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Deer Or Birds, Which Is "easiest" ?

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Tnrandy, Apr 8, 2022.

  1. Tnrandy

    Tnrandy Active Member

    Just curious...for those that shoulder mount whitetail deer and birds, especially turkey, which would you say is the "easiest" and which of the two has the best profit margin.
  2. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I think deer heads were easier for me, but less enjoyable for me than turkeys and birds in general. If you charge accordingly, they both can have a great profit margin.

  3. whitetails and fish only

    whitetails and fish only Well-Known Member

    Never done a Turkey but in my opinion Birds,Ducks, are flat out the hardest to mount and make look good. I can only imagine the difficulty in mounting Turkeys.
    George likes this.
  4. Mike Powell

    Mike Powell Well-Known Member

    I am more proficient at shoulder mounts and life size mammals. I send fish and birds to wholesalers. I can do them, they are just more difficult for me. The guy who does my birds, on the other hand doesn’t like to do anything with “fur”. I do like doing turkeys, though, and will usually do the turkeys myself. If you take into account your time when you judge the profit margin, it will vary by the proficiency of the taxidermist. It takes me at least twice, if not triple the time to mount a bird as it does for the guy who does my birds. On the other, hand I can knock a deer out in short order so the hourly profit is going to be better on a deer for me.
    George likes this.
  5. Westcoast

    Westcoast Well-Known Member

    Hands down without a doubt a whitetail shoulder mount is the easiest. Not even close in comparison in my opinion. Shoulder mounts will always be the bread and butter. Again, in my personal opinion. If your talking about least amount of work for most amount of money. Then highest profit margin is probably European skulls. Again, these are based on my own experiences, yours may be different. Turkeys and large geese are just a big pain, I try to avoid them completely.
    George likes this.
  6. drob

    drob Well-Known Member

    Started out trying to do it all and quickly learned some things are not as easy as they seem.
    Now I mainly do game heads and some life-size.I will do upland birds,but no ducks.I am amazed every year when I go to our show and someone wins best taxidermist by getting high scores in multiple catagories!
  7. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    Whitetail deer are obviously easier to mount. Loads of taxidermists mount them and avoid everything else. Check out any supply catalog. There are 10 times more shoulder mount manikins than all other manikins combined. Birds and bass are very profitable due to the low material cost. A talented bird taxidermist can wrap a body and have a $350 duck mount with a $10 material cost. Bass are the easiest fish to mount with a relatively low supply cost. $30 in materials for a $300 fish. I have around 4 hours of time in both ducks and bass.
    Blharvey43 likes this.
  8. Westcoast

    Westcoast Well-Known Member

    Birds take a lot of study to get them good. Everything gets easier and better the more you do. Sort of. I know of several taxidermists who mount a lot of deer and none of them are right. The more you do, the “easier” it gets. The more you study, the “better” they get. Whether you are talking a duck or a buck. I suggest getting good at everything.
    Honey the Bean likes this.
  9. Dave York

    Dave York Well-Known Member

    I’d rather do several deer heads than a large Canadian goose or Turkey
    Richard C, Westcoast and George like this.
  10. Tnrandy

    Tnrandy Active Member

    Wow thanks for all the feedback. My son does whitetail skull mounts and was thinking he may try something else. Where we live it’s either going to be whitetail deer or turkey, not a lot of other game in Our area. Deer shoulder mounts in our area are going for around $400-450, turkey mounts $500-750.
  11. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    I loved doing upland game birds. That is what I would do if I decide to do taxidermy again. I would specialize in turkeys. For me, I would not do a deer head for under $850 and turkeys for under $1,000. If I ever got back into it, it would probably be more than that, but not under for it to be worth my while.
  12. KerMac

    KerMac New Member

    I think it's like comparing apples to oranges. I love doing both, for different reasons. One thing I love about doing birds is that feathers can hide a lot of mistakes. Maybe try a duck first to see if you even have interest in doing birds. I agree with a previous comment, all taxidermy can be profitable if you properly calculate your rates, including monthly expenses like rent and utilities. Good luck!
  13. Richard C

    Richard C Well-Known Member

    Wow, How much does a new Ford F-150 cost in your area? Must be half of what they get here in comparison to the taxidermy prices. I may have to come there to get one! Deer here are 950.00 to 1100.00 met a taxidermist from the west coast two weeks ago that gets 1500.00.
    Tanglewood Taxidermy likes this.
  14. To be honest, my very first actual finished “mount”, was a small bird that hit my window. A Cowbird, to be precise. I’ve done lots of pelts and I have lots of things ready to be mounted or turned into pelts, but a small bird was my very first mount, and it didn’t turn out too bad. I have two half-finished birds done as well.

    If you want or need practise, especially with wiring, it never hurts to buy a chicken (yes, a fully feathered chicken from a farm, or even a full plucked one, just to manipulate the wires through the bones etc) or some kind of bird like that. Or if you’re lucky, you may find a dead bird to mess with (like those silly partridges).

    Just this ones thoughts. Never waste a good thing ; )
  15. Here's a website for welfare.
    I don't think alot of customers would appreciate people experimenting with someone new with their trophies . Good luck
    Honey the Bean and Richard C like this.