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Judging mounts (in high divisions) without touching

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by robs_seven, May 19, 2014.

  1. robs_seven

    robs_seven New Member

    I am known on this forum but I am posting on a secondary account. Not to hide my identity because I am afraid or embarrassed (I know the mods will know who I am by my IP anyway) - but simply because I dont want to make it too obvious who I am talking about. I do not want to directly point a finger at anyone or hurt any feelings. This just really rubbed me the wrong way and I am wondering if others feel the same way.

    What are the feelings regarding a judge who judges a show and does little to no hands-on judging of the mounts? We are not talking about "commercial" divisions, but Professional and Masters. One situation being where there was a mount inside a glass case and the judge states to the competitor "I didn't want to risk messing it up, so I didn't even take the case off".

    What ever happened to checking for drumming? Wrinkles? Correct musculature? Ear butt shape? Tail junction? Genitals? Inner ear detail? Inner mouth detail? Security of mount to the base? Uhhhh .... pretty much half the scoresheet ???

    As a judge in the past, I take each mount VERY seriously. Us taxidermists have worked hard, especially in the higher divisions, making sure no stone is unturned and every wrinkle is smooth. Judges are paid to do their job and it certainly involves more than a glance around the mount.

    I'm calling foul!
  2. mdupertuis

    mdupertuis Active Member

    I agree 100%. I've never judged, but in my opinion not putting hands on to check for the things you mentioned and more make it simply the same as a commercial mount judged from so many feet away.....


    JOHNNY B New Member

    I don't want a judge to touch my waterfowl mount after grooming it for a long period of time
    if he knows what he is doing there is no real need to touch it
  4. davehyer

    davehyer Active Member

    I don't know how you could do the job properly without touching it.
  5. Riverland

    Riverland New Member

    Maybe it was a turd and you could tell it was a turd through the case and was thus judged as a turd. Unless it was a best of category then it was a previous student or best friend. And yes the case should be off for judging. Kind of hard to make a judgment when no names or pictures are posted.
  6. Jerry Huffaker

    Jerry Huffaker Well-Known Member

    I agree with you also Robs seven, They should be touched for all the reasons you listed. Waterfowl I don't know.
  7. duxrus

    duxrus Active Member

    I have to agree with this. I had a judge last year who said my neck shape on a duck looked great but didn't "feel" right . He cupped his hand and squeezed it as he ran down the length of it. Guess what happened to all the nice looking feathers after he bent the hell out of them . I "Was" going compete with that same bird at another show but he basically $&#% it up. I am sorry but if something looks great then there should be no need in touching it. If so what is next , flexible manikins with a heart beat to make everything "feel" right ? I only work with birds and know it only takes a few pokes and pulls to destroy what took a long time to do.

    Now I could understand if something was off and they were showing you how to fix some issue. I thought it was about the appearance of your specimen, not the "feel" of internal anatomy.
  8. The judge should have asked the competition chairman to remove the case, I never will remove a case, I have others do it. As for touching bird mounts, You have point of attachment, is it loose etc, wings tight , tail tight, head tight, you don't have to grop it but you can feel all those with a soft touch. I would not have scored it until case off. ,,, Unless it was a turd !!!!!!

    Gregg I
  9. robs_seven

    robs_seven New Member

    To clarify a few things:

    We are talking about MAMMALS AND GAMEHEADS. I know nothing about how birds are judged, but this involves mammals.

    The mount in question was not a turd. It was a good quality mount, and it scored a blue. It belonged to a friend of mine. I have absolutely no beef with him or his mount or what he got- I am very happy for him and I believe the mount deserved the blue ribbon. However, my opinion on how good/bad the mount may be is irrelevant. My problem is with the judge. And, it was not just this one mount.. I could tell from my own mounts' appearance that they had not been touched much if at all. Now I as much as the next guy, hate to walk into the showroom and have my mount looked like it's been through a tornado after the judge touched it. However, sometimes it has to be done. Again, we're talking about mammals. Nothing a little compressed air won't fluff right back up. There isn't that much that can be "messed up"

    No, in divisions other than commercial or possibly amateur, visual appearance is only part of it. Internal anatomical accuracy, drumming, seams - these are all part of basic judging for a mammal. Sure, the judging gets more detailed and critical as you move up in divisions, but these are still very important areas even in the professional division. For me, blue ribbons have been won or lost due to a seam or a patch of drumming or a lump of clay where it shouldn't belong. There is no way on earth that a fair evaluation between pieces can be made if they are not touched. This is LAZINESS. This attitude was made apparent in the judge's "critiques" too.
  10. catman

    catman Active Member

    I have a problem with pieces that looked like the Helen Keller society viewed them for hours, ( no offense Helen). When I judge, I try not to leave any evidence that the mount has been touched. This, I believe, shows respect.
    Glass cases need to be removed and hands on judging is essential if you are to follow the criteria. Feathers should have special consideration, even at that, fur and hair is not merely fixed with air. I have seen broken hair on antelope and klippies.
  11. Skywalker

    Skywalker Well-Known Member

    There are so many scenarios. Was it a very strong mount in a weak show? I had a guy almost pop a gasket at a state show because his mount got a second and the one beside him [same species] took a blue. His mount actually looked a bit better than the others but the seam work and attachment where horrific. This guy was so worked up that they had to pull me out of a seminar to deal with him. I explained why his got what it got but I absolutely refused to discuss the other mount with him. Not his, none of his business. In this case with your friend, it is so difficult to say without seeing the piece and seeing the level of competition up against it. If your friend doesn't believe it was judged fairly, have him take it to another show with another judge.
  12. Bill Yox

    Bill Yox Well-Known Member

    I cant speak for the other guy, or whatever, but heres MY take on it...

    I have judged shows where the effort certainly was there, but the overall strength of the show in general, and at least the categories I judged, were not so strong that I needed to really touch the mounts too much. A basic lift of an extremity to check for stability, and maybe a soft touch to confirm the drumming I could pretty well see anyway, and maybe some seams on longer haired mammals. Thats about it. If they show is more tight and many close scores, then we might have to touch a bit more, or if we just are not sure.

    Anyone who has ever judged with me knows how I regroom mounts after judging them, heck they get a laugh at how many times Ill walk by a mount and smooth over a wing tip or tail feathers that likely got bumped after they were set. MOST of us really DO care how the mount looks for when the others come in to view them for special awards voting, etc.

    Again, I cannot speak for someone else here. But if its me, I can still judge the mount with less touching if need be. I agree though, they should be touched when needed. And glass cases removed, as the rules say.
  13. Dan Gill

    Dan Gill New Member

    I hate to touch the beautifully groomed critters. I check the crotch and back legs and briskest. If they are good I don't dig any deeper normally.
  14. reidduck

    reidduck New Member

    well at the ohio show this year I seen the bird judge, feel some of the birds head to body ,neck to body, wings to body, tail , scratch the feet to see if the paint would come off, grab by the bill and try to rock them, hands were on the mounts ALOT you would think with their knowledge they would not have to feel .... that kind of crap takes a good mount and turns it into a bad one!!!! I think they don't find anything wrong by sight so the start the feel . and if its not put together as if they would do the points come off.... :'(
  15. smittys llc

    smittys llc New Member

    GOOD GRIEF,IF you have to GROPE a mount to find a stitch.There is something wrong with the JUDGE!! Finger test for drumming is acceptable or checking the seam.The overall appearance,use of negative and positive space,the transition of habitat,pose and colors is what makes or break a mount.ETC....
  16. Bill Yox

    Bill Yox Well-Known Member

    Actually, you have to go by the criteria of the scoresheet when judging.
  17. Nancy C

    Nancy C Well-Known Member

    To judge a bird mount properly you HAVE TO touch it, but there is no need to squeeze the living daylights out of it. Anybody who has enough experience to judge birds should also know how to touch them without ruining them.
    Touching the beak and gently rocking it back and forth will determine whether or not the mechanical soundness and attachment to the base is adequate. A bird's anatomy will be very accurately reflected by the outer shape or contour of it's plumage. There is no need to probe into the feathers.

    Mammals are very different.
  18. robs_seven

    robs_seven New Member

    This was not supposed to be a debate on how gently mounts should be touched when judging. I agree, it is rude and unnecessary to go overkill on the touching. This was just a pondering on the quality of a judge who would go so far as to not remove a case.

    It doesn't matter how good or bad the piece looked. There was a scoresheet. The scoresheet has a myriad of things on it that can only be checked by giving a gentle touch. Drumming, hidden seams and so forth ARE important!!! They can only be felt by touch. Who cares if the mount wasn't in the running for best of category! It's a lazy attitude to just eliminate half the scoresheet. For someone new to this category and wanting to get a good critique and know what they might have done wrong, they now have no knowledge of how good or bad they did in these areas. But this same judge gave critiques laced with "I don't like that" "I prefer it to look like that" and other such statements that were entirely opinion based. No reference to back it up, no helpful advice on what to do next time. It was frustrating. A poor experience for several friends of mine who were just getting into competition, and baffling to me as a judge who carries a huge reference book and takes every piece VERY seriously.
  19. Bill Yox

    Bill Yox Well-Known Member

    Many of us judges will write comments like "I dont care for this" or "Id prefer this" but it should also be noted by the judge that THAT comment was just their opinion, and no points were taken. Heck I write that all the time. Im sure some will not interpret me correctly, I only hope someone tells me, if that were the case.
  20. reidduck

    reidduck New Member

    they should not be rape the mount what the hell if you cant tell by looking what good are u as a judge. :eek: