I've subscribed to Outdoor Life since I was about 10 and I was interested to find an article a couple of months back about proper field care of big game. Jim Zumbo, great elk phooba and guru, gave some very good advice but I was a little amazed that he recommended that a green cape should be "salted, rolled up, and placed in a plastic bag" until you got it to the taxidermist.
I guess I wasn't the only one as the magazine printed a letter to the editor from Ron Smith of Freeport MI. Ron, correctly in my opinion, noted that such a practice "allows the cape to lay in its own moisture and heat up. Bacteria thrives on warmth and moisture. Pooling of salt-laden moisture will cause hot spots and thus result in extensive damage and hair-slippage to the cape."
Zumbo replies,"According to my taxidermist in Cody, Wyo., a salted cape that is placed in plastic bags will be perfectly fine for up to three days - anything more than that is iffy."
Would someone direct me to this guy in Cody? I want to know where he came up with that logic. I'm just a dumb country boy and I could use some educating by the taxidermist of the great Jim Zumbo.
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with out thinking,or qualifying, as you may have noticed here! And I don't think any of the many, fine taxidermists in Wyoming would fess up to that one. BUT, since much of the Elk hunting takes place in November, in subzero weather, it wouldn't be as critical. But, I pitty the poor "Elk Groupie" who took those words as gospel and brought his archery or early Elk to his taxidermist in 75 degree weather!
I read the same article George and it sure makes you wonder sometimes.I know the things I would or wouldn't do but usually I'm not sure enough of my own opinions(there are so many others better qualified)that I usually just shake my head and think about how I wouldn't do that.This one tho really made me want to write my own letter to Zumbo.
A properly FLESHED and salded cape or hide will be ok in any area that has cold weather hunting seasons for a few days, even in sept. northern states archery season can have lots of snow and cold. Also when a client goes out of country, on his return flight home he must have his hides, and any meat,if allowed, packaged in a plastic bag in a waxed sea food box to call it luggage, and very often customs and airlines keep this type of luggage for a few days either loosing it or red tapping it and its not a problem if the hide was proerly fleshed and salted. I believe any problems are with small minded taxidermists who only think local and so only recieve locally and who never get clients like Jim Zumbo in the first place. Clients who hunt worldwide want life as simple as possible and taxidermists who get thier work dont get it by having cheap prices, they get it by having a network in place for customs, shipping, recieving, handling etc. Tell your potental clients how hard it is to bring is expensive whatever back from whereever and hes likely to leave it with the local blueribbon taxidermist where he hunted, have your ducks in order and you get it and his referals. Think small and stay small and wonder why the JimZumbos of the world don't bring you, a poor country boy, thier global trophies to mount.
A few years back a client stated he was going on one of those once in a lifetime hunts. I took the time to teach him how to trun and fleesh his cape. Gave him very clear printed and laminated instructions on how to care for it. Well for him one animal turned into several and his week hunt turned into five weeks (he lost his job over it, but is still happier) After 48 hours of draining he placed them in a plastic bag ( I didnot tell him this) took his wife and family on a ten day cross Canada sight seeing trip. When the arrived the the capes were just fine, tanned fine. I was afraid because of the plastic bags, but the salt and let drain worked just fine.
Bottom line let them drain!
Nothing was said in original post about a "properly fleshed" hide , just a green hide, salted,rolled and put in a plastic bag. Personal expirience tells me that you shouldn't "roll up" the salted hide either. A folded one drains much better. I guess I'll stick with the dumb country boy, I don't know where you(Jim) came up with poor, he would probably agree that those "high profile" hunters usually are looking for a free mount anyway. personally I would like to see one of those "big game" hunters come to my state and see how things work in the real deer hunting woods, not some fenced in sanctuary. I did see one program where they came to Mi. and hunted what they called Sanctuary,Mi., leading you to believe it was a town and the deer were free ranging ones. Well the Sanctuary is just a fenced in deer preserve with a lot of mature bucks. Funny how they never show the fences in the films.
Blue Ribbon Taxidermy
I think it works well. I either get these guys to split thier lips and at least partially turn the ears (very few guys will) or I have them tell me in advance where they are going, so I can make arrangements with a local taxidermist to do that part (again, few guys will). At least most of them do get together with a local taxidermist on thier own, and pay him to at least split and salt the cape for the return trip. I tell them to let the taxidermist know hes just needing that service, and to not imply hes leaving it there, unless he DOES plan to. So far, the good taxidermists out west have been great about this!
I had a customer stop by my booth at our fair and I suggested he take the hide to a local taxidermixt in wyoming and he did that the taxidermist in wy did a good job splitting scraping and salting for my customer saved the cape for sure when I got it it was in good shape and saved me and my customer some headaches good advice on prearrangement.
What brought all that on? I said I was a DUMB country boy, not a poor one, though most of us are. And many of my "local" customers are well heeled enough to go to exotic places to hunt. All of them bring their trophies back to me and I'm sure my "prices" are compatible with yours. I do, however, agree and practice what Bill suggests when I think the customer may get into trouble with what he DOESN'T know or what he read in Outdoor Life. As Lars said, many people take as gospel anything they read. Maybe it was just a bad hair day for you, but shooting the messenger doesn't make any points with most of us "think small, stay small" taxidermist who comprise over 90% of this trade. After all, it seems Zumbo resorted to his own hometown "local" taxidermist.
I felt attacked George and I responded, Yes, Zumbo is a good client of mine and my advise to him on the plastic bag came from a hide of his that was delayed luggage on a out of state hunt and I told him not to worry about it and I was right. I also sell alot of capes to you all frozen not fleshed and sent in a plastic bag boxed ups with no problems for a lot of years now. This year I had 6 hunters,only one of which was from wyo. go to China and hunt maral stags and they brought back as luggage the capes salted in plastic bags; in San Francisco the capes got held up in customs for a few days but everything turned out fine including the capes. In every case, such as in hot weather, capes salted folded in plastic bags can be a disaster of course but better salted than not? I get tired of what I precieve sometimes as small minds attacting. Mr. Zumbo ethics as far as I know are beyond repraoch. He has never even hinted at wanting a discount or a free mount, and I dont give him either, all his thropies are complete with the proper lic. always. I have many clients that hunt all over the world that send me the work that Ive never even met in person, only by phone etc. On occation I give what I believe to be good advise, and even on this forum, and if someone restates it a little different to make it not quite what I said or meant Im attacked and so his he. Is that right? I do have bad hair days, call it Italian, of course, Also maybe because this is my 30th year full time, in this business. SORRY
I sincerely appreciate the REST of the story. I had no idea it was you I was asking about. And as my quotation marks reflect, I was simply transcribing words direct from Outdoor Life. Just like Lars said, I was the one not knowing the whole story. I appreciate your time and candor.
A lesson for me again; I always regret it whenever I get upset. I think its good to remember that when we read or hear from someone isnt always all of it and not always what we precieve at first, esp. me thanks
...another happy ending, from 2 guys I happen to KNOW have class. For those who think this site doesnt have professionals, reread this whole post. This is how a couple of guys missunderstand, and correct a situation. Now, you guys dont seem to be embarrassments to taxidermy like I am...hahaha! See you guys later.