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Help! Buffalo mount.

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by pizzo68, May 30, 2017.

  1. pizzo68

    pizzo68 New Member

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    Greetings all, I am a very green taxidermist, and I am in need of any advice for the task that I have accepted. A very good buddy of mine, and his dad, are going on a Buffalo hunt here in eastern Colorado, in 2 days. Unfortunately, It's probably going to be his Father's last hunt due to his illness...Well, he asked me to mount it for him. Obviously with his situation(and mine)I will be doing this for free. He's aware that I have never done this before but he's good with it. ANY/ALL advice accepted.

    I am sure most of you are aware of East Colorado's climate and with that, is there any special care that should be rendered upon him taking this animal? I am sure the outfitter will cape it ETC, but after that, what recommendations should I pass on to him for transport of the head/hide to the house? With an animal that size, I am clueless.

    What kind of products would you all recommend for cleaning/tanning/preserving a Buffalo hide specifically??

    Many more questions to follow such as reference material etc, but for now, I am just curious as to where to start on this beast. THANK YOU all in advance!!
     
  2. Mike Powell

    Mike Powell Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't even think about tanning it myself. Those things are enormous and their hides are extremely thick. Do yourself and your friend a favor and send the cape to a tannery. Find out if the outfitter fleshes and salts or just freezes the hide. Make arrangements for him to send the cape straight to the tannery.
     
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  3. boarhunter67

    boarhunter67 Well-Known Member

    Make sure it's not dragged. Skin, flesh, and salt it as quickly as possible. When you are folding it as it dries, put newspaper between folds to absorb any moisture, and definitely send it to a tannery.
     
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  4. pizzo68

    pizzo68 New Member

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    You gentleman are awesome!! Thank you VERY much! We were able to push back the hunt a few days, so it looks like we have some time to organize this thing. It looks as if the outfitter will freeze ASAP, and "prep" for us to pick up by the end of June. I will call to see if he can just send straight to the tannery. Again, you guys are very helpful!! I will update as necessary, and I'll probably have a few more questions :) Have a good night gentleman...
     
  5. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    Sorry to piss in your cornflakes but this isn't a mount to learn on. If what you say is true, then this mount will have more sentimental value than you can imagine. Is it worth loosing your friendship? If you screw this up, what then? Your buddy hates you because you screwed up his Dad's last trophy? Have your buddy spend the money and have it done by someone who has the knowledge and experience to pull it off.
     
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  6. pizzo68

    pizzo68 New Member

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    Luckily, I'm not a fan of cornflakes ;)

    Thanks for the input, 3 bears!! I couldn't agree more sir. We talked about this and I explained in detail what could go wrong, but, he thinks I can do it, and I too know I can. I am nowhere near a professional, but when it comes down to it, I have the attention to detail, and the patience to make it happen...oh yeah, and the knowledge of the sincere folks on this site, including yourself!

    Once we get it tanned, I will make sure this is what he wants once more.

    Thanks again 3 bears!
     
  7. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    Well then, good luck, you'll need it. I hope you have a strong mounting stand, I use an engine stand for critters that big, as well as a strong back, that cape alone weighs a chit ton, when wet. Have help there when you work on it, makes life much easier. Do your homework, study reference. the eyes on those things say it all.
     
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  8. pizzo68

    pizzo68 New Member

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    Thank you much!! Yeah, I was trying to guesstimate how heavy the hide will be on that fella...either way, it will be way to heavy for just me to handle!! Thanks again man, i'll post more updates as they happen. Really appreciate the advice!
     
  9. boarhunter67

    boarhunter67 Well-Known Member

    It's really that heavy for you to handle yourself. Cut it about 4" behind the armpits and that will half the weight. I weigh 150 and can handle it fine. If you are tanning it yourself, however, then probably not because the pickle will weigh it down a lot.
     
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  10. AZ~Rich

    AZ~Rich " Africa" never fails to satisfy

    I would be careful about letting the outfitter take the full responsibility for getting the frozen cape to a tannery. First, it is going to cost more to package and ship in frozen state (think wet weight). Second, it will cost you more for the tannery to then thaw, properly flesh and split lips nose, etc in addition to shaving and tanning. It would be less expensive and more controlled if you make arrangements to flesh and split the hide while still fresh, then salt it down well and dry it most of the way. At that point you will still be able to manage it and fold to fit it into a box for cheaper ground shipping to the tannery. It will weigh considerably less for sure and you eliminate the need for the tannery to charge you more for their extra services.

    3 Bears is being very honest and not knowing your true level of experience in mounting big game it just sounds to me like it will be a big challenge for you to pull off. Lots of things for you to consider first. For example the physics alone in manipulating such a large form plus the combined weight of a wet cape means you have to have a custom stand prepared ahead of time. You will likely need to build your own monster stand plus work out the needed securing bolts which will support it and keep it from spinning downward under the added weight that is increased by leverage of the form's dimensions . I have found using (2) 7/16"-1/2" nuts welded to the outside of the articulating outer tubes (you'll need 3" pipe for this), along with matching bolts threaded through the nuts and through the outer tube, you can then ratchet down with enough torque to bite into the inside pipe (tube) from two spots at 90 degree angles. Normally a manual "T" handle (i.e., a bar welded to the head of the bolts), will apply enough torque to bite into the inside tube but in this case it will just not be enough to secure the extra weight. T handles alone should work on most of the other articulating sleeves of the stand to keep them secured.

    Tackling a big job like that you will likely need another set of hands to help get the cape in position and move it around when required. Plus, due to the size you will need to stage each process and allow for the extra time it will take to do each. There is plenty to consider here and I will be anxious to hear back from you after you've attempted this to see how it all went and what you learned and whether you did or should have followed some of the advice given.

    Good luck with this!
     
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  11. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Actually, I don't think it's that big a leap. Casting aside the size of the animal and dealing with a heavy skin, your hardest task is going to be getting it to the tannery in good shape. Once that hide is tanned by a professional tanner, it will be a lot more manageable. IF THE MEASUREMENTS ARE CORRECT, order a form the correct size. Buffalos are big fuzzy furballs that you don't need to worry about detailing muscle structures and such. Even the incisions are hidden by all that fuzz. A couple reference pictures of the eye and nose and I don't see it being that big of an issue for a novice (presuming you have mounted deer). I'd have more concern it it being a squirrel as they tend to be the hardest of all animals to get RIGHT.
     
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  12. pizzo68

    pizzo68 New Member

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    You guys have been amazing in sharing your ideas/experience, and with that we have decided that once he shoots the big fella, he will transport to a recommended tanner in the area, that day. I have been in touch with both the tanner and the outfitter and it's seems like phase 1 will be seamless:)

    Thanks again everyone for the positive feedback!!

    I'll update once we move forward from the tannery. Have a great night!
     
  13. pizzo68

    pizzo68 New Member

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    Gentlemen, after a looong time waiting for the cape, etc, I have FINALLY started the process. With your advice, I'm almost finished! Also, this is my first fur mount of any kind. As far as taxidermy goes, I've done a few Euro's for friends. I'm waiting for it to completely dry, which should be within a day or two. Now, as a beginner, I can tell you that I should have gone with bondo ears, as opposed to ear liners, and I think my nose pad should be a tad lower. I think my ear positioning should be rotated just a tad lower. The horns are fake as well. Picture attached, and I took all advice into account. Thank you all for your time! Buff.jpg
     
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  14. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    You're doing JUST FINE. I've never been a big fan of pins of any kind. When I use them there's plenty of hide paste underneath and they're pulled within 2 days max. You just have to keep after it with a good tucking tool. The pins WILL leave marks in soft tissue so consider checking them daily Unpinned, I'd check the hide when I went in the shop and when I left until you can't move the skin any longer. Tilt your eyelashes downward a bit. Remember they're used to keep dust out, not to stop rain from falling. I tried to set mine at about 45 degrees.
     
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  15. pizzo68

    pizzo68 New Member

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    Thank you, Sir! Funny that you mentioned that because I just learned that lesson the hard way, regarding pinning, as I removed a few that left dimples under the eyes....Still waiting on those to raise. I've been adding water and grooming hoping they "lift". Thank you again for your advice, George!!
     
  16. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

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    It doesn't look that bad. If it was me I would rehydrate the earbutt area and raise the ears up closer to the horns, it is just more appealing to me than the car door look. I see you used an engine stand. Looks just like the one I use. When I use it I use 2 scraps of plywood and screw to the back to form the hair as if it was on the wall.
     
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  17. pizzo68

    pizzo68 New Member

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    Great advice on the Engine stand, 3bears!! Worked perfectly, for 1/4 of the price of a heavyweight stand :)

    Yeah, the car door look will be no more after this one. I was just really afraid that I would make a mistake that I couldn’t fix. After doing this though, my confidence is in a good place. I’ve got a 105” 4 point WT that I arrowed in Kansas that I’ll work on next. I’ll let you guys know when I’m done with that one. Hide arrives tomorrow. Have a good night, and again, you guys are awesome.
     
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  18. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Pizzo, of you haven't heard yet, a tack hammer or a 4 ounce ballpeen hammer is a taxidermist's best friend for "adjusting" lumps, bumps, and "dimples".
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
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  19. pizzo68

    pizzo68 New Member

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    I haven't! And once again, you came to the rescue! HAHA! Thanks, George!! Today is my finish day. I'll post pics of him when I'm done. Thanks again, Sir!
     
  20. pizzo68

    pizzo68 New Member

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    23EC0C5E-36BD-4E3A-B08A-9EE48E7AA7AD.jpeg 51B933A1-ED4A-4D58-8B8D-12DED8DD4783.jpeg 23EC0C5E-36BD-4E3A-B08A-9EE48E7AA7AD.jpeg 51B933A1-ED4A-4D58-8B8D-12DED8DD4783.jpeg FBE50156-C4EF-4CDB-86D7-569C8FA0B98D.jpeg 8DBF4ACF-C964-45D3-85B2-9A63284592B5.jpeg 23AF6E88-8827-4916-AD27-07845F6E6060.jpeg Gents! Good morning. I’m done:)
     

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