It is said that the toughest thing to find in North America these days is a trophy Mule Deer. Having been successful in this endeavor, I instead believe that the toughest thing to obtain in North America is a quality taxidermist,
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They sell kits you know?
I've visited several gun and shooting sites lately that all badmouthed the taxidermists. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. If YOU aren't intelligent enough and capable enough to find a taxidermist who can do the quality of work you demand, then it's YOUR ignorance at play. Nine times out of ten, you're one of the same guys who'll piss and moan about having to pay $400 to $500 for a quality piece when Neugene down the road will "stuff one" for $150. And THEN you'll bitch cause Neugene didn't do it to look like the guy who charged $500.
Outfitters are quickly coming on my sh1t list as well. How many of us have customers who come in with a piece of crap that was shot up or skinned badly to have the customer pull a Gomer on us and say, "Well my outfitter says a good taxidermist can fix anything.". I wear their asses out when I hear that and so should the rest of you. Why am I expected to fix their screwups when they could have been prevented to begin with. And when I hit the customer with a bill for that extra work he and the outfitter caused, why am I suddenly the bad guy?
So Jonas, remember what Bucky Flowers told me: "You can have it GOOD, you can have it FAST, and you can have it CHEAP but you can only pick two of those."
i have to say, i agree 100% with george. and sure a good taxidermist can fix most anything, but you better expect to pay for it, its with anything, you dont like surefine, then pay more for brand names. you cant expect to pay the same price for one little dent on your car and one whole side being smashed in, come on now. lol,
Hey George, hey Norm, I never said that I ccouldn't find a good taxidermist. I never said I wanted good work cheap. WHY are you so defensive? I have always sought out the best taxidermists I can find, regardless of price. As for fixing bullet holes, if you get a cape from me, there will be one hole- in the shoulder. But why is it that in my experience, that when I have taken my hard-earned quarry to some nationally-acclaimed, heavily decorated veteran of the taxidermy industry and ask for competition-grade work, and am quite willing to pay for, what I get back is a piece that looks like it belongs on the set of a saloon you'd see on Deadwood? If you are in the rarefied circle of NTA champions, or among the contenders in serious pursuit of one those category titles, it is incumbent upon you to bring your commercial work up to the level of your competition work if your customer is willing to pay the difference. If I wanted a 250.00 game head, it would be easy to go to Bubba's taxidermy emporium and slap down my 50 percent deposit and wait 3-6 months for my mount and know I'd get what I paid for with a few beetles thrown in free of charge. My comments were aimed at the top-level guys who promise competition-grade work, and don't deliver on it. They know who they are. If this doesn't apply to you, then I am sorry I wasn't more specific in whom I aimed my comments at.
Isn't the saying only 'one' of those.. You're right though George, it's like anything else in life, you have to shop around for quality. There are tons great taxidermists out there, but sometimes you have to dig to find them. I still say the customer is a little wiser these days as to what quality looks like, as compared to say 10-15 years ago. Notice I only said a 'LITTLE'! You still get many of the clueless...
If you want the best then try Scott Brewer in Spokane Wa. He is one of the best, if not the best around. He has one several national competitions and is a gteat guy. He has helped me out a lot. If I did this for a living it would suck trying to keep up with him.
His number is 509-327-2182.
CB, I just wanted to say thank you for a good tip. It's uncommon to see someone in the industry with the humility to actually recommend someone else. Would you happen to know if Scott has a website? Again, I would like to say that my statement was not a blanket indictment of all of you taxidermists out there. It's just that if a man (or woman for that matter), loves to hunt enough to shell out major cash to travel many miles to hunt a favorite species, both hunter and taxidermist have a responsibility to honor that animal in the best way possible, and that means quality work. I readily acknowledge that I do not have the skill to create by hand what my eyes can see. That's where the taxidermy man comes in. I have been fortunate enough to have seen examples of just how superior the work of a real professional can be, and that is how I want all of my pieces to look, even if it costs more.
I dont think he has a website but I'm not sure. If you want to see his work you can order his tape on "How to mount a competition Mule Deer". It might give you some insite to the quality. You can purchase it from Research supply. He does awesome work. I had the pleasure to attend one of his seminars and watch him mount a mule deer and it was a blast.
Competition work is just that,competition work for the show that day. I heard the best Smallmouth at the World show had 700 hours in it. Lets figure 20.00 per hour for a "competition taxidermist". If my math is correct thats a $14,000.00 Smallmouth bass. That price didn't include supplies, overhead, and a profit so the artist can stay in business. If anyone is trying to do competition work for the taxidermy consuming public , their either going out of business or already out. This is the only business that I know of that the higher degree of skill you develope the sooner your out of business.
You have to realize there are NO standards in this industry, never was. That is why prices and quality are all over the map. In that area, the business hasn't changed since the 1800s and never will. The more taxidermy changes the more it stays the same. There is basically no real money in the business doing things correctly. The industry , money wise is a nickel holding up a dime,always has been always will be.
Learn to do it yourself.
remember that the medical student who graduated LAST in the class is still called DOCTOR.
do any of us ask our doctors where they finished at graduation time?
i agree with everyone, if you get a "bad" taxidermist, then its your fault for not checking the quality of their "current" work.
Think about it. If you want it good and cheap, it's not going to be fast. How does 5 or 6 years sound? Or "whenever I can fit it in or get around to it"? The REAL gist of the statement is that NONE of those things should apply. You should expect your mounts to be done well and in a reasonable amount of time at a FAIR price for the work required. Fast and Cheap should both be thrown out, but how many of your customers come to you with that scenario? NONE!
Serious about your quality of work,delivery,professional service? send me an e mail with your land address.
What do you do to a fish mount for 700 hrs?
why dont you take you're work to one of those statates
In todays competition world 400-1000 hours in a fish is very common among the winners. I do wish this industry would reward us financially for a job very well done but most customers will simply not part with the money.
come on 400-1000 hrs.in a fish mount? what are we talking here? and why does everyone on here seem to want to argue with everyone or be defensive to innocent people? asking questions? it's ridiculous. people on these posts are so defensive, cause thier way is so right while others are wrong? if i wanna come to your house i have 1000 ways to get there. relax people, not all posts are out to screw ya. just help out the new people and take care of customers, geezuz christmas. makes me wanna throw my left prothesis out in the swamp but i still keeep going. come on .
SEE I'M NOT AFRAID TO USE MY REAL NAME OR TELL YOU WHO I AM, I AM MIKE WILAND, AT "FOR HOOKERS ONLY IN EDINBURG OHIO. MY SHOPS NAME IS CUSTOM CREATIONS TAXIDERMY. I DO STUFF FAST, CHEAP, AND GOOD. AND YOU CAN HAVE ALL 3 INSTEAD OF 2. YOU OLDER FOSSILS ARE SO HYPED ON STUFFING YOUR OLD SHI& DOWN PEOPLES THROATS IT'S NO REASON THEY COMPLAIN. WHY YA ALL GOTTA POST NEGATIVES, FIGHT, AND MOCK,AND DEFEND YOURSELVES? WHEN HONEST PEOPLE ASK QUESTIONS? IT AMAZES ME HOW ALL YOU OLD TIMERS THINK YOU'RE GOD'S GIFT TO CREATING WORKMANSHIP. WELL YOU AIN'T. YA GOT ALOT OF COMMPETISION (SIC) AND YA GOTTA ARGUE TO SAVE YOUR ASS? ALOT OF NEWCOMERS AROUND TAKING FOOD FROM YA OR WHAT? I CAN SEE NEWCOMERS WHO SUCK, BUT THE EVEN THE GOOD ONES GET BAD MOUTHED BY THE OLD MEN WHY IS THAT? THEN YA ALL WANNA KEEP THESE GREAT BIG SECRETS FROM EVERYBODY? THEM DAYS ARE GONE TOO. THANKS. VISIT CUSTOM CREATIONS TAXIDERMY IN EDINBURG OHIO. SEE MY SHOW ROOM. THANKS FOR ALL WHO POST POSITIVE FORUM ON TAXIDERMY . NET IF YOUR NOT AFRAID TO SAY WHO YOU ARE THEN LET ME KNOW OR CALL ME WE CAN TALK.
I ALSO SEE SOME PEOPLE LIKE TO DOMINATE THE FEEDBACK FORUMS AND BE THE ALMIGHTY MEN. THIS IS HIGHLY CHILDISH. IF YA WANNA BE A MAN STATE YOUR NAME ADDRESS AND PHONE SO OTHERS CAN TALK TO YA. DON'T HIDE BEHIND AN IP ADDRESS.TEACH US YOUNG GUYS A THING OR 2 LMAO.
ARE YOU ALL ON DRUGS?THE FIRST QUESTION HE ASKED GOT A VERY DEFENSIVE RESPONSE, LOOK AT IT THEN ASK YER SELF DID HE DESERVE THAT? NO HE DID NOT. HE WAS TAKEN THE WRONG WAY FROM THE BEGINNING AND ALL OF YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED. I WOULD BE. I CERTAINLY WOULD NOT ASK ANY ONE OF YOU DOMINATORS OF THE FORUMS TO DO A DAMM THING FOR ME. YOU ARE LUCKY HE TOOK YOUR ADVICE CONCIDENTALLY. MIKE WILAND NOT AFRAID TO TELL YOU WHO I AM RUN WITH IT.I GUESS I AM RUINED NOW TOO SINCE JOHN,Jonas, AND BILL AND DON , AN WILLIAM, WANNNA GIVE ME A BAD NAME TOO HUH? WE WILL SEE.ALLL OF YA SHOULD BE ASHAMED. THATS IT AL I GOT.
I guess conceit isn't one of your problems since you've written your autobiography in less than 3 paragraphs. Though I'd never entertain NOR be willing to pay anyone to spend 1000 hours on a fish, I do admire those people who are that driven. I can only imagine what all three (good, fast, and cheap) look like in a one man operation. That IS UNLESS you only get two or three customers a year and live off of welfare. I can tell you with a great deal of certainty that your "good" and Gary Bruch's "good" are in two different galaxies.
As far as the cutesy little "drugs" remark, you really shouldn't go there. You start typing illegibly and then resort to all CAPS even though the site asks you not to. (It took me 10 minutes to decipher your ramblings because of that and I still didn't see anything but you blowing your own horn.) You tell us how proud of your own identity you are, but be so kind to tell us which one of these three people you actually ARE: mike wiland, MIKE WIALND, or MIK WILAND? Looks like your perscriptions have run out.
And before you get REALLY stupid and show the rest of your ignorance, I know who Jonas is. I know he's led a sheltered life and I know he's found out what the real world looks like from the perspective of most of the rest of the "average" world. I also know WHOSE work he's badmouthing. Now if you can't say those same things, get off your pomposity and shut the hell up.
Mike my friend you are being heard so if you don't mind easy on the cap locks. I want to read what you have to say but cap locking it all makes it hard for an old fish guy like me to read it. LOL... OK Mr. Jonas... your Question/ Statement. I believe I took Jonas in the light and the spirit he was hoping to be taken in. I ask him directly to respond to me and let me know if I understand what he wanted to get across.
Jonas and the whale... Remember what happened to Jonas, he got swallowed up by his pursuit.
Jonas, I believe you are a discriminating sportsman who has felt the struggles and tasted the bitter back wash of what is a real enigma in our industry (standards and quality). I don't know if it was George, who said it (but he was around long enough to have heard it LOL... kidding George) Quality, Time, and Cost, pick any two and you are in business. However in our business that usually mean "How much does it cost, How long will it take, and Oh you do good work as well?) I don't believe the advice of others applies to you here. The "You can mount it your self " crowd often forgets that most can't do the work your looking for never mind offer you the opportunity to struggle through years and years of learning to only discover that a rare few will ever get as good as what your looking for. Why take that chance Jonas? No, you want the real deal, and you want it completed in good time line and the best quality. Correct!
What an interesting opportunity we have here. Anyone with the drive or the (I'll be careful here) smarts can realize that in the world of taxidermy you can literal look up who is the best at any one thing or even who was the best for the past few years and call then on the phone talk to them and find out which of the three questions fit for you. Those opportunities are tremendous but let's tie it back to Mr. Jonas. Even if you do contact one of the best put there and your question is answered to your satisfaction did you ask the correct question? You can't have that opportunity with many other trades.
I think if you really want to have what Jonas is looking for regardless of who you call to do your work the question should be "Will you mount my (what ever) and complete this work in my time line (negotiated) and do the very best quality (again negotiated clearly) you (the taxidermist) are capable of doing and how much will that cost me?)
I bet dollars to doughnuts Jonas has had a bad experience or two with "top guys). Am I wrong? Who is to fault here? Perception being reality and the customer always being right is Jonas or others like Jonas knowable enough to know good work from great? It is basically irrelevant, Jonas in his mind knows what he want s and has tried to find one of us out here to do what his image in his mind is ( nature is perfect and we recreate it with in means).
Let's say Jonas did he ask the right question to assure that the taxidermist doing his work is doing the quality and delivering o the time line he has negotiated or paid for? How about the taxidermist where does their fault lye? Do they promote award winning work but deliver satisfactory commercial grade results, or are they letting the client know that they can do this quality of work but that is not typically what the customer will receive due to know one wanting to pay for several hundred hours of the "good stuff)?
It is all about good business practices and communications. No one out there can understand what any one expectation are never mind meet them or surpass expectations if one doesn't express what they want in a descriptive and concise way that the desire is seen clearly. Let's say it is not only a good quality to have but a must that the business person should be a great listener and a communicator so that they can be assured that they understand what the contract will be to do the work being paid for.
I don't believe money is necessarily the issue with Mr. Jonas. I think it is that he has been burnt and he associates the pursuit and the experience of the hunt of a quality animal with only being part of the whole picture, fill in the rest with a great mount and he and any other sportsman would then be satisfied.
Jonas did you get burnt and why? Was it lack of communication on your part or the taxidermist or was it some thing entirely different? I imagine you have many great well done trophies in your game room. You r question/ statement here was entirely appropriate. I would like you to be satisfied with your taxidermist and your experience with your chosen taxidermist so I offer you some advice in my recap of long contrib. Qualify them buy there work not there reputation, ask good question that are directed to what it is you want be it turn around or the quality, etc.. Lastly the "best" in any thing in life never comes at a discount ever! Remember I'm not implying that you personally don't want to pay the cost of excellence but some of us out here will charge you and are in the business to make money for our talents (I'm one of them). Jonas did you call up your taxidermist and let them know your dissatisfaction?
Isn't ironic that we have no real standards in our industry other than at any given time we can always find that we know what the cost of bad work is going for... How many time s do you see a deer head and say that is "crap) and "crap" goes for lets say $350.00. Across the board we can see and know what "crap is and how much it cost. So if we can put a value on what we can agree is bad work why is it then that equally good taxidermist don't charge the same for what great work is done for? Thank you Jonas for this interesting question.
My Best to you and your pursuit in finding taxidermy nirvana! It is out there you just have to ask the right questions.
312 Chesterfield Road
Hinsdale NH 03451
Mr Krane, I would like to thank you for your insightful response to the subject that I have raised. Somehow, I feel that I have blindly wandered into a cave full of dynamite with a lit torch in my hand. When I look at and attempt to answer the questions that you have posed to me, I have to say that I find it difficult to believe that you are involved in the taxidermy industry. Are you sure you're not a shrink, or perhaps an attorney? To answer your question about my questions to taxidermists regarding details of their work, I can say only this; I am a no B.S.person, and perhaps naievely, I expect the same when I interact with someone, maybe I tend to take it on faith that reputation equals integrity. As you might have guessed, I have been burnt. My problem is that I have been cursed with knowing the difference between good and bad taxidermy. I have many examples of outstanding work in my collection, but sadly, the people who have done work for me in the past have gradually gone out of business. What this has left me with is an inability to "settle" for a piece that is merely good. If truth be known I want GREAT work or nothing. There lies my problem. As you have guessed, money is not the issue. Granted, I do not expect a taxidermist to put 1,000 hours into my game heads, the cost WOULD then become prohibitive. Though I can't say for certain, I believe many sportsmen out there can't really tell the difference between commercial work and the good stuff. I am beginning to wish that I had never learned the difference. As far as calling the taxidermist who did the subpar work for me, no, I did not call him, but will definitely let him know what I think when I see him next.
YOUR definition of "great" might likely be yours alone. Taxidermist like to claim they are "artists" and YOUR interpretation of art and an art critics probably differ wildly. You've managed to slander an entire industry by standards that you and you alone have. When a taxidermist put out work, he doesn't think of it as "I think I'll give this Bozo the worst piece of crap I've ever done." He thinks about his work just like he would one of his kids. You and I might think he has the ugliest kids in the world, but if you tell him that, you'd better be ready to give or take an ass whipping. You want to slander "sportsmen" but again, who are YOU to say they don't know what to look for an appreciate. You are one of those customers I dread to have come through my door and I'm sure who ever did your work won't mind not seeing you again. Did you know, the people who spoiled you don't always get blue ribbons at competitions? Seldom do we have a person winning the World or National Championship year after year. People like you cause people like me to get burned out and grouchy. The best thing you could do for yourself is buy yourself a pen, dart the animals you want, and then keep them alive for your viewing pleasure. But God help them as they might develop some problem and not be perfect like the rest of your world seems to be.
George, I understand your points, but you have misread me on several fronts. First of all, in several of your earlier posts, you seemed to be defending me, now it seems that you want to kick my a**. If you know who I am, as you stated earlier, re the sheltered life remark, then you truly don't know me. I have NOTHING against taxidermists, in fact, I count several (now out of business) as friends of mine. As far as being critical of a man's work, I never put down another sportsman's mount. If he or she is happy with the work, I am happy for them. Taxidermy done well is a difficult endeavor, or else it wouldn't be difficult to find someone who could do the work to my expectations. I readily agree with you that my definition of great work differ from yours and probably all of your friends too. Go to any art show and tell me that every piece there has equal appeal to everyone there, that would be pure b.s. I stated earlier that I did not mean to point my remarks at all taxidermists. I view what you folks do as an art form, and not all artists are created equal in ability. My remark about sportsmen not knowing the difference is due to the many conversations I've had with other sportsmen on the subject of taxidermy-we do talk about you guys, you know. Most people who see my mounts gravitate to the best pieces, but eadily say that they don't know what it is that makes them better. If people like me make you burned out and grouchy, remember that was not my intention. I don't believe in being p.c. just because "someone might get offended" As for darting animals, that's not hunting.
I'm just trying to figure out if you, Jonas, know what you're talking about or are you like a lot of people that think that you know more than you really do. I wish, if you please, that you could describe what you are looking for in a "quality" mount. Please be specific and use correct anatomical terms is describing your perfect mount. If you do a good job on your description, then I think that we can all have a more intellectual conversation instead of all the mess in the previous posts.
Harry, you raise a valid point. You want a description of what it is that I am actually looking for in a good mount. Well, here goes. If you mount a game head, having the ear butts in the correct location is a good start, rather than having them located halfway down the side of the neck, putting them where you'd see them on a live mammal is preferable. Correct eye set is another thing that is more often than not, badly done. So far in my life, I have only seen a couple of taxidermists get the tear ducts right. Most pieces I have seen don't even even have a nictitating membrane included in the eye anatomy. I like nice, clean, crisp ears. I don't like to see uneven lip lines, or badly taxied skin at the mouth edge. Many mounts in general look as if the mannikin used did not match the size of the cape. Also, the brisket area of many mounts is badly taxied, and most mounts I have seen drum badly. Let's see if I left anything out, Yes, Lots of Incision lines are badly sewn, and it seems like every species of deer mounts I have seen get the "whitetail dimpling treatment" even if they aren't whitetails. (they aren't all the same, you know!) now it's late, I have to go. Maybe tomorrow I'll tell you about the fish.
But deer don't have "tear ducts", sorry though many times your are correct about the preobital gland placement. And next time you look at a live deer, make sure you tell me about the nictitating membrane. That third eyelid often sets down so close to the real TEAR DUCT that it's unnoticeable. Just like the over toning of muscles on most whitetail manikins, taxidermists overemphasize the nictitating membranes for esthetic purposes. I'm sure drumming is a problem with some mounts and I have to agree on many of your points. I don't hide a seam like I'd like to, so I pray for Northern Tier monsters with long hair to do that work for me.
Jonas why wouldn't your friends(taxidermists) that are no longer in the business recomend someone. I find it difficult to believe that if they were that good that now they would be so out of touch at this time to not know where to take what? I give recomendations every year to people that want the best. Unfortunately you may have become like the great taxidermists I know. Many have become too knowledgeable and aren't completely happy with each finished piece. I wish you luck in your search-If you look hard enough you will find what you are looking for.
It's really confusing to me that your description of a perfect mount is one that is very elementry in commercial taxidermy. Let me describe one of my commercial mounts and see if this is more accurate.The ear butts should be in the correct location as well as the scutiform cartilage should attach at the rear edge of the antler pedicle. If this cartilage is present then the ear has to be in pretty much the correct spot or the butt would be deformed. The eye set for the most part is in the form itself unless you are requesting a special pose ie fighting or feeding etc.. The preorbital glands should be a flap of skin that rolls into the crease and not straight into the head. All of my mounts have nicitating membranes since the eye cannot be the correct shape unless they are present. My ear edges are nice and clean and crisp unless it is a winter deer with a heavy coat and the edges will be a little fuzzy then because that's the way they should be. The corners of the mouth rolls around the corner and the little tuft of hair is present which indicates the corner is in the correct spot. The brisket is a no brainer and anyone that cannot taxi the skin on a brisket should not be doing deer. And yes, I use hide paste so the drumming is not an issue. I'm not sure what the "whitetail dimpling treatment" is but I can assume that you are referring to the nose pad. We dimple all of ours unless the customer requests differently. Now having said all of this, I find it hard to believe that you cannot find a taxidermist that can suit your needs because you have described just a plain ole commercial deer. The price ! $475.00. By the way, I use tanned skins too! Maybe I need to send you a business card!
Harry, you have hit the nail on the head when you said that the things I have mentioned should all be included in a commercial mount. That is exactly the point. I didn't include ALL of the things I look at, but you definitely get the drift. If we bring up the subject of fish, that list could easily triple without even getting into paint schedules.
If you can't find a suitable taxidermist in your area, which frankly I find it hard to believe, send me your email address and I'll send you some pics. Tell me what you think.
PS I do fish also!