problem with oryx mount

Submitted by Mrs. M on 2/27/06 at 10:31 AM. ( )


Not a taxidermist but hoping someone here can help out. My husband killed a once in a lifetime oryx a few years back. We got the mount back in 2004 so it less than 2 years old. Recently we have noticed that the hide is splitting apart and the form underneath is visible. This has me extremely worried because of how important this particular mount is to both me and my husband. We spent a lot of money for it to be falling apart like this in such a short time. There are currently 4 decent sized splits and I am afraid it is only going to get worse. Does anyone have an idea if this might a fixable situation? The taxidermist lives at the complete opposite end of the state and if this can't be fixed then it's not worth it to take it all the way down to her. This is the first time I have seen this happen to a mount and it sucks that it had to happen to this particular one. Any comments or ideas would be appreciated.

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This response submitted by Mrs. M on 2/27/06 at 11:29 AM. ( )

I just looked at the mount a few minutes ago and noticed 4 more splits. She is falling apart extremely fast.

Take it Back

This response submitted by steve on 2/27/06 at 5:40 PM. ( )

Take the mount back to the taxidermist who mounted it for repair. You trusted them with your mount, now see what kind of service they give you. Obviously a poor mount, form is too big , poor tan, lack of knowledge. Why did you go so far away vs local shop, Strickly price? As always its buyer beware......How much did you pay for the mount? Good Luck..... Another taxidermist probably would charge u a bundle to fix it, replacement cape, etc.........take care

Thank you for your response

This response submitted by Mrs. M on 2/27/06 at 6:03 PM. ( )

I contacted her this afternoon but have not heard back from her yet. She is supposed to have a good reputation, is licensed and registered and has won many awards. She has also worked with exotics, particularly oryx for many years. We selected her for those reasons and because we knew of no one locally who was good enough to do it. Price wasn't an issue but we did spend right around $800.00. I should have suspected because we did have issues getting the mount took her a year and a half to do it. The last time I called her she had forgotton about us and said she had been "understaffed" and had a large amount of mounts to do but that she would have one of her helpers get it done within the week. Seemed a bit fast to me at the time and now it has proven to be so. If she had given any indication that she was going to be overrun with other customers we wouldn't have even gone with her...seems to me there is a point when you just gotta say enough is enough if you want to turn out quality work. The damage is really bad. I took pictures of it today and have found even more rips..on the head, ear, neck, shoulders, and the hair is falling off on the chest. Her web-site says she has integrity, let's see if she does. I don't know what we'll do if she doesn't come through...who knows..maybe I will go into taxidermy..husband wants me to anyway.

Dp or paint on for an oryx?

This response submitted by oldshaver on 2/27/06 at 8:31 PM. ( )

Would be my guess. DP or paint on tan, on a skin that was Left too thick, and decay set in. Happens with alot of thick skinned animals. Your taxidermist might have not tanned the skin correctly, or didnt thin it enough for DP, or proper tannage to penetrate. Tanning the skin in-correctly, can include a number of mistakes. Bottom line, she mounted a cape that shouldnt have been mounted, or a cape that wasnt ready to be mounted. Havent seen it, so this just a guess.

SHE should pay.......

This response submitted by Don on 2/27/06 at 9:55 PM. ( ) have it remounted. I figure a tanned cape might run $200 to $300 and another $800 to $1200 for the mount. Oh, and she has had her chance, find another taxidermist.
All of this is assuming that the mount has not been hanging over a fire place with a fire in it all winter? :)


This response submitted by Mrs. M. on 2/27/06 at 10:50 PM. ( )

I was also told that it "might" be acid rot. Nope, the oryx hasn't been hanging over a fire place all winter. The room she is placed in is actually one of the cooler rooms in the entire house and generally the most dark because it is little used. We do have a wood stove but it is in the other room and I usually keep a "kettle" of water on it to reduce some of the dryness in the air. I will additionally run a humidifer "once in a while" when it gets really bad. Do any of these actions have an affect on the mount?

I uploaded some of the photos onto a web-site for those of you who are interested. The pictures represent only a portion of the damage. Is it is bad as it looks?

Easy Repairs

This response submitted by Frank E Kotula on 2/28/06 at 6:17 AM. ( )

To be quite honest I have seen this many times on African game done by others. What causes it can always be a mystery for there are many reasons on why this happens.
Causes can be, a hide shaved to thin, not enough hide paste, heat, form to big and it was over stretched, and many more. You really can't blame the taxidermist as much as you would like to. Reason being is the way it was all taken care of prior to the taxidermist getting it and how it was handled. There is to many varibles in this situation to cause blame on any one person.
Now, would I call and talk with the taxidermist about the problem? Yes
Explain to them what is going on. Also after two years out of a shop this is where so many varibles come in. No person can garuntee a life time on any mount because of the varibles that can happen in the possession of the owner. IF it was less than a year I may say someting else but still there are way to many varibles that can happen. So after you talk with them and explain in a nice way, ( for there is no blame and any part here) what can be done to this mount. Ask them if you could bring it over and have them look at it and access the damage. Seeing really the size of it, the taxidermist may do it for free (which their not obligated to do) or may charge yo a reduced rate for being a client of their's.
Do not go there mad and put all the blame on them for what happened. That will cause you the owner more hardships with the taxidermist and may lead into litigation and with so many varibles out there your chance of winning is slim. You have to prove it's their fault and that's going to be very hard to do knowing all the info I just gave you. So be kind ask nice and you may be surprized of the out come. Hope this helps out.

get a new cape

This response submitted by Laurier on 2/28/06 at 7:49 AM. ( )

Get the old cape from her bring it to a ( TANNERY ) not a taxidermist
unless they do proper tanning , but you will not know for sure what proper tanning is, this is the reason I said go to a tannery and ask them. You can ask the taxidermist what tanning method she used.
If this is the taxidermist problem ,get her to supply the cape and re-mount it. Then all will be happy.I do hundreds of african mounts and never loss any capes, and I do all my own tanning for 33 years.
EZ-100 or Lutan-F is the only tanning methods that I would recomend.

Mrs. M

This response submitted by mrs.m on 2/28/06 at 9:35 AM. ( )

She did the skinning and she got it about an hour after it was killed. It was one of those hunts from white sands (which for normal folk like us who aren't rich enough to go to Africa (yet) a once in a lifetime hunt). They gutted the animal on the spot, got it out the gates and she did the skinning. There was no rough housing on the hide that I know of. My husband didn't want to screw it up, he didn't know what she would need and so he let her have at it. She wound up with the entire hide.

I will find out how she tanned it. I suspect it was an inhouse tanning job. Would a good tanner have it tanned in week or two? Seems like it should take longer than that.

To pay to have the animal mounted and to have the hide last only two years seems like a huge waste of money to me and, ss we all know, money doesn't grow on trees. Why did we even bother? I do plan to be nice to the woman and get the facts and see what she has to say. Who knows, maybe she will stand behind her work. But I guess to me, how is it fair to the customer, who puts their trust in a taxidermist, on a very special animal, to have it fall apart in just two years and then charge the customer to re-cape it or repair it? I realize there are extenuating circumstances and things can happen in that time but the animal has never moved from its place on the wall in that entire amount of time. The outline once it's removed will probably attest to that. :0) We have done everything the woman told us to..I just don't "get it". Oh well, thanks again everyone and I will let you know what she has to say.


This response submitted by Frank E Kotula on 2/28/06 at 12:37 PM. ( )

Question here. Are you saying that you recieved the mount in a three week period of dispatching it? If so then I may think and with great possibilities that it may have been done with a product called dry preservative. If that was used that can be one of the problems going on here.
Now as for in house tanning and can it be tanned in two weeks? The answer to that is yes. I do all my own in house tanning using two different types of tans. One is a rub one tan that has been in around for years and is well known to the taxidermy industry as of of the better tans. My other choice is a garment tan that is also of equal quality and used a great deal in tanneries.
The process goes like this in a nut shell. Being a fresh hide or green it should have been salted twice, rinsed and placed in a pickle for three days, taken out and shaved and then placed back in for another day. So far that six days. The following day it's then neturlized and placed in a tanning bath or a rub on tan is used. The following day it's oiled and that's left to soak overnight. This is now a total of 8 days. After the night of oiling it then can be washed and mounted. This is just a quick run down to let you know the process that is used at tanneries. There a bit more to it but I won't bore you with all the other detail.
Now after it's mounted there should be a minimum of two weeks drying time before any finish work is done. After it's dried and finish your total time is around one month before you should have recieved it.
When dry preservative is used, it can be done very fast. After it's skinned out, you simply rub on this product and mount. Drying time is usually quicker and the client recieves it much faster.

well, well interesting turn of events

This response submitted by Mrs. M on 2/28/06 at 1:52 PM. ( )

I went ahead and called the taxidermy studio. A guy answered and said that she sold the business to him and skipped town. He said he has been cleaning up her messes for the past year and he will gladly honor her agreement and fix it for us at no charge. I guess she really left him in a bind. It just goes to show that no matter if you are registered, licensed or have awards to your name you can still do crappy work. At least this guy is willing to work with us and I told him I appreciated his doing it for us. He was a little distressed at the news but said we weren't the first with complaints...kinda feel sorry for the guy in a way. I may tack on a little extra dough for his efforts because it wasn't his fault....


This response submitted by Grafton on 2/28/06 at 5:52 PM. ( )

am glad to hear everything will work out for you. Oh and by the way, you do not have to be "rich" to hunt in Africa, you just have to want it bad enough.

Mrs . M

This response submitted by Laurier on 3/1/06 at 7:53 AM. ( )

their is no problem with in house tanning , as long as the tanning is done properly.
Now this guy is going to honor her agreement with you. Do you have anything on paper, saying that this work will be done at no charge.
You should be nice enough to pay for the cape and halve of his labor.
If he does that for you ,then he is trying to rebuild his name.I would not be paying for somebody's mistakes , unless is was on paper and this was with the business. Many people think that taxidermist make so much money,this is not a fact. Most people will pay BIG money to hunt , then they mickey mouse the taxidermy work.
Taxidermy is an art and a science , and should be payed for their art work.

thanks for all the responses

This response submitted by Mrs. M on 3/1/06 at 10:36 PM. ( )

I learned a bunch from all of your comments and will put that information to good use in the future. As for now, we are still not sure what to do. The guy said he would do it at no charge however we know nothing about him or his work (that doesn't mean he's not good)but we are a little "gun shy". I think what we have decided to do is just "buck it up" and find someone that really has a good reputation and has been in business for quite some time and can fix it right. It might be this guy, it might be someone else but I don't want a second screw up on this thing. As a side note, just heard about a complaint from someone else who had an oryx done by this woman about the exact time...and it's splitting too.

Thanks again!

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