Rusa Deer and Mauritius Island Part 3

Recently I received a finished production form of the Rusa deer that I sculptured in part 2 of this series.  I have since mounted the deer, so without further ado, lets begin part 3 with a look at the finished mount:

Since the Rusa mounted up pretty much like any deer species,  I have decided to include only a few highlights of the mounting process.   In fact, my plan is to include more pictures than words, so we will see how that goes…  but to start off with I wanted to provide the following picture of the form so you can see the results of that effort:

To get the mount underway I first set the skull in Bondo on the antler notch of the form.  It fit quite well as you might imagine (since I used the skull of this same deer to sculpture the form).  I then roughed up the surface of the form as per usual and installed speed septums.

Below is a closer look at the nose (a post coming soon on septum options):

I fleshed the cape in the usual way and for the ears I decided to remove the cartilage.  There are several different method possibilities with the ears and I will look more into those choices also in an upcoming blog.  But for now, please note that while I did remove the cartilage, I did not remove the the ear-butt itself.  Rather, I left it intact so that the inside of the ear butt would have its natural look, and, I would not have to later rebuild the inner ear.  It would have the same look as if you did not remove the cartilage at all.  You can see what this looks like in the next photo.

The ears were not particularly “soft” after tanning so after I removed the cartilage I roughed up the remaining ear with a Stout Ruffer being careful not to cut through the ear.  Then I traced the cartilage on a set of celastic whitetail earliners and cut them to shape:

Next I set the ears in position on the head and sculptured the ear butts with water clay. See below:

By pre-shaping the ear-butts I now know the ears are in the right position and that they have exactly the right amount of clay build-up.  I carefully cut the ears out of their location with a knife, the plan being that when I mounted the skin, the the ears would fit right back exactly where they were supposed to.

You can see that the ears are “cut out” at a pretty good angle so that they should easily fit back into position.

I set the ears aside and turned my attention to the eyes.  I chose the lighter colored Joe Meder eye as a good match to the Rusa color, and set them in the form eye socket.

After leveling the pupils I modeled the eyes.  The following series shows the process:

So I was now ready to cover the form with paste and proceed with the mount.

Here is a TIP that I think will help you immensely in manipulating the skin on the form.  Lay the cape out flat on the floor, skin side up, and when you apply paste to the form, also smear paste on the cape as well!!  This REALLY helps in your ability to “slide” the skin around,  especially and particularly on a short cut cape, but on a long cut like this one as well.  If you try this once, I doubt you will ever go back to putting paste only on the form.

I also put paste on the earliners and inserted them into the ears on the skin.  I applied the the skin to the form,  sewed it up and finished it off as you would any deer mount.  More pictures of the finished mount follow:

Beceite Ibex Hunt in Spain – Part 1

Whether I will ever attempt to take all four main species of Ibex in Spain remains to be seen.  But for now, my goal was simply to take a mature Beceite Ibex and sculpture a form specifically for that particular animal. I booked a hunt through Neil Summers Bowhunting Consultants with Salvaforcaza  because of their great reputation and for their excellent success with a bow and arrow.  I had never been to Spain so I really looked forward to the trip. Read the rest of this entry »

Rusa Deer and Mauritius Island Part 2

A while back I published an article about a Rusa deer hunt on Mauritius Island (see the Hunting category: Rusa Deer and Mauritius Island,  Part 1).  In that post I mentioned that when I received the capes and skulls back from overseas I would sculpture a new Rusa deer form.  Finally, that day has come. The following is a look into the process of mannikin sculpture.  There are certainly varied and different methods in the creation of a new taxidermy form that could possibly end up with similar final results, but the following procedure is one that I use quite often and is perhaps one of the most enjoyable for me, as it presents the opportunity to start with nothing and end up with, well hopefully, a helpful new industry product. Read the rest of this entry »

How To: Fit a Skin to a Form

Since I am often asked how one knows they have selected the perfect sized form for a mount,  I thought this might be a good time to share some thoughts on this subject, so here goes…

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How To: Shorten a Deer Head

A few years ago I was down in Texas collecting whitetail reference and we came across a very interesting deer.  He had a decent sized body, big neck, big head and a very nice set of antlers.  They figured him to be in the 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 year range. For overall fit, I would have guessed a 7 1/4 x 23 inch form, or maybe even larger.  On today’s mannikin choices I might have picked a 69-7123 size form.  There was only one problem–this deer’s eye to nose only measured  6 1/2 inches!  The head on the form would have been a full 3/4 of an inch too long, even though everything else would work great.  A  6 1/2 inch form would be WAY too small, and a 6 1/2 inch changeout head would be too small as well, particularly in the width between the eyes.   This guy was a big, mature deer; all we would really need here would be a shorter face on the 7 1/4″ form. Read the rest of this entry »

How To: Lengthen a Deer Head

Of the six head alterations that I have claimed taxidermists can’t live without, perhaps lengthening a head, number five in our series, is the most valuable.  At least it’s the one you are apt to use most often.  As I have mentioned, there are many combinations of form sizes in the world of whitetail taxidermy, but even at that, lengthening a head and alteration number six, shortening a head, can come in handy when trying to match the innumerable size variations in nature.  And when you consider all the other species of game that don’t have all the commercial size options, this alteration can be gold.  And like all the other alterations that I have shown so far, they don’t take a lot of time but can make a HUGE difference in the fit of the skin.

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How To: Narrow a Deer Head

Let’s say you try on a skin and it fits fine, but you realize the skin is very snug on the head and getting the tear ducts and eyes into place will be a real challenge.  And drumming seems inevitable.  What to do…

Well, you can help the fit dramatically in this situation by simply narrowing the head; it’s amazing how well a skin can fit with just the removal of 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch of material from between the eyes.  If you’ve been keeping track, this is number four in my series of six head alterations that I said I was convinced  you couldn’t live without (if you missed the first three, check them out under the “Taxidermy” category).

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Rusa Deer and Mauritius Island Part 1

For years I have wanted to hunt Rusa deer.  They are a unique deer and I’ve always felt the need for a new form.  So when an auction hunt at the Safari Club Convention last year turned out to be a Rusa deer hunt on Mauritius Island, I was all in and we walked away with the hunt!   Read the rest of this entry »

Photography- Yellowstone in the Spring, Close up and Personal

Yellowstone is a great spot for photography in either the spring or the fall.  Since there is not much going on for antlers in the spring,  it’s a great time for bears or wolves.  Now I must admit I have not had much luck on close-up bears or wolves.  I have seen both,  just not within good photo range.   Little did I know what lay in store for us as we headed for the Park this last month, the close-up grizzly category… was about to change! Read the rest of this entry »

How to: Widen a Deer Head

This is number three in a series of six head alterations that I said I felt no taxidermist can live without.   I say this merely because in the world of everyday taxidermy you will, at some time, benefit dramatically by knowing how to accomplish these alterations.  It may not be an everyday thing, but there will come a time.  So this one is all about making a head wider than the original. Read the rest of this entry »

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