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Instead Of Politics And Sale Items, Let's Do Something Weird

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by George, Jun 13, 2019.

  1. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.


    I'm going to start by telling you a few incidents I endured while out on big game hunts over the years.

    Broadus, Montana, 1980's - Pronghorn/Mule Deer Combo
    Combo hunts in this area are usually 100% opportunity and with 15 hunters in camp, each night after supper, the outfitters went to the skinning shed. When they found I was a taxidermist, they made no subtleties about my coming out to help them (free of course). Anyway, this one hunter was a pain in the ass. He'd shot a nice buck antelope and he wanted to make a rug of it. I told him it was a very bad idea as prongs (at that time, no commercial tannery would accept them) have very loose, brittle hair and that it comes out very easily even when the animal is alive. Mr. Know-it-all (KIA) tells me he has a "professional" taxidermist who can take care of it. The guides want nothing to do with the skinning so I get the job. While they skinned and caped half a dozen animals, I worked this prong. I finally got it done, rolled it in a ball and put it in a plastic bag awaiting to put in in the freezer. Here come KIA and he tells me he wants to see how I skinned it. I tell him but he insists on seeing it. I hand him the bag. He dumps it out on the bloody floor and I tell him the blood will soak into the hairs. He quickly grabs the hide in the middle of the back and lifts it up, coming up with two fists full of beautiful pronghorn hair. The guides were rolling but it was me who had to remind him of what happened. He swore I'd messed it up in skinning. He told the guides not to let me touch his mule deer.

    Cochrane, Ontario - 2015 - Black bear hunt
    Pretty neat set up with individual cabins for each separate hunting party. A mom and son operation, bears were over abundant with the one a season at that time. My buddy and I shared a small cabin while 6 hunters from PA shared a large trailer. Opening night, my buddy nails an average size boar with a good summer coat I ask him how he intends to have it mounted. He tells me that he wants it standing erect. No problem. I tell the outfitter I'll skin it and then he can gut it and cut it up for the butcher. I lay the bear on it's belly, and begin making a dorsal cut as the belly hair is almost non-existent. I slowly cut from between the ears down the neck, making small opposing cuts in the incision so that the hide will align during mounting. As I continue, a guy out of the PA cabin comes running up, demanding to know what I'm doing. I'm a bit surprised but I tell him I'm skinning the bear. He says, "That's not the way you skin a bear. You have to cut it up the belly." I tell him the guy wants an upright bear and I'm dorsal cutting it so the seam won't show. He tells me, "Well, I'm a professional taxidermist and that's not the way it's done." I asked how long he'd been a taxidermist and he said 5 years. I laughed and told him I'd been doing taxidermy over 50 years and hiding the seam is impossible on these bare belly animals. He tells me, "A real taxidermist can hide that with no problems." I told him I probably wasn't a real taxidermist and he walked away.

    Best one
    Bettles, Alaska - 1995- Barren Ground Caribou
    This was a do-it-yourself hunt where I and 3 buddies contracted a bush plane to drop us out in the wilderness north of Gateway to Alaska National Park. Due to extensive fires in the peat underground, visibility was nil at times and we were stuck in primitive hangar sleeping on the floor for a few days. Winds picked up a bit and the planes went out to retrieve hunters that had been stranded before we could get out. That night, two hunters from Missouri came in. One of them had a really nice bull as they found a place on the floor hangar floor to crash. The next morning, I saw the guy with the nice caribou cutting the antlers off the skull plate. I couldn't imagine dehorning such a lovely specimen but anyway. Then he took the saw to the antler and began cutting it into 12 inch pieces. I remarked that it seemed a terrible waste to make knife handles out of such a lovely specimen. He snapped back that he was going to have the animal shoulder mounted. I almost went into panic and asked him why he was destroying the antlers. He said he was cutting them like that so he could carry them in his baggage without paying extra. I quickly told him that there was no way those antlers could be reattached and re-segmented to mount them. He told me had a "good professional taxidermist" at home who wouldn't have a problem. Again, I assumed that I was neither good nor professional and let him destroy that gorgeous bull.
  2. Lance.G

    Lance.G Well-Known Member

    That’s funny stuff! Thanks George.

  3. Rausch

    Rausch Well-Known Member

    Good stories! Thanks
  4. rbear

    rbear Well-Known Member

    George to the second story I always reply " a great taxidermist doesn't have to fix, or hide anything"
    I had a guy called me to see if he could bring in this really old buck he had shot. When he arrived he began to show me how this ancient deer had worn off the top front teeth right down to the gums. I nodded and smiled in amazement.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
    socalmountainman and msestak like this.
  5. AZ~Rich

    AZ~Rich " Africa" never fails to satisfy

    I needed some good stories to laugh about today... Thanks George! I'm sure at the time those exchanges were more a sad commentary on the ample supply of KIAs than being humorous. However, Funny that the one dude did end up with a bunch of "expensive" knife handles. It seems there are always some that have to learn the hard way.
    msestak likes this.
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Life Sucks.....Then comes the death roll!!!!

    Mounted a life size African lion standing over a impala kill for a very wealthy young client once. He comes to pick it up and hands me a check for .........$500!:eek:o_O:confused: Says I told him thats what I was going to charge him! Well....anybody on here know what a large African male lion form cost, not to mention a life size impala form (highly altered) as well as a 12 foot rolling pedestal cabinet base? :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes: The dude got pissed when i told him the "real" cost which was still about several thousand dollars less than he would have gotten it any where else but many MANY thousands more than the....$500:rolleyes: To make a long story short the guys dad eventually payed me and hinted that his son was an idiot!! I tend to have a harder time getting money out of wealthy customers than average ones!!
    John C, msestak and magicmick like this.
  7. Richs Taxidermy

    Richs Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Good story's George,I had a guy bring me a early season deer when the temperature was 65 degrees ,he drove around with it in the back of his truck for a week showing all his freinds.I told what to expect ,when we pulled it out of the truck I had more hair on me than the deer did,he said your a good taxidermist ,you'll make it work.The things you see and hear in this bussiness.
    msestak likes this.
  8. tomdes

    tomdes Me my dear and Fall BAZZ!!!

    Good reads George... thanks for posting..
  9. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    Great stories! Keep'em coming!
  10. What's the most guys have you all being out hunting with?,for me it was 30 hunters.
    It was back in the 90's the hunting club had the rights to hunt in a state forest that was
    quite large and well signed posted witch helped with sectioning off everyones hunting spots.
    From town to camp site was good 1 hr drive through the forest.
    As you can imagine BS was flowing every night after the days hunt but it brings back good times,btw we all were in groups of 4 witch is about the max i would hunt with ie 1 pig 4 x shooters can be dangerous.
    msestak likes this.
  11. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I have never hunted with more than four in my party and then, we all went separate ways and never saw each other until we were back at the truck after the hunt was over.
    msestak likes this.
  12. byrdman

    byrdman Well-Known Member

    two guys in a boat..... three in layout field blinds..... sometimes four but then we take turns with the middle two guys.....those snow goose videos with 7,8,9 shooters are insane
    msestak likes this.
  13. byrdman

    byrdman Well-Known Member

    George you need to write a few more books before you forget all your knnn...zzzz
    msestak likes this.
  14. Richs Taxidermy

    Richs Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    The things George has seen in taxidermy I bet would make a great book.
    msestak likes this.
  15. BowDeadly

    BowDeadly "LIFE IS GREAT" It's better with a bow

    Hey George good stuff.
    I took on a 8/9 foot brown bear from a good customer of 20 years, early bow kill. Cut up the belly out the legs like a rug. Of course customer wanted it standing to make it look as big as possible. Just can't hide the stitches on a 8 foot thin belly haired bear. I mounted it and I was pissed at the stitching turnout. Must of liked it, next year he brought me a Mountain goat, 6 months into it after I bought the rock he took it back, said I was taking to long. Never seen him again.
    One more good one. I went on a Maine bear trip, yearly trip, we all got bears and I did the skinning in payment for the trip/hunt, yearly thing. At night while eating super every one would BS. waiting for the bears to come in. A guy I knew would be the height of the party so to speak. Nothing he has never done, every kill was the best, biggest ever. On the third night he shot a bear, he came in telling his story, BIG BEAR was his exact words. Wade and some guys went out in the morning to retrieve the bear. Everyone was shocked when they walked up on a 50 pound bear, if that. What made matters worse when I told him 1000.00 to mount he said throw it away. A guy took it and I did my first soft mount, wanted it to sit in a chair or sit in a corner. Hard to believe but the baby bear guy brought me a Maine moose to mount the next year. When the mount was finished he came to get it, handed me a check all folded up, dummy I never looked at it. He owed me 500.00, the check was for 200.00. Told me that's all the mount was worth. Fought to get that straightened out.