I was just wondering what other taxidermists in the new england area were usinf for forms and what ones they thought looked the best with our deer. I have used McKenzies and Van Dykes so far and have found that sometimes the McKenzies are too stocky and short necked. I mounted a beautiful buck the other day taken in central maine. Beautiful rack about 150" and was about a 4 1/2 year old deer. Supposedly the deer weighed in at about 210 dressed, but it just didin't seemed to have that big of neck. I measured the hide after being wet-tanned and it was about 19.5 x 21.5 for a neck measurement. It mounted up nice on a upright Van Dyke bantley form. The form was a swelled neck form but after the mount was all done the neck just didn't look that swelled. I saw the deer after it was shot and it seemed like the neck was a lot more swelled. The cape was tanned with a full neck incision. Then when I mounted it I sewed up most of the neck first to basically give it a y incision. Is there a good way to stretch the neck so it will be more swelled. I am just worried that the customer might think the neck will be too small. Sorry about going on for so long but any thoughts or commments would be great
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If you want to emphasize the sewelled neck then don't mount on an upright form. Everytime a muscle gets stretched lengthwise it looses in width. Try it on your own neck and see what happens. Use a semi sneak form for emphasizing big necks. Depending on the customer on how much muscle details he wants (natural looking winter deer or steroid deer)choose a form with either more detail or less detail. McKenzie and Noonkester forms tend to show a bit more deteail (but nowhere near as much as the deer from Chase who seem to be on steroids), then would Research or Van Dyke. It's basically a personal preference.
The appearance of the swelled neck has a lot to how you taxi the hide on the form and GROOMING. You can pull it off on any form as long as you accentuate the muscles, orientate the hide properly and follow up with correct grooming.
forms from Matuska, Revolution, and Joe Coombs, they all work for New England deer, and will more than likely have head blocks in them and more than likely not look like the face is melting or twisting to the left or the right
if you stretch the cape real good before you sew it up in the tube fashion it should be as good as it gets. Some guys use a light sprnkling of baking soda and rub it into the leather side of the cape about 20 minutes prior to mounting. I have tried this and it does let out the capes more.
I would just sew them up when they are on the form as opposed to tubing them back together. I think it gives you a lot more control with aligning hair patterns and just getting some of those bigger swelled neck capes to fit right.
I like the McKenzie forms but Buckeye, Coombs, Ben Mears are all equally good. Form alteration is part of the job, "in some cases", (have mercy, George) as deer differ in body stages throughout the year.
Alot of deer pictures are taken with the head all hunkered down on the shoulders thus making the neck look bigger than it really was on the deer when alive. As mentioned earlier in this post as length increases girth decreases. The opposite is also true. I've seen pictures of deer that look like a hog in one photo and and not so big in the next because of camera angle and neck position. The same can be true when looking a antlers in photos. Depending on the lighting and camera angle a set of antlers can look nothing like the ones on the deer. I'm sure alot of you guys have had the dreaded "my buck was bigger than that " argument with lame brain customers.