Texas Whitetail forms – New for 2022

Somewhere back around 2010, Tom Powell and I set out on a huge project, that has finally culminated with this year’s 2022 McKenzie catalog.  The idea was to produce several new series of Whitetail deer forms, each targeted at a particular sub-species of whitetail deer found throughout the country.  We defined 3 regions (though there are more), including Northern/Midwest, Southern (including the east coast), and then finally, Texas.

The 6900 Series became the first of the three, aimed directly at the Northern/Midwest whitetail, from Canada and all over the midwest from Nebraska east all the way up through NewYork and Maine.  Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Kansas are of course well known Midwest states. These are huge whitetail deer with full, big framed bodies.

The second series from this project was the 6300 Series and the focus here was on the Southern Whitetail deer.  These deer range from Arkansas and Louisiana to Georgia and up through the Carolinas to Virginia.  They have a much smaller frame size with slimmer faces.

Over the next few years I expanded the 6900 into the 6900WP, 6900FP, 4900WP Sneak, 8900WP Extreme turn Semi-upright, 9900 Upright, and the 9900WP Upright series.

The 6300 was also expanded with the 6300S and the 8100 Semi-upright Series..

It’s easy to recognize that a giant deer from Iowa is a much different animal than a big North Carolina deer, and so the project was working.  But sometimes it’s not all that simple…  as we turn to number three on the list…. Texas.  And while I began collecting data for this line well before 2010, I purposefully left it until last in our project because of the immense variation of deer within the state and the equally immense study it would take to figure it all out.  A giant thanks goes out to my good friend and Texas taxidermist,  Dan Verrips,  for his expertise and many hours spent in research and collecting measurements. We made many casts in his shop and he produced numerous blind locations for our continued photographic study. His help and knowledge over the last 20 years has been invaluable (Dan is now retired and lives in Iowa).

So why exactly did it take so long??  Well to start with, Texas is BIG, and can be divided into 5 distinct regions all their own. South Texas and the Hill Country are probably the two most well known.  Then consider West Texas, and from there head up to North Texas, all the way to the Panhandle and Oklahoma border.  And last but not least,  go east to the tree covered East Texas Piney Woods.   And now, add into this mix, the natural variations within these regions, as well as a mixture of breeding programs, and feeding and culling progams, and  it becomes a daunting task to figure out what on earth would work for the average Texas deer!  On top of all of this, seasons start in October when even the biggest antlered deer can have a tiny body.  It was pretty hard to simply say a Texas deer looks like THIS.

But, I had to figure out something, and when I boiled it all down, I new I’d need a new frame size and proportion somewhere in-between a Northern deer and a Southern deer, and a head all its own.  I made several prototypes over the years (test fitting skins from all regions) but  last year, as I made changes that I hoped would finally make it all work, I decided it was time to move forward.  And so, a basic line of Texas whitetails can now be found in this year’s new McKenzie catalog (#48).

Some have asked if this line will ONLY work for Texas deer.  In the final analysis,  since there are so many variations in all deer, particularly in the border states to the defined 3 Regions, and even up into the Northwest… I would fully expect you could use this form for any whitetail that fits!

Finally, I’ve included some photos of several Texas deer mounts just to show the application:

The buck above was taken by my wife in the Texas Hill Country.  Note that while the antlers are huge, this early October deer has a fairly small body.  The form size is 7 1/4 x 18 (6TX7118R).

Above is the same deer with a bit more of a side profile.

The next deer, below, is also a Hill Country deer, but it is a classic native deer for which the size was very common.  With a beautiful gray color this October buck fit perfectly on a 7 x 19 (6TX7019L) form:

The next photo below, is this same deer as above  with a slightly more side angle.

Next,  South Texas is represented below:

What can you say about South Texas!  This giant bodied 6 1/2 year old was taken by Olaus Lyons of McKenzie,  late in the year.  The buck was 7 1/2 x 24 (6TX7224L)!

While this buck is just amazingly huge, I found far more South Texas deer in the size shown below:

This South Texas buck hit the size scale at 7 1/2 x 21 (6TX7221L)..  Below are two more angles of this same deer.


I am sure I will be adding to, or expanding positions over the next couple of years.  With that in mind let us know what other sizes you might personally like to see…


How To: Use a Sewing Palm

Sometimes, sewing up the seams on a taxidermy mount can be difficult.  From time to time, all taxidermists come across a tanned hide, that for various reasons, can be extra thick and/or extremely tough, almost impossible to push a needle through.  A sharp, 3-cornered needle helps, but in addition if you have never tried a Sewing Palm, you need to give one a try!

However,  having said that, I have found that for me, one quick adaptation makes this rig really work.  It’s all about the location of the Palm on your hand. Let me explain this by first showing how the Sewing Palm is “supposed” to be used:

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Mule Deer – Face Studies

Here are a few Mule Deer study photos to help with eyes, nose, and ear positions on a mount…

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Mule Deer – More Wrinkles

More wrinkle possibilities on this deer…

Mule Deer – Sharp Turn

Another sharp turned deer, this time a mule deer, to help in understanding wrinkles:

Whitetail Deer – Sharp turn

I have decided to add a new category to this blog and that is “Study Photos”.  My goal is to post pictures of live animals that I believe will aid in your taxidermy.  So if you’ve ever wondered what the wrinkle side of a sharp turned deer (like an 8900 wall pedestal) might, or even could look like,  this is it!  It definitely shows the possibilities.

How To: Add Turn To a Form-Part 2

A while back I wrote about adding more turn to a form.  In that specific case we wanted my wife’s Mule Deer looking our way as we came into the room where it was to hang in a particular “spot”. The idea was to customize the form for the situation. Perhaps you might have a customer with a similar problem.  Only one place on his trophy room wall to put a certain head, except he wants it looking at him when he sits on his couch…  could be any kind of scenario, but to accommodate this you would need to alter the form.  For our particular deer I decided to lean the neck from the shoulders rather than alter further up the neck.  You can go back and see the entire process by going to “Categories”, then “Taxidermy” on the side bar and scroll down to “How To: Add Turn To A  Form – Part 1”.

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New Zealand 2019 – Part 1

At Safari Club in 2018 my wife Connie and I bid on an auction hunt for 2 Sika deer for two hunters, with Shane Quinn of Alpine Hunting in New Zealand . We were fortunate enough to obtain the hunt and the first thing we did was to add a Fallow deer for Connie and a Sambar for me, as I wanted to sculpture a new form.  We set the date for the summer of 2019 and little did I know just how great this hunt would turn out to be!

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How to Prepare Pronghorn Horns

The Pronghorn Antelope is known as the only horned animal to actually shed its horns.  While this may be an interesting fact, it can be problematic for the taxidermist.  With other horned game, since they never shed, their horns fit more snugly to the inner bone core of the skull.  Once you remove the horns from the skull for preservation, they can generally be re-fitted for the mounting process, without too much difficulty.

But the Pronghorn, because it does shed, the inner bone core is covered with a thick, heavy gristle. If the gristle is not removed, you could be asking for possible odor problems and even bug infestation.  So to properly mount a Pronghorn antelope, you must remove the horns and replace the gristle with Bondo.

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How To: Adjust For a Missing Skullplate

In a recent blog I added more turn to a mule deer form.  As you might have noticed the antlers were attached to the form as I did the alteration.  I felt this would be best in order to better observe how the finished mount might look.  But as I attempted to set the antlers a whole new problem arose.  So I thought it might be good to step backwards and show what I encountered and the fairly easy fix, should you ever come up with a similar situation.

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