ApexerER

Why does Taxidermy take so long?

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I have never had a deer (or anything else) done before. This year I finally got a deer that I had to get mounted. I was aware that it took a long time. I got my deer on 11/21 and it was at the taxi on 11/22. When I asked how long it would take he said quite a while and he would call me. What in the process takes so long? (I am not complaining, just curious) It sounds like several of you guys get your deer back 9 months to a year later. I am chomping at the bit to see my deer again...Any idea when I can expect a call? April? June? Next October? I don't want to call and bother the gentleman that is doing it...Just excited I guess....

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You should get it back in April or May depending on how busy he is. Seems like 5 or 6 months is about average for NY, but it all depends on the taxi and the amount of work. Seeing as many people had a bad year this year, I doubt they're swamped with too much work. Some places like the Midwest take about a year on average.

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A big part is tannery. And timing at the Tannery and how much he uses a particular tannery. IE the tannery will no doubt try and speed along a guy who sends them more capes to tan. Same deal goes for your mount. If you're the Taxidermist and you have two guys that brought you a deer the same exact day but one client spends 15k a year with you, and the other client spends 200 a year then obviously the 15k/year client will get his mount done first. Gotta keep your bigger accounts happy so they continue to be your bigger accounts. It's nothing personal, just business. So at the end of the day it's the Tannery as well as Taxidermist work load as well as the relationship with your Taxidermist. Hope this helps. And if you chose the right Taxidermist, the results are always worth waiting for.

You Can't Beat My Meat!

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He did say it depends on the tannery so that makes sense. I have never had any work done by him but he came highly recommended by the butcher that does my deer. He said he doesn't take new clients the butcher said he would get me in. When I was there he asked how many deer I had done from him in the past. I said none and he had a puzzled look on his face. That right there could have put me down farther on the list....

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Fred Lucas of Morgantown, IN had a 2 year backlog back in the late '80s when I did odd jobs in his shop. He was rated among the top 10 in the country. He did heads from all over the country icluding the Wentzels. The work load has a lot to do with the led time and the (high) caliber of the work can add to that work load..


Never forget the 241 GIs that were killed in Beirut because of Reagan administration policies.

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Tanning can take a while, as can the amount of work to be done. Any practiced taxidermist can put together a standard mount pretty quickly once the tanning, etc, is done, and you are next in the queue, but a real artist taxidermist will spend that little extra time making the piece incredible. It's why highly sought out taxidermists have a long turn around time. It really is a form of art, which is why there are as many bad mounts out there as good ones, and lots in-between. You might as well ask why a painting takes 'so long' for an artist.

 

If any of you are ever interested in seeing some amazing work, check out the Taxidermy forums. Click a sub-forum "Deer and Gameheads", "Birds", etc, and look for the threads called "______ of the month". Or, in some forums, "____ of the week". There are a lot of gems in there. Here's a link to the Feb Game Heads of the Month. http://www.taxidermy.net/forum/index.php/topic,394901.0.html

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it's not an easy task and can be a little nasty too. we're losing guys everyday who do it and that's not good. I generally expect about 9 months. You don't want to rush something you'll have for a lifetime displayed on your wall.

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"Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching, even when the wrong thing is legal"

-Aldo Leopold 

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I have no problem waiting for good work, I only use taxidermist who do it full time. I have seen way to many issues with guys that do it on the side. They take in more then they can handle, and their full time jobs end up getting in the way.

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You can wet tan a hide and have it mounted on the form in 5-6 days...takes a couple of weeks to dry out then comes the finishing work. The wait depends on how many customers are ahead of you.


"I'm not from New York. I'm a REDNECK from Western New York!!!"

"It's not a passion. It's an obsession!!!" - Mossy Oak

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My guy will do them in the order they came in. First in is always first out also they bring them to the tannery and that take a few months to do.  Also how many deer they are doing, the more deer the long it takes. My guy usually starts calling his coustermers in July August 

And while he is waiting for the deer to come back he is doing ducks and small game. Again he dose them in he order they came into his shop 

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never be in a rush.......I used a guy up in Sloatsburg who promised me his turn around is fast....he was right I got the mount back in March and it looked awful......I use fox studio now and he explained the biggest part was tanning the hide..........Thats what holds up the process...So there is not much anyone can do but wait.....

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2 years ago I had an 8 pointer mounted, had it back by early March. but that's only because the guy who did it only does a dozen or so a year, more of a hobby with a little cash on the side for him. a professional taxidermist could take a lot longer.

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If a taxidermist tells you he will get it back to you in a couple months... look for a different taxidermist! Most likely he isn't professionally tanning the hide. I have never gotten a head back in less than 8 months. Some taxidermists might be quicker if not busy... but my experience tells me if they aren't busy... they probably aren't the best choice.

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Joe Servello
New York Antler Outdoors
http://www.nyantler-outdoors.com

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If a taxidermist tells you he will get it back to you in a couple months... look for a different taxidermist! Most likely he isn't professionally tanning the hide. I have never gotten a head back in less than 8 months. Some taxidermists might be quicker if not busy... but my experience tells me if they aren't busy... they probably aren't the best choice.

Most taxidermists use a wet tan on their hides. The guy that does mine can have a tan done in 3-4 days with krowtann. He does 600 capes a yeat. The wait with the tannery is the same as with the taxidermist...other people are ahead of you.


"I'm not from New York. I'm a REDNECK from Western New York!!!"

"It's not a passion. It's an obsession!!!" - Mossy Oak

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Back when I lived in PA I worked at a taxidermy shop. If it is a GOOD shop there is usually a lot of work. The first few weeks of deer season, especially the gun season, is spent doing nothing but caping and skull cleaning. Then forms need to be ordered and delivered. It is usually well into January before any of the previous years mounts were even started. We tried to do them in order of being received, but when a freezer is full of several hundred capes it isn't even possible to sort through and find a specific customer. As far a tanning, very few are tanned anymore. So, it is usually more a matter of the sheer volume of mounts than anything else. In a year we would have anywhere from 500 to 700 mounts. That amounted to 10 to 15 mounts per week. So, as was said, if you want it quick, take it to a less than reputable taxidermist, or find somebody who limits the amount of work they do. 

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Back when I lived in PA I worked at a taxidermy shop. If it is a GOOD shop there is usually a lot of work. The first few weeks of deer season, especially the gun season, is spent doing nothing but caping and skull cleaning. Then forms need to be ordered and delivered. It is usually well into January before any of the previous years mounts were even started. We tried to do them in order of being received, but when a freezer is full of several hundred capes it isn't even possible to sort through and find a specific customer. As far a tanning, very few are tanned anymore. So, it is usually more a matter of the sheer volume of mounts than anything else. In a year we would have anywhere from 500 to 700 mounts. That amounted to 10 to 15 mounts per week. So, as was said, if you want it quick, take it to a less than reputable taxidermist, or find somebody who limits the amount of work they do.

if they aren't tanned, then what are they?

You Can't Beat My Meat!

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There is a ton of work that goes into any mount. First they have to take measurements of the head or whatever when it comes in so they can match the form to the animal. Then they have to skin & flesh the cape. Part of doing the cape consists of turning and fleshing the ears, trimming around the nose, eyes,and splitting the lips. 

 Once that is complete the hide has to be pickled or tanned which can take some time. Most taxidermist will order the form and once the formed has arrived they will usually have to do some finishing to the form so the cape will fit properly, then they will set the horns, ears, and the eyes. This process usually involves a type of bonding material that has to dry before proceeding.

 

Once they have got that far and the hide is ready to be put on the form it will be glued and fitted on the form and is usually pinned to stay in place while drying. Keep in mind pinning is required around the antlers, eyes, mouth, and usually where the ears are placed. Once that is complete they have to sew the incision up that was made to get the cape off of the animal and any holes/or any other  damage that may have occurred.

 

Once every thing is done and left to dry for 2-3 days they will do any touch ups necessary to make the eyes, nose, and eyes to be as life like as possible.

 

It is a long process so be patient and don't be surprised if they can't give a date when it will be ready. A lot depends on their suppliers, drying times, touch up times, and time availability to work on a particular mount.

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It mostly.depends on how much work they took in, if they tan the hide themselves or send it out, if thay pay for priority tanning or just wait it out. I know several

Part.time taxidermists and they quality is exceptional, on guy works strictly word of mouth and charges very little comparitivly but does exceptional work just only does 25 to 50 heads a year. Another is retired and still does some on the side because he enjoys it, his price is 2x or more of a normal taxidermist rate. But people still line up because his work is living art.

Always look at a taxidermist work, I stay away from large shops as they show the masters work but thats not what your getting, instead you get a apprentices work. They take in a huge amount of work but I always have concerns of quality control!

So there are many factors to how long it takes, but you can find great work and great turn around if you try.

Edited by G-Man
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I've hunted almost everyday of my life.. the rest have been wasted!

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the taxidermist that I use usually takes 12-14months its just him and his helper who has worked with him for about a decade. he.doors great work well worth the wait

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Most taxidermists use a wet tan on their hides. The guy that does mine can have a tan done in 3-4 days with krowtann. He does 600 capes a yeat. The wait with the tannery is the same as with the taxidermist...other people are ahead of you.

I would never use a taxidermist that wet tans a hide... especially if he doesn't tumble the hide as part of the process. The mount may look fine initially, but will not hold up as well over the years... unless you like the smile that the deer gets in a few years from the hide's continued shrinkage... thre is definitely a difference in the longevity of the mount based on how it is tanned... after that the work depends on the talent of the taxidermist. I'm not saying a good taxidermist can't do a great mount using wet tanning... I'm saying the mount won't hold up as well over time.

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Joe Servello
New York Antler Outdoors
http://www.nyantler-outdoors.com

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I always believed the tumbling a hide was just part of the process of wet tanning.  What type of time factor are you talking Joe?  We have mounts that were wet tanned  20 years ago,  that are not smiling yet.

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My first buck was killed on October 15, 1997 and I got him back the day before the gun opener, 11/20ish. The mount still looks great


I find a duck's opinion of me is very much influenced by whether or not I have bread

-Mitch Hedberg

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