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Your Favorite Piece?

Discussion in 'Lifesize Mammals' started by Light Rail Coyote, Jun 10, 2015.

  1. Light Rail Coyote

    Light Rail Coyote Active Member

    What's your favorite piece you've ever mounted? Was it a challenge, and if so, why? Did the mount have a story behind it? Please share!
  2. Wow what a tough question. :eek:. Good one but tough! Ill have to say I can't pick just one! So ill say the first mount I ever did was a bobcat and looking back it was terrible but very meaningful as it started what is now my full time job. Oddly enough bobcats are still my favorite challenge! I LOVE it when a bobcat is next in line!

    I guess my most memorable so far is my father in laws Ky buck. I had seen it on trail cam and at the time hadnt mounted anything close to that big. He called seconds after the shot so tore up he could barely talk. We went with him for the recovery and it was a beautiful buck! It shed its velvet the day before and it's cape was unbelievably short like velvet. I worked hard on him and seeing how happy my very critical father in law was made my day! I learned more on that one deer than I had on several others because of how much detail showed on him.

    My best mount to date has to be the turkey I mounted for NWTF and won professional best of show with. Couldn't have done it without BirdsOnly! He taught me so much! We had alot of fun in our classes and putting that bird together just proved what a great instructor he is. So ill share my last bobcat since they are my favorite and the deer and turkey.

  3. phoenix-cry

    phoenix-cry Active Member

    That's a great looking turkey!

    Very fun question. My favorite piece is my piebald otter. It was a massive challenge because the original trapper had tried to mount it himself and after getting frustrated and half pasting it to a form that was too small he just wrapped the whole thing, paste, form and all, into a plastic bag and stuffed it in the freezer...where it stayed for almost four years. I bought it for a song since there was no guarantee that it could be salvaged. It wasn't an easy fix, but I'm very proud of the save.




  4. BrookeSFD16

    BrookeSFD16 Well-Known Member

    Fun topic for sure. Mine to date is a dead mount coyote. I killed it, skinned it, tanned it, altered the form, and mounted it. It was my first major form alteration and my first " open mouth". I used the real teeth after maceration. I used techniques and advice I got from several seminars after starting taxidermy 2 years ago and attending State, National, and the World Show this year.


    Growing up, this is how I always saw coyotes. I was amazed at how many folks have never heard of hanging them from fenceposts.
  5. juli

    juli Active Member

    Brooke, if you have only been doing taxidermy for two years, I can't wait to see what you do in 15. :)
  6. Tom Mayer

    Tom Mayer Member

    I like this. I hope people keep posting. This is nice.
  7. Oh I love the pied otter!!! So pretty! Amazing save!

    I'm going into my third year as a taxidermist Brooke! I think it is always noticeable right off the bat if the person as the drive to achieve and can humble themselves to learn all they can.
    As a serious predator hunter (when I get time) I have to say you nailed that coyote! Dead mounts are really cool and how I like to see a coyote! ;)
  8. Hunter of Spring

    Hunter of Spring New Member

    Holy Cow! I remember seeing that Turkey at the NWTF National Convention last year. Amazing work, because there sure was some stiff competition!
  9. Skywalker

    Skywalker Well-Known Member

    I think this one is although my newest might have it beat! 8)

    Attached Files:

  10. Trapper2016

    Trapper2016 Thanks for this awesome forum!

    That is amazing work Ken. Ringtails are such awesome little critters. And some of the softest fur for a critter there size.
  11. Red stag

    Red stag Active Member

    This is one of my favorite mount from 1991. Oh-it`s 25 years ago....... ::) Ollie

    Attached Files:

  12. Skywalker

    Skywalker Well-Known Member

    Veldig fin Ole!
  13. BrianHendricks

    BrianHendricks Member

    That ringtail has been one of my all time favorites since I first saw it at the show. I don't remember what year that was, but it's still at the top for me.
  14. Skywalker

    Skywalker Well-Known Member

    It was in 2000 Brian! I know right.
  15. Amy

    Amy Mammal artist

    Some beautiful work here!! That piebald otter is a great save!! And I love the dead coyote - that looks just about as fluffy and "alive" as a dead mount could possibly look! Lol! Very nice!

    My favorite piece would have to be my baby fox. Not just because it's the piece that's done the best at the shows, but for it's story. It's visited SC, NC, VA, AL, MO, both in and out of my possession, and been on three different habitat bases. I don't normally take a piece to that many shows, but at the time I was just getting back into competition taxidermy after taking a 4-year break to raise my young kids, and because of the kids being so young, I only had time to do one competition piece that year, so I had to make it count. Hopefully this doesn't come across as a "bragging" post - the backstory and the honors I've gotten for the fox are part of it's story and why it's so dear to me!

    In 2014, my friend David Collins (president of the Alabama association) asked if I would like to do a collective artists piece with him for the Alabama show that year. David is really good at large, detailed and elaborate habitat scenes so he wanted to construct a scene that looked like a fox den. There would be a baby fox inside the den, and a mother fox coming back with a kill to feed to the baby. David had found a tiny baby fox dead on the road, and asked if I would do it. I was very excited! He said he would do the habitat and the mother fox, and I just needed to mount the baby.

    The baby fox was shipped to me and it was in perfect condition, other than a crushed skull (from being run over!). I thought about doing the baby sleeping, but I wanted something a bit more fun, so I decided to do a playful mount.

    I carved a body, as well as a head (normally I cast the head, but the crushed head presented problems!). I made a one-piece cast lip jawset and put the real teeth in it.



    The Alabama show wasn't until June, but this was January and I wanted a mount to take to the Spring shows, so I decided to mount up the little guy and put him on a small base all alone, and see how he would do. I took him to the SC and VA shows that March, won a Breakthrough and some other awards including a very dear honor, the Chris Barnhardt memorial award. I regret that I wasn't able to know Chris better, but I knew him as a very kind man and a good judge when I was just getting started in taxidermy, and I always greatly admired his work, so this award was super special.

    In May, David brought the finished "den" to town and we put the baby fox in the den, and entered it in what would be the last "Surry" taxidermy competition in Dobson, NC.

    I left the baby fox on the fox den base and it traveled back with David to Alabama.

    In June, I went to the Alabama show and was reunited with my little fox but we were faced with the new discovery that there was no collective artists division in Alabama! They would not judge the piece being that two people had been involved with creating it. David wanted the fox to be able to compete, so we took it out of the den, I bought the only usable base I could find in the suppliers area, and went stomping around the woods surrounding the convention hotel in Alabama. I found some grasses, dirt and moss, and whipped up a quick habitat and he was good to go. Fox turned out some cool awards at that show, including my first "Mounted in Alaska" award. He was tied for Breakthrough but it was discovered that after all this traveling, temperature and humidity changes had caused a tiny crack in the skin in one spot so the award went to the other piece. Fortunately, it was a fixable issue!

    I returned home with the fox on his new base, only to meet up with David next month at the NC show (where there IS a legitimate collective artists division) and once again, baby fox was in the den.

    That was the last that baby fox saw the den. After that show, I put him on his smaller base and I vowed not to take him to any more state shows - I would only enter him again if it was a larger show - climb the ladder, so to speak.

    I took him to Big Rock that next January, which turned out to be one of the best shows of my life thus far, and fox completed his competition run with the 2015 World Show where it got a second place masters ribbon in small/medium lifesize and missed a silver medal by .66 of a point.

    Now he's retired, and is placed in a prominent spot in my home where I enjoy his cuteness daily.

    Fox on one of his smaller bases




    David and I with the full fox den in 2014. Not the best shot, but this shows part of the den


    Me with the little guy. This piece is the only one for which I invested a "professional" photo shoot

  16. BrookeSFD16

    BrookeSFD16 Well-Known Member

    Amy, not bragging at all! Great story! I was standing there when you got your critique at the World Show. I'll keep this clean....but in my mind I was thinking .."this judge is an _____."
    That piece IMO should have been a blue....and the top of the chart!

    Thanks for sharing the story. I know it'll help those of us still trying to wrap our heads around what it takes to be great at taxidermy.
  17. Amy

    Amy Mammal artist

    Thanks Brooke, I appreciate that. In competitions, sometimes we win when we may not have deserved it, and lose when we might should have deserved better. That's the way it'll always be when you have human error and opinion. And it keeps us on our toes! :D I have to say, win or lose, I've always come away from a show learning something, and that's what matters!
  18. phoenix-cry

    phoenix-cry Active Member

    That baby fox blows my mind! Amazing work!!
  19. NMJagdHunter

    NMJagdHunter Ted Wenner

    Love the stories and the mounts. That ringtail piece is one of the coolest mounts I've seen and I know it has inspired me, same with the fox pup. I have run hounds and terriers on lions for over 12 years and been doing taxidermy for just under three. My favourite piece is a lion I caught and mounted for a very good friend. The cat came out of the tree wounded and the dogs caught him on the ground and he grabbed one of my favourite dogs, Hoogin a jagd terrier hound cross and awesome little 10 month old pup at the time, the cat grabbed him and pulled him in. I ran in and kicked the cat while it was biting him but couldn't get him to drop Hoogin until after he chomped down on his head. I thought he was a goner for sure as he ran a little circle, which I thought was going to be the death circle that animals run sometimes, but he came up to me after his circle and had an eye popped out and a large hole in his head. Luckily my brother is a vet, so he scooped him up carried him out of the wilderness and drove him to his clinic while I stayed behind and skinned the lion and wrangled the rest of the pack. Hoogin healed up great, has two eyes, but only one works, and his been on countless lions, bears, and bobcats since and is a top dog by any standard. This became the first cat I mounted and the pose is nothing special but the backstory and my first cat mount make it my favourite so far.



    Hoogin post surgery

  20. Gurneyjockey

    Gurneyjockey Member

    This guy for me for a couple reasons. First of the project scared the feces out of me. This guy bugged me for years to do this guy and I kept putting him off since I really had no business trying to tackle something like this out of lack of experience and knowledge at the time. He finally wore me down, literally after years,and I told him I may completely destroy his trophy but he still wanted me to do it. There are obviously things I could improve on but for where I was experience wise and being my first cape buff I'm happy with it. But what really made it my favorite piece was when the guy came to get it and first saw it and went completely nuts, he literally was jumping around and screaming and crying and hugging me....it was pritty funny, but felt good to have such a pleased customer. I'll never forget his reaction, priceless