Last Minute Taxidermy Questions

DCN

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Hi All,

I leave this Thursday.* First trip to Africa (Namibia) for Plains Game with Kowas Hunting Safaris and subsequently a side trip to Etosha National Park for some game viewing. This forum has been a wealth of information for which I am very grateful. I am currently looking at either Tau Taxidermy or Trophaendienste Taxidermy (both out of Windhoek). Any comments, positive or negative, on either would be greatly appreciated.

I have a few (newbie and/or dumb) last minute taxidermy related questions:
  1. For a Kudu Euro Mount and a Wildebeest Euro Mount, do they physically remove the horns from the pedicle of the cleaned skulls for shipping or do the horns remain naturally secured to the cleaned skulls during shipping? The answer would obviously have an impact on shipping costs.
  2. For a Kudu Dip and Pack, a similar question, are the horns shipped detached and is the skull simply discarded (i.e. not sent)?
  3. Since I am planning on a few Euro Mounts, what specifically do I ask the skinner to do with the hides in the event that I someday, down the road, wish to get either a shoulder mount or pedestal mount? Is there a technical term for this or do I simply state my intentions.
  4. Same question as No. 3, but directed towards the tanner/taxidermist in Namibia.
  5. If I decide to take a Hartman's Mountain Zebra, the plan is to get the hide tanned in Namibia. Would you also get it either felted or trimmed in leather in Namibia or would you leave the felting or leather trimming work to be done in North America? Also, when a zebra rug is leather trimmed, does it still usually have a felt bottom?
Thanks in advance,

DCN

* I can't sleep at night
 

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DCN,

* There is a cure for the pre-Africa insomnia. You have the 2 pill variety. Take two 12 hour flights (with a possible 12 hour layover if you take the European route), drink plenty of water, and stay up until 8 pm on your arrival night. You will sleep like a baby.

If you don't want two pills (2 flights), you know what the one pill option is ... you can take the 17 hour suppository (1 flight) and stay up until 8 pm on your arrival night with guaranteed sleep thereafter.
 

Hank2211

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For a Kudu Euro Mount and a Wildebeest Euro Mount, do they physically remove the horns from the pedicle of the cleaned skulls for shipping or do the horns remain naturally secured to the cleaned skulls during shipping? The answer would obviously have an impact on shipping costs.

Unless you specify otherwise, the "usual practice" (in my experience in a few countries) is that they remove the horns for shipping. For some animals, they need to remove the horns to properly clean the trophy.

For a Kudu Dip and Pack, a similar question, are the horns shipped detached and is the skull simply discarded (i.e. not sent)?
Entirely up to you. If you want the skull, say so, and it will be shipped. Again, horns will normally be detached unless you specify otherwise (and it isn't necessary for cleaning)

Since I am planning on a few Euro Mounts, what specifically do I ask the skinner to do with the hides in the event that I someday, down the road, wish to get either a shoulder mount or pedestal mount? Is there a technical term for this or do I simply state my intentions.
If you know you want a Euro mount, then specify flatskin, and they will take the entire skin off in one piece, dry it and ship it dried. You would then have to store it dried at home, and this could present some challenges, particularly if the skin isn't completely dry, as has been my experience from time to time. In those cases you need to get at it to prevent rot, if it hasn't started already. I lost most of a leopard skin in this way (although I now have a very flashy (and very expensive) leopard skin hat band). Even if it is well dried, it would likely have some odour. I wouldn't suggest storing dried skins for any length of time though, unless you have proper storage facilities (see any African taxidermy studio - wooden racks with room for air to move). Alternatively you could ask to have the hides tanned, in which case you can pretty much store them forever in a clean, dry place. Or spread them around, like I do (when allowed . . .). My experience is that NA taxidermy is generally superior to that done in Africa (hold the flogging . . .), but tanning is often superior in Africa, particularly for large, thick skins, and both are, of course, much cheaper in Africa.

Same question as No. 3, but directed towards the tanner/taxidermist in Namibia.
Same answer, but by this time, the skin will obviously already have been removed.

If I decide to take a Hartman's Mountain Zebra, the plan is to get the hide tanned in Namibia. Would you also get it either felted or trimmed in leather in Namibia or would you leave the felting or leather trimming work to be done in North America? Also, when a zebra rug is leather trimmed, does it still usually have a felt bottom?
First, a Hartmann is a beautiful skin - the best of the zebra IMO. I think you are right (see above) to have it tanned in Namibia. However, I'm not sure about the felting. I've had a few done in Africa and at home, and here was better. In fact, one was done so badly in Africa that when I asked my local taxidermist to redo it, we found that the felting had been glued on with an excess of some glue that couldn't be removed without seriously damaging the hide. That skin is now serving as inlays on pedestal mounts. So if you are confident it can be done well (see some samples) then I'd say by all means in Africa. I have mine done here.

These are just my opinion, based on a bunch of hunts, but I hope they help.
 
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johnnyblues

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Best of luck DCN. Look forward to your report!
 

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You won't be removing Wildebeest Horns. They are stuck. Ship treated as is on the critter. (In most cases)
Kudu horns can be removed and will be.
The cores are also cut down and drilled to treat them.

Make your choice about the result you want before the knife hits the critter.
Shoulder mount skinning is not useful for a flat skin, etc.
Just tell them what you want. It's your party and your animal.


Good luck on your hunt. Shoot straight.
Keep some notes and take lots of pictures for that hunting report.
 

huntermn15

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Good luck and have a great trip. I look forward to the report and photos:)
 

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All the above and after you think you have enough photos take about 10-50 more of everything. This is if you are using digital which I suggest. You will be glad you did once you are at home.
 

All-American Taxidermy

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Hi All,

I leave this Thursday.* First trip to Africa (Namibia) for Plains Game with Kowas Hunting Safaris and subsequently a side trip to Etosha National Park for some game viewing. This forum has been a wealth of information for which I am very grateful. I am currently looking at either Tau Taxidermy or Trophaendienste Taxidermy (both out of Windhoek). Any comments, positive or negative, on either would be greatly appreciated.

I have a few (newbie and/or dumb) last minute taxidermy related questions:
  1. For a Kudu Euro Mount and a Wildebeest Euro Mount, do they physically remove the horns from the pedicle of the cleaned skulls for shipping or do the horns remain naturally secured to the cleaned skulls during shipping? The answer would obviously have an impact on shipping costs.
  2. For a Kudu Dip and Pack, a similar question, are the horns shipped detached and is the skull simply discarded (i.e. not sent)?
  3. Since I am planning on a few Euro Mounts, what specifically do I ask the skinner to do with the hides in the event that I someday, down the road, wish to get either a shoulder mount or pedestal mount? Is there a technical term for this or do I simply state my intentions.
  4. Same question as No. 3, but directed towards the tanner/taxidermist in Namibia.
  5. If I decide to take a Hartman's Mountain Zebra, the plan is to get the hide tanned in Namibia. Would you also get it either felted or trimmed in leather in Namibia or would you leave the felting or leather trimming work to be done in North America? Also, when a zebra rug is leather trimmed, does it still usually have a felt bottom?
Thanks in advance,

DCN

* I can't sleep at night
#1- Kudu horns are removable off the skulls, Wildebeest - you wont get those to come off during the skull cleaning process.
We've had wildebeest come in where the dip/pack guys drilled right on the show side of the horns for bug treatment - when in reality they should drill into the backside.
#2 for dip and pack yes horns are detached off the skull and accompany the skull and skin. Some places are just cutting off the skull plate and cleaning that than the whole skull.
#3- Most all skins are cut for pedestals even if guys are wanting shoulder mounts. We get stuff in 95% of the time that's basically cut as a 1/2 lifesize and to the knees - some go as far back as the pecker of the animals - so way more skin than what's needed on a pedestal.
#4- Tanning charges are going to be more for a pedestal than a shoulder mount. I wouldn't get anything tanned over there unless it was a flat skin though. Its difficult with skins being tanned over there to mount up back in the states- most have to get re-tanned anyways just to get any stretch or pliability to the skin for mounting. Have the cape tanned in the U.S. and mounted here or just have it mounted there.
5#I've seen some of the felting and rugging of zebra skins and done in Africa and I suppose its ok looking for the price. The ones I've seen are just all black felt and the ears are sewn forward.
Some of the ruggers here in the states do some really fantastic rug work. fabric or leather binded edges, D-rings underneath to hang on walls, and a type of fabric underneath that doesn't pick up lint and dust as much as felt would. And ears are sewn laid back instead of forwards looks way better in my opinion. Going rates on zebra rugs with felting and tanning here in the states your looking at $1500-2000. But you get what you pay for.
 
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BRICKBURN

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.............
We've had wildebeest come in where the dip/pack guys drilled right on the show side of the horns for bug treatment - when in reality they should drill into the backside. ...............

Makes you wonder if the guy with the drill had ever seen what the end result is supposed to look like. i.e. a mounted skull on a wall.


#3- Most all skins are cut for pedestals even if guys are wanting shoulder mounts. We get stuff in 95% of the time that's basically cut as a 1/2 lifesize and to the knees - some go as far back as the pecker of the animals - so way more skin than what's needed on a pedestal.
...........

I'd rather have that than not. A buddy of mine had capes show up without legs. Huge holes and no arm pits.

If the hunter has a clue they could trim their own capes in the salt shed. Most guys would botch it though.
 

All-American Taxidermy

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Brickburn-

For sure. Maybe I'm lucky and guys are using some good outfitters. Did have a shipment few years ago -plenty of skin but just skinning cuts all over the faces of a sable, tsessebe, monkeys were pretty bad too around the eyes -but seems to be norm for primates. Skinned out a baboon and saw why that is - the skin is right on bone around the eyes on them so you have to be extremely careful.

BTW, seen some bad North American skinning too. lol
 

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When you see some of the knives that the guys use to skin I wonder how they manage not to botch the entire animal.

My favourite knife because you can get close and not have to worry too much pressure.

havalon-piranta-z-black-zytel-pro-hunting-skinning-knife-4.gif
 

Divernhunter

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I have one of those and another made by another firm that has more backbone(blade support). They both work well.
They drilled small holes in all my horns for tags, maybe for treatment also. It was no problem the Taxidermy guy filled them and you will have a hard time finding them on the mounts.
 

All-American Taxidermy

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Yeah crazy how those guys can skin and well with some of those machetes they use. If I'm not using a scalpel, my go to knife is these pairing knives made by victorinox. They have flex and can get really sharp and easy to sharpen with a steel or stone about 7" long and only about $6 a knife.
 

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enysse

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Trophaendienste Taxidermy, I used them the first trip, before I got educated and there was no AH in those days. I would not use them. Do a lot of research....PLEASE. I have to look at those mounts the rest of my life. Matt, above here is working on my stuff right now. I'm going down to visit him in person soon so we can have a talk about how I want my last stuff done.
 

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Thanks Matt, I had time this week, but wanted to unwind after giving it everything to finish college for the time being. It's been a long 9 months of hell.
 

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Thanks Matt, I had time this week, but wanted to unwind after giving it everything to finish college for the time being. It's been a long 9 months of hell.

Worth every minute I bet now that its over. :)
 

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