At the request of NTA President, Bill Haynes, I'm posting this for those weary souls who endured Hurricane Katrina only to have the insurance company trash their prized trophy mounts.
Greg Crain called Bill and related how one of his best clients had called devastated. His house had been flooded from the storm and when the insurance contractors came in to begin repairs, they threw out all of his mounts because "they were covered in green mold". So for the NON-taxidermists who may visit our site looking for information, I'll include what I know. Any of you who can add additional information are invited to and then we can have a comprehensive approach that we can refer to my favorite orange SEARCH icon.
Mounts that have been found in this condition are, many times salvageable. Certainly any horned or antlered game in the very WORST scenario should have the headgear removed as a hide can be replaced. This head gear can be easily washed with soap and water. Add about 10% of a liquid bleach to your water if need be, but the horn/antlers should clean up just like new. Some horns may dry "powdery" but a coat of 50/50 linseed/turpentine will restore the natural beauty to them.
Many times, the mounts themselves can be saved. What do you have to loose in trying. Set them outside. Mix up a solution of a good liquid soap and luke warm water. Soap your animal down just like you would your pet dog taking particular care not to bend the hair and possibly damage it or break it off. Then rinse the soap off. An added step would be to wash the hide with a cheap hair conditioner and rinse it off as well, but this step is only necessary for heavy furred or wooled animals. Squeegee the water off with the edge of your hand working from the top to the bottom in the direction of the hair growth. If you have access to a good compressor, take an air gun and blow the residual water down and off the mount just like you did with your hands. On the furred/wooly animals, use a hair dryer and brush the hair backwards from top to bottom. This gives loft back to the fur and the hair conditioner will help you avoid tangles. Once dry, regroom your mount.
If your animal is on a diorama, just leave it there until your taxidermist can be consulted. He can replace all that stuff if need be and certainly refurbish the paint on your animals that will necessarily need to be done anyway. Let the professionals work from there. (Make sure your insurance agent knows about this to insure the costs of such refurbishments are covered.)
Usually the feathered variety of trophies do not do well but few of them are irreplaceable anyway.
Fish might also be unique in their problems. Fish covered with epoxy gloss may survive intact, but most will deform when wet. Certainly the paint will slough off. Even reproduction fiberglass fish will probably need some paint work done to them.
If you are in doubt about ANYTHING that's gone on with your mount, contact your taxidermist. Only he or she will know what can or cannot be done specifically. Whatever you do, DO NOT let the insurance company haphazardly dispose of your trophies that don't meet THEIR standards. Oftentimes they have no clue about the significance a trophy holds to a hunter. You and your taxidermist can decide from that point on, not the insurance adjuster.
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You mean we can't take them down to a car wash and degrease them, soap them up and then rinse them with that there high pressure water out of them wand thngs? Gosh! I was hoping to use the wax setting and mak them shine and pretty! LMAOROF.....
In case anybody does not know.....Just joking!