Doing my pre-planning for 2020....Taxidermist opinions?

Discussion in 'Taxidermy' started by Daveboone, Feb 4, 2019.

  1. Daveboone

    Daveboone New Member

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    Hi all,
    Fourteen months to go for our trip to South Africa (Eastern Cape, out of Port Elizabeth). Our outfitters recommendation for a taxidermist is Taxidermy Africa. Can anyone offer any experiences with them? I am unsure just how I would proceed, (dip and pack , mounts or combo) yet at this point, but want to start pulling things together as far as anticipated shipping, etc.
     

  2. wesheltonj

    wesheltonj AH Elite

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    Dip and pack and get your work done in your home country.
     

  3. Jeff Schaeffer

    Jeff Schaeffer AH Senior Member

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    You will get many good references. But know this: when it comes time for shipping to the U.S., your bill will show that your animals are riding first class with unlimited champagne. At least that's what mine are doing. :)

    Jeff
     

  4. BWH

    BWH AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Honestly..... even their best is our below average. Pay Dip/Pack.... use an outfit to handle the process like SSI, align with a primo taxidermist/outfit like @gizmo to do the work. Trust me. At the end of the day, you have spent the same, just different timing, quality of work is night & day.
     

  5. slam8031

    slam8031 AH Enthusiast

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    I would agree with BWH--dip and pack and even if you do one at a time here in the states you will get a better product at a similar cost when you compare taxidermy plus shipping vs dip and pack shipping and then taxidermy. I have done it in RSA twice, with decent results. But I am waiting on 3rd trip contents from Dennis Harris at Artistry of Wildlife. Prep and ship and clearance was half the price of ship and clearance of the first two trips' RSA taxidermy with similar amounts of items. Taxidermy bill will be 15-20 % higher by my calculations and past bills. So nearly a wash in cost but much better product.
     
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  6. Bhfs300

    Bhfs300 AH Fanatic

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    My trophies from my first trip were sub quality from SA. I said I will bring my trophies back from now on.
    The last two trips I had done by Dennis and the results were amazing. Bring yours back to the states!
     
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  7. gizmo

    gizmo AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2015 AH Ambassador

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    I’d be very honored to have the opportunity to earn your business and would be glad to help in everything from getting you help with import all the way through to the finished product. I am USDA certified to handle shipments from Africa and will deliver excellent work at reasonable pricing in a very acceptable turnaround time.
     
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  8. Bruce

    Bruce AH Elite

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    There are excellent taxidermists in RSA, but also unfortunately done "fly by nights" that produce pathetic work.
    It makes sense to dip and pack and send home to the USA...economically.
    All my trophies have been done here in RSA( I live here) and I have yet to be disappointed. I do, though, only use selected taxidermists... LIFEFORM, BULLSEYE, KAROO ART abd BUCK 'n BASS, which largely depends which area I have hunted.
    Even your dip and pack selection is critical so choose wisely.
     

  9. johnnyblues

    johnnyblues AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Get your trophies out of there ASAP once they are dipped and packed. Taxidermy in Africa is extremely iffy at BEST. They do not have access to quality materials. That being said I second what BWH said use a GOOD taxidermy service here, Top of Texas Taxidermy did my last safari and did a great job. I speak from experience, I has two trophies done there and still regret it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019
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  10. Hogpatrol

    Hogpatrol AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Advice? Prepare yourself to getting screwed. Ask anyone that's been down this road. It's not without financial pain.
     
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  11. Rafter JK

    Rafter JK AH Member

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    First and foremost, good on you for your attention to detail on planning your trip! By all means my suggestion would be to dip, pack and ship! Whether you use us at Top of Texas or not, I truly believe you will be much more satisfied with the quality of work here stateside. Please contact @gizmo and at least let him visit with you about the process involved. We would love the opportunity to create you artwork that is something you will be proud of, but the most important detail in all of this is your satisfaction with your hunt as a whole!
     
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  12. The Artistry of Wildlife

    The Artistry of Wildlife SPONSOR Since 2014 AH Elite

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    Send me a PM. I'll give you way better than industry standard , in fact, the highest quality taxidermy you can find. I'm not cheap, I'm not fast, But If you want the best and someone with 50 years experience and someone who does nothing but life-size and shoulder African pieces and Only Mammals from around the world send me a message. I do every mount in my shop and my work is incredibly in demand. Good Luck on your Safari.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 5, 2019

  13. Mark19707

    Mark19707 AH Veteran

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    On my first trip to SA I thought getting work done there was a great idea... did lots of research and paid my money... Long story short dip pack and send it back to get done at home! 5 trips later I would never do it any other way
     
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  14. Ryan

    Ryan AH Fanatic

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    I guess I'm one of the few who has done OK with work from Namibia. and I have seen work from South African ones in lodges, and in peoples houses I would have no complaints of. Actually there's some positive reports on this site too. I've also seen poor work from over there. Botched stitching and stagnant poses. But I can say the same over on this side here. Heck, I have a coworker who got the wrong chamois back and had a sheep cape from Kyrgestan destroyed by a local well known Alaskan taxidermist . So, do your homework on either side of the pond. I can't say anything about the particular one suggested but I just looked at his site and he has a lot of references. Give a few an email or call, get pictures, etc. Can't hurt. Do a little looking into other East Cape taxidemists. As for this side check out some locals where ever you are, walk into their studios, ask for references and call them. Plus both Dennis and Gizmo are known to be great if you are in the lower 48.
    Take your time.
     
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  15. Jeff Schaeffer

    Jeff Schaeffer AH Senior Member

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    My wise and knowledgeable PH says that flat skins and European mounts could be done in Africa for less money. For shoulder or full mounts, he said that the U.S. is way ahead of Africa in terms of techniques.
    Here is the awful truth. My wife and I visited a gift shop in SA that sold wildlife trophies. They were the worst. I remember a pop-eyed wildebeest that looked like it had been frightened to death, and a zebra that looked like it had just been struck by lightning. That sight made me want to avoid ALL shoulder mounts forever. Although some of the mount photos shared on this forum are absolutely beautiful.

    Thanks,

    Jeff
     

  16. Bhfs300

    Bhfs300 AH Fanatic

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    Hi Jeff
    Just a thought from my experience with SA.
    As I said earlier I made a decision that I wouldn’t have any mounts done there after the first trip. The last time there I was going to do a dip and ship but had them do a hide for me. When it was over six months I started asking why it was taking so long and they blamed it on the hide and there was this problem and that problem. It took a little over nine months for four Skulls two capes and the tanned hide to get back to the states.
    Not sure the hide was worth the extra four or five months.
    Tom
     

  17. KMG Hunting Safaris

    KMG Hunting Safaris AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2013 AH Legend

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    @Daveboone , take this man up on his offer.
     
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  18. ldhhunting

    ldhhunting New Member

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    Hey Jeff,

    I have done it both ways...I have used "Highveld Taxidermists" in South Africa for my last 3 trips (patiently waiting for sable, cape buffalo, kudu to come home now)
    The first few times I dipped / packed and sent back to the US. The one thing I noticed was hair slippage on a few animals that were dipped and then tanned in the states.
    The cost seemed to be a wash with a bit larger freight cost for completed animals from SA vs. extra cost for taxidermist in the states. Time wise SA seemed to be quicker, on average 12 months for my last batch. I have toured Highveld and was impressed with the operation. I'm sure there are good ones and bad ones on both sides of the pond.
    Most important get some references, nothing worse than seeing a "naked hairless kudu with bulging eyes" in a lodge somewhere.

    Good luck on your hunt!!
    ldhhunting
     
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  19. ufg8r93

    ufg8r93 AH Senior Member

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    I used a local SA taxidermist in 2017 and the work was okay. I love Europeans, and they did a fine job on my Europeans. For shoulder/full mounts I'll do d&p and have them done here from now on.

    BTW, since I live in the Atlanta area I thought I'd try to clear my trophies myself. Horrible idea. Pay Coppersmiths or some other reputable firm to do it. Well worth the cash.
     

  20. Hogpatrol

    Hogpatrol AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    This is no knock on the many good taxidermists on here or anywhere in the U.S., just one person's experience. I've had all mine done in SA. As others have posted, here and there, good and bad. The taxidermist I used is good and other members here have stated the same. I ran the numbers and including shipping it was a couple thousand cheaper per crate to get them done in SA. Example, wildebeest shoulder mount SA, 600, U.S. my area, 1200. I do my own importing, save another thousand or more. YMMV.
     
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