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Correct Way To Skin A Wing

Discussion in 'Bird Taxidermy' started by Bruce M, Mar 26, 2020.

  1. Bruce M

    Bruce M Member

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    My gosh, you do nice work! My favorite is the gray fox - absolutey gorgeous. Just the other day I almost picked up a road killed raccoon - decided against it but wish I hadn't. I bet you watch Brian Hendricks on you tube - if not, look him up! I am watching his 42 video series on bobcat skinning and prep as well as his red fox mounting and finish work videos in prep for doing a bobcat. And yes, I have a permit for that too although it again is only a state DNR issued permit. Is there a federal one I need for that before I begin? After I finish the whitetail shoulder for a friend, I am going to start the cat with Brian as my guide. Also have several fish waiting in the freezer to practice on. So fun, only wish it hadn't taken me so long to start.

    Thanks for sharing your work with me. I hope you don't find it inappropriate but what state are you in? Ok if you don't want to say - looks like mtns/hills though judging by the background in your pics. And the species you like (Vulpes vulpes) could be anywhere in the northern 1/2. Good work and thanks for replying.
     
  2. Thank you. I'm in Maryland and I do watch Brian Hendricks' videos. They're great. Bobcats do not require any federal permit. Most local mammals are good to go with just state tags. Save all the paperwork. A lot of my stuff is roadkill so I take pictures to document how I obtained it. Birds, especially birds of prey need a lot of paperwork.
    In my state I can do as much taxidermy I want without a taxidermy license AS LONG AS I am doing it for myself. I cannot do any work for anybody else unless I get a state taxidermy license.
     

  3. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    When I first started doing taxidermy, I was interested in doing deer heads and antler mounts. I bought three videos on mounting deer heads, as it was before DVDs, and three books. I bought a several change out deer heads. I bought the deer head painting kit, an air brush, about $50 in tools used in the videos and books, a bunch of eyes, earliners, clays, pastes, apoxies and tanning kits to try out. I had antlers laying around to experiment on.

    I got a video and a couple of books on how to make antler mounts and after several months of study through the video and the books and some practice on my own antler mounts, I offered antler mounts to people at a discount if you brought in the whole head, so I could use the head skin for practice on the change out heads.

    I studied and experimented on many, many different aspects and it was well more than a year before I attempted to actually mount a deer head. It wasn't great, but it wasn't bad. A few years ago, I bought many DVDs and some books and I studied turkeys for a couple of years and worked on singular aspects of mounting them before I ever mounted one, same with cats.

    The first time I asked a taxidermist for advice, was several years after mounting my first deer head. I struck up a deal that I would help him in his shop in exchange for some hands on training.

    So, yes, I did drop a lot of money and spent a lot time right from the start. I knew it was what I wanted to do and I wanted my first mounts to be well enough that I felt I honored the animal to the best of my ability. I put in my dues.

    One $25 to $45 DVD would answer ALL of your questions in about 2 hours and you would be time and money ahead right from the start.

    The thing is, right now, you are getting advise from people that may or may not have any real experience, where as almost all DVDs are produced by award winning taxidermists with years of experience and a lot of awards to prove it. I have chosen to learn from them. I have never competed and I have no awards, so take everything I say with a grain of salt. My only experience is extensive study of the art since the eighties and having owned and operated a very lucrative taxidermy business. I am retired now.
     
  4. joeym

    joeym Jeannette & Joey @ Dunn's Falls

    Most here were trying to protect you with information on the legalities. We don't want to see anyone get in trouble over taxidermy. As a full time taxidermist, I have someone call me at least once a month wanting a hawk or owl mounted that they found beside the road. I totally refuse to accept them with the exception of local Choctaw Indians, who use them for ceremonial purposes, and can legally possess them.
     
    magicmick likes this.
  5. KolbiH

    KolbiH New Member

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    I’m a third generation taxidermist so yea I’ve known I wanted to do when I was child and knew how. I’m 30 years old now. I’ve been raised around animals my whole life I knew so much about animals and anatomy before I even started taxidermy. If you’re not around it your whole life or just a true natural then you’re going to be tremendously unprepared if you don’t do your homework first.
     
  6. KolbiH

    KolbiH New Member

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    This is why I miss testing. You never got your license unless you could mount all around taxidermy...now you just pay the license fee and everyone thinks they’re a taxidermist. And it gets me on a personal level. I have a taxidermist not even 15 miles from and other of my friends who are taxidermists. This guy charges $200 less a deer head because he knows they’re subpar. So people take it to him to save money when in fact he’s actually insulting the customer because he knows his work and knows he won’t get any work if doesn’t undercut. That’s why reference and doing it right and life like are important. You don’t want to be that guy and take food off of someone’s table because you don’t want to dive in %100 and learn. You have a full time job which you automatically aren’t going to spend the time necessary to master the art. Every1 I know that has a full time job and a shop sub all the work out and might mount 6 pieces a year. I know people quit their and put life savings into becoming a taxidermist it was sink or swim. Nothing with hobbyists.
    Ps. If you have a hard time with critiques and criticism then you need to re think taxidermy definitely! You don’t know what a hard criticism is
     
  7. Bruce M

    Bruce M Member

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    I am right where you were - sinking my own money into this activity that I REALLY enjoy and putting in my time. I have used you tube but I check out every video I watch - make sure that who I am watching is a master and knows what they are doing. And yes, I too started with antlers and then just redid a deer head for myself...very pleased with it and received good feedback . Working on second one now - for a friend who will take whatever he gets. I am purchasing all supplies and not charging him. I am hoping for a shotgun in barter :). I did watch and study on birds and then went ahead with the current project this thread is about - maybe too soon, I'll admit, but I am bleep pleased with the result. Mine looks like any of the Strix varia reference I have and is going to be a great object lesson for my classroom. I know I did honor to the species - that is all I really care about anyway. And the next bird I do will be way better. The only thing I don't have that you did is time. I got into this late and need to immerse and DO to get to where I want to be in a rather tight window of about 10 years. But, I am no hack and want to do right by every animal I handle. I have read Owen Gromme's biography 3+ times and pattern after him.

    I also want to say that I respect and value your opinions and experience as a professional taxidermist and seasoned veteran. After I replied to you I didn't think I would ever hear from you again but I am glad that I did. Thanks for taking the time.
     
  8. Bruce M

    Bruce M Member

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    I know they were...thanks for sharing that...I felt that I took the correct steps by contacting the state authorities. The conservation warden who issued the permit did not mention any further steps I needed to take so I thought I was good. And I already knew, which he reiterated, about the educational use of the animal. Since I am a biology teacher, this worked out well for my situation. If there are other permits I need to seek out please let me know so I can obtain them, even after the fact. And so I can inform the state official of the federal regulations regarding this. I want to do things right.
     
  9. socalmountainman

    socalmountainman Northwestern School of Taxidermy - Class of '73

    Bruce, I was a part-time, worked out of my garage and had a full-time career as a biologist for the State of California. We have the advantage of being biologists and knowing animal and bird anatomy. Each different type of animal and bird will present different challenges and studying the bone placement on the carcass is your best reference. You can buy 5 different DVD's on the same specie and each one will tell you how to mount it but very few will tell you exactly where to put the wire on the form to duplicate the wing or leg position. Birds are a prime example since they show how to wire the radius/ulna and humerus but not where to wire it to the form. We also do away with the "drumstick" all together and are actually wiring at the knee instead of at the femur/illium! I do a lot of waterfowl and upland game birds in my shop. Although I do buy basic forms for the larger birds like turkeys, I custom wrap most of my smaller birds and the carcass is always available for me to measure and look at for reference. I retired in 2016 and now enjoy my little side business full-time. Feel free to PM me anytime for questions or input. Joe
    1.jpg 2.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2020
    Vulpes Vulpes and Bruce M like this.
  10. Bruce M

    Bruce M Member

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    Thanks for your thoughts on this topic kolbih. As I mentioned in an earlier reply I have thick skin...no worries. With criticism comes respectful reply/rebuttal though, so go ahead and reread the exchanges if you wish. To your comment, I am not in business yet - I am learning and have never purported otherwise. I am learning so everything I do is out of my pocket and for myself or for friends to practice on - I even buy the supplies. I will never take food off others table - my work will be for me and for the honor of the species and will be worth whatever people are willing to pay if that time ever comes. And yes, I too am all about the animal and its anatomical makeup. I'm not sure if my state has testing for taxidermists but if so i welcome it. When the time comes for me to get a license I will let you know. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
     
  11. Bruce M

    Bruce M Member

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    Thank you Joe. I had that carcass of the owl right next to me the entire time I was working on it!! Caliper out, measuring diameters, placements, angles. I know from the experience exactly what you mean and couldn't agree more!! Like I said earlier I am very pleased with the result and I know my students will benefit from it. It will mean more to them when I cut loose with barred owl calls and relate the life history of the species to them!

    Yeah, this thread did get off the original topic but I have benefitted from thinking about all that everyone brought up and I am grateful for the feedback. And I will take you up on the PM - thanks for offering.
     
    Vulpes Vulpes likes this.
  12. joeym

    joeym Jeannette & Joey @ Dunn's Falls

    Bruce: Do you have a Migratory Bird Permit from USFWS? You need to get one for protected species and waterfowl. They are $100 for a 5 year permit.
     
  13. Bruce M

    Bruce M Member

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    Thanks - I'm going to check that out
     
  14. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Bruce, I may have too been harsh on you before getting to know you a little more. The reason why is because neck and head attachment and wing skinning and attachment are very basic procedures that any DVD would have showed you how to do. 5 DVDs might show you 5 different ways, however, each would have been solid ways to do it and you would have 5 tools in your tool box of knowledge.

    Next, we have a lot of who people come on here and ask for step by step instruction on how to do taxidermy and basically have the attitude that why should I get a DVD when you'll do it for free for me. That is a pet peeve of mine on here and jumped the gun in assuming you might be like that. I was wrong and I apologize for my assumption.

    The reason I harp and soapbox stand for purchasing DVDs and books from award winning taxidermists, is because 8 out of 10 Youtube videos are garbage. I cringe when I see some "expert" who says to cut the tail off the turkey, spread it out and salt the base of fat and meat and let it dry and put it on the wall without cleaning the meat and fat off f it. It is full of examples like that where, in contrast, you know that almost all DVDs produced by suppliers and taxidermy DVD companies use award winning seasoned taxidermists who are well respected.

    Finally, welcome to Taxidermy.net. We can get passionately animated in our responses and some of us are really grumpy sometimes. We have old and young award winning masters, experienced experts who have never won anything but a life of working a shop for "green ribbons", inexperienced ones who are gaining experience daily and even some hacks.
     
  15. Bruce M

    Bruce M Member

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    I totally understand your points and thank you for them. I was so excited to get started that I did move farther in the process than I should have. And I realize that, from your perspective, there is no way to "vet" the new comers. No offense taken...water under the bridge. I am looking forward to learning from you as it sounds like you have years of successful experience under your belt. That said, I just posted a thread in the tanning forum that I would love to hear your opinion about. Thanks for reaching out and saying something.
     
    Tanglewood Taxidermy likes this.
  16. crablover

    crablover Well-Known Member

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    Taxidermist beware! The state DNR has no authority to issue any permit for Endangered, Threatened or Protected species in the US. Hawks and Owls are included as protected species. Read the Federal CFR's. Any permit for the above must come from the USF&W Service, and not the DNR. The DNR can only issue depermation permits for legally hunted species found dead out of season. The USF&W does not have an educational permit. It would be a Salvage Permit or Scientific Collection Permit and either would never be issued to a single individual, but only two a USF&W licensed facility. The school that would get the Owl has to hold a permit from the USF&W not a state DNR. The person mounting the bird needs a USF&W permit along with a copy of the schools permit All this information can be found in the federal CFR's. From what has been posted along with a picture is 100% illegal without the proper paperwork
     
    Bruce M likes this.
  17. Bruce M

    Bruce M Member

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    Where can I find the federal CFRs? I really thought I had my bases covered. Any chance to get proper paperwork now at this late date? Thanks
     
  18. crablover

    crablover Well-Known Member

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    At this point, it is way to late to get the proper paperwork and you are in violation of federal laws. Picking up, mounting and holding protected species is a serious matter and is a federal offence and can cost thousands in fines. USF&W officers monitor sites like E Bay, Craigslist and this site. You are way to late at this point and are in serious trouble if caught. I would not be surprised if this post has not been flagged by the USF&W already
     
  19. crablover

    crablover Well-Known Member

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    BTW BruceM, CFR stands for Code of Federal Regulations, and you can start with 50 CFR 10 if I can remember correctly. What exactly does your DNR permit say and what CFR codes are listed to cover you being granted a permit? You stated you had a educational permit, but there is no such thing.
     
  20. Bruce M

    Bruce M Member

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    DNR permit is titled Posession Authorization and Receipt...issued by the regional warden supervisor. Permit states that it must stay with the bird at all times and that the bird can be used for educational purposes only. Mentions the specifics of location of recovery, etc.

    I appreciate your feedback on this - it has shown me how short I fell on looking "fully" into it. I explained to the warden what my intentions were with the bird and he was encouraging about it- I honestly never gave it another thought after that. After reading the chap. 50 CFR yesterday I realize how wrong I was - and naive. Feel pretty stupid. BTW no mention of CFR on the possession permit.