Issues with the Artistry of Wildlife

IvW

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In both situations, I've got shoddy jobs done fast, often for $5000+ and no recourse. I've had amazing jobs done slow, sometimes promised in a year and it took five years. It's the nature of the game.

I've got a storage room full to the top of taxidermy, way, way over $10,000 in taxidermy that is embarrassing to display. It was done by a "prestigious" African firm that has been known to do good work in the past and in reference photos. I also waited 3 years for a stock to be done on a $30,000 shotgun. I pressured the gunsmith calling every month asking for status and in the end...he did the work. I paid $5000-$6000 for a piece of firewood because I pushed an artist. I could have made a stink, burned a bridge, and moved on...but then he would refuse work for me in the future and there are about 3-5 people in North America that can do the work I need done.

I never want to be that guy again on either count. I'll just be patient and see what happens.

But to come full circle, it comes down to empathy. You don't have to like the realities we may face but you do have to "believe" they happen and "understand" why people may accept those choices.

Remember BATNA - Best Alternative To No Agreement. If you can't agree or abide by a situation you have recourse always, its just that sometimes you've got a lousy hand of cards and making a scene leaves you with pretty poor alternatives.

I almost always agree with you....however....

If you get promised 1 year and it takes 5 years, I am sorry but that is not acceptable, no matter how good you are or who you are for that matter.....and then to have no communication with regards to it, that would really get my blood boiling.....If you however said 5 years from the start and I was ok with that then so be it.

If you knew the stock was going to take three years when you handed the shotgun in I would also get pissed off if you phone me every month to find out what the progress was....however if at the same time you where told it would take one month and you phoned me every month, well then it is my problem and I should then communicate properly as to what the issue is....or not?


Same for any business, under promise and over deliver....never ever over promise and under deliver never, no matter who you are or how good you are rated....simple business ethics.

If he knows he cannot get it done in the said time frame why promise it??? If you do not make it in the said time frame at least keep the client happy with proper communication...

I have seen many people get in trouble with the wife, not for staying at the bar too long but rather just plain flat out lie about the timings.....phone rings, he still has 3 drinks lined up and he sais I am on my way....instead of just saying I am having a few drinks with my friends and I will give you a call when I leave here, love you cheers......but I ques bulls....... works better for some people.
 

R.M.C.

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I've never used Dennis but I am familiar with the "no contact taxidermist" . I don't give much thought into the argument that he takes years to do a mount or is so caught up in artistic expression he forgets to contact clients. This same song and dance can be found worldwide in taxidermists. I used the same guy to mount all my animals for at least 10 years before all sudden his shop was empty and the answer machine was full of messages. Took me about a year to track the guy down only to have his wife give me a bullshit story about him being in an artistic rut and needed time . Apparently 3 or 4 years isn't enough time. Give me a break. This kind of thing happens all the time in that business. Nothing to do with bring an artist and more to do with being a bad business person. Just my two cents lol. I've been following this thread but have been biting my tongue because I know how it feels to wonder if you will ever see your prized animal again.
 

rookhawk

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I have a bit of update on Dennis to share.

I'd been delaying speaking with Dennis knowing how he's been through a hell of an ordeal, a heart attack, being dead for over 30 minutes, being in a coma for a couple weeks, and then recovering from such health issues for many months. I figured he needed a breather from a client. (Not sharing anything he hasn't said on Facebook here, just recapping)

I popped on facebook this morning and asked him to give me a call. He immediately wrote back a facebook message and said he'd call after working hours. (he is an artist during the day, a businessman dealing with his customers at night)

He called this evening but I was busy and couldn't pick up. He followed up again, texting at 10:15 at night giving me all my options for what we can do for poses as all my skins are ready and he has the molds. I call him back via phone as I was hard to reach and he answers right away, sharp as a tack, has a list of everything that I left with him inventoried including items I forgot about.

He asked if I'd like to take delivery on ALL of it by October-November. I stated I didn't have the cash to pick it all up simultaneously and he graciously agreed to do the work a season at a time so I can get a couple pieces each quarter for the next 9 months.

So he's doing my Cape Buffalo floor Pedestal and one other small furniture piece now for October-November pick up.

He started offering to send me pictures of poses, styles, and the like for the Buffalo. I interrupted him and said "you're the artist, you decide". He understands my home style and decor and I'd rather trust his artistic interpretation than dictate to him explicitly what I'm going to get. Looking forward to whatever he is inspired to do.

He has been more than gracious to me and was quick to respond. I'm grateful he agreed to continue doing work for me because I've frankly seen no better in my days.

Feel free to reach him using the methods I mentioned as it appears to be pretty straightforward to get ahold of him.
 

Proneshooter

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Just an update. We did get our trophies 2 weeks ago. Dennis delivered them himself and I must say the quality of work was excellent. Dennis and I had a long talk about what went on and he apologized profusely for the time it took and for letting his business get so backed up. I believe he truly felt bad about what is going on and I now consider it water under the bridge. I cannot say if I will use Dennis in the future, or if he wants me as a customer, but there is a very clear difference in his work compared to some other taxidermists we have used and for that reason I would consider retaining his services again.
John
 

rookhawk

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Just an update. We did get our trophies 2 weeks ago. Dennis delivered them himself and I must say the quality of work was excellent. Dennis and I had a long talk about what went on and he apologized profusely for the time it took and for letting his business get so backed up. I believe he truly felt bad about what is going on and I now consider it water under the bridge. I cannot say if I will use Dennis in the future, or if he wants me as a customer, but there is a very clear difference in his work compared to some other taxidermists we have used and for that reason I would consider retaining his services again.
John

proof is in the pudding, John. Let’s see those mounts!
 

Proneshooter

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Another update: Dennis did not bring the Zebra cape we chose not to mount. Said he would send it to us immediately. Six weeks later no cape and no response to my attempted communications.
 

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Another update: Dennis did not bring the Zebra cape we chose not to mount. Said he would send it to us immediately. Six weeks later no cape and no response to my attempted communications.

How long before Dennis's defenders chime in with an excuse??
 

haisurf

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This was a fun read! By the end of it I came to two conclusions....

1.) I wouldn't want to do business with Dennis.
and
2.) I would rather do business with Dennis than the serial poster 'Shakka'.

Anyways, I just want to thank you all again for the entertaining read!!!
 
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rookhawk

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This was a fun read! By the end of it I came to two conclusions....

1.) I wouldn't want to do business with Dennis.
and
2.) I would rather do business with Dennis than the serial poster 'Shakka'.

Anyways, I just want to thank you all again for the entertaining read!!!

that’s fair. Mind posting a picture of your taxidermy so we get your opinion and photo evidence of the better alternative option?
 

Shakka

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This was a fun read! By the end of it I came to two conclusions....

1.) I wouldn't want to do business with Dennis.
and
2.) I would rather do business with Dennis than the serial poster 'Shakka'.

Anyways, I just want to thank you all again for the entertaining read!!!

Hello, just read your post where you referenced my name and called me a "serial poster." Not sure what you meant by that but I only gave my opinion on Dennis's business practices based on what I read over 7 pages of comments.

FWIW: I could care less what you think of me since I only voiced my opinion on what I read here.
 

375 Ruger Fan

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I have a bit of update on Dennis to share.

I'd been delaying speaking with Dennis knowing how he's been through a hell of an ordeal, a heart attack, being dead for over 30 minutes, being in a coma for a couple weeks, and then recovering from such health issues for many months. I figured he needed a breather from a client. (Not sharing anything he hasn't said on Facebook here, just recapping)

I popped on facebook this morning and asked him to give me a call. He immediately wrote back a facebook message and said he'd call after working hours. (he is an artist during the day, a businessman dealing with his customers at night)

He called this evening but I was busy and couldn't pick up. He followed up again, texting at 10:15 at night giving me all my options for what we can do for poses as all my skins are ready and he has the molds. I call him back via phone as I was hard to reach and he answers right away, sharp as a tack, has a list of everything that I left with him inventoried including items I forgot about.

He asked if I'd like to take delivery on ALL of it by October-November. I stated I didn't have the cash to pick it all up simultaneously and he graciously agreed to do the work a season at a time so I can get a couple pieces each quarter for the next 9 months.

So he's doing my Cape Buffalo floor Pedestal and one other small furniture piece now for October-November pick up.

He started offering to send me pictures of poses, styles, and the like for the Buffalo. I interrupted him and said "you're the artist, you decide". He understands my home style and decor and I'd rather trust his artistic interpretation than dictate to him explicitly what I'm going to get. Looking forward to whatever he is inspired to do.

He has been more than gracious to me and was quick to respond. I'm grateful he agreed to continue doing work for me because I've frankly seen no better in my days.

Feel free to reach him using the methods I mentioned as it appears to be pretty straightforward to get ahold of him.

@rookhawk did you get your mounts that you mentioned for a October-November pickup?
 

Scott CWO

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Dawayne Dewey of Dewey Wildlife Studio in Cody, WY was mentioned earlier in this thread. I’ve used him for a B&C bighorn and my Marco Polo. Truly and artistic shop with detailed office help as well. Best of both worlds - artists in the shop and business-like people in the office.

A left turn going uphill MP form was not available but Dawayne created one for me. Turned out awesome.

I will have them mount my next brown bear. Their bears are the best I’ve seen and as a brown bear guide, I’m very picky. Bears are very hard to do correctly and most taxidermists won’t do the work it requires to stretch a bear hide back out to original size. Most taxidermists select a smaller bear form and just drape the hide on it and sew it up. It can take several re-hydration and stretching steps to get the hide back to original size.

They will be getting my next African safari as well. If you’re ever near Cody, take the time to stop by and get a tour of the shop. Amazing. I hope this post helps some of you. I get nothing for recommending them and they don’t need more business. Just trying to help y’all. Good luck.
 

rookhawk

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@rookhawk did you get your mounts that you mentioned for a October-November pickup?

not yet. Haven’t been around to check up on them. I did see photos of my Buffalo mount on Facebook though. Probably waiting on the cabinet maker to complete the base. It’s chill as the young people say.
 

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