would you mind sharing

Submitted by Joey Arender on 10/9/05 at 2:07 PM. ( J32a@aol.com )

some cost with me? I have seen some prices from the past but would like to know what it cost now. I know if I send out a WT cape to a tannery I will have 40.00 or so in it plus the time to salt and prepare the cape to be sent. That is all I have done so far. So what I am asking is how much do you home tanners have in chemicals per cape? I figure time and actual cost will vary depending on experience, methods, etc.

Now for you guys that use DP how much per cape? From what I have read the time to do it with DP and tanning is about the same except when it comes to the tanning step or the DP step.

I don't want to Know which is better, I am just curious in the cost difference in both because while having conversations with my sons football coach, and another taxidermist a lot of guys around me seem to use DP with no ill affects. I just can't figure why they would want to do this work so cheaply.

If I where to charge what my competitors are charging I would only make about 150.00 per head; as the best I can figure, I have about 120.00 in one (Some of these guys are even including plaques at their rates). That's not including time or any utilities, insurance, or taxes. Although making money is not why I got into this the best I can figure at that rate I will be pulling in about 7-8.00 per hour before taxes, until I get faster but, even getting faster can't see it being more than 12.00 -15.00.

I know I can't price my work based off of what others charge, and make what I need to, but at some point some dollars are better than no dollars. So I just wanted to see what my other options will be. The only place I can see to cut some of my expenses are on my choice of tanning even though it will drive my hands on time up.

Return to The Taxidermy Industry Category Menu

Joey, don't look for short cuts! Step up the quality!

This response submitted by Dan Hudzik on 10/9/05 at 3:46 PM. ( hudzik@madisontelco.com )

DP is not the same as tanning. If your not into it to make money why bother at all? Unless you are that well off that you can afford to buy everything you need and give things to everyone for free. If you mount a deer for $300... You might as well bank on only making about $5 an hour! A buddy and me sat down and started playing with figures. We figured EVERYTHING we could think of. We figured the time it takes from the second it is brought to you. Yes that includes logging and properly tagging. We wanted to try and get an accurate cost per deer head. Here is a list of things to help you get started. Keep in mind this isn't everything you need to consider!

Inspecting the hide with the customer
Copying the permit and license numbers
pictures of the hide
Logging and tagging
Cleaning the hide
Fleshing, splitting, turning, and salting the hide
Tanning- Do you send it out or do it yourself? DP = WHY?
Forms, ears, eyes, septums or do youmake your own, brads, thread, hide paste, hangers, apoxies, paints, clear coats
Tools- like reference material, air brushes, air compressors, staplers, needles, rasp, sandpaper, septum tool, ear openers, brad pusher, dremel, fleshing machine, tumbler, freezers, washing machines, water usage, electricity, garbage disposal, gas bills, telephone bills, auto payments, shop or business payment, house payment, etc.
Form prep? How longs does that take you?
Final hide prep, sewing and thinning. Repair work
Test fitting the hide on the form?
Test fitting and properly fitting ear liners?
Eye setting?
Ear butt sculpting?
Form alterations?
Tweaking, rechecking, grooming the mount?
Finishing the mount? What do you do to finish them? Do you rebuild everything? Do you rebuild the nodules on the nose? The eye glands? The nictitating membranes, etc? The inside of the nose? The bottom lip if you have shrinkage?
Do you paint them? Do you apply a finish coat?
As you can see there is a lot to consider. Just think I left out stuff! Put a time and price on all of these questions and then tell me your not lucky if you are making $5 an hour at $300 a head.

Good Luck and hope this helps. Dan

Yeah Dan

This response submitted by Joey Arender on 10/9/05 at 4:24 PM. ( J32a@aol.com )

This helped and I didn't mean that I did not want to make money I just meant I did get into taxidermy for wealth management. I also just wondered about DP because so many guys around me are useing it and there prices are less than 300.00 and I can't see how it could be that much cheaper to use it. Faster yes but not that much cheaper. I don't know if it will work or not. I do know that two deer I had done for me some 5 and ten years ago cracked and pulled but I don't know how thin the guy got things either or what type of hide paste if any was used.

As far as the mounting process I try and get it as real as possible and rebuilt everything I know to and see in referance photos. I use about four colors on the nose three in the ears and three to five around the eyes.

All I know is that at some point I will have to start advertising to get speciems to mount because I can't keep buying capes out of my pocket. While at the same time I just don't know if it is worth it due to the under priced guys arround me. I know everyone has taxidermist close by that charges less but for some reason every hunter I talk to wants that here. Only time will tell and after all my five year plan is to be at least 500.00 for a standard shoulder mount. your 5 bucks per hour is more like it because when I came up with 7-8 I did not include any customer time or tools.

Thanks for your time to put that reply together Dan I was just mainly trying to see the differance in the cost of just the chemicals of both i found out DP is about $2-$3 per WT deer, I just don't know how much tanning in house is per deer.

Should be (didn't get into )

This response submitted by Joey Arender on 10/9/05 at 4:26 PM. ( )


Liqua Tan

This response submitted by James on 10/9/05 at 6:09 PM. ( )

I use liqua Tan and a Saftee Acid Pickle. With the cost of salt I probable only have ten bucks or less in materials per cape, but there is a time factor. Although, once you get on a sytem with home tanning, you wont see any financial sense in sending your capes out.
I do sent bears and such out, just because of the finess it requires to get a quality job. Just starting out you should definately tan your own stuff if only to master it and not be dependent on tanneries incase of an emergencey.

Thanks James

This response submitted by Joey Arender on 10/9/05 at 7:34 PM. ( J32a )

Thats what I needed to Know! I am planing on tanning my own deer starting with the next one I get or at least a few so I know how to I also am going to DP my personal deer just to see what will happen If I manage to get it right. Thanks for your time Joey Arender


This response submitted by Dal on 10/9/05 at 8:09 PM. ( dedunagan@earthlink.net )

This should start a rukus. I think if I get into the business, I will charge $1000.00 per deerhead. That should pretty well cover any incurred expenses. I would only need to do 40 or 50 heads per year. I have seen $150.00 deerheads that would put some $600.00 heads to shame. It appears that there is a great deal of truth in the part about Joe hunter not knowing the finer details of what is required to produce a great deerhead. It is obvious that there are people that will not charge enough for their wares and services and that there are people who will pay way more than they should for a given service, because they think higher price must mean higher quality. When you have to deal with the mentality of, 'ole Joe Taxidermist ain't real good, but he sure is cheap and I can get my head back in 3 months', what is a fellow to do?? No fights wanted, just my take on the situation.

You can

This response submitted by Alex on 10/10/05 at 12:06 AM. ( )

use DP and make money one year, after they start to fall apart you will not get that customer again and teh word will get around very fast.


This response submitted by Joey arender on 10/10/05 at 12:59 AM. ( J32a@aol.com )

I just saw a deer tonight that was mounted useing DP in 1990 at my sons coaches house that looks better than any i have been doing this past year that are tanned. Except the nose has no detail to it at all inner or out but the structure seems to be good. I am not trying to start a debate over dp and tan but it would apear that in the hands of the right person it COULD be fine. I will say I like tanned hides but have yet to try DP and will be on the next green cape i buy. He also had mounts from 1993, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2001, and 2004 all dp'd with no visual side effects, but dp goes against everything that i have learned thus far. Once again only time will tell and I must ask have you ever tried DP or have you been influnced by others without tring it yourself or have you seen bad results first hand? I am just asking and not tring to be rude or anything, And I should have had this in the beginners section (but didn't think) since I have only been at this for a year.

Ford or Chevy?

This response submitted by Luther on 10/10/05 at 1:52 AM. ( )

For every DP deer you can show me with problems,
I'll show you a tanned hide with the same problems.

I have seen tanned hides crack in the same places that DP'ed hides will WHEN IT IS NOT PROPERLY DONE.
I can show you DP mounts that are 15+ years old that look just as good as any tanned mount the same age exposed to the same environment.I have also seen tanned hides with bug damage.

I dry preserve my deer and I am proud of the job that I give to my customers. I put my name on every piece that leaves my shop and stand behind my craftsmanship.I am willing to bet that unless I told you that a mount was DP you couldn't tell the difference.
Don't blame the method when you see bad work, blame the taxidermist that did the bad job.

How many of you guys that knock DP have been showed how to use it CORRECTLY?

Hey Joey, hold up on mounting that deer untill I come down and I'll show you how to properly prep and DP your hide.
Whether it is your deer or a customers, you want to do it right.Don't you?


This response submitted by joey Arender on 10/10/05 at 3:05 AM. ( J32a@aol.com )

I am not mounting anything right now I will see you week after next. Its just this price thing is killing me.


This response submitted by Becky P on 10/10/05 at 1:12 PM. ( )

I've used dp'd, home tanned and commercial tanned. The finished product was of the same quality. It all depends on your skill level of mounting it and a good hide paste. They will all crack and drum if not properly mounted.
DP is the cheapest ($2-3) and fastest, except for maybe drying time. SOMETIMES, the hair will take longer to lock in place.

Home tanning cost me about $10 per cape, but a lot more time.

Commercial is more expensive money wise, but less time consuming, plus you have to figure shipping both ways.
I have decided that I like the "feel" of a commercially tanned hide.
Hope this helps.

Thanks Becky

This response submitted by Joey Arender on 10/10/05 at 2:01 PM. ( J32a )

You nailed what i was looking for thank you
Joey A

Return to The Taxidermy Industry Category Menu