Learning Taxidermy

A forum to discuss taxidermy techniques and mounts.

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Learning Taxidermy

Postby matchbook454 » Sun Dec 17, 2006 7:31 pm

My hunting partner is going to teach me how to start doing my own taxidermy. He has a bit of experience and along with some books I have and videos that are on order I am sure that I will do fine. We shot a hen Bufflehead by luck back in Nov. and that will be the bird that he will instuct me on. The thing is that I'd really like a drake to go with it however our season here is just about over and we rarely get divers around here. In fact the hen was shot at a club down state. I was just wodering if anyone out there that has an abundance of Buffy's might be willing to gift me a nice drake to go with my hen? It would greatly be appreciated and the favor could possibly be repaid with nice mallards or Wood Ducks in the future.
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Postby critter stuffer » Sat Dec 23, 2006 11:13 pm

I suggest if you are seriously interested in learning taxidermy to look into your state Taxidermy Association. You will meet other taxidermists and they can help you find specimans. This is a good way to get started anyway.
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hen buffie

Postby loon » Mon Jan 08, 2007 6:36 pm

Ducks especially divers are tough to learn on due to fatty skin and a head that doesn't fit back thru the neck and the small size of a hen buffle is working against you. Apheasant or pigeon are much easier even(don't laugh ) a chicken would be good practice. You don't want to risk that buffle if it is rare for you to get another
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Postby Coot Man » Tue Jan 09, 2007 11:33 am

:withstupid: I have self taught my way through a few birds, and I learned the hard way. Your bufflehead will last in the freezer for a good year if properly cared for. Get a couple of those mallards or wood ducks that are plentiful in your area and get one or two of those under your belt prior to doing a rare bird.

I'm sure your buddy is good at taxidermy, but it doesn't take a lot for a beginner mistake to ruin or create more work on a bird especially a rare one. Plus the things you will learn on the first couple will payoff for a better mount. I am by no means a taxidermist, but I can honestly say that I am learning tons with each bird I mount and each bird looks a little better than the previous one. Just my two bits.
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Postby Bazza1959 » Sun Jan 28, 2007 9:48 pm

Coot Man wrote:I have self taught my way through a few birds, and I learned the hard way. ... but I can honestly say that I am learning tons with each bird I mount and each bird looks a little better than the previous one. Just my two bits.

G'day coot man, I bought a Cabelas duck mounting kit, but am yet to try my first bird.

Is it easier to start with a fresh killed bird, one thats cold but never frozen, or after its been frozen and thawed?

How many birds did you do before you get reasonable results?

thanks
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Postby Coot Man » Mon Jan 29, 2007 11:11 am

Bazza, my preferred method is I will shoot a bird on the weekend take him home freeze him, and then the night before I want to work on him I set him out at room temperature and by the time I get home from work and get started, the bird is still a little on the frozen side, but as long as I take my time the carcass comes out and all blood and fluids are still frozen, or at least not running all over the place. If that all goes well and I still have time I will put him on my wire wheel I made and defat the bird. Otherwise I will wrap him back up and put him back in the freezer. Then on the next night I focus completely on defatting, and washing.

I honestly don't know how many birds it took me, before I had a completed mount. I'm sure more than it should. When I decided to start, I kept every bird that was in decent shape. I basically hunted as hard as I could during the season and kept a freezer full of skinned birds. Then I had enough to work on during the week and throughout the summer when I felt like pulling one out.

My first completed duck was a mallard drake. He looks like crap but I still keep him to learn from. He is on the wall in the bedroom. If my wife knew how much time I spent staring at it and coming up with new ideas on how to improve the next duck I'm sure she would be pretty mad. :oops:

Again, I'm not proclaiming to be a taxidermist, but my advice to anyone starting out on their own is to be patient and allow yourself some mistakes. If you are having a bad day, I personally would wait for a better day. Good luck and enjoy.
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Postby JAKE H » Sat Feb 03, 2007 7:55 am

just be careful thawing at room temperature because the neck thaws alot faster than the body and can spoil {cause feathers to slip} also I have found the quicker you get the bird from washing stage through the drying stage the better the feathers will fluff out especially the down. Dawn dish washing liquid to degrease then Johnsons Baby shampoo {gives great shine and softens feathers so they lay better} also you can put your skins on spin cycle in the washer to wring out water just be ready to start drying as soon as they come out. Good Luck
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Postby duckhunter052002 » Tue Feb 06, 2007 10:29 am

:salude: coot6man hads the right idea try your luck on a few of the birds you have plenty of, a keepsake is not the the thing to try first. i have been in the business for oiver 40 yrs and beleive me, i statred with a pigen :thumbsdown: i also had a lot of crows in the area. just take your time and i am sure everything will work out. if i can be of any help let me know.

lee

idenify before you shoot (keeps ya legal) :thumbsup: :smile:
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