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What to Look for When Choosing a Taxidermist

Three Tips for Picking the Right One to Taxidermy Your Trophy

Taxidermy is one of those things where people know what it is in concept, but few understand what sets apart a great taxidermist from an average one. Great taxidermy is a perfect blend of art, skill, and science. To quote Orson Welles, “I don’t know anything about art but I know what I like.” The same can be said about taxidermy as it’s one of most common ways to recreate a once-living creature, and if it’s done wrong, you can tell immediately. Something about it will just look…off. It will have unnatural qualities about it or something about the details will be askew.

On the other hand, a great taxidermy job will have the animal looking as lifelike and flawless as it did before the hunt. The pattern of the fur should be natural, the features relaxed, and the mount should be sturdy. Here at Kansas trophy outfitters, we have seen our fair share of taxidermy jobs. Some good. Some bad. This has a lot of our whitetail deer hunters asking the question, “What should I look for when choosing a taxidermist?”

If you’re planning a Kansas trophy whitetail deer hunt, you want to make sure you have your taxidermist all lined up so you can get the process rolling as soon as you’re ready. Here are some tips for picking out the best taxidermist in your area.

Tip #1 – Review Prior Work

Probably the best way to see if your taxidermist is up to snuff is by reviewing their prior work. Any good taxidermist worth their salt is going to have this on display on their website. Hopefully, their body of work has several different types of animals with varying mounting styles. This ensures that they can handle any type of game that you hand over for a taxidermy job, not to mention creativity with the mounting. Although reviewing pictures on the website will give you an idea of the taxidermist skill level, the best way to gauge the quality of work is by seeing it in person. This may involve a little travel on your end, but believe us, this is a trip worth making if you’re going to put in the time and money to have the taxidermy process done on your trophy.

Tip #2 – Pay Attention to the Details

Once you have identified a couple taxidermists online that look like they may be up for the job, make a point to go in and see them in person. You can tell them that their online gallery of work caught your eye, but you’d like to get a closer look for yourself, which is a perfectly reasonable request. Ask to see the specific animal that you have in mind for your trophy. Whitetail deer are likely going to be the most popular, so they should have a lot of those. A good rule of thumb when it comes to taxidermy is that the animals should look just as good from far away as they do up close. And they should look believable from all angles – not just certain ones.

Pay particularly close attention to the eyes, nose, the ears, the fur, and the mounting. Don’t be shy about getting in close for a proper inspection looking for any details that might be flawed. For instance, the eyes should be properly shaped and provide the animal with no expression. They should look serene and natural. Bad taxidermy will have the animal looking confused, mad, or scared, which is what you don’t want. The nose should have a sort of natural wetness to it without it looking glossy or shiny. The ears are one of the toughest portions of a taxidermy job to get just right. If you see any wrinkling or flaws around the ear area, then that’s a sign that they did not do the job correctly. Finally, the fur pattern should look as natural as possible, just as it did when it was alive.

The details are what really sells the work of a great taxidermist. If you look at a taxidermist’s work and are convinced you’re looking at the real thing, then you’ve got yourself a winner.

Tip #3 – Finalizing Your Decision

Finding a taxidermist that does truly fantastic work is the hard part. Once you’ve done that, then it becomes a matter of asking some final qualifying questions to see if they truly earned your business.

The first question you should ask is, “How long is this going to take?” Do not be shocked if they give you a timeframe of several months or over a year. This is completely normal in the world of taxidermy as most jobs take a very long time to achieve a high-quality final product. Trust us, it’s worth waiting for a great trophy that you’re proud to hang on your wall.

The next question you should ask is, “How much is this going to cost?” Again, do not be shocked if the number is higher than you expected. Taxidermy is a time-consuming and expensive endeavor for the taxidermist. The materials required to make the animal look realistic, specifically the eyes, cost a lot of money. If you went into their store and we’re impressed by the work, that’s because they’re investing in high-quality materials. Having said that, do not be afraid to price-compare one taxidermist to another. Also, make sure to ask about any fees or surcharges that might be included on the final bill that aren’t part of their estimate, such as shipping or sub-contractor work.

One final critical question to ask is, “Is your work under warranty?” This ensures that if for some reason the mounting malfunctions or the details of the taxidermy job start to go awry, that they will be covered at no additional cost. For instance, if an antler or eye suddenly detaches for no apparent reason, you’ll want to know that you can bring this in to get reattached.

Book Your Hunt at Kansas Trophy Outfitters Today!

We hope that this has provided you with some helpful guidance on picking out the right taxidermist for you. However, you won’t be able to mount your trophy without first completing a successful hunt. The best way to do that is by booking your Kansas trophy experience with Kansas trophy outfitters.

We are widely regarded as the best Kansas trophy whitetail deer hunts in the Midwest because we can guarantee that you get a clear shot. It’s one of the main benefits of hunting on a private reserve. We also don’t make you jump through a bunch of hoops if you’re a hunter from out of state. As long as you’re a licensed hunter, you can hunt at Kansas Trophy Outfitters without the requirement of a special license.

Book your hunting excursion today!