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African Plains Game

Discussion in 'Tanning' started by yoteman, Aug 27, 2007.

  1. yoteman

    yoteman New Member

    What is it with these piss poor taxidermist in S. Africa. I have a client that just received his capes back after over a year (that wasn't the taxidermist fault. Piss poor US customs agents) and his trophy impala (24 in horns) has a ear that was missing 1/2 the back skin and was torn completely off the animal. His springbok's ear was hanging by a 1/4 (repairable). But the kicker is he paid this guy $1400 to flip/dip/ship and when received the only thing flipped was the ears half way up. I figured it out that with everyone that went his part of shipping was $250. That means that the taxidermist made$1150 for messing these animals up. He rolled the skin around the horns of a red hartebeest up at the ear so it would not rehydrate and slipped 2/3 inch area. I think I can repair it with a piece of the leg skin (same color/lenght of hair).

    The customer is not shocked because this is his 4th time to Africa. Just laughed and said he expected that. When you don't have it mounted with them they always mess it up. He told me to find him another impala cape.

    I know tanning these animals is tough, but I had no problem tanning the springbok or Blesbok. Rehydrating one of two kudu now and still have an eland, kudu and blue wildebeest to do. Wouldn't be that bad if the [email protected] in S. Africa would do the job you pay them to do.

    If there are any S. African taxidermists on the net, I would love to have you come over here and hunt with me, shoot a trophy whitetail, pay me a large prepping fee, and then I will do a 1/2 a55ed job prepping it, cut the ears off it and send it to you to mount.

    If it wasn't for the lousy prepping these animals would be georgous. Impala didn't have a mark on it.

    Other than that they are tanning very well. Rehydration, pickling, tanning and shaving isn't all that bad. I Found that if I put them in my pressure tanner with just the pickle they shave easier and can shave a heck of a lot thinner. Hell I have only put one dime sized shaving hole in one cape.

    Just venting. I know some of you will understand. I know there are some excellent taxidermist in S. Africa that will correctly prep, but this wasn't one of them. I have looked at web sites all across the world and I believe we have them all beat here in North America hands down.
  2. oldshaver

    oldshaver Guest

    I think the point here is, some, not all of them, would much rather the skins stay there, so they can mount them, and ship back completed mounts. Just my humble opinion.

  3. Try these guys. I get everything back in top condition from them. You can't go wrong with a top notch outfitter.

  4. *

    * Liberalism IS A MENTAL ILLNESS !

    The way to do it right is to make sure your outfitter is "NOT" using a taxidermist for the dip-pack
    New companies are rising up in Africa that do it and are NOT taxidermists so they have no stake in keeping the skins in country. Your PH is responsible for his skinners to turn salt and prep skins in camp. Don't get all over the taxidermists, he gets them salted from the field and just does the dip and pack. I'm not defending them but I have been there 6 times and the skinners always do the splitting and turning at camp.

    I have in 12 safaris in this year no skins lost or bad out of any of them.
    140 animals

    Dave, Prep form sandhurst doesn't get any better.
    But you better be quite wealthy to hunt with them
    They are expensive but worth it for dip pack my last safari in from them the client payed 2,800 for his and his Dad payed 1,800.
    They also spent close to $100,000 on the hunt.
  5. Randy

    Randy Huntin Chamios on Mount Cook, New Zealand

    I have been to Africa many times and sell about 20 hunts there per year. It is all in the outfitter you choose to go with. If you want a cheap hunt, you will surely get it. There are so many outfitters in South Africa, The saying is if you want a PH in South Africa just shake a tree and one will fall out. Problem about 50% are real bad, 30 % are bad and the remaining 20% are good ones. I get so frustrated when I am booking hunts and loose a bookking to a "cheaper" safari company, the ones with all the neat photos and the cheap prices. I have heard it many times, literally 50-60 times. Then the hunters come home, wait 12 months for the trophies to arrive that they were promised in 4 months, bad skinning, slippage, missing ears, missing capes, numerous surprises in the billing and so on. In a way the US hunters deserve it most of the time simply in the way they choose the outfitter. Now the hunter is home, he has paid the bills and has literally NO RECOURSE, NONE, unless you have a USA agent. Many times the USA agent can apply pressure to the outfitter to get replacement capes or straighten long delay times and messed up bills, No agent, no recourse to the hunter.

    O by the way just got some stuff back from Sandhurst that was total JUNK. Lifesize mounts that were to be shoulder mounts, visa versa, not what the client ordered, terrible, terrible work, and the list goes on. Yes this was from Sandhurst.

    I may sound like I am beating my own drum but use an agent. We go over to Africa and visit many places, many outfitters, many dip and pack facilities and so on and pick the BEST one. Typically we don't have these problems as much, but even so we do get surprised. So many guys go there once and then want to sell hunts to thier new South African friend in trade for another cheap hunt. Don't buy this game unless you willing to take a hit.

    When it comes to dip and pack and taxidermy over there, especially the taxidermy it is all junk, the taxidermy is all junk, 100% of it! One of our outfitters came to visit me in the US. Fell in love with taxidermy and decided to open his own taxidermy shop. Went down the road, hired some blacks who worked at the local taxidermy shop for a few cents more than their current taxidermy boss and opened his taxidermy business. When you pay black taxidermist $10 to $20 per day you get just what you paid for. I had one hunter who upon opening his grate of South African Taxidermy litterally in a rage, cut the horns off the finished mounts that he just paid for dearley with a chain saw and brought them to me. I bought new capes and re did them.

    Use an agent and a god one, one that has been there many times that has hopefully sorted out all this junk. Your chances are much better, no guarentee but the odds are better.

    All in all it is Africa and you can get screwed around every corner.
  6. Randy,
    How did the skinning look on the safari, other than the instructions not followed correctly? I know how miscommunication can screw things, but that goes all the way down the line. Don't even get me started on shippers like DHL. I know the outfit is expensive, but I can usually depend on them to get me specimens back that are tannable and not cut to pieces. To me, it is worth it to pay up front for a known rather than pay twice for an unknown.
  7. oldshaver

    oldshaver Guest

    Well said Randy! Look like you actually have some experience at this. I wouldnt reccomend anyone, without at least 2 or 3 seasons of safaris. Thats kinda like reccomending a tannery, when you just got back your first trial order.
  8. *

    * Liberalism IS A MENTAL ILLNESS !

    Looks to me like Randy has a thing against anyone that he is not booking hunts for.
    I deal with African Skins Everyday.
    There are reputable taxidermists and dip pack people in S A and other countries as well but
    to read his post it's 100% guaranteed you will screwed by 100% of everyone that he doesn't deal with.
    Sorry but I get just as many bad skinning salt and prep jobs from the States and Canada as any African outfit.
    Now go ahead tell me I'm wrong, I deal with 400 African pieces a year +. And I don't have 10% of the problems you guys talk about.
    I can count on one hand the screw ups and bad jobs, that's capes or lifesize I've had in the last year. Less than 5 pieces out of hundreds.
    All I see Randy saying is " Don't go to Africa and hunt unless you book it with ME, you'll get screwed"

    I have had many skins come from Sandhurst and every one tanned perfectly. Never any mistakes with what the client wanted, or got in his shipment.

    You keep bit*ching about African skins, I'd rather mount African all day long and if I never had a North American Animal to do again it would not bother me one bit.

    Oldshaver, A lot of PH's have worked many years for other PH's and then split off on their own.
    I have seen them take some great skinners with them into their new company and would highly recommend them even for there first season

    You guys draw to many conclusions, and group them into one category. MMMMMMMM I bet the wife swap thing will be interesting ,as they will pick some slob, toothless, illiterate, hack for taxidermist and then you can b*tch they picked their idea of an average taxidermist is and that is what the public will see all of us as.
  9. Randy

    Randy Huntin Chamios on Mount Cook, New Zealand

    About Sandhurst. One of my clients decided to have the taxidermy done over in SA. I don't mind because I am swamped. I warned him. His 2 lions were done by vastly different taxidermists one was actually OK the other terrible. They were mounted together one behind the other in a line, not one laying down in front of the other as instructed. the base was 12' long and 3' wide and weighed about 600#, just the base was 600#. You can imagine the cost of shipping. Wildebeest mounted LS instead of shoulder mt. and in general poor quality except the one lion. Many of the mounts were redone, the lion base was burned and so on. I also went to another taxidermist when I was over there years prior to this event. He was doing work in Joberg for Sandhurst. His name was Kevin C. (Don't want to spell his last name out of courtesy) Again typical SA taxidermy done by $15 per day blacks. Don't get me wrong I am not against blacks at all, they are just abused over there, work for nothing and just don't understand taxidermy.
    In short this client who dumped about $50,000 plus was real pissed due to the taxidermy and will never have anything good to say about them.
  10. Randy

    Randy Huntin Chamios on Mount Cook, New Zealand

    Hey*, Dennis, Not trying to pick any fights but, did I once say in my post "Don't go to Africa and hunt unless you book it with ME, you'll get screwed" nope. I suggest you read it again. Am I against everyone who does not book with me. Nope. I said just use a good agent. Truly I don't like to book taxidermists as some of them can cause a unique set of issues.

    Between inexperienced African taxidermists, dip and packers, permits, shipping and crating, import, customs, re dipping, tanning, brokers, bills that are hard to understand you have to admit Africa can and usually is a pain in the butt for the average guy. Also like it or not there are ALOT of bad taxidermists over there, bad skinners and all the typical South African crap that goes on.

    Out of all the bad skins you have received in your VAST experience with Africa has the outfitter replaced them upon your request? I seriously doubt it. Our African outfitters do. I get them to send extra capes just for the capes that slip of have problems. If you truly have as much experience as you say you do you for sure have seen some junk. If you or your clients go there and end up getting some troubles with quality, loss of capes etc. what recourse do you have?? Not much, it's a long way to pay a guy a visit and if you do go there your surely on his turf. As an agent, any good agent not just me, the agent has stroke over the outfitter, plain and simple, that is a basic premise of being a good agent. Also agents have contracts written in the USA and are enforceable in the USA should a client get screwed, he can make the agent pony up. As a loner without an agent all you have is the word of your African outfitter, thats it and I can assure you that once an African has your money the quality of his word often changes.

    *. If I were here to book hunts I would advertise them here, I don't, never have.
  11. *

    * Liberalism IS A MENTAL ILLNESS !

    You assume far to much in your posts.
  12. 1stManna

    1stManna Guest

    :-\ Interesting information :eek:
  13. yoteman

    yoteman New Member

    Thanks guys. I was just venting. The customer went to Eden Trophy Hunting in Namibia, a well respected establishment. I was just pissed at the loss of cape due to poor packing and turning of ear. I was able to fixed the slip area next to the ear on the Red Hartebeest with, of all things a piece of leg hide. Color matched and hair wasn't that must different in length. Doesn't look bad if I do say so myself. I am more pissed about the whole thing more than the customer. His fourth trip and he just laughed and said...."Thats Africa, gotta get used to it if you want to hunt it" I do have to say the Kudu I started today is going well. Only one rolled area of skin, Happens to be at the mane, but I did manage to cut enough dry skin out of the fold to get it rehydrated.

    I did experiment a little and found if I rehydrate/ flip/ and quick shave to get membrane and any fat and meat left. Here is the great part.

    Threw that sucker in my pressure tanner with a pickle solution and set it for 12 hours. Pull it out and all areas that hadn't totally rehydrated are now soft and I can thin cape like normal. Kudu cape looks awesome. Have one more Kudu, Blue Wildebeest and one Eland to do now.

    Thanks again guys for not ripping my head off. I was again just venting. Not used to African and getting capes that appear to me done by rookies. Come to think of it, I have never gotten a cape flipped/fleshed/ salted from anyone before. I always have to do it myself. Maybe I am a perfectionist, or maybe I have too much time on my hands here at work therefore I ramble.

    Out of here
  14. I guess Randy that we are talking about two different things? I meant the hides came back in great condition. I have not seen any of the taxidermy you are talking about. I judge an outfitter based on how the hides have been treated and prepared for the tannery. The taxidermy work is only an option for large items such as rhino or hippo with my customers. The taxidermist sends my paperwork in for the PH to attach to the prepped hides and outside of the crates. Based on that, I recommend Sandhurst. I have no experience with their taxidermists.
  15. EJ

    EJ Proud Member of: Unaffiliated, Free Agent

    Hey Randy can you reccomend a good agent? ;D
  16. Yep.
    It makes ones blood boil.
    I am an outfitter myself and a PH since 91 and have hunter your country among other countries. I have started my own taxi shop six years ago. Working after hours in my grand farther garage till the early mornings. All the knowledge was gained from this forum plus breakthrough magazine. My knowledge from African game is the most important. Al my molds are self made or modified as the ones we get from the US is a bit, how should I say it ....not spot on.
    I tan about 3000 game skins per year. I have four huge wet tumblers plus a Rizzi shaving machine. I only do my own clients work no other outfitters come through my door. All my staff was trained by myself, no poaching two other has opened an closed their doors.
    Now to get to the bottom of all this scull digging.
    The most important of all is the field prep of your trophy or skins. If the skinning and salting is not done probably then you can certainly not turn a piece of timber in to a prince now can you!
    So what are saying to each other?
  17. O by the way I know Clayton!
  18. I agree. The same for any animal on any continent.

    One burning question for you as an out of country tanner/taxidermist is why are folks treating in straight formic? The chemistry should dictate to them that salt is needed with acid. The hides that are treated in this manner arrive back in the US for tanning and upon rehydration, they fall to pieces.

    Have you had any experience with this? Anything in the grape vine so to speak about intentional destruction of mounts?
  19. Hallo David.
    I can not speak for others but it should be formic and salt. If they go by the letter of the State Veterinarian then it says, Formic acid and salt. The formula is PH of 2.4 to 3.8 and 40% salt. I use Aluminium Sulphate 8 grams of salt per 1 litre of water. If I need to drop the PH I will add formic. Aluminium Sulphate I have found sets the hair and it hidrate easier.
    What do you use to hidrate your skins accept water? Do you use any "wetting agent" its a chemical which spread the water molecules.
    And no I am not aware of any fendeta in destroying any capes and stuff. I actually prefer to dip and pack because I can turn my money in three months in stead of waiting six to eight months for it.
    I know that you guys in the states have a love afair with African game. It gives your studio a different feel. If your customer walks in and he sees 24 different species.... it lets those beady eyes gleam and they wonder off into far horizons.
    Am I right or wrong?
  20. oldshaver

    oldshaver Guest

    No offense to you huntertaxi, but the state Vets office, is causing the destruction of skins, over the long term. 2.4 is certainally not a safe Ph to store skins, over the months, it takes to get them back to the states. Anything below a Ph of 3 is risky, at best. This does not include environmental conditions of storage, humidity, temp, etc. All risk factors on their own. 10 years from now, the Vets office, will definitely cause harm to the South African hunting income. I think the Vets office need to study dead animals a little more, and maybe take a tanning course.