New Black Bear Head Design

Whenever master sculptor John Schmidt teams up with taxidermy innovator Roger Martin, great things are sure to come out of it. These two have been diligently working for the past few years on a newly designed black bear mannikin which solves many of the problems that can arise when mounting. The result of their collaboration is a beautiful head which makes even the smallest bear trophy look impressive, handsome, and majestic.

To redesign a closed-mouth black bear mannikin for the future, Roger and John went back to the original skulls to start over with a fresh interpretation, tweaking the anatomy to produce the look of a full, deep, round head. They drew upon their 30 years of experience mounting black bears and went to work studying reference, sculpting, test-fitting skins, and sculpting some more. They knew that often the heads of smaller bear trophies end up looking weak and skinny, and there was usually too much skin at the neck juncture, while not enough skin around the muzzle–which made tucking lips problematic. They also decided that this mannikin should utilize a preinstalled artificial nose, to eliminate the problems of improper sizing and misaligned attachment areas. They redesigned the lip line, added mass to the jowls, improved the ear base, and enhanced the head-neck junction area.

This smaller (120 lb.) sow makes an impressive trophy when mounted on McKenzie’s new black bear pedestal form.

Roger and John reworked the ear base design to offer ease of use and versatility with ear positioning. The ear canal reference points are clearly indicated and the mannikins feature a positive-set for the popular Buckeye black bear earliners. The ears can easily be rotated and positioned to any attitude while maintaining an anatomically correct placement.

The ear canal reference points are clearly indicated and the mannikins feature a positive-set for Buckeye earliners.

The result of these improvements produce a black bear mount that looks great from any angle. The new mannikin features combine to provide exceptional fit and create a robust look that makes even smaller bears look big and blocky. The mount goes together quickly and easily with just a minimum amount of clay around the eyes and earbutts, producing a beautiful result.

A newly design lipline among with enhanced jowls helps create a pleasing profile and impressive head shape from all angles.

For the latest lifesize bear offerings from McKenzie, John Schmidt is using this new black bear head as the basis. This tree, habitat, and closed-mouth bear form were designed to be used together for maximum impact.

John Schmidt has also incorporated McKenzie’s new closed-mouth head design into his latest life-size black bear mannikins.

To help explain the features and benefits of these new mannikins, check out the short video with Roger Martin below.

If you can’t wait to use these new heads, but need a different lifesize body or shoulder position, you can easily swap out the head with these new closed-mouth black bear change-out heads. Available in nine different sizes, all with pre-installed artificial noses, these heads can give a new look and new life to existing mannikin poses. Go here: to find out more about John Schmidt’s new black bear change-out heads.

Product Links:

Table and Floor Pedestal Black Bear by John Schmidt

Black Bear Change-Out Heads

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~ In Memoriam 2015 ~

At the start of a new year we pause to reflect upon the losses to our friends and colleagues in the taxidermy profession during the last twelve months. Artists, family members, industry pioneers, and journeymen taxidermists were among the ones who left us due to illness, accident, unfortunate circumstances or the passing of time. We pay tribute to the lasting legacy of our comrades who will be missed and mourned within our extended taxidermy family. Here are some of the people who left our world during 2015.

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New Habitat Bases for 2016

McKenzie has recently published their new 2015-2016 catalogs for McKenzie, Van Dyke’s and WASCO. By now, you should have received your copies which include dozens of new products available for all aspects of taxidermy art. At the 2015 World Show in Springfield, Missouri, McKenzie product developer Roger Martin took the time to show the features of some of the newest large habitat bases, including pre-manufactured trees for large mammal displays, as well as a new pedestal habitat base for use with existing wall mount mannikins. The video of this explanation is at the bottom of this article. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Texas Master’s Challenge

The Texas Taxidermy Association, Inc. is known throughout the country for putting on an outstanding state show, year after year. The organization and structure of the convention is as professional as they come, and the participation level puts it right up there with any regional or national taxidermy convention. Members keep coming back year after year to enjoy an entertaining, friendly and educational experience.

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McKenzie’s Custom Wood Shop

McKenzie has a new, modern state-of-the-art wood shop that can handle any custom job, from the simplest panel to a full trophy room, with the quality and efficiency that you have come to expect from the leader in taxidermy design and innovation. We have produced a short video to introduce you to the amazing capabilities of this new wood manufacturing facility, which is presented at the bottom of this page.

McKenzie is well known for offering the best customer service in the industry. Now you can take advantage of this stellar McKenzie service with any custom woodworking you ever need. The outstanding quality, speed of completion, and pricing structure is without equal in the industry. Read the rest of this entry »

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