I don't know about the best. I do know I was very happy with our mounts from Black Bear Taxidermy out of Kimberly. My two sons and I had them do 24 mounts for us. Most of them shoulder mounts. I have been hunting for over 50 years and have many mounts from the States. I got quotes from the two I use the most because of their quality work. Then we priced three from South Africa. It is not all about price but it is one of the many things that needs to be considered. While we were there Josef the owner of Black Bear Taxidermy invited us to come to his shop. We did and he gave us a great tour. We were very impressed with his work. He was very open to us customizing some of them to our taste. His wife Liz was great at the communication end of it. They said the mounts would be ready to ship in nine months and they were. The crates were well made and the mounts were very well wrapped and supported. There was no damage at all to any of the mounts. In the end the money we saved on the mounting difference paid for the crates to be shipped home. If and when I go again (which I hope is soon) I will use Black Bear again.
Splitting Image Taxidermy in the East Cape of SA.
One last thing on the cost. I personally try and go to Africa every five years. I will save and if need be, finance the rest. Cost is a factor in these decisions and as has been discussed on here before, we all know it is not cheap. That said, if I can get the quaility and service here in the states for my African taxidermy and be within 10% -15% of the cost of doing it in SA, I would. Truth is it's more like 150% more. This is documented in the attachment. (Based upon a future Mozambquie trip if we took all that we have the opportunity to. Not likely, but I am figuring worst case scenario for the comparison) Cost are current prices from Bullseye in SA and my local taxidermist. Shipping costs are based upon previous known cost plus inflation.
Not to stir the pot! But I'm not surprised by Buff-Buster's quote. Taxidermy is damn expensive...no arguement. Especially when you consider between what happens when the animal hits the dirt and arrives home at your door step. I think sometimes we need to step back sometimes as hunter and "look at the costs" and ask if it's worth it. Think about that last sentence. When I think back on all the hunting I have done, I remember the hunt the most. I like my mounts....but if I could do everything over, I'd take pictures and save the money for future hunts.
Some of the African taxidermists do a great job for the dollar, but by the time it gets back to the USA, something will probably be rubbed or damaged on the mounts, especially when they try to cram one trophy on top of another.
And I hate all the paperwork costs and mess ups. You would think this SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN...how hard is this really?????
Who Knows a taxidermy outfit who can do a full sized, one piece, uncut Giraffe rug for me when I hunt near Ghanzi, Botswana next month?
I have used some taxidermists around Pretoria, and once again its personal preference, but Nico van Rooyen Taxidermy does some truly wondeful work! The turnaround I'm not sure of, haven't used them in a while.. But at the end of the day the work is what truly counts isn't it?
The other taxidermy I use quite often is Taxidermy Sculpt, who have great prices and also a 6 to 8 month turnaround on all trophies.
The trouble I have found thus far, with trophy planning from Botswana is that there are only two exporters and one does most of the D&P. Majority read near Monopoly.
Originally Posted by jeffpg
(Much more selection in RSA, etc.
They do some taxidermy in Maun but I have not seen the work and can not say.
They regularly ship to Joburg area. If you can find a taxi you like or it may just as effective to ship it home to be done.
I had trouble getting the Buffalo leather done on one piece. Had to do two.
Not sure if the Giraffe will be lighter leather, so you might get away with one whole piece.
The issue was the weight of the skin for the tannery from what I had explained.
If you bump into someone who can let us know the result.
Oasis in Gauteng is good for the buff, great work and prices. As far as I know the only place in SA for a giraffe is in Nelspruit, name slips past me at the moment.
Originally Posted by saeng101
Check out Highveld, they do some good work.
I would like to say a little something about the USA taxidermist. The professional US taxidermist is self employed and is not like most clients that always have a salary income coming in every month and must rely on clients to bring in new and pickup their items for our paycheck.
The taxidermist business owner assumes all the risks , we put everything on the line for this and the professional taxidermist this is all we do, not like the part-timer that has a day job,just taxidermy,long days,60+hrs weeks. I myself pay more for I own a studio for the last 33yrs which is not my house-taxes,power,vender,employes,etc. So we must rely on the quality of our work ,adversing,pure professioalism,etc to pick up the clients. The US taxidermist pay has the trickle down effect to the employes,tanneries,venders,freight lines,brokers,lumber,chemicals,paints,and all the families with those and a lot more.
I'm not saying all US taxidermist are good either, not by a long shot but some US taxidermist are professional in every way,like myself and many more. For example when I get in a shipment from Africa and the client was talked into having the capes tanned there,I turn around and send them out to one of the tanners that I use for they are not tanned, they are just pickled which means they have no oils,no stretch , they are junk( the hair-on hides are good but they are not being mounted).
I saw on another post that people don't know good from bad taxidermy and after doing this for 33 yrs, I have to agree. Most people only care and see the head gear of the animal and on predators they only care and see the size on it.Its time to look at the detail,the expressions,the mood of the mount.
On the next trip abroard, try out some of the studios that do african work, you do not have to send your whole safari to one studio,leave some in Africa,send some to the US taxidermist studios-one here,one there,etc and when they are all in your house, you can look and then see who does the better work
You are not buying a car, you are buying the talnet of the taxidermist and everyone is difference.
That's my opinon as a professional US taxidermist .