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To Warn And Inform.

Discussion in 'Forum Operations' started by Bill and Paull, Dec 23, 2021.

  1. Bill and Paull

    Bill and Paull New Member

    From the desk of William Moses Owner of Little Willy’s Wonders.

    First, I would like to thank all our wonderful customers! I’m writing this to address a few concerns I have had regarding commercial customers. This might be a little long, how-ever you will be very glad if you read it in its entirety. We have been in business about 20 years. I would like to say, I attended credited colleges for taxidermy and tanning. Going back and forth for multiple years attending every class they offered. Every year I receive a call or 2 from a licensed taxidermist. All with the same sentence “I’m looking for a new tannery, because the tanneries are ruining my skins.” The number in total is 27 taxidermists. I always say I’m concerned but please send just 1 skin for us to look at. Every single time I called the customer and said the problem is not the tannery. We have never had any issues with the majority of our commercial accounts. I would like to describe what has happened here at little Willy’s in hopes of educating anyone new in the industry. I will explain these events from beginning to the end. When we first started, we sent out flyers. We were contacted by 18 taxidermists. Here’s what happened, we were approached by several prestigious taxidermists. So little Willy’s tanned a few skins so they could sample our tanning. I delivered a few skins to a licensed taxidermist. We walked in the back room where there was a salt table, this table was angled with a gutter on the bottom dripping into a 5-gallon bucket. On the table was “a record-breaking mountain goat.” The taxidermist didn’t have 20 pounds of salt on that animal and moister was draining into the gutter. I was not sure where the smell was coming from, but I feared it was coming from the mountain goat. This nice gentleman said our tanning was wonderful, but we were a bit too high in price. He was advised if he changed his mind to call us. Several months later he did call, saying the tannery had ruined that mountain goat and he would like to send some important skins to us. I wanted the account very badly, but I had to state the tannery didn’t ruin that skin, you did. At our school an important skin like that would get washed with bactericide, salted both sides with at least 150 lbs. of salt. This is a once in a lifetime harvest, too valuable to take any risk. By the way in our classes which I attended 3 different courses regarding salting, they all taught it the same way. Pour salt down, salt the hair side, then salt the leather side, rubbing in circular motions until the salt stops dissolving. Then pour the salt on the skin until no leather is showing. P.S I didn’t get the account ☹ What I noticed right from the beginning is the taxidermists wanted to send their skins here without drying them, and they salt outside. Knoblochs leather and fur dressing supply companies catalog describes in the first pages of its introduction, there are over 2 million kinds of bacteria in the world, not to mention molds, funguses, viruses and diseases. Salt does not kill them. The active ingredient chloride slows them down, but bioactivity remains until the skin is below 15% moister. In addition, salting should be done between 65 to 80 degrees. As the temperature drops your salt is less effective. Below 40 degrees your salt has lost 90% of its effectiveness, the same for above 80 degrees. When I read other tanneries requirements they clearly state, dry skins only, folded no larger then 3 ft X 3 ft. it’s been obvious to me since we began that this is a step most taxidermists take lightly. Whereas in college the statement is 90% of your success rate is at this phase.

    Taxidermist #2… We accepted this account under the usual circumstances. “The other tanneries are ruining his skins.” These skins were always delivered wet, I did try to explain that this is dangerous, and we have no space to dry them. Well, each batch got worse and worse. The final load was 7 antelope. My employee would drive by his shop to pick up and deliver each batch. We can prove that several antelope were in a 4’x4’ wood box just sitting on the concreate inside an unheated building. We can prove 3 or more of them were there for 6 weeks at least. When my employee arrived, he did not unload them, he came in with tears in his eyes and said Bill I’m sorry I did not know what to do. I looked in the back of my employees’ pick-up truck, saw a pile of antelope wet, dripping with blood, I raised one up a lot of water was dripping out. I shook it and an abundance of hair fell off and created bald spots. I immediately called this customer, his sentence was “WHAT DID YOU DO TO THEM?!” This taxidermist was there when my employee picked up the skins, made out the packing slip and signed it. He knows how long it takes to drive here. SERIOUSLY HOW COULD I GET THAT STATEMENT. I immediately said my employee will drive back right now with these skins and come and pick up “ALL” your other skins. Later HIS employee told me the tanneries ruining his skins are his pet-peeve. The skins he picked up were sent back by another tannery. He dried them and sent them to a 3rd tannery. Who he blamed for ruining 90% of the skins. This was told to me by HIS employee. 3 tanneries did not ruin his skins, he did.

    Taxidermist #3… when we started this gentleman showed me, he would split and flesh a skin, wash it, hang it on a post, and drain it. The first batch was fairly dry, but soon progressed to he and his friend another taxidermist brought 59 skins right off the salt pile. They both salt outside in a shed, it was an unusually cold hunting season. I told them both I have no hanging room to dry them. One suggested I dry them in our finished skin room. I told them number one, they wouldn’t all fit. Number 2 were producing 1000$ a day out of that room and if they would like to rent it. Of course, no was the answer. So out to the storage we went. I explained to them the above salting requirements. The next shipment of skins they mentioned the hair was not firm on the previous batch. I replied of course not, you salted them in the cold, and you sent them to a tannery soaking wet. As they continued to bring skins here, I noticed a greater lack of effort in splitting, fleshing, salting and especially drying to the point one of them salted 12 bears in a shed, no heat, no A/C, no dehumidifier, no fan. He left the skins under the salt for over 7 months! We agreed to try to tan them. Irreversible damage had already occurred. Little Willy’s was blamed for the damage. Next, this same taxidermist sent a 6 ft from nose to tail, a wooly bear split and fleshed, rolled up the size of a basketball and put in the freezer. He brought it frozen and said just put it in the tank. He blamed Little Willy’s for the damage. Next this guy had his friend drop off one bear, wet. In a black plastic garbage bag. We were all out of the shop. When I got back the bag was on the ground in the sun. the temperature inside the bag was over 120 degrees. I was blamed for that too. This isn’t the only events concerning this taxidermist. All problems and issues seem to be blamed on Little Willy’s. How would I be responsible for the manner he handles his skins? Could someone but that in writing?

    Taxidermist #4… This licensed taxidermist was the same. The skins kept getting worse and worse, until finally an elk and a bear were brought in pretty much trapper dried. That person stated they were in bad shape, so they were salted for one hour and then put in a 80-degree room to dry. Most of you understand that the taxidermist ruined those 2 skins. I said I would not do them! There was something wrong because that person laughed and said, “JUST FIX THEM, JUST FIX THEM!” the laugh and the statement happened 3 times! I agreed to try the bear, but not the elk cape. The bear did not make it stated to me on the phone there was nothing wrong with it when I brought it to you. This same person was at one of my friends’ house, a taxidermist. He immediately called me and said the person was bad mouthing me and blaming me for the bear and elk (I didn't even touch the elk). Our shop has audio and video surveillance luckily, we got it all on tape. I sent him the thumb drive. He called me, I’ve never heard someone cuss so much and call somebody so many names, all of which would be censored right now. Little Willy’s didn’t ruin these skins. It was the taxidermist.

    Taxidermist #5… Contacted us for the usual reason, 3 other tanneries were ruining his skins. Specifically bears. I advised him to send one. He sent 13! When they arrived, we immediately examined the skins. We could see 9 out of the 13 already had damage, especially around the eyes. I called him within 30 minutes after the skins arrived. His sentence was “how did you rehydrate them?” I said, we haven’t. you sent them a day and a half ago from California. They just got here, we pulled them out of the box, examined them and here is what we found. Do you want me to send them back? I asked. The answer was no. my employee sent pictures from his cell phone. Obviously, this guy did not know or would not acknowledge the condition of the skins he sent. When I sent the skins back the guy called and said that the damage was insignificant way better than the other tanneries. About a month later I got a phone call from a person who stated he had been working for this taxidermist for about a year. My mother God rest her soul, would call this man a man of God. This person described to me how these bear skins were handled. They were never frozen just placed on the floor and this taxidermist would spray “stop rot” on the bear heads. The problem I’m concerned with is several of the bears were 3 and 4 days old before they began the prepping phase. At least I didn’t get blamed, how-ever I did not accept any more work from this taxidermist.

    Taxidermist #6… You won’t believe this guy. He took a 6-month course from a taxidermist near Yakima, WA. The taxidermist teaching him was our worst commercial account ever! To summarize he was fined for illegal activity, one of which was dumping illegal substances down the sewer. That was told to me by the taxidermist in training, his employee. The taxidermist teaching sent skins for us to tan in several shipments. He sent us 2 LIVE MICE, ONE LIVE RAT, A DEAD SNAKE, LIVE MAGGOTS, 2 KINDS OF BUGS WE DON’T KNOW AND DON’T FORGET THE MOLD WE WERE SCARED OF ALL INSIDE THE BOXES AND ON THE SKINS!! This teacher sent 3 coyotes with half the leg bones still in them. I sent them back, he removed the bones and without notification he sent the skins back to us. I said they won’t make it, but he agreed to pre-pay, so I did them. Then this guy blamed me for the damage even after being warned. The employee in training as well as one other employee told me they don’t rub salt on, they just lay the skin down, shovel “USED” salt on, lay down another skin, shovel more used salt on and so forth. The taxidermist teaching once sent a cougar here, no packing slip, no seal on the cougar, just an unsigned note “TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN, THIS CAT IS LEGAL” I sent the cougar back COD the next day. He sent me the nastiest letter calling me names and using foul language. The final sentence was “that what I did was extortion.” We still have his file. After this the taxidermist in training brought 2 elk capes here. One he said right in front of my audio and video camera “the small one probably would not make it” because it was in bad shape when he got it. Both capes had slip spots when rehydrated. Then the taxidermist in training stood before that same camera and stated there was nothing wrong with either one of them, and that the larger cape was a record-breaking bull. Please let me state if any taxidermist out there receives a record-breaking animal, please don’t just shovel used salt on it. Please realize these harvests are once in a life-time events. Tanneries cannot reverse damage; number one care is field care. Number 2 care is the taxidermist, a tannery is number 3 and we cannot stop problems or issues that occurred during the first 2 people handling the skin. The taxidermist in training was very mad. Insisted that his customer demands recourse. I would like to say Little Willy’s will offer recourse, this is my advice “FIND A REAL TAXIDERMIST THAT TOOK REAL TAXIDERMY COURSE PERFERABLE FROM A CREDITED COLLEGE!”

    In conclusion I have told you about these stories plus many more I have for a reason, 6 of our commercial customers took the same courses I did. One has brought 89 loads of skins, no issues. One 82 loads of skins, no issues. One 67 loads of skins, no issues. One 52 loads of skins, no issues. One 48 loads of skins, no issues. One 40 loads of skins, no issues. We also have 10 other taxidermists I don’t know where they were trained but no issues. One of my favorites was Randy Heartly the most meticulous prepper we have ever had. One day I called Randy and said “Randy, you’re pouring the salt on but you’re not rubbing it in, why?” he said, “How did you know?” with a laugh. So, I stated I took a class once. He agreed to start rubbing in the salt. All tanneries make customers sign a contract “Tan at your own risk” the above stories tell you why we must protect ourselves. If you are currently having trouble at one or more tanneries, here’s your sign. It's not the tannery. It's your lack of attention in the preparation stages. Please remember the statement from a person teaching a college course that has a master’s degree or PHD “90% of your success rate is dependent upon your care of these skins.” No one will ever convince me shoveling used salt on a skin is acceptable. Please send your skins to another tannery wet and let me know what happens. Will anyone roll up an unsalted bear, freeze it and send it to a tannery. Will anyone attempt to send a cougar to another tannery with no packing slip and unsealed. Containing an UNSIGNED note “to whom it may concern, this cat is legal.” At what point can we here at Little Willy’s provide audio and video, cell phone pictures and witnesses for review and not be blamed. Thank you very much for reading this. If anyone has any questions, if you tell me, you read this whole message, I will stop what I’m doing and help you immediately. If you are a taxidermist and you’re this type of person, please do not send anything here. We have plenty of work, and we will not be blamed for your mishandling of your customers skins.

    ~William Moses, Owner of Little Willy’s~
  2. Richard C

    Richard C Well-Known Member

    I loved this letter, made me laugh and feel good at the same time . After doing taxidermy for 50 years, I'm happy to know that the retail taxidermy client isn't the only ahole out there ! Willy and I need to write a book together.

  3. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    Enjoyed reading each case. I pressure wash all skins to be tanned, salt heavy, and allow to dry in a room with a dehumidifier. I haven't lost a skin in ages. The last one was a huge steer that was killed in the heat of a Mississippi summer. It even came out presentable, with small quarter sized splotches of hair loss in random areas across the skin.
  4. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    This is an excellent post. Thank you for sharing your experiences.
  5. grumpa

    grumpa Active Member

    This should be posted in the Industry and Tanning sections,at least, if not every section.