bobcat mount

Submitted by Christian on 11/13/1998.

( thillet@msn.com )

I am planning to tan and mount my first bobcat open mouth, and I would like to keep the skull attached to the lips and rebuild it with clay.I will then attach the head to the form. I have never see any videos or publications that talks about it. I read in the Breakthrough mammal taxidermy a method that is being used to mount a squirrel by Ed Thompson however it is for a closed mouth mount on a rather small specimen. Is this an uncommon method? Any idea? Thanks Christian

Return to Beginners Category Menu


Skin 'Em Out

This response submitted by John Bellucci on 11/13/1998.

( ArtistExpr@aol.com )

Hello Christian, I know the method you spoke of in the Breakthrough Mammal Taxidermy Manual, and I will tell you that in my opinion, one NEVER leaves the lips of ANY mammal attached to the gum-line of the mouth. I don't care who the taxidermist is. I have enormous respect for Mr. Ed Thompson, and the remarkable work he does with birds - especially the smaller species, and most especially with doves. But that method on squirrels... uh-uh! Remember, there is a chapter on mounting a bobcat further into the book, and you do not find that method there... right? Also, the information on the open-mouth work for the coyote in this book, can be applied to your bobcat open mouth. To me, it is not just an outdated method, it is a shortcut (like using dry "preservative") that leads to more problems than it is worth. Having to use formaldehyde to inject these areas to "plump" them up and preserve them, being the biggest. (*Note: I'll NOT get into a pro/con B.S. session here on these methods; I'm here to help this person!*) Now that I'm sure I've re-angered a bunch of people out there by giving my opinion - mind you they'll never acknowledge the compliment paid to the gentleman I challenged, only the fact that I did challenge his method - let me suggest that if you do not fully skin the lips away from the face and gum-line, you will have multiple problems. First of all, you will not be able to split the lips, restricting your ability to properly remove the excess tissue from this area. This will eventually create slippage. You will also not be able to properly thin and flesh out the nose-pad of the animal, again with it's inherint problems. Plus the fact that as the specimen dries, there will be such extreme shrinkage, you will be able to name this bobcat something like "old prune-face". I don't think that's what you want to do. Plus with the abundance of high quality mannikins out there, WHY would anyone ever want to take that much wasted time to produce a mount that will only look terrible in the end. I know that the cost of the mannikin can make some folks a little shy, but after the initial investment, you will have a piece of work you can really be proud of! The best reason for freezing and keeping the whole carcass - from head to tail - would be to use it as a reference source for making the mannikin fit the skin perfectly. After speaking with Ken Edwards at WASCO, as to the contents of their newest video by Jan Van Hosen on skinning and mounting bobcats, let me recommend that tape to you as a good method of instruction. Jan knows bobcats, through her life experience with them, and she gives great depth of information as to their restoration (taxidermy methods). Give this new video a try, and don't shortchange yourself. Even though this is going to be your first bobcat mount, make it your best, and you will have nowhere else to go... but up!! Best of luck to you. John B.


Correction!!!!!

This response submitted by John Bellucci on 11/13/1998.

( ArtistExpr@aol.com )



Should have checked my facts before shooting off my mouth - you too Christian. We made a boo-boo. Got the book right in front of me, and Ed Thompson did NOT leave the squirrel's face attached to the skull. It is completely removed. Check your book again Chris. Sorry Ed! John B.


Using the real skull

This response submitted by Bob C on 11/13/1998.

( bobswildlife@webtv.net )

Christian, I've used the method you discribe by leaving the skull attached by the lips. But I've only used it on squrrels ,mink , and weasels. I invert the skin over the skull and acctually split the lips while they are still attached to the skull. It can be done , but its tedious work. I used it on open muth competition work . Try to find a jaw set for a weasel.I rebuild the head out of clay and put a roll of clay in the lips.Another thing I do that may help , is when its time to attach the head to the form I fill the brain cavity with bondo and insert a wire with a pigtail on the end.Let the bondo set until cool. Stick the end of the wire through the neck on the form and sinch tight . This will hold the skull against the form good and tight. Rebuild the juntion with clay an your all set. Now you have to realize I've never done any thing as large as a bobcat ,but what the heck.If its yours, the worst that can happen is it wont work. Oh well.I've never been afraid to try something different.How do you think the taxidermy industry keeps comming up with new things.I really shouldn't call this method new , its acctually a very old method, with a little new stuff added.Right Richard (THE GOD FATHER) Bob C


I wouldnt, but...

This response submitted by Bill on 11/13/1998.

( yoxtax@aol.com )

Christian, you may not know the names these guys are talking about but they are top knotch artists.I watched JW Fuchs do mounts this way years ago. It has some merit as a shortcut, you can split the lips by skinning the skin from the inner lip instead of the other way around, but the gain is minimal at best. You'd be farther ahead to go the conventional route and learn the anatomy so that removing the skull wouldnt be a problem. I worry about the teeth not being stable over time, no less the skull, IF cleaned properly in the first place. The health risks associated with formeldehyde makes it a poor choice at best. Bottom line? Skin, split,salt,pickle,degrease,tan and mount without the skull, except for reference.


No short cut

This response submitted by Christian on 11/14/1998.

( thillet@msn.com )

Thank you all for answering my question on the bobcat. I appreciate the time that many of you spend to answer our questions. I was not looking for a short cut in time or money and just thought that using the real jaws would make the mount more realistic.Formaldehyde and dry preservative are not an option but a no no for me. I guess I will be using a plastic jaw set. Thanks Christian


Christian

This response submitted by Bill,again on 11/14/1998.

( )

when I answered your ? I wasnt really saying YOU were taking the shortcuts but I mentioned it for the others reading the posting that may do so as well. Glad to hear we all could help you out! Let us know how the cat comes out.


Bobcats

This response submitted by Ricky on 11/15/1998.

( )

Hey Y'all, I've got one quick question. I now what the feeling of dry preservitive is, but what are the thoughts on using the real jaws and teeth for an open mouth mount? I have only mounted a couple cats, all of which have been open mouth and have cut the lower jaws and upper palet from the skull and used all-game to set them in place. Is this a bad thing? Thanks! Rick.


how do YOU like them?

This response submitted by Bill on 11/15/1998.

( )

All said and done, did you think it was better then using a jawset? To me, the jawset would be quicker, easier, less likely to shrink,discolor, crack, or attract bugs if not cleaned properly, etc. Plus, the client usually wants the skull, too.


Return to Beginners Category Menu