Often asked questions.

A forum to discuss taxidermy techniques and mounts.

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Often asked questions.

Postby Pete-pec » Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:17 am

I think it is time to start a thread with the thought in mind to help people answer their own questions by reading this thread. If you have a question that comes up, please cut and paste the question and post it here. This goes for everyone willing to participate. Simply put, if you see a question that comes up and it is not on this thread already, please cut and paste it to this thread, and we will all answer it as best as we can. If you see a question asked that you know has been answered here, simply cut and paste this link to that thread, and then they will see ALL those answers on one thread. Of course there are going to be questions with elaborate answers or many opinions. That's fine. This is a forum that wants to teach and inform. We have answered many of these questions multiple times, and have given some long winded, detailed answers. We would like to save the time and teach people to search, and answer that question themselves, that is new to them, but old to some of us. I have been here since 2004. trust me, I've probably seen it asked already, and if I had an opinion or the time, I answered it as well. If it's not a frequent question, we will leave it be. We're not trying to discourage conversation by any means!

I will start out with three questions. I don't want to take away everyone else's thunder, so I will start out with the three most commonly asked questions.

I shot a bird, how should I get it mounted? That's easy! The way you like! There are several common poses done by taxidermists, and they are: Flying, standing, resting, swimming, preening, diving, and dead mounts. Of course there are several twists to any of these mounts, but these are the standard so to speak.

I'm looking for a taxidermist in XXXXX, any suggestions? Please don't shop by locale. Instead, shop the internet for taxidermists who are good, and although this may be argued, stick with a guy who specializes in birds. Things to look for are websites with good pictures representing all facets of bird taxidermy. He will TEND to have higher prices. His turnaround times will be a bit longer. The most important thing is, shop around. Do not send a bird to a guy sight unseen. You can ship a bird, and have it returned. Packaged well, you can ship a bird FedEx ground, and it will be just fine. Some taxidermists request overnite or priority shipping, but the extra cost of good taxidermy is well worth it in the long run.

I shot a bird. Can you show me your mounts so I can get some ideas? You want ideas? Google images of the bird you want. Copying a taxidermist is silly! Be specific, type in: landing drake mallard, and then click images in the upper left corner. Don't get me wrong, there are taxidermists who do fantastic work, but Mother Nature is better! Sorry to all the Masters out there, but I'd hope none of them would argue this point! If you want to see mounted birds, then ask this instead. Hey, I'm bored, and love to see taxidermy work. Can you guys post up some damn work already! Or visit the sponsors websites, or search the web, or visit The Waterfowler's wall thread!

Alright guys, I need your help and participation, so this is enjoyable and fun!
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Re: Often asked questions.

Postby 1080tommy » Sat Feb 09, 2013 7:07 pm

I thought this would be a good one for this topic rather than start a new thread. How long can I let a skinned bird soak in dawn and water. I want to finish my red head tomorrow because I skinned him today with the intentions of finishing the mount today but things came up and I will need to finish it tomorrow. Can I let the skin soak in the water with dawn overnight or will that hurt the feathers??? i.e make them fall out or swell the skin. I know this question must have come up for someone in the past especially us noobs. Also, if I can not let the skin soak, can I leave it out over night because I want to finish him up tomorrow???
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Re: Often asked questions.

Postby Pete-pec » Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:08 am

Sorry so late buddy, But yes you could let it sit in cold water overnight. Personally, I would rather rinse it out, and squeeze out as much water as possible, and throw it in the fridge in a plastic bag. If the water was cold, it could sit in the water overnight with no problem. I would not leave it in warm water, or leave it at room temperature, although it may not hurt a thing for 12 hours, slipping could start?

Slipping? Feathers falling out due to skin decay.
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Re: Often asked questions.

Postby duxrus » Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:58 am

Pete-pec wrote:Sorry so late buddy, But yes you could let it sit in cold water overnight. Personally, I would rather rinse it out, and squeeze out as much water as possible, and throw it in the fridge in a plastic bag. If the water was cold, it could sit in the water overnight with no problem. I would not leave it in warm water, or leave it at room temperature, although it may not hurt a thing for 12 hours, slipping could start?

Slipping? Feathers falling out due to skin decay.



I agree, take it out and put in frig. I would also run Dawn on it's head and vent area (two main areas that tend to "slip" first. The Dawn will protect against the bacteria that causes it. :thumbsup:
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Re: Often asked questions.

Postby duxrus » Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:07 pm

I shot a duck, now what ?


Let it cool off for about thirty minutes and put it in a PLASTIC bag. Make sure the head and neck fold up against the body before freezing. It is also a good idea to put an index card (in it's own ziplock) with it stating all the needed information your taxidermist will need.

Name
Address
Hunting Lic #
State, county, and date of harvest
Phone #
Species of bird
Your signature

Ziplocks work great and getting as much air out of the bag will help against freezer burn as would double bagging it. I would also suggest washing any blood or mud off before freezing it. Use COLD water to do so. Warm water could cause blood stain issues.

Things that should NOT be used....Pantyhose, paper of any kind (newspaper, paper towels, etc), cheap grocery store bags

Take it to your taxidermist in a timely manner. Remember, the better it's condition that is delivered in , the better the finished product.
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Re: Often asked questions.

Postby Pete-pec » Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:40 pm

Now we have the ball rolling! More to come of course. With everyone's participation including the newbies who are asking these questions, this Sticky will be a useful tool making those redundant questions get asked less often less often. I can edit these posts as we go to make them fit in another part of the thread that makes more sense, so if there are additional bits of information that possible help answer a previous question, I can edit these situations. So feel free to give additional information as you guys see fit.

Thanks!
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Re: Often asked questions.

Postby duxrus » Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:29 pm

Who does "good" work....

This might not be posted but more of a thought by people. Here are some rules on that...

NEVER just take a taxidermist on his word..."Yes, I do great ducks"

NEVER just take someone else's opinion...there are many different definitions of "good", "great", "awsome"

SEE someone's work with your own eyes and YOU decide

NEVER accept work that you feel is unacceptable "shotty" work. Let the taxidermist know so they can possibly correct an issue. Once you pay and walk out their door it isn't their problem.

NEVER go for a "deal".....if price is your majory concern then quality isn't

Just because someone can mount the best deer in the world far from means they have a clue about mounting something other than a deer.

Don't be lazy and just choose the closest taxidermist to save time if you truly care about the end result.

I hope this helps. :welcome:
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Re: Often asked questions.

Postby Pete-pec » Sun Feb 10, 2013 6:23 pm

Exactly Brian. I think we could write up three pages of those types of scenarios that would apply to this particular point. We hate to see someone get screwed by sub par work, but you only screwed yourself if you settled for something the taxidermists was incapable of completing in the first place. if he baited and switched you, then chalk it up as a bad experience, and don't go back. It's a pretty cheap lesson in the long run. Each individual taxidermist has the capacity or lack there of to complete a piece that only he is capable of, depending on his talent, and drive to put out clean work. That same level of talent that applies to the taxidermist as Brian pointed out, also applies to the individual who's gazing upon that particular work. I'll say it right now. There's a lot of sucky taxidermists out there. It's more often than not the fault of the customer for accepting some of the crap they put out, before he ever dropped off the bird in the first place. If the customer said I won't accept that work, then this hack won't be in business very long. He simply wouldn't get repeat business, and would eventually get a poor reputation.

Sometimes we have new guys learning, and these are not the guys we want to tear up. These guys are in the process of understanding the fundamentals. The guy who does bad work, and charges someone should be the guy who gets tore up. We don't even need to do that publicly. That might show poor manners, as well as poor form. If you look at the work, and say that doesn't look right, then it probably doesn't look right. Public humiliation applies to child sex offenders, not taxidermists! Keep it under your lid, and you are the better person for it!
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Re: Often asked questions.

Postby duxrus » Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:18 pm

I want to try taxidermy. Where do I start.......

Most suggest first looking at magazines and watching videos before actually getting your hands dirty. You can google taxidermy videos to find them for sale. If possible find a taxidermist who is willing to show you the ropes (for a price). That is the best route but most local people really don't want to teach potential competetion the tricks of the trade.

As many do, just give it a try on your own to find out if you like it. If you mess up...so what. There is a definite learning curve so it may take 1, 10, or even 100 attempts to create something that resembles the real thing. Don't be affraid to post pictures and ask for critiques. Most people will give their honest opinions and help as they can with suggestions for the next time. Always hearing "good job" without asking for honest opinions won't help anyone improve. Grow a thick skin and keep learning while improving.

As with any trade you will need certain tools to be able to do what you need. I will list what I consider the "must haves" but you may figure out methods that are different than mine so these are set in stone.

1) Flesshing wheel
2) tumbler with corn cob grit
3) Ventalated space to work
4) air brush (some to prefer to hand paint)
5) Tools such as SHARP scissors, scapals, thread and needle, pliers, etc...

6) the must have is PATIENCE

Remember that you MUST have both a state and Federal permit to collect money from waterfowl taxidermy. You can do your own work without but once you make a single penny the rules change.

Good luck and have fun. :thumbsup:
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Re: Often asked questions.

Postby Pete-pec » Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:27 pm

I wanted to add one thing about doing work for money. You do need the State and Federal permit, but in addition, you cannot perform taxidermy for anyone other than yourself, even if that means for free! This is in reference to migratory birds that are Federally protected. Your State may have rules that are in addition to what those Federal rules are, but they cannot supercede Federal laws, but they can be stricter! Check with your individual State before attempting to do taxidermy in general for any compensation.
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Re: Often asked questions.

Postby holtspur » Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:48 pm

I'm wanting to get started in taxidermy, just as a hobby. Where can I find the stuff I need and Maybe a dvd or something for reference?
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Re: Often asked questions.

Postby holtspur » Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:48 pm

I'm wanting to get started in taxidermy, just as a hobby. Where can I find the stuff I need and Maybe a dvd or something for reference?
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Re: Often asked questions.

Postby Grossy23 » Fri Mar 22, 2013 8:00 am

Taxidermy school ? Is it worth the time and money or video/DVD the way to learn ? Thanks in advance fellas .
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Re: Often asked questions.

Postby Cougar125 » Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:24 am

I think the taxidermy supply company Van Dykes or McKenzies have instructional DVD's on their site. There is also taxidermy.net with LOTS of information on techniques...then there is always try, then try again.
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Re: Often asked questions.

Postby The Waterfowler » Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:02 pm

Grossy23 wrote:Taxidermy school ? Is it worth the time and money or video/DVD the way to learn ? Thanks in advance fellas .



If you want to specialize in one thing, such as waterfowl you will come out far better in the long run to do a hands-on with some of the very good taxidermists that specialize in waterfowl for instance. You will learn and work one on one and get what you pay for. It's the onlyway I would go if I wasn't going to be a jack of all things taxidermist and specialize. Expensive up front but cheaper in the long run to get with a world class taxidermist.
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Re: Often asked questions.

Postby Grossy23 » Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:50 am

Thanks for the advice . Construction is extremely slow and quite frankly I'm considering a career change . I'm looking at a school closer to home and one long distance . Both are expensive but provide what I'm looking for . I just have to make the jump ! Duck season is only 8 months away !
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Re: Often asked questions.

Postby duxrus » Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:56 am

Grossy,

The problem with taxidermy as a business is it usually is a slow process even if you get good/great at it. Advertising only goes so far where word of mouth takes years to get a reputation. As with your current job from what I have been reading on other forums is number of clients are way down across the country. Like Pat already said, specializing at one thing seems to be the best route. My opinion has always been to be great at one thing over only being decent at many things. I know most of the "do it all" guys in my area only get maybe 30 or so birds in a season compared to others who specialize getting 200-300.

Good luck.
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Re: Often asked questions.

Postby bulldawgsierra » Wed May 15, 2013 9:32 am

Me and my dad both do taxidermy work. I do it on the side and he does it full time. We are located in South Georgia and north Florida. Going back to someone asking about the schools from the guys we have had in the shop from the schools have not been the best. Alot of it is putting your time in and alot of just pure natural gift. From what I have learned is you have to love doing or you will not be good at it. That goes down to picking a good taxidermist. If they love what they are doing then the quality of work they do for you will be 10x better. Just some info that I thought would help.
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Re: Often asked questions.

Postby Labs » Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:26 am

Question about freezer burn: How does this affect the mount of ducks? I know it's a huge deal in mounting fish, as the fins will start to break off, but what detriment happens to birds covered with feathers? Don't some taxidermists use replacement bills if the originals are shot up etc?
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Re: Often asked questions.

Postby Pete-pec » Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:51 pm

Labs wrote:Question about freezer burn: How does this affect the mount of ducks? I know it's a huge deal in mounting fish, as the fins will start to break off, but what detriment happens to birds covered with feathers? Don't some taxidermists use replacement bills if the originals are shot up etc?


Sorry, I missed this one for some reason? Freezer burn is a bad thing. The worst spots for burn are the head, feet and wings. The rest is typically alright to deal with. Freeze the bird in a couple air tight freezer bags, and you're alright for a year. Now that doesn't help out that your freezer is shared with other items that may cause damage, so get it to your taxidermist. The sooner he gets it in, the sooner you get it back, and yes, the sooner you need to shell out some money lol.

Most taxidermists use artificial heads.

If the fat freezes and dries for too long, it will turn into a thick congealed mess, so just get it to the taxidermist as soon as you can.
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Re: Often asked questions.

Postby Pumpgunner » Sun Oct 27, 2013 10:47 pm

Here's on that I've always wondered about-is it possible to save the meat from a mounted bird? I've shot a few nice canvasbacks and pintails that I would have liked to get mounted but the thing that stopped me was potentially wasting the meat. If you could get your bird to a taxidermist fairly quickly and the meat was still in good condition it would be great to be able to save it.
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Re: Often asked questions.

Postby slickerhater » Fri Jan 03, 2014 10:07 am

how about...what is the best way to "finish" a cripple that you plan on mounting? NO NECK WRINGING
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Re: Often asked questions.

Postby montana bound » Wed Jan 29, 2014 7:38 am

slickerhater wrote:how about...what is the best way to "finish" a cripple that you plan on mounting? NO NECK WRINGING



I compress the chest , put your fingers on the sides of the chest under the wings and squeeze.It will take a few minutes but works well on ducks.
Make sure your bird is dead before realeasing.
Geese thats another topic. LOL
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Re: Often asked questions.

Postby fowlweatherfowler » Tue May 06, 2014 8:07 pm

Best stopping point. I have been skinning and fleshing many birds lately. I have found if you skin and refrigerate or freeze without fleshing it makes it much tougher and more apt to tear and burn thru. My question is after that how far should you go or is needed to not cause problems. Wash, tumble, borax and sew, or quick fluff.

The past few I have gone to the fluffing stage and then spray the skin down with water, put in a zip lock bag with air removed and freeze. I just want to make sure I didn't go too far and cause issues when I pull out to mount within a few months or sooner
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Re: Often asked questions.

Postby montana bound » Tue May 06, 2014 8:13 pm

I prep my birds all the way to where the legs and wings are wired and wrapped.
Ill freeze them then pull them out thaw, insert the body , caulk and mount.
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