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So what did you spend on a deer mount this past season?


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18 minutes ago, Lawdwaz said:

Sure it’s great to be self employed but you need plenty of discipline when it comes to health insurance, retirement, business insurance and tax planning.  
 

Hence the reason plenty of taxidermists run there business as a part time gig.   God forbid you have an injury to your hand in November and can’t swing a knife for six weeks due to severed tendons or damaged ligaments.   Maybe it happens in April or May just as you get 30-40 hides back from the tannery?  Uggh

I hate to be Debbie Downer but…..I’ve seen it in a couple local taxidermist locally and guys in other self employed businesses.   
 

Good luck EITHER way!

I would agree, but someone who can match up good business practice, good service, and good taxidermy...they set their price and the money they make is up to their choosing when no barriers are present.

Jason has done a good job overall. I can't say I've met another taxidermist yet who is also a good business person or a good servicer. Match all three and you eliminate one of the most important challenges - incoming revenue stream. He won't have to sell to people. 

He will no doubt need to account for being self-employed. Discipline, planning for the headwinds, etc. Your point is very valid and even more so with your past career.

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It is very coincidental that this thread popped up today. I'm in the position right now where I'm about to make a major life decision. I have been tossing around the idea of quitting my dead end day j

I paid $550 to @WNY Bowhunter for my first ever mount this season.  Best money I've ever spent!    Good luck if you decide to pursue it full time.  You definitely have a gift for it, and unf

It costs me around $250 in supplies...lol. For everyone else, my taxidermist charged $550 for a standard shoulder mount and $600 for a basic wall pedestal last season. This year's prices are TBD.

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Spent $650 in 2020 for a nice 8 that I got in the fall of '19 with a crossbow.  Probably won't do any more going forward - but, never say never?

Last year I spent $85 for a skull cap mount of a 8 pointer covered with leather on a plaque.  I looked on you tube and watched a video of how to do a skull cap mount from a Vermont taxidermist - Rodney Elmer. Since I had a box full of antler heads that I saved from many years of hunting, I tried this method and did 3 of them last spring.  Cost is very minimal since I had some scrap 3/8" plywood and staple gun with staples as well as stain for the plaque.  Just had to buy plaster of paris from Walmart, faux leather fabric and plaque from Hobby Lobby.  Cost is about $8 per finished product and looks good.

This is what I will probably do in the future with deer I get.  Still have a bunch more in the box to work on next winter.

As far as anyone starting their own business - whether it be taxidermy or anything else, I wish them the best of luck. 

 

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I'm not a mount guy but if I ever shot a deer I wanted mounted it would have to go to buck stops here ,I've never seen anything even close to his level of detail . My buddy took a nice buck there a couple years back and he must have taken 200 pictures of the deer before he started. I know the price was more then what I've seen posted here ,but only slightly. 

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I didn’t do any deer this past year, but I did do a pair of caribou should mounts, they were 1000 each. I also did two whitetail euros at 175 each and caribou euro at 325. Stuff adds up quick

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It is very coincidental that this thread popped up today. I'm in the position right now where I'm about to make a major life decision. I have been tossing around the idea of quitting my dead end day job to pursue the taxidermy hobby as more of a full time gig. The money isn't great but all of my interests revolve around hunting/outdoors in one way or another.  The main competitor in my home area just quit taxidermy as a side business and I believe that I could easily double my intake if I was proactive about it. Plus, the members of this forum usually toss a few deer my way too...
Definitely worth considering going full time, your deer are top notch! You definitely have a lot more experience than me (this will be my 3rd year doing taxidermy) but I have a small piece of advice. Look into tanning your own hides. It's not difficult and it will save you a few dollars on each mount. Best of all in my opinion, you can take more control of your schedule. No more waiting for weeks for your capes to get shipped back from the tannery. Worth looking into at least

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10 hours ago, wolc123 said:

I spent: $ 1.25 = 1/2 gallon of gasoline, plus about 45 minutes of my time.

 

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I buried a skull one year.  2 things came from that, it ruins the skull and that side of my garden flourished over the other side. 

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If you do decide to do it full time and you focus is just on whitetails a little bit of policy advice for your contract.

Take a deposit of 30 percent with remained due two week before you start the mount. Don’t start the mount till it’s paid up. Otherwise you going to be spending your time chasing down money more then doing taxidermy work. It’s not a big deal when your doing a handful of deer a year. However you start doing 50 plus a year and becomes a problem.

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19 minutes ago, Trial153 said:

If you do decide to do it full time and you focus is just on whitetails a little bit of policy advice for your contract.

Take a deposit of 30 percent with remained due two week before you start the mount. Don’t start the mount till it’s paid up. Otherwise you going to be spending your time chasing down money more then doing taxidermy work. It’s not a big deal when your doing a handful of deer a year. However you start doing 50 plus a year and becomes a problem.

Definitely. After completing the last few heads from this past season I'll be at approximately 165 deer mounted since starting back in 2015. I take $250 down before ordering forms and sending the cape to be tanned. Luckily, I've yet to have an issue with someone picking up there mount.

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11 hours ago, 518BowSlayer said:

Definitely worth considering going full time, your deer are top notch! You definitely have a lot more experience than me (this will be my 3rd year doing taxidermy) but I have a small piece of advice. Look into tanning your own hides. It's not difficult and it will save you a few dollars on each mount. Best of all in my opinion, you can take more control of your schedule. No more waiting for weeks for your capes to get shipped back from the tannery. Worth looking into at least

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It is something to consider. I pay $110 per cape...a Dakota flesher is about the same price as taking 10 capes over.

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17 hours ago, Lawdwaz said:

Sure it’s great to be self employed but you need plenty of discipline when it comes to health insurance, retirement, business insurance and tax planning.  
 

Hence the reason plenty of taxidermists run there business as a part time gig.   God forbid you have an injury to your hand in November and can’t swing a knife for six weeks due to severed tendons or damaged ligaments.   Maybe it happens in April or May just as you get 30-40 hides back from the tannery?  Uggh

I hate to be Debbie Downer but…..I’ve seen it in a couple local taxidermist locally and guys in other self employed businesses.   
 

Good luck EITHER way!

Definitely valid points that should and are being deeply considered.

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It is something to consider. I pay $110 per cape...a Dakota flesher is about the same price as taking 10 capes over.
Oh, you're not fleshing your own hides either. You could be cutting your cost almost in half. A fleshing knife will do everything from the neck down. You can turn and flesh the face with a scalpel or razor but it's a little tricky at first. I don't have a dakota yet only because I don't actually have a shop yet. Mini flesher works pretty good too

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52 minutes ago, Trial153 said:

If you do decide to do it full time and you focus is just on whitetails a little bit of policy advice for your contract.

Take a deposit of 30 percent with remained due two week before you start the mount. Don’t start the mount till it’s paid up. Otherwise you going to be spending your time chasing down money more then doing taxidermy work. It’s not a big deal when your doing a handful of deer a year. However you start doing 50 plus a year and becomes a problem.

Perfect recipe for the guys who deliver a mount 8 months late.

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13 hours ago, Trial153 said:

I didn’t do any deer this past year, but I did do a pair of caribou should mounts, they were 1000 each. I also did two whitetail euros at 175 each and caribou euro at 325. Stuff adds up quick

You killed 3 caribous last year? 

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I have a fair amount of taxidermy done by a couple of folks.

The running the business end is huge. Most are overwhelmed by this in my experience.

Keep prices and quality high. If you're going to be a pro, get paid like one and there will be enough in it to cover the expenses of running a business, even if that means paying a little for some help on that end.

Keep clients in the loop. Most are smart enough if they are paying top dollar that its a long term product they will view for years. No one wants silence on the other end and ignored communications.

 

Good luck.

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I pay $350 for shoulder mount on a plaque to a good friend that does a fantastic job as a hobby..

 

WNY,...Lots of good input. I will mirror what many have said, having been self employed most of the 30 some years of my working life . To be really successful the business end is just as important , I would say maybe more important , than the work. Quality work with good customer service,accounting,etc...  You will be in the $$.

It is not that often that they go together.. 

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So I have many mounts. My first buck at 16 and my latest Mounted at 56. Walls are filled up so my next one will definitely have to be bigger than anything else I have mounted. I like the skull mounts. I did two a few years ago, boil and power wash. It was gross never again, leave it to the Pro's. As for a Taxidermy I am super happy with mine. Does top quality work and pretty much within the window you would think your mount would be ready. . That's all that matters. 

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Perfect recipe for the guys who deliver a mount 8 months late.

Honestly at first I was a little turned off about the policy then after thinking about it makes sense for both parties. The taxidermists is paid up and doesn’t have chase the money hound people to come in and pay and the customer has work being completed in a timely manner with a definite date.


The best thing you can do if you want your work done both timely and professionally is take to someone who this is a full time occupation for them. It’s their profession and livelihood and as such have an incentive to get it completed.
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41 minutes ago, First-light said:

So I have many mounts. My first buck at 16 and my latest Mounted at 56. Walls are filled up so my next one will definitely have to be bigger than anything else I have mounted. I like the skull mounts. I did two a few years ago, boil and power wash. It was gross never again, leave it to the Pro's. As for a Taxidermy I am super happy with mine. Does top quality work and pretty much within the window you would think your mount would be ready. . That's all that matters. 

Why did you boil AND power wash the scull mounts ?

I just skin the raw heads, and then power wash, with no boil.  The best thing about that is, it keeps all the mess and smell out of the house (makes for a happier wife).  I put on a rain suit and do it outside, on a concrete pad.  It hasn't been a problem during deer season, since "global warming" set in hard about 15 years ago.  

Within 24 hours, every last bit of scattered eyeball, brains, and lips is cleaned up by birds and vermin.   The only cleanup I do is rinsing off the rain suit.  The job takes about 45 minutes, start to finish, with a 3100 psi power washer.

Also, by not using any heat, the sculls retain a more natural white look, without applying any bleach.  Boiling tends to turn them an ugly yellow, requiring bleach or a camo dip, etc.  I prefer the "natural" look over any of that nonsense.  

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