Skulls and skins and such

Tundra Tiger

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I have read quite a bit on here about getting taxidermy done while in South Africa versus having it shipped and done at home. I also understand it’s a pretty dead horse, with multiple signs of blunt force trauma, post mortem.

If a person is looking at just getting the skulls cleaned (like with a Euro mount) or hides tanned (such as with a zebra), does the same hold true, or can you expect to have a reasonable job done for less?

My plans, if my daughter and I are successful, are Euro mounts for the horned game. I might possibly have a single shoulder mount done – but not over there (more on that in a moment). I like the idea of having hides tanned for several species (my daughter fervently wants a zebra).

I’m actually a taxidermist, though I haven’t had a shop in a while. When I did I was a fish guy, though I’ve done a fair amount of whitetail and mule deer in the past. If I decide on a shoulder mount, I’d like to have things sent over to me and have a crack at it myself, just for the fun of doing it. With Euro mounts, I’m not set up to do skulls so I’d like to have everything cleaned nice and pretty and I’ll pick out the panels I want and do that part myself. Also, I would add, I live in a remote bush community in AK, so getting in the car and taking anything to the local taxidermist isn’t an option.

So… what say ye? Getting hides tanned and skulls cleaned and then shipped to me… is that a safe bet?

Thanks in advance.
 

jeff

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As a taxidermist I would be afraid of Africa tanning for the long run, was it neutralized properly or would you have acid rot in a few years! As for the euro mounts they might do ok because the risk of over cooking still exists with only doing dip& pack.
 

buck wild

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Your skulls are going to come boiled at the minimum as that is a US requirement. I’ve had some that were basically “euro” quality straight out of the crate. Others will be greasey and need additional treatment to degrease and whiten. As far as tanning- everything I’ve seen is not good. Hides will come dry salted so same on volume and shipping either way. I’d bring them here for tanning.
 

Hank2211

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The only skins I would have tanned in Africa are the really thick ones which North american tanneries don't have much experience with, and can find troublesome. Hippo, giraffe and especially elephant seem to present some challenges to North American tanneries - at least in my experience.
 

TFet

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We have had all tanning done state side and euro mounts for those just had the taxidermist secure horns back to the skull. About $20 an animal.

Mounting I would make sure you look at lots of photos and understand the expressions of plains game they are different then the deer and many animals we have here. Successfully have 20+ animals all tanned and mounted here in the states no issues.
 

MarkB

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Me elephant ears and zebra rugs were tanned and mounted in Africa, both Zim and Namibia, when the crates opened I was relieved both times, all were done very well and were displayed, still look great 10 and 20 years later, I got lucky. One safari I had African taxidermist "tutan tan" them, I was told neutralize/soak up and mount. This was NOT the case, all were like rubber, took all sorts of extra effort to mount, impossible for any great looking detail in the mounts. Barely mountable and not recommended, Canadian tannery would not re-tan those again. On all subsequent safaris dip and pack only, I then send to tannery and mount myself when I get back. So nice having soft, pliable and stretchable great skins and capes to work with. Extra cost is worth it. Remember somehow after you leave from hunt all capes, skins and hide get a ton of unexplainable holes, rips and tears in them???? This is a real pain to fix and took many hours to repair before even starting to mount. Add extra repair days to each mount. As for skulls, dip and pack must be done, some were done well and ready for final cleaning and display, others were redone by myself. Most horns and teeth need major redo's.

You are a taxidermist, have your shoulder mount cape tanned in NA and mount yourself, you will have time if capes are taken care of and stored properly, lots cheaper for you to complete but more importantly so much gratification every time you see it. Tons of pro's and tips on internet willing to help. The huge US taxidermy supply companies provide great assistance. Some internet work before you start with some close up pics, muscle lines and visuals to your questions. If you remember in the moment take extra close up pics of your animals when on safari, they will help.

My recommendation, have tanned in NA, mount yourself or have NA taxidermist complete.

MB
 

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