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What do you look for in choosing where to take your animal? I can go to different studios and look at their work, but it all generally looks the same or the same quality. Is there any specific details to look for or questions to ask that you have found to benefit in the long run?
 

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i noticed you're from PA. sepa maybe?, if so, i would recommend giving Don Bennett a call. the guy does awesome work. here's his info from yellowpages .com . if you give him a call, make arrangements to talk to him about his work, and see some of his work in progress, you to will be impressed. VERY nice guy to talk to.


BENNETT DON E
3132 STREET ROAD, WARRINGTON, PA 18976
Phone: (215) 491-6123
 

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Good Taxidermist

Go to their shop and look at the animals that are in their showroom. If you're getting a whitetail mounted, look at the whitetails that he/she has in the showroom. Don't let big antlers wow you, you need to be looking at the animal itself. If you're a hunter, you've seen live animals. You need to try to compare the mounts to live references and see how close they look to a live animal.

Then, ask yourself these questions:
Overall, does the animal look alive?
Do the colors around the eyes, in the ears, and on the nose look soft and natural or does it look painted?
Is the mount physically clean and groomed?

If you're having problems, take pictures of live animals with you for comparison. If you can't find any, ask the taxidermist for his reference pictures so you can compare them to the mounts. Any good taxidermist will have reference photos that he uses when he's putting a mount together.

Then, ask the taxidermist these questions:
Do you tan your skins (or do you use dry preservative)?
Can you alter a manakin for a specialty pose?
Do you guarantee your work?

If he answers no to any of these questions ... LEAVE.

DO NOT try to negotiate his prices, or ask for a discount.
For my repeat customers, I sometimes give them some kind of "extra" with their mount. But, when someone asks for a discount, I tell them I don't give discounts to anyone.

What it boils down to (and I'll tell a potential customer this too) "if you like my work, and you feel like my work is worth the price ... I'll be happy to mount your animal ... if not, I'll be happy to give you the names of other taxidermists in the area."
I know that may seem a little harsh, but I have yet to have someone walk out of my shop after looking at my work, then my prices, and then hearing that statement.

You should visit all your local taxidermists. Each one will have a little different style, and you may like one more than the others ... just for some miniscule detail.

Good luck in your search,
Kevin
 

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look for the amount of detail in the muscles. Taxidermists that use cheap forms turn out animals that have no details.
On the other hand with a good form you can see veins, muscles, and bones.

I prefer Joe Coombs forms.

Also look at the eyes, do they look real?
One of the biggest things to look for is the quality of components they are using. Cheap components typically make for poor mounts.

Also see if you can find one that he did in archery. Look at how good he was able to hide the stitch line. SOme are ver good and some dont' do so well.

Does the taxidermist use stipling on the nose (to make it look bumpy) or does he just paint it.
Does he use closs on the nose.
Mine actually puts a little gloss on the whiskers so they have a wet look if you look closely.
 

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here are some pictures (hopefully) of my favorite mount. Not the biggest buck, but the taxidermist did an awesome job.
Look at the detail.
Look at how real the eyes look.
This is a 8 year old mount, that I also need to clean.
 

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Oh yeah, and on this particular deer, the taxidermist took a joe coombs form, cut the head off and turned it more, and tilted it to the side. He took a full sneak and made it so it could look around a corner. When you walk into my game room, he is looking right at you.
 

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Is that a cucumber in your mount's mouth? :embarasse
 

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Silverback,
I don't want you to think by any means that I'm knocking your taxidermist, but here's an easily made mistake on the eyes, I'm not sure if your deer is like this since I can't see it's left eye.

When a deer is looking straight ahead, you will only see the white at the rear of both eyes.
When a deer is looking severely left, you will see the white at the back of the right eye and at the front of the left eye.
When a deer is looking severely right, you will see the white at the back of the left eye and at the front of the right eye.
At no time should you see white at the front of both eyes. It's impossible for the deer to do.
In any pose or position, you only see white in the front of the eye or in the back of the eye. "Most likely" never in front and in back.

That's why I told spiker to look at reference photos of live animals. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Kevin
 

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nice come back

silverback said:
Yeah I shot him in my garden and wanted to preserve the moment.
... or it could be leaves.
that right there was funny, ive been PO all day over the price of gas$3.18 for the cheap stuff, and that made me laugh.
 

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Like I said Texas, it is an 8 year old mount. In fact one of the first ones he did when he opened his new shop. But nobody is perfect at anything. He has improved a lot since then.


I do appreciate the observation. I will let him know when he mounts future deer.

My point is that the form shows a lot of detail, and that is something to look for.

And for what I paid I am not complaining. I have seen taxidermists charge much more for lower quality work.

Here's another picture of one he did. It's tough, but you can see he did the eyes properly there.
That was a first day archery kill (actually my first ever when I was 12) Pretty nice looking for an archery cape in my opinion.

You can see a little white below the branch, but none above it
 

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Silver

That second mount really does show the muscle detail. That's what I love about mounting those early season bow kills. The hair is usually short, and thin compared to a late season deer. It's good to see that you're not afraid to "go outside the box". Most of my clients want an old fasioned strait up shoulder mount ... until I show them pictures and let them know that it's "OK" to do something a little different. Here are some pictures of a deer I did a few months ago. I started with a manakin that looks like the first picture and ended up with the two pictures in the next two posts. I wish I had a picture looking from above, the neck was turned back a little more than 90 degrees. The shoulder was also scaloped so there was only a small part touching the wall, similar to a pedestal mount ... but it hung on the wall.

Kevin
 

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that looks like a wall pedastal that does not lie flat against the wall. (i.e. between a wll pedastal and a regular straight mount)

Dow that hang off the wall at about a 45 degree angle?
 

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It is a wall pedestal so to speak.
McKenzie's wall pedestals only have about half of the back that is scaloped.
This one had almost the full backside scaloped, so that there was very little of it touching the wall. So, it was more of a hybrid.

Most of the time, you can't get a pedestal or a wall pedestal in the size you need simply because no manakin manufacturer has as many pedestals as they do regular shoulder forms. I find it to be less work to get a form of the correct size, and make it into a pedestal rather than buy a pedestal/wall pedestal form and alter the heck out of it to make it fit.

Here is a sketch of the before and after alterations, looking at it from the top.
 

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Why is it a bad thing that some taxis don't tan their own hides?

Just curious....
 

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I have a strong OPINION on this subject.
When I first started, I thought I could save a few bucks tanning my own hides. I bought the necessary equipment, and dove in head first.
Let me tell you ... tanning is a science in itself. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to do it, but you gotta be darn close if you want "perfect" results. I use that loosely, because no tanned hide is perfect, but a full time tannery tans skins and that's all. A taxidermist that tans their own skins is doing a job that he's not proficient doing. Kinda like having a mechanic paint your car. He might have enough knowledge to do it, but you'll get much better results from a painter.

So, it's not a bad thing that some tan their own skins, but you can get a much better product from a tannery that does nothing but tanning.

On the same token, there are some taxidermist that use "dry preservative" to "treat" their skins rather than tan them. A dry preservative is just that, a preservative, and it does not in any way turn the skin into leather the same way that a tanning process will do. In the begining of the SHORT life of a DP'ed mount, it will look OK. But, over time, usually about 4 to 5 years, you will see a decline in the cleanliness and overall appearance of the mount. That's why in my first post, I said to stay away from a taxidermist that tells you he uses a dry preservative on his mounts.

Kevin
 

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Visit the shop

I go to Rib's in South Jersey. I would also look at the back of the back and the base of the ears that's where the stitching can make a mount look real bad. A mount should also look life-like, some taxidemist over due the mount so it has too much detail. It looks as bad if they don't put enough detail.
 

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Lmao!!!

silverback said:
Yeah I shot him in my garden and wanted to preserve the moment.
... or it could be leaves.
That was good Silver..........
 
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