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Discussion in 'Deer and Gameheads' started by CGREER, Dec 9, 2015.


    CGREER New Member

    HELLO,i was trying to get feedback on thoughts on using bessmaid dp vs wet tan on commercial deer heads.i have used bessmaid for years with no ill effects that I know of but I was thinking of getting back into the taxidermy business and wanted to know which was best for my customers?problem is I live in a lower income area and seems that the going rate is between 325.00 and 375.00 for a shoulder mount.if I tan I don't think I can make much money with the added expense and time that it will cost.
  2. Trophy Specialist

    Trophy Specialist Well-Known Member

    Done right, the tanned mount will be far superior in quality and longevity. I also have some low priced taxidermists around my area. When I got tired of the price shoppers going somewhere else I decided to make a change. I used to offer just one option and that was a tanned mount. I started offering two options: One an economy mount that I charged $320 for which used DP and about five 5-6 hours of total time into the mount and I would only offer them a few choices in poses. I would also use the cheapest manikins and materials too cutting every corner I could think of. I also offered them a high quality option with a tanned cape and about 8-10 hours into the mount for $460. When customers would naturally ask the difference, I would explain the fact that the economy mount, using DP (same as the low cost competitors were using), would not likely last nearly as long as the tanned cape option and then I would also go over the other differences in detail and quality with the two options. The end result was a huge boost to my business. Very few people would go with the economy mount. It's often just a mater of education on that you get what you pay for. I hate doing those el-cheapo mounts, but I actually make more money off them than the higher quality mounts, so that lessens the pain.


    CGREER New Member

    thanks trophy specialist for your response to my question.my only problem is that most of the guys around my area are saying they are offering a tanned cape at that price. hard for me to believe they can be doing this and turn much if any of a profit!
  4. Dave Byrd

    Dave Byrd Active Member

    CGREER, I say if your comfortable, proficient and producing quality customer pleasing mounts using dry preservative then why change. Done right, a dry preserved mount will last just as long and be just as superior to any tanned mount. There has been a lot of misinformation peddled about dp for a good many years...I gladly educate my customers whenever it comes up.
  5. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    CG, lets cut to the chase. There are many "home tans" out there today that really don't cost you much more than the DP. What I found was that I LIKE WORKING WITH TANNED HIDES BETTER. I haven't changed any of the techniques that I used with DP, but the hides seem cleaner and more supple that the green treated hides of DP. The oils in the tan make "softer" looking mounts as well. Buy some of the premium paint on tans and see if YOU notice a difference. If not, stick with what you're doing.

    BTW, many of us live in depressed areas. However, gas costs me the same price the millionaires pay and the dealers don't give me any "deals" when I buy a car. The only way for prices "in your area" to go up to where you can make an honest living is for SOMEONE to break that price barrier. Why can't you be the one to do that. I'm the highest price guy around here and I still have more work than I want. Every time someone raises their price, I raise mine back to the same level. Don't be embarrassed about asking for an honest wage in what you do.
  6. striker12

    striker12 Member

    We went up 50.00 this year . Most were ok with it. We have a new girl in town doing them for 275.00 she called me to do her fleshing. I told her I would flesh and tan them for 125.00 each . She said she would do them. Lol. (275)
  7. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I'm with George on this. I have DP'd mounts that look as good as the tanned ones I did at the same time many, many years ago. The difference? I like the feel, smell, and mountablity of a tanned hide at the time I'm mounting it.

    My materials cost along with tanning is more than half the prices you listed. Throw in shop rate per hour, about twice the amount of the prices you listed is a living wage.
  8. This is catching my attention to as I dp most of my deer. But am considering trying different tans. I tried Krowtann and it is not for me, that experience made me change my mind but I've got several spare capes to play with and see what I might prefer. Could anyone suggest a paint on and in the process of them do salt and pickle? My biggest issue has been the hide not coming out to be the same size and seems harder to work with but I prefer the final product as I see the softness you mentioned George.
  9. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I use Liqua tan with the pickle option. If I stretch my Liqua tanned cape out as far as I can, it will relax to the stretched green measurement. I get no pulling when mount dries. If my green cape stretched to 18 1/2", my tanned cape will stretch 19 to 20" and relax to 19". I purchased a DVD from Research Mannikins specifically made for Liqua tan. Pro-1 paint on and Tu bond will also get you the same result from all that I have heard.
  10. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Try Headquarters PT. I use it and find it incredible. Pickle is not required
  11. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I like a hide that is pickled, however, if I can get a similar quality cape with less steps (no pickle), time is money. Liqua tan can be done without the pickle, but I didn't like the outcome as much. I will try HQ PT on my next one.
  12. I'm going to order some George thank you! Do you find the skin flexible and easy to get to original size? I need to perfect my shaving techniques.
  13. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    I measure my deer before I cape them and order that form. I've yet to have one give me a problem when mounting.
  14. Heath Cline

    Heath Cline Well-Known Member

    George, you will not have a problem with a proper skin prep, which I am sure you do. It all starts with the proper skin prep, that will make or break a mount.
  15. Dog soldier chick- just out of curiosity why do you not like krowtann? I have tanned a lot of different animals with it and I love it. I just like to hear pros and cons and opinions from people.

    To answer the question in the post I dp small mammals such as squirrels but I tan everything else. The Mckenzie brush on tan is nice. That is what I used before I switched to krowtann. I like krowtann because there is no old salt mess to clean up and you don't have to pickle the hide so you get a tanned hide in 3-4 days instead of 10-14 days.
  16. RTF

    RTF Active Member

    Pro 1 is a good brush on tan but requires a pickle prior. Krowtann is fool proof IMO and if you want to get all crazy tan with LutanF which out performs the two I just mentioned.
  17. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    tm, just gotta ask: What salt mess? As far as not pickling, sorry, but THAT is the basic process in Krowtann. It seems to work quite well for folks and if it does for you, more power to you.
  18. I followed the directions exact and lost inches each time I tried it as well as got more shrinkage.
  19. oldboar

    oldboar Taxidermy...do the impossible:)

    I use Krowtan more and more....and just don't understand how anyone losing inches tanning with it.

    I have used it on raw and salt dried hides, and if anything I gain an inch or two.

    My best guess is, lack of thinning a hide during the process.

    Human error is the biggest issue with ANY tanning. Just my two cents.

    And by error, I mean....lack of knowledge relevant to what it takes to get a hide to stretch what it should following tanning.


    PS Here is a pic of my daughter with her first whitetail-12years old. She shot it November 22, I salted it down, shipped it back to Arizona where I live, rehydrated for 13 hours, in the Krowtan for 4 days, fleshed, mounted, dried for a week, finish painted, and rec'd it for Xmas on December 25th. Year and half year old Wisconsin Whitetail.

    Mounted on an Upright Offset shoulder- swell was 19...mounted up on a 20 1/2...with ease no stretching. I wish I could work with the people who struggle with the tan. I've used them all, and to be honest they all work fine. As long as I do my job fleshing. Peace

    Attached Files:

  20. Again I'm still learning. I just don't understand why when I do it my way the shrinkage is way less. My tear ducts stay hair to hair. My eyes don't pull from the glass, they fit the form well. So I guess it'll be tough to convince me to do more shaving and work for the same result.

    I do thin my face Very thin. In fact thinner than other taxidermist I have worked with who tan. But with my method I rarely have to shave the hide much. Just lightly in the neck and that's it. Wouldn't have to do that but I do anyway. I flesh with a pressure washer and that's good enough from the neck down really. I get good detail etc so I guess all the added steps of tanning I don't understand unless it is just longer working time. I thaw a raw cape, flesh with the power washer, shave a little if needed, turn and thin the face, apply stop rot as I go, then wash it well, dry it, apply dp and mount in the same day. I can do a deer a day this way but generally mount 3 a week. If I need to I can toss it in the fridge for that night.