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Deer mounts using dry preservative

Discussion in 'Deer and Gameheads' started by deerstuffer, Mar 26, 2008.

  1. deerstuffer

    deerstuffer New Member

    I have been doing taxidermy work on a part time basis (40 -120 Deer) for 20 years but I am fairly new to this website. I learned a lot of what I know from a guy that retired after 30 years of taxidermy work. I initially got on this site looking for info on mounting turkeys, but after reading pages and pages of info on various other subjects, I am beginning to question everything I read on here and this is why. I have mounted deer for 20 years and still have contact with the guy who done it for 30 years and we both do it the same way. I use Dry Preservative exclusively. I do not use hide paste at all. I leave the cartilage in the ears and use ear liners with no glue, paste, caulk, or anything. I have read many post on here about all of these things that I do saying that you CANNOT or SHOULD NEVER do it that way or it WILL NEVER last. Now, the "look" of my mounts may not be competition quality because of my lack of training but I am tired of reading that taxidermy cannot be done this way. My hides look as good as any and show no effects of time like some say they should. My ears looks as good as others bondo, glued, cartilage out ears despite those who say you can't do it that way. The retired taxidermist I mentioned Dry Preserved everything from squirrels to Grizzly to gators and everything in between and I would challenge anyone to tell the difference between his DP mounts and others tanned mounts. I said all of that to ask this. Could someone explain to me why I have read all of this stuff when it obviously works.
  2. artwildcreate

    artwildcreate Don't look at me.....

    Like i said in another post already... "Some people just don't get it!", and you are one of those people.....

    I am curious to what you charge your customers for this screwing you are giving them.....
    taxidermistIN likes this.

  3. deerstuffer

    deerstuffer New Member

    I guess you always bring the idiots out of the woodwork when you are after an smart thought out answer, but to answer your question, I charge $300 for WT, $600 for elk now. I have increased my price twice in the past 3 years because the business is growing faster than I have time for and I still turn some away. It is all my work-of-mouth advertising because people like my work. I am not saying it is even near the best but I also measure for the record book and I would put my work up against 2/3 of what I see. Some honest, thought out opinions would be much appreciated.
  4. nibjones

    nibjones Join your States Taxidermy Assoc.

    As taxidermists, we try to improve on past methods and move forward, while improving our reputation as taxidermists and the look of our work, all the while educating our clients. I have a really hard time believing things look as good as you say, if you are using the above mentioned methods. If you have been doing things this way for twenty years, then probably nobody on here will change your opinion. You just keep doing things that way if you wish and feel good in the fact that you are shafting every customer who walks through that door. Remember you wanted a real answer and you got one, although this may be just my opinion. I would bet that more people agree with what I have said, versus your methods.
  5. artwildcreate

    artwildcreate Don't look at me.....

    Now I might not have given you the most articulate or eloquent of replies like some might have written on here, but my reply still sends the same message.. You are screwing every person you mount for when you do what you claim to do.. It is black and white.. Sorry, but I do not sugarcoat things..

    If you are not using hide paste, if you are not professionally fur dressing the hides, and if you are not using any adhesive in your ears, then you are doing this industry a major injustice..
    In your defense somewhat, a man once told me that we, the professionals in this industry, need bad Hackidermists like you. You are an example of the "Wal Marts" of taxidermy. You are a good place for the uneducated, tightwad customers to take their animals to be hackidermied, so we don't have to deal with them...
    ...........and not once did I call you an idiot...
  6. nibjones

    nibjones Join your States Taxidermy Assoc.

    good response, artwildcreate
  7. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    I don't know where to begin, but I guess it's someplace in between the two who've posted here. Your background tends to make me believe that you learned from soneone like me 30 years ago and you never bothered to see how much the industry was changing around you. I still use DP on many small game species, but there is no way in God's green earth I'd DP a bear or any of the larger game species. Even if I was tempted to DP a deer cape again, I'd still use quality epoxy adhesives to hold the hide in place.

    I see by the picture you posted a rack that immediately takes the beholders eye of the actual taxidermy work. I can't see your ears drumming, but I know that they are. Your eyes look dull and dead while there's no definition of the hide on the manikin. That could be cured by using a quality epoxy hide paste, and certainly could be "livened up" by using a tanned cape. I'm assuming you wash your capes and the quality "paint on tans" out there would make a world of difference in your product. Then you could charge $400 for the same amount of work after the fact as you charge $300 for now. (No way would I charge $600 for an elk).

    So the choice is yours, obviously. If you're satisfied with your quality and you have customers who keep you busy, and you don't feel any obligations to making yourself and your work any better, then I suppose there's nothing I can add to this conversation.
    JL and wild things 101 like this.
  8. michael p.

    michael p. Getting better with age :)

    Well Deer stuffer here is my 2 cents. Why I was raise using dry pry preservative I have seen both sides of the fence & agree that "done properly" it works. As far as no hide paste, even most old school Taxidermist would knock you up side the head with Northwestern school of Taxidermy book circa 1940 for doing that.

    There are cheaper ways of doing Taxidermy, just like there are cheaper ways of building cars (reference YUGO). If you yourself are so cheap that you do not even care to use the simplest techniques such as a durable hide paste then you are beyond explaining or comprehending any of our opinions & it will be a waste of time.

    Seems to me that your mind is made up & I will not change it. So best of luck to you. If you charge $300 for a deer & $600 for an Elk then you & your clientele deserve each other and the means you use to achieve it.

    BTW, I heard there is another Taxidermist on here named Brian looking for some extra work, you two are kind of peas in a pod & would be good together, maybe you should give him a ring ;)
  9. artwildcreate

    artwildcreate Don't look at me.....

    Thanks George and Michael P.. Good points made....
  10. Josh

    Josh New Member

    Have to agree with artwild on this one....... especially on the hackidermists........ Pure Injustice.
  11. Deerstuffer,

    I did exactly what you have indicated your doing for many years. As I started to experience different and BETTER methods I began to make change. Now I'm no professionall Taxidermist, I am however doing more pieces than ever before, and my customer base is growing....

    Dry tan preserved I love it...Its easy, the stretch I get is unbelievable, ect....I would use Dry tan on anything before I didn't care it was great... I have mounts at my home which are 20 years old and some older, one which I think is about 16 yrs of age... These mounts are showing major signs of cracking, browning, just aging and not looking so good...I have now changed to pickling and tanning everything (I do myself) not professionally tanned yet...(But its coming due to how much work I'm getting)ha-ha

    HIDE PASTE vs no hide paste you have to get movement or you have a million pins huh? Since I started using hide paste I use very few pins and have very little if no movement.. I will not lie I still have some trouble with things pulling around....

    EARS, well everyone has a different way I think, I've done cartilage in, bondo, cartilage w/ear liners, ear liners with out cartilage... I'll tell you my best looking CRISP ears have been ear liners with OUT cartilage...

    Well, these are just a few of my thoughts after reading your post... If you intend to grow and you want a great reputation for your work, then you need to consider growing with progress....It will only make your product better....There is nothing wrong with change and believe you me when you do change you well love the finish product more and wonder why it took you so long....

    I personally feel like artwild and nibjones, gave you some good advice. Take a risk and try something different and see what you think....Hope this helps......
  12. MP, always wanting to play with the panties...right

    The trout should start biting pretty da-- quick...What'ca think?
  13. deerstuffer

    deerstuffer New Member

    I would like to reply to George and Bowhunter XT comments as they seem to be looking at this with a somewhat open mind. George, the retired taxidermist I mentioned just retired last year after 30 years in the business not 30 years ago as I may have misrepresented. He was getting $425 for WT, $250 for squirrels, $650 for turkey and so on when he retired and had more business than he could keep up with and he did it all exactly like I have described with DP and so on and was regarded as one of the best if not the best within 100 miles. He mounted elephant, giraffe and every africans species there is for himself and others. I believe the African game was tanned for obvious reasons but I am trully confident that his work would rank in the top 10% of all taxidermist. BowhunterXT, I appreciate your response in that you admitted to using DP. I believe many more than will admit it do and use commercial tanning as a mere lie and excuse to charge more money but that is just my opinion. I became interested in this site for the very things you mentioned; to learn different methods and procedures for doing all aspects of the taxidermy process but became turned off when some say you CAN'T do it this way and I know you can. Also, I do use a lot of pins and staples. Though I do not glue the ears, I put 5 staples in each ear that I later remove and I also card the ears while they are drying. I still have the first deer I ever mounted in 1988 and the ears show no signs or drumming or cracking as George guarantees. That deer has the usual problems I see with a lot of beginner taxidermy such as the mouth "coming open" slightly and the skin pulling away from the antlers, and cracking around the eyes because, as a beginner, I did not have the experience, knowledge, or the tools necessary to properly flesh and thin the skin. It wasn't until a couple of years later that the retired taxidermist showed me some things that where causing my problems. I practiced on my own and family animals for years before I ever charged for a mount. In those early days, I was charging $150 because I wasn't in it for the money and wanted the experience to learn from and looking back, some of those early customers probably still didn't get their money's worth but thankfully, they were close friends or family that knew I was in the learning process and understood.
    Then there were years in the middle when, just as someone stated, I was getting some mounts because I was the cheapest around but for the last 6-8 years, now that my price is closer to the area average, I get more than my share because people like the work.
    I put approximately 30- 40 pins in each deer I mount some of which stay in while others are only in during the drying process to keep things from moving around but I see many of the deer I have mounted from time to time and inspect them when I can. I am not going to say I never find flaws but they are no different or worse than the things I see in other mounts mounted using other methods.
    Yes, this is the only way I have ever done it, but I got on this site because I am open to new and different ideas but I won't switch just because someone says so without logical reasoning and proof. Thanks for the discussion from those willing to discuss it.
  14. michael p.

    michael p. Getting better with age :)

    deerstuffer, I use on the average 4 pins in my deer. I myself am no "master Taxidermist" or even close, but I look at the efficiency factor. For all the time (and headache) it takes putting in & removing pins the hide paste will cease all the use of them.

    I am not sure where you live that makes you have no humid weather, but I will promise you that depending on where your clients keep their deer, if there is humidity, that deer will drum with no hide paste.

    I could go into alot of pro's & con's & try to help you, but if somebody will stand up against the basic necessity for using hide paste & are as good as you claim you are then I feel it is a complete & total waste of bandwidth to even try............kind of the same way using 30-40 pins on an individual deer head is waste.

    I do have a simple question though......since you do not use hide paste, do you even "rough up" your forms or do you leave them smooth as when you got them?
  15. Hey, the way you do things is your own business, right?...unfortunately many customers never even knew their was a difference in DP and tanning. Many of them probably believe it is just normal for a mount to start looking old and worn...Also, you will continue to get plenty of business with your current methods because, "heck it looks like a deer, doesn't it"....I think you should offer to all your customers the fact that their hides are DP'd and not tanned....if its so wonderful, then they won't have a problem with it. Its only fair to them!!
  16. deerstuffer

    deerstuffer New Member

    No, I don't rough the form up as it would only make it harder to move the hide around. Because I use DP, I can use the maximum size form because of the stretch I get and don't have to downsize for a tanned cape that won't. I can put all of the detail needed with strategic placed pins or carding. I do more on early season deer as the detail shows better on the short haired animals. Over half of the pins I use are in the mouth. I spend less time putting in pins than it would take to mix the hide paste alone. I have used hide paste on a commercially tanned cape once but could not tell the difference when I was done other than a slightly yellow color I have noticed on commercially tanned capes and yes it was done by top rate tannery often recommended on this site.
    I do tell my customers about DP. I have many older heads around and it is easy to show them their gamehead will last. You are right, many don't know the difference and never will but there are many that believe that taxidermist use commercial tanning so they can charge more while someone else does the dirty work.
  17. bigrubs07

    bigrubs07 October 26,2007 148 gross P/Y points, 230lbs FD

    wow, the old saying goes each to there own, but I do believe in any business, change is usually a good thing and to succeed you need to change with time. Everything in the business of taxidermy is getting better!!!
  18. *

    * Liberalism IS A MENTAL ILLNESS !

    Deer STUFFER, you are happy being that, some of us will remain to take our ART to the level of respect it DESERVES!
  19. MattHCT

    MattHCT New Member

    Well, deer stuffer, I can see your not the type of person that takes alot of pride in their work. In and out and half ass is not the way to do things. You made a couple bold statements about your retired friend, "Who was the best around for 100 miles." and "Who you would rank in the top 10% of all taxidermists." If you know that MUCH then you should know better than to make such ridiculous, remarks!
    wild things 101 likes this.
  20. MattHCT

    MattHCT New Member

    By the way deerstuffer you should quit smoking that stuff. See kids drugs are bad!!