not a happy camper

Submitted by un-happy on 03/29/2004 at 20:39. ( )

I finally got a bobcat back from a local taxidermist (almost 1 1/2 years after I dropped it off) and I am not happy at all with it. It was my first bow kill and wanted it mounted by some one who knew what they were doing. Since I dropped it off I have started learning taxidermy and have mounted several cats myself and quite a few other animals. Don't get me wrong I am an amiture and do not know it all by far but there are some basic mistakes on this cat.
To start the cat is in a basic walking pose with a closed mouth, this is the pose I selected but at the time I dropped it off he messured it in front of me and the cat messured 36" but the form was 32" but he said that would be no problem to lengthen the form. The cat is now 32" long. All of the claws are exposed 1/4-3/8" each, one paw three claws are actually crossed. The nose is actually concave and wrinkled. The eyes still have paint on them. The face seems to be twisted (not real sure what is wrong). There is a hole on the back side of the neck the size of a fifty cent piece that you can see the form through. The entry and exit holes can be found very easily. and the dorsal cut has a 1/4" gap down the entire back. The piece of driftwood it is on is too small and he is very loose on it.
What makes me mad is that he knows that I have been learning and even worked with him a couple of times but he did this kind of job on the cat, His other work that I have seen is not competition quality but it is not bad work.
Any way the whole point of this is, what would I be getting in to if I wanted to rehydrate the whole animal and re-mount it? Would I need to add any chemicals to the water to keep it from slipping? I know the cat was tanned but I'm not sure what tan he used or what hide paste was used. I would take it back to him and have him re-work it but I really don't want to wait another 1 1/2 years to get it back (and no he is not that busy)
Thanks for letting me vent and thanks in advance for any advise.

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What was he charging for the Bobcat?

This response submitted by Tony on 03/29/2004 at 21:06. ( )

If his prices are low, that is one indicator of the quality of work you are going to recieve. I live by the old saying you get what you pay for.


This response submitted by Bill Yox on 03/29/2004 at 21:12. ( )

Soaking it up is iffy at best. You must weigh that option, of living with it vs risking loosing it by trying to redo it. That time frame isnt that unusual, unless you were specifically told otherwise. I cant understand why the guys work to you would look so much different than the work you saw when leaving off the cat for him to do.


This response submitted by Dean on 03/29/2004 at 21:32. ( )

You didn't mention what you paid. I'm guessing you may have been looking for the best price instead of the best quality. If I mounted the cat it would cost you about $650. plus scenery and sales tax. You get what you pay for. You said his work wasn't THAT bad. It doesn't sound like you were that impressed to start with. If the hide was tanned you should be able to rehydrate it. I'm guessing by the way it sounds you won't find much if any hide paste in it. Try soaking the face and toes with wet towels first. If it was skun and fleshed properly it should rehydrate. My guess is that part of the toe bone is still in it if the claws are showing and twisted. The nose probably still has cartlidge in it if it is wrinkled and twisted. The face is probably funcky because it wasn't fleshed properly and dried goofy. There is a lot happening on cats they have hair patterns an on the head that have to be in the right place or everything looks crooked. Ears are a big problom on small mammels. Many taxidermists put the ears high on the head and to far out. The ears start on the side of the head attach toward the top of the head.The ears also sit behind the head at the base of the skull. Experience and knowledge of the animal goes a long way. When you let some one practice on your trophy you never get much in return. The new taxidermists have to start somewhere but I feel they should practice on their own animals before tackleing a job their not familiar with.Good luck

Bill. perception is a funny thing

This response submitted by rich stanton on 03/29/2004 at 23:19. ( )

i know from experience that once you see something, it can be hard to unsee it-- This may be a weird analogy, but think of anyone in Hollywood who's gone high-profile very recently... suddenly you notice their prior work everywhere.

Before someone decides to learn taxidermy for themselves, as a rule they don't recognize details, just how the mounts look from across the room... my dad has two deer heads on his wall that look worse to me everyday, but he still insists they're fine. I imagine if he goes to the New York show with me his opinion will change. It's not that i want him not to like his trophies, it's just something that naturally develops, like how most grown men and women quit eating macaroni and cheese and hot dogs.

At any rate, it sounds like the original poster's cat is flatly unacceptable and i for one would not hesitate to say so-- but i suspect the work hasn't changed, just the way he sees it.


This response submitted by Vic on 03/30/2004 at 11:19. ( )

with most of the posts, but why don't you talk to him? I would like to think that he would make it right for you in a short while. If not and you want to tackle it yourself, he should tell you what he used as far as hide paste ect. By talking to him, it may open his eyes and help the next person down the road, but then who knows.

dang it

This response submitted by Bill Yox on 03/30/2004 at 17:29. ( )

Macaroni and cheese and hot dogs is my second favorite dinner! Ill NEVER grow up, Im afraid...

I agree

This response submitted by Roadkill on 03/30/2004 at 21:38. ( )

I like hotdogs and macaroni too.
IF you plan to remount the cat, just ask what kind of tan he used, most of the home tanns wet up better with salt water due to the acid pickling, if you try with just plain water, you could cause acid swell and the skin will turn rubbery and rip easly. You can still soak it in salt water later and it will rehain the right texture and be flexable.
All of us here really have no Idea about the circumstances of the other taxidermist, or what has traspired during the time he had it.
I would deffinalty talk ot him about the quality, and find out all the info on the care and tanning and what he did, before you do anything to the cat.

poor taxidermy job

This response submitted by Aaron Honeycutt on 03/31/2004 at 15:34. ( )

un-happy, Sounds like you will never see anything good about this cat, and I doubt there IS any good from the sound of it. I would not hesitate to let the taxidermist know that you are displeased. Now if this is one of those $100 jobs then you got your money's worth and should take it as one of life's lessons. If the taxi doesn't make it right I would soak it up and redo. Even if it falls apart you haven't lost much as a really bad cat is just a pain for the eyes. As for tanning, I'm betting it was definitely NOT tanned. The shrinkage you describe just hardly will happen with a good tan, especially using a much smaller form. If I were doing it I would put the cat in a bath tub of cool water, cut the stitching and see what happens. If it's a dry preserved cat you probably will lose it, if pickled correctly it should rehydrate fine being so newly done BUT, of course, you must know that you risk total loss since there are no guarantees in taxidermy.--This is what I call a learning opportunity, Enjoy-Aaron H.


This response submitted by un-happy on 03/31/2004 at 20:20. ( )

I paid $350 for the cat. $350 is about average for this area but the prices do go up to around $500. I do know that my wife gets agrivatted at me because I do nit-pick my own mounts to death, but what got me was the basic lack of attention. I would talk to him and see if he would re-work it but I really don't want to cause any hard feelings since we are friends socially, (not buddy buddy or any thing) and it would be awkward.

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