Taxidermy

Discussion in 'Taxidermy' started by Eeleel, Feb 17, 2018.

  1. Eeleel

    Eeleel AH Member

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    My first to SA this May 18.
    Where is the preferred taxidermy, USA or SA ?
    Please comment on cost, quality and service. How do you feel about the recommended taxidermist by your outfitter/ PH.
     

  2. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    The debate continues......
     
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  3. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    I believe if you do a search you will find a great deal of info. I have only used 2 in RSA, and haven’t received the second ones yet. My first was recommended by Eland Safaris in Limpopo, Safari Taxidermy in Polokwane. We stopped there and got to see tons of there’s before we had to make a decision. I was impressed. When I received mine in the US, the shoulder mounts were very good, IMO, but the euro mounts were very disappointing. They had been soaked so long in bleach that the skulls were falling apart. The horns were painted which I also don’t like. You live and learn.
    I suspect unless you have experience with a taxidermist in the US, it’s still a crap shoot.
    Best of luck in your decision!
     

  4. wesheltonj

    wesheltonj AH Elite

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    You have one of the best that is a sponsor here in AH, @The Artistry of Wildlife . He has my animals now, just be prepared to wait, its a two man shopped He is in your home state. It's easier to get problems resolved in the States, then trying to get them resolved in RSA.
     

  5. Aaron Nietfeld

    Aaron Nietfeld AH Fanatic

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    I have to agree with this. One member did a price compare using an RSA taxidermist, and using Dennis, the difference wasn’t that much, and the quality is no comparison
     
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  6. ActionBob

    ActionBob AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Big red flag right there.... And then he'll promise to check on it for you... I'm probably a bit jaded on this. But quite sure my Outfitter is busy enough he never did check, or the jaded side says, " yea, checked in over drinks at the Country Club during the cricket meet":mad:

    Good way to end up with an eland bull that looks like a dairy cow, a kudu with a 4" overbite, and a bushbuck who looks like his face was formed in a waffle maker. Oh and I hope you like all the horns painted black, and especially the extra coat they put on for each of the 5 emails you sent instructing to keep them natural color. And I'm sure you won't mind if they try to swap out some ugly random zebra skin for the once in a lifetime beauty you had....

    My Outfitter did go to bat for us. But by then it was all bandaid fixes...

    If you use a taxidermist in Africa. Be sure you check out a few and choose one yourself. Your Outfitter will probably still want the taxidermist to kick back 15% to him... like I said, I'm a bit Jaded from my first such expierience. So take my input for what it is worth to you.

    I do have a lot of critters at a shop in Africa, but one I chose.
     
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  7. Scott Slough

    Scott Slough AH Fanatic

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    Might as well ask what is the preferred truck !
     

  8. ActionBob

    ActionBob AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Yea but do you want a paint job by some local in Africa or the likes of Dennis Harris?
     
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  9. Scott Slough

    Scott Slough AH Fanatic

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    If I bought an African truck...I would ONLY let an African paint it!
     

  10. ActionBob

    ActionBob AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Zimbabwe Parking lot.JPG
    Maybe you're right Scott...
     

  11. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    And Dennis is not far from where the OP lives if I am not mistaken.
     

  12. Bullthrower338

    Bullthrower338 AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    I prefer my taxidermist within ass whipping distance. Way to much trouble to fly to Africa!
    The one taxidermy shop I went to visit that was the outfitters “preferred” taxidermist had what looked like a manufacturing assembly line going on, probably 20 people working in there. I said no thank you and had it shipped home. I’m sure there are some great Taxidermist’s in SA, but I always feel more comfortable using guys I know and trust. You are going to have to look at it for a long time, and trust me, bad taxidermy pisses you off everytime you look at it! Check out Erik at Top of Texas Taxidermy as well, he is doing some fine work!
    4BAEFDAE-ABB0-4E33-A74E-74FAFC5FBA7A.jpeg

    Note: the above was not done by Dennis or Gizmo and is not mine, but it is the scariest bobcat mount ever!

    Cheers,
    Cody
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2018
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  13. enysse

    enysse AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Be careful on who you pick, check the prices carefully and then do the calculations twice.:sneaky::sneaky::sneaky: Make sure they use a steady shipping container. Never have your skins tanned for mounting in the USA:(:(:(. After doing the research for almost 15+ years, it still amazes the choices people pick for taxidermy:rolleyes:, cutting corners will cost you a lot bad memories:mad::mad::mad:. And always be prepared for shipping costs to get crazy and cause you to go insane:whistle::whistle::whistle::whistle:. Everyone is looking for a cut of the action along the way.............:cry::cry::cry:
     
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  14. Edge

    Edge AH Fanatic

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    Eeleel,

    Had the same questions as you did prior to my first trip to Africa last year. I did a lot of reading here on AH and saw arguments for both having the trophies done here in the States or in Africa. It really came down to the following: I wanted quality work done that I would be proud to display in my living room for all to see, not shoved into the garage, shed or hunting camp.

    That meant QUALITY. Can you be assured of quality mounts from Africa? Not that I have read. Many many horror stories, even from reputable Taxidermists in South Africa and there are many on here that have received good work and that they are happy with the work. Take a look through the Taxidermy section and zoom in and look at the work up close. If you I don't like or have an issue with your mount, are you going to send it back to Africa?

    COST is usually a consideration for many, some not as much. If you are of the former, there are significant costs that need budgeted, I'll get to that later. Comparing the costs of mounting them in Africa vs the States. In most cases it's very close, in other cases (Giraffe comes to mind) there is a big difference. You will need to do the analysis based upon the animals you want to mount. My bag of standard plains game didn't have any big cost drivers to sway me to using a Taxidermist from Africa. Here is a link to my first hunt. I'm doing 5 shoulder mounts, 2 rugs and the rest euro, I'm also keeping a running tally of costs and timelines to help first timers understand the costs and time it takes to get their trophies home.

    https://www.africahunting.com/threads/south-africa-kmg-safaris-rocks.39278/

    Just to have my trophies dipped/packed, cleared through customs and shipped to the tannery was $3400. If you have your trophies mounted in Africa, I would expect the shipping charges to be higher due to the additional volume. I'm expecting my Taxidermy bill to run ~$7k.

    Based on the outstanding quality of work with price not being a driving factor I chose Dennis Harris @The Artistry of Wildlife. Dennis will gladly give you a quote, drop him a PM or shoot him an e-mail.

    Don't forget to hire a clearing agent, I used Michael @ Coppersmiths in the Chicago office, highly recommended.

    If you have any additional questions, let us know.

    Edge
     
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  15. The Artistry of Wildlife

    The Artistry of Wildlife SPONSOR Since 2014 AH Elite

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    That should not be your question. It should be WHO, the person, are you going to trust your memories to? people come and go all the time even in big studios. Service, mine is slow a year out on mounts some even go longer YES. Why because I do them ALL. With my Finisher Jamie. The demand for our work is very high and only so many hours in a day week or year. And my Average is 90 hours of work each week We have built this business on the quality of the work and PERFECTION. Hiring people to do the volume of work I'm commissioned to do is not an option , sure I could hire guys to do work and get it out the door faster....But then the quality does down, "WAY" down as it does in all high volume shops and production line studios . Been there and have worked in those shops it's about quota and speed. Every month that company meeting is held and your accountable for the $$$$ you have produced for your pay...plain and simple. I have no time limit to do a mount, hard skin, bad bug damage, hair slipping , grease burned from poor africa prep work, torn ears, skinning cuts, eyelids cut off, lips removed from bad skinning in africa, intense repairs the list goes on and on with african skin, These BIG shops still expect the same number of pieces to be done each week no matter the condition the foreman gives the work to an employee. An the finisher is on a quota also...I let My Finisher take all the time needed to get the mount perfect. If a crap Kudu comes in and it takes 4 extra vs 8 hours to finish then so be it. Its done that way. I ask, you do you want a guy that has the pedigree of a Master in African Work that has been doing it for 47 years to ACTUALLY do you work with his hands or someone that is hired for $15.00-20.00 an hour to do it ? Or someone in Africa who is paid +-$10.00 a day to do it. Who are you really trusting your memories too? Its not the STUDIO it's the ARTIST Himself that should concern you.
     

  16. RogerHeintzman

    RogerHeintzman AH Fanatic

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    I've been in the taxidermy industry 31 yrs. myself. What Dennis said is so true. I've spent just as much time repairing capes from Africa as it takes to mount them.
    DO NOT have your tanning done in Africa then expect a US taxidermist to mount them. They will probably end up sent in to be re tanned and you pay again.
    Have your work done states side. You can stop in the studios on occasion, kick ass if need be, stop payment if need be etc. that you can not in Africa.
    Do not take your work to someone who wants to practice on African that can not do justice to North American mounts.
     
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  17. johnnyblues

    johnnyblues AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Hands down bring it back PERIOD! I had one bad experience their and will never mount anything there again. YOU have to look at it for the rest of your life. If it is bad you will have a lot of regrets. I had to have my Nyala fixed when it got back home.
     

  18. gizmo

    gizmo AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2015 AH Ambassador

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    Sir I’d be glad to do your Taxidermy work and have done and am doing work for several AH members here. I have very competitive pricing and will be glad to assist in everything from the import to finished work.
    Additionally my work is very good and my turn around time is very reasonable. Typically within 9 months of when I receive you crate to when it’s in your home. There are other taxidermist here that are very good as well however turn around times can be years not months. I have a safari from 2015 , before I owned my own shop, that a fellow AH taxidermist has and here we are almost 3 years later and it hasn’t even been started. His work is wonderful but the wait times are very long.
    I can provide you with very good quality work at a reasonable cost in a time frame you can live with.
     
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  19. johnnyblues

    johnnyblues AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    He has my safari taxidermy. I trust him and you should too.
     
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  20. gizmo

    gizmo AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2015 AH Ambassador

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    Thank you Johnny
     
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