What defines a "competition quality" cape, or skin?
Prettiest ears and no holes in the lips, or just an overall sense of "perfection" - heavy hair, no slips, etc?
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It's what you fill that would make the best mount. What you said above is true but not all great specimens make it. Next is what you had to do if any repair work had to be done to it.
I did a bear once for a compitition and the bear was (excuse this) shot in the face right below the eye. The judge never knew which side till I pointed it out to him. Fine sewing and a thin hide. It took a high second.
Oh I'm sure, by deffinition, you can compete with anything that is "mountable". Many of us even compete with customer stuff. But for me, and the rules I followed when I was selling a lot of furbearers, was, the specimen had to be of Select or High #1 Grade fur, and the damage, had to be very minimal, or non-existant. Buyers need to ask the same questions that some of our own customers are beginning to ask, "What do you mean my competition quality?" If you're just getting involved in competing in state shows, most likely any specimen will work fine for you. If on the other hand, you are planning on the masters division, or a bigger show like the national and world, then it probably will be in your best interest to spend a little more time finding a suitable "competition grade" specimen, or if purchasing, be willing to spend a little more for a really pristine specimen. If you're buying something online, and it's really something special you're looking for, it's simple, just ask the seller to commit to a money back guarantee in e-mail, if it doesn't meet with your requirements. Expect to reimburse the seller for his shipping expenses. I've been burned a number of time buying online, as I know many others have. I'd sure love to discuss this online taxidermy specimen with anybody that cares to discuss it further.