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: Taxidermy and Field Care Tips and Tricks
: Choosing A Taxidermist
Choosing the right taxidermist to ensure that your trophy animal is preserved properly is a very important decision to make. It is true that the skill level of taxidermy depends on the knowledge and expertise of the specific person and the level varies from one end of the spectrum to the other. It ultimately boils down to you, who has to make the right selection of a taxidermist, if you want good results.
Posted November 30, -1 by Justin Ott
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There are a number of things that you can do, in order to ensure that you leave your trophy with the appropriate person for the job.
For optimal results, it is advisable to keep the price consideration for the service at the bottom of your priority list especially if it is a once in a lifetime trophy as your objective is not saving money, it is getting the best possible mount. Professional capability should find a place at the top of the list. A good taxidermist should be able to make your trophy appear lifelike after being mounted. With modern advancements in technology, there should be no excuse for your trophy animal not to appear like a living animal. You must therefore try to look at the earlier work done for previous clients. This can be at the taxidermist's showroom or at the homes of the clients.
Some important questions that you must ask the taxidermist, to ensure that you choose one that is best can be:
Can you give me references to some of your clients, for whom you have done similar work?
Have you undergone any certification program that qualifies you as a certified taxidermist?
Are you a member of any state or national organization of taxidermists?
Do you regularly attend seminars and workshops related to taxidermy?
Do you subscribe to good taxidermy periodicals and magazines?
Do you participate in taxidermy competitions? If you do, have you been awarded any special awards, titles or blue ribbons for work excellence?
Can I see some of your finished mounts?
Do you provide a guarantee against your work?
Do you have insurance cover in case something untoward happens, while my trophy is in your possession?
Does a taxidermist require a license in your state? If yes, do you have a valid license?
Good and bad reputation has an uncanny ability to spread. Ask around about the reputation with respect to the work done by the taxidermist, take time to check on a number of taxidermists to compare their work and other details, before making a final decision in favor of one. After all, you will be staring at the mount on your feature wall for some time. By comparing taxidermists to find what you want, you can be assured of good end results.
Ask to see their portfolio of work and reference library. A good taxidermist will have an immense amount of photographic material on the works he has done along with considerable books and other reference material on taxidermy. The reference material can be from a broad variety that would include wildlife and so also from taxidermy magazines, books related to biology, anatomy, habitat etc, of different animals, photographs on the inside of the mouth, eyes, ears and nostrils, live animals of all sizes and types. Check for different mount options for different animals and those available with him for your trophy.
If money does form an important part of the equation for getting your trophy mounted, one alternative would be to take just the cape or hide to him for tanning. Once tanned, you will be able to store it without suffering damage for a long time, if it is commercially dry tanned. This can let you have your trophy mounted at a later date, when you find your situation financially more congenial. But, before opting for this, make sure you check with the taxidermist. Also check, if he will discount the cost of tanning, when you eventually give the cape for mounting to him.
If you exercise due care and are able to make the right selection, you can be assured that your trophy will really last for a very long time. My personal taxidermist is Ray Wiens.