I am a novice and want to mount my first shoulder-mount whitetail. I live in PA and am wondering if there are any mannikins better fitted to our local whitetails. For instance, I see in Van Dyke's catalog the "Bantley series," is designed from reference materials from New England and the northeastern states- long necks and slender noses.
Is it necessary and/or recommended to use such "regionally adapted" whitetail mannikins, or can one simply use any model and just go by the measurements? If it makes sense to go this route, are there any other mannikin design series also better adapted to PA whitetails?
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There's much ado about this "regional" skulpting, but I don't know what region of the universe some of them came from. Biologically, the Virginia species differs from the Northern Tier as does the Texas and the Coues, but a whitetail is still a whitetail. A 7 inch eye to nose with a 19 inch neck fits all the mannikins of that size equally well. Once shaved and tanned properly, there is incredible flexibility in the deer's skin. My take is that "regional" is tacked on to be a sales pitch. I won't use names to protect the guilty, but if you take a pithy foamed skinny necked mannikin and mount one of your whitetails, your customer is not going to be nearly as pleased as if you'd used a good solid foam, highly detail, highly muscle sculpted mannikin. Hunters are like fishermen. If their mounted fish is an inch longer than the one they caught, they'll sing your praises, but woe be unto you if it's an inch shorter. Puff up the detail on a skinny fork horn and the hunter will always keep your name high on his list.
over the past several years I have tried many different forms, hoping to find a better fit for our PA deer. In my opinion, the mannikins which best fit the deer from my area, eastern Pa, are the Research Mannikins First Honest Whitetail Series. I am sure this will open some controversy, but that's my story and I'm stickin to it!
It really is simple, all you need to do is take measurements and adjust the form as needed. Eye-nose and distance between front corner of eyes. After you measure it is simple to add or remove material to make the form match these measurement.
I know your problems so well, being from PA I see some major differeces in the forms to the way they make them. nose to eye 7 1/4 neck 15-16" hard to find one to fit.
Now Van Dykes carries the Bantley form by Arron Connelly. Now Dan has made sure that his forms do fit the PA deer quite well. They were sculpted for PA and NY deer.
But I McKenzie's and Research mainly. I just worry about the neck and alter the head as needed. It's no big deal you just have to adjust. Just like what Dave said alter it.