Customer Problem

Submitted by M.T. on 3/28/02. ( )

I took a bear in last fall that a allready had the skull skinned out of it. This guy really wanted to get it mounted on the McKenzie LBR76 , you know, the one that is laying up on the limb. after examining the 3/4 frozen skin and flat face, and the fact that he said it wasnt that big of a bear, I told him that I could fit him into that form. Now, the LBR76 is the only form on the market of its kind, to my knowledge, so I knew I had to make it work. First off, I dont really mean to bash McKenzie Supply Co. because i buy many many items from them but i cant stand thier bear heads. They are always too petite faced. Now the skin on this bear fit a little loose on the form and there was extra skin in the neck and head but i made it work. Again, had there been a form out there a little bigger, i would have gotten it. When the customer picked the mount up, he loved it, but then called back 3 hours later and told me he was bringing it back. He now claims that his bear had a bigger head, which it really did, but not much, and he claims the overall size of his bear was bigger. Again, if there had been another form, but he wanted this one. Now he is claiming his bear had more brown on the muzzle and its not his bear. i seen some pictures of his bear and it was bigger than the finished mount and his bear looks like it might have a little more brown than what i have, but you know how cameras and light and flash can work. what would anyone suggest i do with this problem, and i dont need anyone telling me i shouldve built up the form or lengthened it or built up the head, in hind sight, i know i probably shouldve done that but he wanted that form with the art. limb and thats what he got. By the way, he loves the mount and workmanship but he claims its just not his bear. What can i do?

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This response submitted by Dan Hudzik on 3/28/02. ( )

Try to reason withthe guy and explain that the bear has been WASHED and it will look different and that during the taxidermy proceess that there is a little shrinkage. Don't know if you can pull that off but it is worth the try. If I don't like the heads on a certain form I usually buy a replacement head from the company I like and then use it with the form of their choice. Everyone does things differently, this is just what I do but I haven't had that problem yet. KNOCK ON WOOD. Good Luck, Dan Hudzik


This response submitted by Bryan on 3/29/02. ( )

I would have to stongly agree with the customer. He brought the bear in expecting it to come back as the bear he shot. forms are made out of foam which are meant to be modified, which should have have been done in this situation. If you were worried about the extra time charge more for an alteration, if you are worried about your skill level Its foam make more until its right or buy a different head. If this was right size wise he most likelly would not complain about anything else.

Stuff happens M.T.

This response submitted by h.o. on 3/29/02. ( )

If you are as sincere as you sound in your post, then you should have no problem explaining the situation to the guy. Just be honest and you can always remount it if worst comes to worst. If you are worried about how much time has lapsed since he brought it back, just tell him you found some notes regarding his bear when you mounted it, but don't tell any whoppers. Good luck and try not to lose to much sleep over it, because you sound like a good person and some people would do nothing about it.


This response submitted by halsteads taxidermy on 3/29/02. ( )

hi there, in your situation it sound like a problem we all have faced at one time or another, some people you will not beable to please. they think that the bear was the best skin that they have ever seen but in reality there skin was just crapy. but they build up there exspictations up to be some great skin, so dont let this person bring you down , take the critsume and build your sell up biger and better, and be proud of what you do and it will show in your work.
you may need to look at what tanner that you use. some tanners in bears skins they have know stretch and try soaking you skins in luce warm water and add some salt to your water this will soffen your hide up alittle thats what i do, ive been doing taxidermy for 17 years, and do lots of bears, check out rayline forms they have some great bears forms a little esspensive but worth it McKenzie took them over here 2 years back well i hope ive been some help to you let me know how things work out, just be very nice to you customer and things should work out for ya, god bless halstead taxidermy


This response submitted by Roger on 3/29/02. ( )

how can you "strongly agree with the customer"? From what I understand, the customer thinks it isn't the same bear. From what I understand M.T. to say, the bear is the same one. Is there a way in which you can prove the bear skin is the same one? Good luck, M.T.


This response submitted by Mark B on 3/29/02. ( )

MT every bear has something different on it's coloration, eyebrow color, face color and shape, old cuts on face ears etc. study the picture and the bear, I'm possitive you will see something that matches. As far as the head size, how much smaller, if it's a lot you may have to fix that. I do a lot of wholesale bear rug work and I can tell you for a fact that customers want the biggest head, thats how a bear is scored, and what makes them stand out when compared in length. Talk to the guy and do what you have to, if he's a nice guy work with him.
On the lighter side here a story for you to remember. I went to a bear camp and worked with an outfitter. I took in several bears for rugs and lifesizes. One guy stood out from the rest, not just because he and his son wanted me to do thier bears, but because he was an arrogant Ahole. Also he wanted to price shop before he brought them in to me. No one could really stand him. I gave him a time frame and he told me to do his son's bear 1st as it was going to be his birthday present. I had his son's bear done on time and he paid for it and picked it up, and gripped about the price, which was less than I first told him. He started to complain because his rug wasn't done yet bla bla bla. After 3 weeks of him calling me and complaining, I called him and told him his rug was done. Up to this point I had always been nice to him, but it about made me puke. A week later he came to get his rug. He put the rug in his truck and came back in to pay for it. He tried to short me $200 for it because he needed to be compensated for waiting so long. I lost it and jumped over the counter and said I'll compensate you. I pushed him out the door and he took a swing at me so I let him have it. He fell to the sidewalk crying. I then went and got the bear out of his pickup. He gave me the other $200 and said he was sorry. I told him that he needed to stop being such an Ahole. Again he appoligized and said I could do his bears again next year. I told him that I would't do another thing for him, but I might help out when he showed up at the funeral home. Never the less he also stiffed the outfitter with a bad check. I know it wasn't very prof., ethical or right, but I felt a lot better. The rest of the day I waited for the cops to come and take me to jail, but they didn't. I'm now reffered to as the compensator, not the taxidermist around the bear camps. Owning your own business is great, but I've often wondered how many time the Walmart clerks feel like compensating someone.

right on Roger...

This response submitted by b bishop on 3/29/02. ( )

Bryan, your way off base here. It sounds like this customer has bigger problems than the ones he is showing. He asked for a certain form and he got it. It probably could have been altered but the customer would have claimed that he did'nt use the form they agreed to ! M.T. , be honest with the customer but dont hang yourself either. You know that it's the same bear and you did exactly what you and he agreed to do and he paid you , done deal. Now, ask the customer what he feels would be fair ( other than refunding money or a total remount for free) to show that you are willing to make him happy but thats it. He may not be happy no matter what. Also, don't let this guy ruin any more of your time, you did what you were paid to do, that should be your story and stick to it! If the customer thinks he can push you around, he will. Best of luck, Brad


This response submitted by Dan on 3/29/02. ( )

Check this post out. I went to the archives and dug it out. Believe me what a nightmare. All I can say is that you need to assure your customer there is no way for the tannery to switch (punch codes on the hide etc. Get out your flashlight and go over that photo and look for similarities in the bears. Good luck! - 11k


This response submitted by Roger on 3/29/02. ( )

I can't thank you enough for sharing your experience that you wrote about on the archived post. Renews my "awareness factor".

Same form, same problem

This response submitted by Len on 3/29/02. ( )

I mounted a bear on the same form. You are correct, the head is too small for the body. I switched the head with a Buckeye head and used a detailed mouth cup. The head looks fantastic. I also had a problem with the body. Something just didnt look right. I felt that since he has three legs dangling off the limb he must be relaxed. It didnt make sence to me that his right front paw would be stuck on the side of the limb like that. So, i cut off his arm at the shoulder, cut him at the elbow, and cut him at the wrist. I placed the paw up on top of the limb and it looks much more relaxed and natural. A also turned his head to the right a little, so you can see more of his face. I have photos of the bear if anyone would like to see the modifications. Just wanted to put my 2 cents in.

Well, Roger/ bishop

This response submitted by Bryan on 3/29/02. ( )

In my last sentence it should of been clearer, If He had mounted the bear to the correct size, the customer probally "would not of started" to pick at everything else. And YES you can alter a forms size, and when your done it will be the same form but larger. How? (brief answer) well cut the head off, then cut head in half, then cut the neck off, then in half, add a piece of foam "pie shape in head" in between or something glue or foam together. Attcah pieces back on form and "Tah Dah" same form, same pose, ecxept properly done and bear fits. From what the post says "3 hours later and told me he was bringing it back. He now claims that his bear had a bigger head, which it really did, but not much, and he claims the overall size of his bear was bigger. Again, if there had been another form, "He is right the bear was bigger they both agree. Breakthrough has some excellent articles on this type of thing. Best: Bryan

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