Taxidermy work and alternatives

TOM

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Hey gang,

As i'm leaving for another trip to Africa (this time a return to visit Louis and Spiral Horn Safaris) i'm thinking about taxidermy and associated costs. I am wondering and debating about not having many animals mounted. I don't dare say it aloud but that's what i'm considering.

I know i'll be after a Giraffe. I think i will do a flat skin of that as the shoulder mount on those suckers is expensive. If i shoot a monster impala (which Louis keeps tempting me with) then i will probably mount that as well. Other than those, i am strongly considering really nice pictures and possibly skull mounts or nothing.

It's not that i don't love having taxidermy in my house. My basement "man cave" is starting to fill up from previous trips and i just got word my buff is about to ship out of Zimbabwe. I'm just to that point where the money might be better applied to future trips, as i'm sure i'll be back.

Anyone else in this mindset or am i the black sheep?
 

Skyline

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I do European mounts all the time and it ads some diversity to your trophies. I have to be honest in that I am not going to travel all the way to RSA and then pay a trophy fee to pull the trigger on something and then just take a picture. If that is all you are going to do why pull the trigger in the first place.........just take a picture and leave him for someone else.

Another thing to consider is that a lot of taxidermists will trade work for skulls and capes. So if you bring the cape and horns home you can set a value on it and trade that towards the cost of getting other things mounted.

I do my own European mounts Tom, so if you want to do your own let me know when you get back and I will tell you how to do it and what to use. I did the skull on my monster old wood bison bull I shot last spring in the far north and it turned out awesome.
 

TOM

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I see your points Kelly. I am not going to shoot these animals and just waste them or anything but i'm trying to figure out ways around the full shipping and taxidermy bills associated with a safari, especially since some of it will be duplication of mounts. I already have several euro mounts in the basement but can always add more! I like the idea of having the skulls and capes sent over as bargaining position for some of the other mounts. That might work. It's just that after a while, how many mounted impalas, warthogs, wildebeest, etc does a guy really need in his house? Does anyone mount every whitetail/bear/elk they shoot?
 

Skyline

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I totally agree and please don't take my comment about shooting something and not bringing it home the wrong way.............I know it will not be wasted but, lets look at it this way. I have taken a lot of game over the years and African hunting is basically trophy hunting for us in North America. Pure and simple. We bring the heads/hides home and that is it. The meat gets used to be sure and is welcome by all over there but it is far from the situation at home where we also utilize the meat and hides and horns ourselves.

We shoot deer every year or moose, for the freezer. No one mounts everything. I have taken over 60 moose and I have two sets of antlers in the house. But my family and I ate every one of them.

Over there though, I have a problem paying lets say $800 US to kill a gemsbuck that I am not planning on bringing home with me as I already have enough of them on the wall. So I am then paying $800 to let an arrow or bullet fly, take a picture and then the meat goes to the landowner and the outfitter gets the hide and horns that he can then sell for a profit on top of it. Pretty good deal for the landowner/outfitter. So I guess my point is why kill it in the first place if it is nothing but a repeat of what you have already accomplished? Save the money for mounts on the ones you do want and or for trophy fees of game you have not taken yet.

But that is just my view and I know lots of people see it differently.
 

Red Leg

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Kelley, you bring up an issue with which many of us come to terms as we continue to hunt - particularly in game rich situations like African plains game hunting. I have friends who had significant additions built to their homes to house their collections. That is not really an option for me. I have two African trophies mounted - a leopard resting on a rock and a shoulder mount of a kudu. Everything else in my home is a European style skull mount (became a fan of the technique while stationed in Germany in the seventies where I took many roe deer and several red stags). I probably have only about half the whitetail I have taken and display exactly five of them. I really do believe we do this for the experience and that the trophy is a memory aid. I think it is perfectly ok for a photograph to serve the same purpose, and digital photography allows us to do so much more with them. If the animal was taken legally in fair chase and not wasted (which would be most certainly the case in Africa) then I believe we have met our ethical obligations. That doesn't mean we cherish the experience any less, or scale back our admiration for the animal. We can revisit the hunt in photos, in our journals, and in our dreams. But bringing the horns or cape home is no more an added obligation than hanging stuffed geese following a trip to Canada.
 

TOM

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Well said Red Leg. That's what i've been thinking but can't explain properly.
 

daggaboyblog

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If you have the multiple trophy problem, why not vary the species that you are hunting so you don't have too many impala? If you've taken all of the species in RSA, there are plenty of opportunities in her northern neighbours... I've done well in the RSA over the years so future trips will be more of Zimbabwe, as well as CAR, Zambia, Tanzania, Botswana... You won't do as much shooting but you will get much more of the "experience" you desire and not bring as many trophies home. I would take a dedicated trip for Sitatunga, Puku or Sable over a mixed bag hunt in RSA any day.

Seems a shame not to bring them home. Photos are great, but a mount or flat skin and European mount make it that much more real!
 

Thunder head

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I have already pondered this myself while planning my second safari. I have decided to pursue game i have not taken unless one of those oppertunitys that you just dont pass up comes along (60" kudu). Because of space restrictions and how much they cost i will be passing on the animals i have already taken.
Also because of space restrictions, i think i will have some of the bigger animals (eland) eruo monuted. I will put a 8x10 photo underneath for added effect of what it is.
 

TOM

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Well, i guess i'm doing a horrible job of explaining myself. I am a bowhunter primarily. I enjoy hunting RSA and it's plains game. I have hunted Botswana and Zimbabwe as well. I guess what i'm saying is that i'm still after several trophy animals of different species, but i enjoy cull hunting as well. To be honest, i am a lot more excited about my trips to Africa than i am the North American game. I just don't want to pay the taxidermy expense for every single animal. I do a lot of what Thunderhead is talking about. I have a large picture below each euro and shoulder mount of me with the animal. I might start doing that more and less full mounts. I did not intend to come across as greedy or blood thirsty. It's just that a guy only has so much room after a while. I largely hunt Africa for the experience, travel and adventure. I've come to realize that a room overflowing with animals is not what i want, i would prefer more trips. That's all.
 

Thunder head

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I can understand that too.
I have a photo album slap full of deer, turkeys, pigs and othe critters from north america. I can thumb through it and tell you the story from most if not all of those sucessful hunts. Good memorys to revisit.

So go ahead and shoot away if you like. Take a nice photo and be on your way. Its not like the meat is going to waste.
 

enysse

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Tom, I agree with what you are saying a 100%. Put me on your bandwagon! I want to go hunting, the taxidermy bills are crazy, no more house room,....in the end...I remember "the hunt" the most and not the mount on the wall. It took me a long time to come to this point in my life. But through...experience I've learned....you can have too many mounts. I'm happy as jail bird just to look at the pictures and relive the memories of "the hunt".

Tom your plan for the next trip...sounds perfect to me!!! It's just common sense.

Pulling the trigger and launching a bullet or letting go a arrow from the bow is what hunters do....heck that's why we are on this website...we are hunters.

I can see Kelly's point about taking pictures....it can be fun...when you are on a budget...it is magical to see the animals of Africa. But in the end...if I'm flying to Africa we are hunting! Culling...trophy hunting...it's all the same...hunting.
 

michaelhh375

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European mounts + flatskinns, and when trophy is " exceptionnel" or like one time animal, fully mounted, shoulder mount, head mount, just do it ! Never regret !
 

enysse

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I like what one of the people from the dip and pack people suggested on this website. Carry a sharp bone saw and cut the horns clean off...no skull at all...it saves money...because then they don't have to clean the skull...it also makes lighter shipping...easier packing...I like seeing the horns...but don't need the skull, especially for what you are paying for skull cleaning...do more hunting and less taxidermy!
 

Skyline

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Seems odd seeing as to meet the standards that would be allowed for import here they would still have to boil or do something to remove the horn cores and disinfect, then dip. The horns are removed from the skull plate during shipping anyways when you are just shipping capes and horns.

You can buy fake skull plates to put horns and antlers on. I have seen some from Germany.

In any event, seeing as Tom is going for a giraffe and likely bringing back the body skin of a giraffe, which will be very large, bulky and heavy, a few extra horns and capes in there is not going to make any difference in the shipping costs. The savings would be on the dipping/prep fees and that is about it.........unless of course the plan is to have the mounts done over there, which I would never do.
 

steve.pitts

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I understand what you guys are saying and agree about not mounting everything. I am about to do my first African hunt this October. I bought a package and to be honest I don't care to have every animal shoulder mounted. I may do some in the European mounts to go along with the European trophies I already have.

But my real question is, how much of a cape do I need to have for making a soft case for my rifle? The largest plain game I am taking on my first hunt are Kudu and Zebra. The Zebra will be a rug per the bosses request so that leaves the Kudu. Am I out of luck if I shoulder mount the kudu?

Thanks
 

daggaboyblog

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Steve, I got two cases out of the backskin of a cape buffalo - so I would say that to get one case out of a kudu backskin, you would end up using some of the really thin skin inside the back legs which may not be a great idea.

You could always try and organise a female or cull kudu or blue wildebeest?

Maybe swap the kudu for an eland and then you'll have plenty of backskin!

Enjoy your hunt.
 

Lapaiki39

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Any exceptional trophy is a prime canidate for a "Wally". However a well done trophy mount can really show the magnificence of a great trophy that cannot be replicated by a photo. After all you can "touch it". Photos have the ability to capture other aspects of the hunt like your guides, the area hunted, the equipment used, which can later on in life bring back awesome memories. With the high cost of shipping, customs clearing, taxidermy and other related expenses. I say it's really a judgement call only the hunter can make. Only the hunter knows which trophies are deserving. So I say do both if you can and if the price is a factor go with a photo at least.
 

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