I remeber many years ago I mounted my first standing bird, a pheasant. Everything was going fine, just have-un me some fun, drying, wirring, sewing, then it came to positioning all the parts just so. I worked and worked and when finished, I stepped back to admire all of mother natures beauty and my hard work, and the poor bird just didnt look right. I remember it looked like he was getting ready to fall over backwards? I twisted, bent and tugged, and still he looked "funny". Over the next few hours I would stand there and look at him, and twist and bend and reposition things, and still...... it looked funny.
My wife kept telling me to quite messing with it, because its getting worse! So...... I did, I finally gave up!?
Well, about am hour later I was standing looking out the window into my back yard. A couple of birds flew onto my patio and started walking around...... so the feild study started!
Suddenly, it hit me, like a ton of bricks! I ran to the mount and sure enough........................ I had the legs bent the wrong way! I had them bent back from the knee, instead of bending forward! No wonder he looked like he was getting ready to fall over backwards! A small adjustment and walla!
OK, its y'alls turn to "tell all".
Return to The Taxidermy Industry Category Menu
I was instructing my son on mounting his 1st mule deer, he'd prepped the skin, turned everything, thinned the hide down, everything was done....of course during this time I was working on other mounts trying to catch up and just giving him instruction as we went along. A customer came in and we were talking, I got preoccupied with some other stuff and before I realized it my son had the hide on the form and sewn up. It was then I realized........the hide was still green, we hadn't tanned it yet. Needless to say he wasn't too happy with having to take everything apart, removing the bondo, cleaning off the hide paste, cleaning the form. He's now a very good taxidermist working for me full time...and he double checks everything now!
Was a customer that walked in to see my mounts, I use to have a ton of mounts on display and seveal foxes cats and small animals without bases sitting in a corner, i also had a female cat name Jeannie, since she was little she was attracted to that corner and would often sit next to a fox and even assumed the same position for hours, the customer went around looking and say oh look ! to his wife he even does house cats and petted the cat, which opened her eyes and ran off like a rockett , the guy was so starttle he screamed Dammmm ! and climbed on one of my tables the wife ran out screaming her head off, so I calmly said ,"Yes that is my best mount to date".
Afterwards when they calmed down, we spent about an hour laughing our heads off, so I told them I really don't know what is alive or dead here ,so becareful". LOL
Eons ago I got talked into having a 4-H taxidermy class. I didn't know too much back then and the kids knew nothing. One boy was skinnig a black squirrel and had the skin pulled down to the foot. I was just going to let him skin it that far and let the feet just dry. He asked what he was suppose to do now? Well I wasn't quite on the same wave length as the boy because I tlod him to cut it off at the foot. He proceeded to pull the skin back right way and cut the whole darn foot off so he was left with a squirrel with no feet. Live and learn.
Back in the late 70's I had a call from a distraught woman in NYC who asked me to pick up her'bosses' trout and bass to mount since he just came home from a trip. No way was I going in the city on a Sunday but she just pleaded and made me an offer I couldn't refuse($$!). But when she said she'd have to give me check,I told her I wouldn't care if her boss was George Washington,I wouldn't accept a check unless it was in full. She said,"Oh really now,and what if I told you my boss's name was Christopher Reeve,would you take his check then?" Not one to keep a lady waiting,I ran over to the West Side apartment he was in and there in cut off shorts and t-shirt was Superman. We talked for awhile and then he asked me if I would like any autographed photos for my kids and I said no thanks. "Why not?" He shot back. So I told him once I saw him and Lois Lane up in his ice shack,I lost all respect for the both of them.(Kidding of course)Quipping back real sharp he said with a laugh, "John,the whole world waited for that scene,we wouldn't have had a movie with out it!" When the mounts were done and delivered,his room mate,I forgot his name but he was the actor who commit suicide in the movie 'An Officer and a Gentleman'accepted them for Chris. The two photos are on the wall signed in gold marker ink to my daughters. The rest shall we say,sad as it turned out,is history. Then there was the time I did six huge white geese for Pavorotti...
Well,my story isn't as great as the last one but, but funny anyway. I had been doing mounts for severa years and although I don't specialize I do a LOT of Whitetails. Since I only do this parttime I tend to pick and choose what I want to do. I had a run of several deer and wanted to do something else one day so I chose an Eastern Grey Squirrel. It had been a whle since I had done anything other than deer. I think the last few items I did other than deer were a coupleof ducks and then I had a cover of quail. Anyway, I moun ted the squirrel and mthought he looked pretty good but soimething just didn't look right.
Well, I know you need to walk away from a mount now and then, give it and yourself some space, and then check on it again before you are finished so I went to town and came back later. As soon as I walked in that shop and looked at that squirrel I knew what it was. I had used quail eyes.. hahahaha. he looked scared to death as they were kind of orange hazel with the dark pupil. But I got him right.
On night my wife burnt dinner beyond anything that only dna testing could identify...When I got in from the shop and sat down, I said "Its burnt...what was it"? She got mad and stated that "IF I had come in when she called me, dinner would have been just fine!" Then a fight broke out and I informed her that I was going back out to the shop to finish the bird that I WAS working on. Just after I sat down in my shop I had to sneeze...I sensed that I wasnt alone and turned to look up peering over the top of my tissue only to see my wife with a horrified look on her face. She quickly turned and slammed the shop door and left! She must have thought that I was eating a raw bird!
Now I dont wait when "Called".
When I first started out I used to let my English Springer hang out in my shop. Sringers are known for being very friendly - he was always at my feet. I was skinning out a deer head - I would always cut the tongue off to get it 'outta the way'. As I was skinning I noticed my dog was 'having some kinda fit'. He was chewing on 'his' tongue - all worried I was ready to give him first aid only to figure out he was chewing the deer tongue. If you could only see it you would know how funny that was.