REPORT: Universal Trophy Services Mixed Review

Discussion in 'Taxidermy' started by TKW, Jun 3, 2018.

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  1. TKW

    TKW New Member

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    I received my crates from last year’s hunt a couple weeks ago so have had time to reflect on the entire process and it is a mixed review. I hunted in South Africa and on the advice of my PH and from many other past hunters I chose to use Universal Trophy Services. I decided on a pedestal mount for my Sable, flat skin for the Zebra, and skull on shield for all the others. Rupert Dedekind was the gentleman’s name I worked with at UTS and he was highly professional and timely in all communications which gave me confidence in the process. I was nervous entrusting all of the trophy work being done in SA while I was back here in the States but at each step I felt better and better as Rupert kept me informed and worked closely with Coppersmith to handle the paperwork.

    When the crates arrived it looked like all the packing had been done well and no damage from shipment. The skins came back in good condition and the zebra was fine. My impala skull mount was cracked and had fallen off the shield due to poor screw placement...something I was able to fix on my own but should have been noticed prior to shipment (was not a shipment issue). The biggest issue was the Sable...not sure if there was excessive shrinking of the hide (never seen it in any other trophy I have), poor initial skinning, bad workmanship or a combination of all the above but it looks like Frankenstein. Obvious stitching along the neckline. I’m definitely not happy with how it was skinned but I’ve seen worse be hidden by great taxidermists. I cannot display the Sable in its current condition so will be looking to have it repaired.

    I notified Rupert of the issue and he agreed to pay for any repairs. All in all a mixed review but my conclusion is I will be having future work done in the US to allow for easier resolution on any issues as I would never have taken delivery of a trophy in this condition.

    0AEB353E-A86A-4592-8BB5-EA639F944001.jpeg 1D87E9AA-825A-4330-8ABE-C4152179373A.jpeg 3F62A402-1B99-4F93-9AEC-DE12C9684AF5.jpeg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 3, 2018

  2. The Artistry of Wildlife

    The Artistry of Wildlife SPONSOR Since 2014 AH Elite

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    Sorry about your sable, WOW that mount is terrible. Everything about it is wrong and HOBBY taxidermy quality. From that first pic it's face looks more kudu shaped than sable also the neck looks kudu, nothing like a sable , its very stiff pose looking no detail and shape. And the stitching I have no words.....And no thought was given to the mane, And that makes a sable mount, it makes any animal with a mane lying down or in disarray look dead not alive. It takes meer minuted to stand a mane, glue it in place and have it correct.
    I'll the first one to admit my customer service sometimes stinks but my mounts everyone are darn near absolutely PERFECT !
    I go above and beyond fixing scars holes and damage PH's and Dip pack's do.
    Lots of extra's time and perfection standards on the mounts to make up for any lacking in my business area of the lack of expertise.
    I'm a little hard to deal with and work with at times because I work with just a guy or two in a big shop, have all he other tasks of business and the mounting, but I give everyone 1000 + % on my mounts and quality perfection.
    You not going to get that repaired, maybe totally remounted. The ears are mounted to the side of the neck.

    AND That skin has to come off to get it done right with that stitching and the way it should be.
    THIS is why I have no employees that mount pieces , My hands do them all.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2018
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  3. TKW

    TKW New Member

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    It’s about the worst I’ve ever seen from a pure craftsmanship standpoint. Not sure how something like that is even allowed to leave the facility.

    I don’t need to be best friends or even like the person I’m working with as long as the quality and professionalism are there. I’m headed back to SA in August and both Roan and Buffalo are on my list...2 trophies I’ll be mounting (not just skull and shield); will definitely be having done in the US (limited options where I live now though).
     

  4. The Artistry of Wildlife

    The Artistry of Wildlife SPONSOR Since 2014 AH Elite

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    I Can ship you a Buff and Roan shoulder wall mount for about 600-700 to CA, IF pedestals crate would be bigger FOR THE BASES and if it can be delivered to a business address without lift gate around 800-900
     

  5. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    That's really too bad.
     

  6. The Artistry of Wildlife

    The Artistry of Wildlife SPONSOR Since 2014 AH Elite

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    For others, Look at head shape and neck anatomy of what A sable should look like. Don't know where he got his reference that sable have a roman type nose bridge like a kudu or round tubular necks.


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  7. slam8031

    slam8031 AH Enthusiast

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    Sorry it turned out that way! Dennis is the main reason mine are being done in the states.
     

  8. TKW

    TKW New Member

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    These look amazing. I’ll reach out to you directly as I get closer to my hunt. I’m going to add Sable to my list as well to make up for this bad experience. Thank you for responding and sending these great images as a reference of what right looks like.
     

  9. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Take good pictures of your own animal on the ground from a variety of angles and you will certainly get an education.

    Good luck on your next adventure.
     

  10. TKW

    TKW New Member

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    Exactly. I’m still a novice on Africa and its wildlife. All my experience is Alaska and western US. Great excuse to keep going back
     

  11. Bhfs300

    Bhfs300 AH Fanatic

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    This happened to me on my first safari and I said I would not have anything done out of the US on a hunt again,
    Dennis has done my last two hunts and you are always thrilled when you get your trophies home.
    I am in Colorado and he is in Michigan and I had them shipped to me with no regrets.
    Tom
     

  12. Silke Bean

    Silke Bean New Member

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    Looks horrific, sorry to say that. Besides the stitching, the entire anatomy is just so wrong and awful. Oh man. That is the sort of thing that gives all African taxidermists a bad name. And a Sable isn't exactly the sort of animal that taxidermists back home have spare capes of lying around. What a shame to receive back a trophy like that.
    Never ever have your mounts done at an African taxidermy purely by hearsay or your outfitter's recommendation. (Many outfitters send their clients to the taxidermy where they get the biggest kickbacks from, even if the shop does a mediocre job. Sad fact.). Do proper research before your trip if you intend to mount in Africa and then set aside time to check out the shop during your trip before having any work done there, whether it is only dip & pack or mounted trophies. Insist on taking a tour through the entire shop and working area and check mounts and work done from upclose and see what the general standard of their work looks like before making such a big decision. Because the finished work some shops display on their websites is their 'show work' and not the day-to-day mounts and the quality you end up getting. Visit a few shops and don't be influenced or swayed if you don't feel comfortable with what you see.
    Rule number 2, if you do mount in Africa, insist on pictures of the prepared forms before they mount your animal. And for that matter pictures of every step in the pricess, Because once it's done it is done.
    Really hope you can get hold of a cape to get your Sable redone in the States.
     
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  13. The Artistry of Wildlife

    The Artistry of Wildlife SPONSOR Since 2014 AH Elite

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    Just do you know sable capes run 1500 to 1750 WHEN and of you can find them. They are a tough find.

    100% true. In my case everything I show IS CLIENT work. If they have ANY employees they will all mount pieces differently.
     

  14. billc

    billc AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    The tour I took of your shop sold me and seeing all the mounts being done. You gave some great advice above for anyone wanting to have work done in Africa.
     

  15. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    A couple of other examples I found. These are show room specimens

    b57a52_c252acd2ad224647b665341c2ce4f948~mv2.jpg

    b57a52_b0f1209585954fd1ab74b957dbf075a4~mv2.jpg
     

  16. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    @Silke Bean Reasonable advice.

    All of this is predicated on a few important things:
    1. The hunter wants to burn hunting days to tour taxidermy shops at X$ per day. (Why did we go to Africa again?)
    2. That a hunter has one clue about what a proper taxidermy form should look like for their animal. (Most don't study enough to judge trophy size, never mind the musculature.)
    3. That the latest owner of the taxidermy shop has one clue about taxidermy or has ever mounted anything themselves.
    4. Which current or future staff member actually gets to do your stuff.


    Point in time measurement is pretty well worthless for predicting an outcome. You need a pattern over time and that comes down to home work and references LONG before you ever leave your home to go hunting.
    If you are waiting until you hit the ground in Africa to make these choices, then you are going to be able to see a "General Standard" on that day. Which amounts to blind luck.

    Hunters check references for the hunt, rarely for the taxidermist. Get pictures of the latest work that was delivered from X number of current references of the species you are hunting. Even if you only get the "happy client" you can see the work for yourself and judge what actually got shipped.

    If a taxidermy shop is willing to send out the OP's mount what does that tell you?

    Good luck and do your homework.
     

  17. The Artistry of Wildlife

    The Artistry of Wildlife SPONSOR Since 2014 AH Elite

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    Brick , Good post but I would even be skeptical of the happy client....Everyone has different tastes in this art
    Look at it this way, ever been on a blind date? Who your friend set you up with was gorgeous, in their eyes, maybe NOT yours.....I've seen people very happy with mounts I wouldn't dare give a client........

    And the guy that mounted these examples you show here from there website if this is where you got them , NEVER TOUCHED TKW's Sable, I'll stake my life on it.....
     
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  18. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Dennis, those Sable mounts are from another taxidermist.

    I agree on the happy client. I want to see pictures of their stuff from them so I can review it myself.

    Just like trophies in the field. I will differ with many on what I find acceptable. Everyone gets to choose.
     

  19. TKW

    TKW New Member

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    Agree with all the above and lessons I learned from getting bear, sheep, mtn goat, etc done in Alaska. I should have noted I did visit the taxidermist but I definitely did not research scores of them. I also took a ton of photos of all my animals. At the end of the day I think what happened here is lack of care about quality work being done and more concern about quantity going out the door. I've learned my lesson and it won't happen to me again. Fortunately I'll be on another hunt to Africa in 2 months but still can't replace my first Sable...it's a shame.
     

  20. dsmerrills

    dsmerrills AH Senior Member

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    Im so sorry TKW about how your Sable turned out, work like this makes me feel ashamed if I must be honest. I have read a couple posts of late on AH about the lack of quality coming out of South Africa/Africa.
     

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