed out and fixed up the leg areas and such.  The mink is huge, his nose to butt measurement is 25 inches while his overall length is 37 inches. 

Does the jawset look corrected how I have it set up?
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Bill Motzer
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« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2012, 12:44:49 PM »

Krysta, It was Breakthrough issue 90, Spring of 2008. I have a mink carcass in the freezer I snapped a couple pics of, I dont know if it will be much help. Iwould have thawed it out completely but it would smell the whole shop up like mink  :D











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Krysta
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Location: New Jersey
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« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2012, 02:20:50 AM »

George, I test fitted the mink again after I did additional alterations and it seems the neck is correct on it.  Ranch minks do have some odd anatomy.  I'll see if I can get pictures of it in the morning before I do the final alterations.  I fixed the legs too and had to lengthen it more as the form is still not long enough.

Bill, those photos do help me out and I don't blame you for not wanting to thaw it, I've heard minks smell awful when skinning.

I just want to know if the jawset is set correctly since tomorrow I want to apoxy sculpt the gaps in before I go through with mounting it possibly.  I'm looking at maybe Thursday or Friday when I'll be mounting it.
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