Selecting the Right Taxidermist for Your Project
We may be a bit biased, but in our opinion, Brumfield Taxidermy should be your first choice! In the interest of full disclosure and transparency, however, the following is a list of key factors to keep in mind when selecting a taxidermist:
Obviously you can only pay for what you can afford, but keep in mind: you get what you pay for. Always weigh your options, taking into account a taxidermist’s technical ability and artistic talent, relative to their fees.
Gather as much information as possible. A studio visit is ideal, but if time and distance prohibit, request photos of mounted trophies for as many different types of animals as possible. Ask for background on the business: a general biography, length of time in operation, testimonials, awards, and any other relevant questions that come to mind.
If you have friends or associates who’ve worked with a reputable taxidermist and were pleased with the results, by all means: ask for a referral. If you are able, visit that taxidermist's showroom to see their work up close. At the very least, so to see your friend's mounted trophy in person. Make sure that piece is something you would be proud to display in your home.
A Trophy Lasts A Lifetime
A mounted trophy is not an inexpensive proposition; it’s definitely an object you should consider as an investment that will remain on display in your home or office for the duration of your lifetime, and eventually be handed down to your children. Therefore, you should make every effort possible to ensure the final product is exactly what you want—and selecting the right taxidermist is the first, and most important step.
Brumfield Taxidermy’s Pre-Hunt Checklist
The important things you should know, before you go! It’s Never too Early to Consult a Taxidermist By contacting us prior to your hunt, we’re able to begin planning for your trophy, and we’ll ultimately be much better prepared to create the masterpiece you want to grace your home or office.
Your trophy’s mounting dictates a great deal about how you should handle an animal in the field. If you haven’t settled on a particular mount type, we can help you select from several options, including:
- Life size mount
- Shoulder mount
- Pedestal mount
- Wall mount
Once you’ve chosen your ideal mount, you need to make the appropriate field dress to ensure you have enough hide (and in the correct proportion) for the mount you’ve selected. We’ll provide you with instruction on the proper field dress to guarantee your trophy’s hide is suitable for your mount of choice. We can also advise on a field dress that will enable you to select your mount type after the hunt. Additionally, we offer guidance on preserving the hide and horns to keep them in pristine condition, proper skinning techniques, as well as vital measurements and other important factors to keep in mind—so we’re able to create the best trophy possible.
Trophy Field Care
Proper care of your trophy in the field is a very important aspect of the overall process, as poor care after the harvest can greatly reduce the quality of the finished product, or even potentially ruin your trophy altogether.
Ideally, you should always consult your taxidermist prior to your hunt. If for some reason, however, you’re unable to do so, the following is an outline of the basic elements necessary to care for your trophy in the field:
- Do not cut near the neck—this can ruin the cape
- Do not hang an animal with a rope around the neck, as this will damage or destroy hair on the animal’s hide
- Avoid all exposure (if possible) to moisture
- Do not drag an animal, especially by the shoulders. If you absolutely need to drag an animal, place it on a tarp or blanket, and make sure the animal doesn’t wear through the tarp as its being dragged
- Do not place a tag in the animal’s ear
- Make every effort to get the animal to your taxidermist as soon as possible—If you face a delay, contact your taxidermist immediately to obtain appropriate storage instructions
- Always save as much hide as possible. Too much is better than not enough, particularly if you’re unsure about the mount type, or happen to change your mind about the mount after the fact. Do not rely only on your guide or outfitter’s advice—your taxidermist’s word is gold in this matter
Bacteria begin to decompose an animal’s body on a cellular level the moment it dies. Heat, humidity, and prolonged exposure to the sun dramatically increase this process, potentially causing spoilage within hours. This necessitates an effective game plan prior to your hunt. Specially designed game storage bags are ideal, as plastic bags intensify the effects of heat and humidity, particularly if an animal is not allowed to cool completely prior to bagging. The cape is most susceptible to decomposition, much more than the carcass, and requires special attention. If you’re unable to bring the cape to your taxidermist immediately, it must be frozen to safeguard its preservation.
Never salt an animal unless it’s completely turned and fleshed (this includes the head and hooves or paws), as salting prior to suitable treatment and care of the animal will make your taxidermist’s job significantly more difficult, or potentially ruin the hide completely. If you possess training in correct fleshing and turning techniques, and are comfortable salting the animal yourself, be sure to use only non-iodized salt; never use table salt or rock salt. If you’re hunting in a remote area, causing a significant delay in delivering the trophy to your taxidermist, don't hesitate to contact us prior to your hunt, for advice and recommendations on appropriate handling procedures. If you have additional questions on proper field care for your trophy prior to your hunt, please feel free to contact Brumfield Taxidermy: (970) 434-9299 | firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re more than happy to provide you with detailed field care instructions.
Mount Trophy Home Display Care
You must take care to display your mounted trophy in an area of your home that addresses the following conditions:
- Avoid placing your mounted trophy in direct sunlight, as this will cause the hide to fade.
- Avoid exposing your mounted trophy to excessive heat and moisture, as both elements can promote decay, and create an insect breeding ground, which promotes further decay
- Place your mounted trophy in an insect free location
- Be sure your mounted trophy is inaccessible to your house pets
- If you choose to display your mounted trophy in your basement or any area of your home below ground level, be sure to run a de-humidifier to avoid moisture damage
If you place your mounted trophy in storage, be sure the storage space adheres to all the guidelines outlined above. You may also want to consider mothballs and a bug-bomb to prevent moths and other insect infestation.
**Please Note** Avoid storing your mounted trophies with other mounted trophies at all costs—even if only on a temporary basis (such as a pawn shop). Other mounted trophies infested with insects may infest your trophy, and insect infestation removal is a difficult and costly process.
Mounted Trophy Home Care Maintenance
Your mounted trophy requires regular maintenance to sustain its fresh, lustrous, “direct from the taxidermist’s studio” appearance. We recommend a complete maintenance regimen, at least twice yearly, including:
- Inspecting for insects
- Smoothing out-of-place hair with your fingers or a fine toothed brush such as a dog brush, always brushing with the grain of the hair, never against
- Cleaning hair using a light application of Show Sheen or over livestock product, wiping off with a clean, slightly damp cloth, exerting very light pressure, always traveling with the grain of the hair, never against
- Cleaning eyes with a dry or slightly damp Q-Tip cotton swab, brushing very lightly around the eye
- Refraining from excessive or aggressive antler cleaning in order to avoid removing the antlers’ natural patina. The cleaning product Liquid Gold (found in most grocery stores) will effectively cleanse the antlers, while maintaining their natural appearance. A light swipe is effective in removing dust and leaving a slight sheen
- Dusting the mount base with a can of compressed air (found at computer and office supply stores) as needed