I think that's an honest question for any professional taxidermist. As this is deer season, people keep asking me if I miss taxidermy at this time of year. I just have to laugh because of ALL times of year in a taxidermy shop, this one is the LEAST one that I miss. Far too many nights ran into mornings and longer days this time of year for almost 40 years that I provided a full service shop. Each year I still managed to be surprised over conversations, advertisements and remarks I hear from the shops in the local area. Let me say something so I'm perfectly clear: I loved the whitetail deer. I still think it is the most magical and magnificent creature to walk the world I live in. As such, I studied it from the first time I encountered one. I learned the biology, the science, the habitat, the nutrition, the actions and the reactions of this animal. I never, EVER, let a whitetail mount get out of my shop that I would not have put up on my own wall. Sadly, I don't see that in many claiming to be us anymore. We seem saturated with poor business people with poor work ethic and little pride in what they do. I once remarked to Joe Coombs that I was just an average taxidermist. Joe snapped back that I obviously hadn't been out in the field much (I admitted that) and I have no clue as to how bad "average" taxidermy looked. Sadly, he was correct. Next to taxidermist, hunters are some of the dumbest people on the planet. Bubba hauls his beautiful animal around in the back of his pickup with the bed covered in mud and blood with temperatures reaching 75 degrees. He cuts the throat to "let it bleed out" or he drags it half a mile behind the 4-wheeler. He shoots it in the neck and uses a 12 inch Bowie knife to slit the ear to hang his tag on it. He (or his butcher) use a dull chainsaw to skin it out. And then he says to his buddy, "A good taxidermist can fix that." And the worst part is that some taxidermists actually believe that. It was MY decision and MY standards that I never mounted an animal in a trap or with an arrow stuck in it. I never did unnatural poses that would have my name on it. I discouraged open mouth or bugling forms as this animal was stuck in perpetuity with that expression that most hunters quickly tire of hanging mute on their walls. I cautioned about pedestals being a piece of furniture and I explained the issues of wall pedestals. I explained to them about the hazards of dermistids and that once it left my shop, the length that mount would look good depended solely on the care it got when it got to their house. For several years I supplied 3 oz. bottles of permethrin and instructed them where to find replacements and how to apply the spray. No animal ever left the shop with an exposed back panel and stapled hide showing. I covered every mount with a cardboard shield cut to size and emblazoned with my shop decal. Hunters were never allowed to bring animals into my shop but had a large treated tarp outside with a sign directing them to bring their tags inside and that I'd retrieve their deer when I was ready to cape it. There were no uncapped skulls on the floor and no blood puddling up. After I finished caping, capping, and placing the hide in the freezer, the stainless work table was washed down before the next deer was put there. My shop was always neat and tidy and there were NEVER any smells of rotted meat and scraps. (There may have been lots of Bondo and fiberglass fumes, but not rotted meat.) My shop was exceptionally well lit and they knew they could bring their families into it without worries. I know what some of you are thinking: he's OCD and senile. Perhaps guilty of both but I simply loved and respected the deer I worked on. I was raised to appreciate life and respect the animal that you took life from. It was a part of me I never forgot. Now in my old age, I wonder if there are any of you left who care like I did.