When and why you use a scenery with your taxidermy mount?

Elvis Elvis

We believe a classy scenery will make all the difference, particularly on bird, fish, and small mammal mounts.

Presumably, every mount is given back to the customer with some form of display option, for example, the mount is sitting on a piece of wood so the owner can set it down safely at home, but a taxidermist who wants referals and repeat customers should always go a little further. The mount should only be considered complete, including a stand or base of some permanent variety, or it shouldn’t go out the door to a retail customer.*

For those who want even more, though, be prepared to do that too. A basic no-frills scene, such as shown with the Prairie Chicken on this page, can easily start at $25.00 to $45.00 in most areas of the country. Even that understated little scenery adds all the difference between a stuffed bird or a completed work of art to display.

A detailed scenery, such as the pond scene built around the pair of Hooded Mergansers pictured above, would be in the neighborhood of $50.00 to $100.00, again, depending on the economic climate of your neighborhood.

Sceneries can be built around anything, including fish. A good scene changes your mounted animal from a dusty dead thing to a work of art that will look beautiful and elegant in your home or office.

For further protection and elegance, amount can be installed in a wood and glass case custom built to your specifications. Make friends with a little local cabinet maker. His skills in producing high quality cases will be well worth the fee; also, he may have scraps of trim board you can buy to build small frame boxes out of.

No two scenes are ever alike, as no two mounted animals are ever alike. Based on customer suggestion, wants, animal, season, where it was harvested from and other factors – each scene is unique and based largely on your own creative mood that day.

When and why you use a scenery with your taxidermy mount?

Do note however that all taxidermy sceneries should be quality built with endurance in mind. Understand small hands might be curious to touch; or that moving to a new home can be rough on one; and that in the course of it’s life in your customer’s home, the mount will need dusted.

Take all that in to consideration and try to build the prettiest, most life like scene we can that will hold up to the rigors of every day life for you.

Even if your current taxidermist didn’t mount your animal, chances are he or she can still overhaul it to your satisfaction with cleaning, repair, re-painting and scenery options if you desire.

Also, encourage your customer to donate some of their own scenery items, such a rocks, driftwood, a special fishing lure, etc. The idea of participating in the production of the artwork often excites a customer in to purchasing a scenery he or she would not have purchased from you other wise.

Be comfortable offering suggestions – but be careful about being too pushy. It’s not up to you, the taxidermist, to like their idea, it’s your job only to build a quality mount or scene to the customer’s satisfaction.

Build a Scenery With What?

Almost anything.

Designate an area of your taxidermy work space as the Scenery Shop. Keep it organized and well lit.

Now, begin to collect.

Rocks.Bark.Wasp nests.Broken old skulls and bones.Acorns.Fossils.Shells of local native variety.Rusted fishing stringers.Old bent up pieces of fencing, barbed-wire.Drift wood.Weathered old fence posts.Weeds.Seeds.Locust shells.Turtle shells.Fish bones.Moss.Weathered out fishing tackle.Shed antlers.Corn cobs, husks, soy beans, whole corn and other crop residue native of your local area.

That’s just to name a few things to get you going.

Add to that greenery, artificial leaves, flowers, grasses purchased at a hobby shop, and at times, found at yard sales.

Gather, collect, even if you don’t need it now, keep it for later.

Take a couple buckets to the river with a sifter. Collect a bucket of fine, clean sand, and likewise, a bucket of pea-size gravel.

Buy a sack of gardener’s peat moss and keep on hand.

Sand and peat moss both make excellent “floors” to your scenery when glued to a wooden base.

OK – I have a pile of stuff here. Now what?

Now you have fun!

When my professional taxidermist husband Chriss Reese first asked me to help build sceneries for some of his mounts, I bulked at the idea. What did I know? I had the same questions – what do I use? how do I do it?

If you’ll take that first plunge, you’ll find yourself most delighted with the process of building taxidermy sceneries. In fact, you or your spouse or child or friend may decide it is so much fun you start an entirely seperate side line occupation building them for other taxidermists or selling them on ebay.

To begin, I like to have the animal temporarily mounted on the bottom base. Usually the animal is not finished yet but it can be placed on the base temporarily while I work.

A temporary placement also allows me to remove the animal before I spray any final gloss, or to move it to install a piece that his foot will be stepping on, for example.

With the animal in place, I take in to consideration it’s natural habitat weighed against what I know about the owner of it, and when possible, the location where the final mount will be displayed.

The location where the final mount is probably most important. A scenery built to sit on a protected shelf in a business office would be constructed differently than a scenery built that will be displayed in the living room of a family with seven children running around.

Building a Scenery – The General Steps Involved

Establish if this taxidermy scene will be a table mount or a wall mount.

While wall mounts allow less opportunity to build scenery around, a few well placed articles can brighten the whole appearance of the mount.

For a bird, this could be a few sprigs of plants that the bird would ordinarily live in – wheat, grass, water plants…

For a fish, you could employ a stringer, a lure, a water-plant, etc.

For mammals, there are the artificial rocks that are light weight and hang easily on a wall. Many taxidermy suppliers suppliers provide a rock-and-manikin kits, where the mammal will be fit to the rock exactly. You can improvise with your own though, positioning the form to a log, for example.