Taxidermy – what should you expect as a customer?

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We should begin with making the distinction between Retail Quality and CompetitionQuality here.

Retail customers should pay attention here – and I’ll tell you why. To build a mount of good retail quality is very different from mounting an animal for competition.

Often you will go in to a taxidermist’s shop and be greeted by his award winning mounts, his wall decorated in winning ribbons. “Wow!” you say, “He (she?) must be really good! I will get a deer like this for my money!”


Even if your chosen taxidermist does win all the top competitions, he is not giving that quality to his retail customer.


Because competition quality mounts take time. A LOT of time. And money, because Time Is Money. He is not going to take the time to rebuild all the intricate nasal passage blood vessels in his typical retail-mount, just for one example.

If your taxidermist has five hundred deer heads to mount from this hunting season, you realize he does not have time to give competition quality attention to every single one of them. In order to do so he’d have to hire a lot of help – and well, then your mount is being done by hired-hands, not the award-winning-taxidermist you hired anyway….kind of a vicious circle.

Taxidermy   what should you expect as a customer?

Furthermore, if you taxidermist has that many deer heads to mount before next deer season rolls around, you can imagine he would have to mount one and a half deer a day to get that done. If he does other things, such as preditors or fish (etc), then he is a very busy man indeed – and you are NOT going to get the same quality you see hanging on his wall showing off his 1st place ribbon unless you negotiate that in advance!

What Can I Expect For My Money Then?


That is what you should expect for your money.

Just not Competition Quality.

I have a thing I call a German Shepherd Deer I saw hanging in a bait shop once, and I wish I had taken a photograph of it so I could share the laugh with you. This is a deer head with a “fence post” neck and big perky ears standing straight up, just like you see a big German Shepherd dog standing at attention looking straight ahead.

It’s unfortunate so many taxidermists product deer mounts of this variety, and unfortunate deer hunters actually accept that as a “quality” mount. There is nothing real about it. Your 3-D bowhunting target-buck looks more real than that.

This page is going to lead you through the steps required to indeed Build A Better Buck.

Your finished mount should look alive. As alive as a real deer, with real anatomy, real motion, real positioning of the eyes, ears, antlers, neck, shoulder….expect it to display real emotion. Look hard at your taxidermist’s retail mounts before you decide you want to hire him/her to do your mount for you.

What else should you look for as a retail customer?