I have been to a number of shows and almost everyone had a bird take best of show. Are birds judged any differently than say game animals or fish, or is it once you acquire the ability to put them to gather they are easier to put together correctly? Or is it there isn't as much to get gigged on? Just seems to me that if you don't compete with birds you are putting yourself at a disadvantage at trying to get a best of show. Should bird judges tighten up their scoring so it is "more fair" for others to get a shot at the top spot. OK I buttoned up my flack jacket and jumped in my foxhole let hear what you have to say.
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Birds on average score higher.Some years ago Brian Dobson predicted that the competiters award at the worlds would always go to bird taxidermists if it was only based on highest average score.To win best of show I think it`s more important to be inovative.
If you were to take all types of taxidermy and set them out in their natural settings, birds, hands down, look the most realistic. The feathers, if arranged correctly, cover the animal in a unique way, to look real. More so, in my opinion, then any other animal.
A couple thoughts on this-It is easier to get good specimens. You have pen raised stock plus wild taken to choose from. Some guys may get to raise their own big game entries but comparatively not that many. For example I picked through over fifty greenheads last season but only got 1 deer. Size is another kicker. Creatively you can do alot with a small base and it is easy to transport to a competition. As Yox Pointed out, I can do a flying pheasant (for example in a realisitic natural setting and take it in my wife's car to the World show but my full size cougar will have to stay home...On the flipside we had a full sized African lion at our show dodging a spear that did not win any of the major awards even though it was a first place entry. Even though I only do birds, I felt like that guy got robbed.
birds took 19
mammals took 18
reptiles took 2
fish took 2
Thankfully, Ken took all that guess work and critiquing out of the WASCO award winner. In fact, the award specifically states that score is not a consideration, rather artistic presentation. What I fear is that the industry is going to go to microscopic bird taxidermy. Look at the last two World Shows and the Nationals. I can only imagine the time and delicate work required of Mike Orthober to mount that veriole, but it just didn't tell a story. It was simply a lifelike bird on a stick. Yet Jean Roll's baby moose had just been scooped out of a Canadian muskeg marsh and frozen in time. I joke about bird and fish guys all the time, but they've (if they admit it) reached the limits of their talent. Anything more will have to sing and fly away. I think the mammal guys take a much harder road and recreating expression in that category has yet to be fully recognized. JUST MY OPINION, however.
Talent has no limits. If it did, the Art World would've stopped creating Art centuries ago.
I understand what you'e saying about fish and birds. But in many ways (because of the fact that supposedly most everything has been done) it makes it MORE challenging in these avenues (in my opinion).
I've got a lot of slick ideas (from a creativity standpoint) that I'm anxious to try with fish. I'm sure many have been done already. But I suspect some have not. Only problem is I'm currently lacking the talent (from the craft side of things) and I also have uncertainties whether or not some things are even feasible (materials-wise and structure-wise). But I DO have a lot of creative ideas that I think would certainly be considered very different (and in fact - WEIRD to many folks). I just hope someday I have the talent to implement my ideas...
I have noticed as well. I have competed for four years.
I am still struggling with whitetails. Admittedly, I do not get much practice (my second competition deer was my 8th mount and I just completed #26).
My three medium mammals took two thirds and missed a blue by 1 point (my first open mouth mount).
My two geese scored a solid red and a blue - no extra time spent.
At some point, realism becomes replaced by "creativity". At that point, where I think we are now, anything else with fish or birds will be caricatures of real life feasibilities. Have you noticed that no one actually competes with a closed mouth mount anymore. Those that do, do so at their own peril and that of their scores. Yet I'd love to see a REAL black bear in the wild with it's mouth open as those mannikins depict. I've hunted all my life and never seen anything like those.
But he made the branch and leaves. Orthober even admits he wasn't sure how well it would turn out.Granted the beauty of birds are the cool things they can do. Maybe it could have been chasing a moth or something but still extremely cool and not something like a pheasant most of us get to do every day. Complexity and creativity are essential but I agree with the statement George is making...not just bears but boars and coyotes and on. Personally I'm glad to see more flying birds and challenging poses. Not many people wanted to challenge the judges years ago. Now we see alot of tough things done and done well. The shows are more interesting to go to.
Mammals do get some top prizes but it takes a real master to win with one. There is so much you can take off with a mammal because there is more to a full mount mammal. Most taxidermists don't take the time to really work at it to get them correct because mammals just aren't the bread winners for most taxidermists. A master bird taxidermist can put together a great competition piece maybe a week. But if a mammal person wants a great piece they need time to sculpture a body which in itself would take at least a week. Also I think too many mammal judges are looking for too many details. Myself, I look for the mount that looks the most alive. If there are more than one of this caliber then I check on the inside of the ears and nose septum. Some great mounts are overlooked and under scored because they don't have a septum that you can see light through even if you have to stand on your head to find that out. Then one that has all the details but has the appearance of a lifeless stiff animal that only resembles the species wins. I want to see an animal that looks exactly like the species and is doing something that the species naturally does and looks alive. Too many judges just don't know small mammals.
I've never been to a competition but I would think that realism would be like the defensive side in baseball. It is a given. At least at the World level it should be. The creative side of the piece would be like the offensive side of baseball. Not a given, but this is where the money is!
Both aspects should be working together. I always bring up Kris Krueger's Otter's when I think of a piece that truly represents the realistic and artistic side of things at it's finest. Realism shouldn't be replaced. It should be a given. With major dings to minor flaws given. Whereas more latitude but equal emphasis/importance should be given on the creative side of things.