How to Find a Good Taxidermist
Similar to feelings toward hunting, people generally love or hate taxidermy. If you’re reading this, odds are, you fall into the love category, and you’re searching for someone who can provide you with a quality representation of the trophy you’re proud to have brought home. But the clock on the window of time you can preserve the animal is ticking, and if you’ve been around the block once or twice, you know there is some really bad taxidermy out there.
How do hunters find a quality taxidermist quickly? They’ve done their research ahead of time. It’d be a shame to put in all the work on the hunt, come home with a beauty, then pay good money for a sloppy mount. Together, we can avoid a disappointing outcome.
Start online. Simply Google “best taxidermist near me” and see what comes up. Helpful Google reviews will automatically be visible in those results. A second option is Yelp. Even if some of the small, mom-and-pop-type shops don’t have many reviews, you can still gather contacts to call and ask questions about the work they do. Here are a few questions you may want to start with:
1. How long have you been practicing the art of taxidermy?
2. Do you have any references I could talk with or see work from?
3. What is your specialty?
The best possible option is always a referral from someone you already know and trust. Your hunting comrades or someone in their circle will probably have the best recommendations. Their opinion – although it should still be confirmed with your own eyes – is far more valuable than a stranger with a grand opinion online.
Check Out Their Work In-person
Once you’ve narrowed down your search to a few good options, you’ll want to see their work, their shop, and get a feel for how they do business. Often times, taxidermy is a part-time trade for people, so don’t be alarmed if they work out of their home or in their garage. Regardless of the location or size of the shop, be sure to evaluate the cleanliness and professionalism of the work space. It can be an indicator of sloppy work.
Take your time and evaluate their mounts. Are they posed in a realistic manner? Look for details in the eyes and face. Are all the elements of the living animal there? Eyelashes? Is the symmetry of the facial features accurate? Does the hide separate from the mannequin in any area? The end result is going to be hanging in your house, so be picky.
Don’t Expect a Deal
The term, you get what you pay for,applies to most things in life, but especially to taxidermy. In the scheme of things, what’s an extra $100 if it will buy you a mount you can be proud to have hanging on the wall for years to come. Don’t let price dictate your choice of taxidermist. The only regret would be stashing a hard-earned trophy in your closet because it’s too ugly for the public to see