Trophy Room Question

Congratulations on the animals taken, and your quest for taking the big 5.

Here is my humble opinion. I see your delema like buying a safe, you buy a safe to store what you currently have and planning on getting in the future. I would say the same thing applies to your trophy room. I'm sure you are not going to stop with the Leopard. So, if you have the space, I'd say go bigger.
 
Sounds like a good plan, the only thing is when you get to the 20’ walls, if you start putting even exceptional animals up towards the top they can be over looked , I have a friend with a room about that size and the animals towards the top tend to get somewhat lost.

We've got 24' walls in our main living area (open floor plan where the foyer opens into the den as well as the kitchen and "breakfast" area).. At first I thought I'd use all of that wall space to hang stuff (not just taxidermy, but also a fine tapestry we own, an large piece of art we own (5' x 3'), etc.. but realized two things pretty quickly..

#1 it was going to be a HUGE PIA to get things high enough on the wall to make them look right and flow with all the typical stuff hung around eye level.. we were going to need a scissor lift, or scaffolding, etc.. this was going to take a good bit of time, cost a good bit of money, etc.. and you better get it right the first time... moving stuff from one location 15 feet off the ground to another location is no easy (or inexpensive) task..

#2 once we really started considering it, we realized that if we put things anywhere from 15-22' above the ground.. some of the things we really enjoy looking at (the art piece in particular), were definitely going to be overlooked...

End result, the rest of the house has 12' ceilings.. which is where the vast majority of our taxidermy has ended up going.. tall enough for even the biggest set of kudu horns imaginable to not touch the ceiling while still having the shoulder mount far enough off the ground to not look awkward.. but still low enough to put everything in easy view at all times.. (also a lot easier to clean, maintain, etc..)...
 
Lots of good ideas and advice here, I wish I would of had it when we built our house in 1998. At the time I was collecting all of NA waterfowl and the odd whitetail and black tail deer, had only dreamed of hunting in Africa and a lot of western states. We closed in our two car garage but I don’t remember the measurements and added a vaulted ceiling. it would be so much easier if we had gone with 10 or 12 foot walls. About the only things I’ve been able to do to save space is double floor and tabletop pedestals , use free range hanging systems to move mounts around on the wall and most bird mounts are done standing.
 
I agree that the taller walls/ceilings can be more difficult to work with. I am fortunate that in my great room with the taller walls, I have stairs and a catwalk that people can go up and get a closer look at the mounts that are higher up. Also, putting larger animals up higher helps mitigate that somewhat as well as picking specific poses on the mounts helps as well. The big thing, as @mdwest mentions is getting the pieces in the right place, the first time. Moving large mounts that far off the floor is not an easy proposition. For example, my bull moose mount will remain where it is at as long as my house is standing.
 
Congratulations on the animals taken, and your quest for taking the big 5.

Here is my humble opinion. I see your delema like buying a safe, you buy a safe to store what you currently have and planning on getting in the future. I would say the same thing applies to your trophy room. I'm sure you are not going to stop with the Leopard. So, if you have the space, I'd say go bigger.
I like the way you think. Kinda sounds like my wife's shoe closet; her walk-in has a walk-in, her friends refer to it as "The Store".
 
Best of luck on the rhino and elephant. I have been lucky with both of those. The rhino was 3 days of tracking, my elephants have come from long days of tracking to practically being run over.

For me, the leopard has certainly proven difficult and elusive. Three days into my very first safari, driving through thick brush, standing in the back of the shooting truck with the PH, a huge leopard sprang out of a bush on our right - soared over the hood - and landed in the brush to our left.

All I could do was stand there with my mouth open and say, "Holy shit".

The PH said that was the biggest leopard he had ever seen and asked if I had a shot. The leopard was laying flat against the ground, concealed behind heavy brush and thick branches.

I searched desperately through the scope for an opportunity but none presented itself. I could see spots and a mouth full of fangs. The PH was whispering in my ear, "If you wound him - he will be in the car with us".

I lacked the skill, experience, and confidence to attempt a shot in those conditions. I told the PH I didn't have a shot and he had the driver back us away from the leopard. I truly believe that was the best decision.

Since that encounter, I've made three more attempts - all unsuccessful.

I think I may try a hunt with hounds instead of bait - all I know is, I'm not quitting until I get one.

Where are you going for leopard and elephant?
If I may make a helpful suggestion, get in touch with Nick Nolte https://nicknoltehunting.com/. Many of the Consigliere (among them Chris Dorsey and Gerald McRaney) would second my opinion that he is the best leopard man in Africa. For leopard, he hunts the mountainous area of central Namibia. The cats are typically large, and if all his clients could shoot, he would have a nearly 100% success rate over 25 years. He doesn't advertise much because he doesn't need to do so. He isn't the cheapest, but he will be far cheaper than three attempts. I shot mine with him in 2008 on the third night.
 
If I may make a helpful suggestion, get in touch with Nick Nolte https://nicknoltehunting.com/. Many of the Consigliere (among them Chris Dorsey and Gerald McRaney) would second my opinion that he is the best leopard man in Africa. For leopard, he hunts the mountainous area of central Namibia. The cats are typically large, and if all his clients could shoot, he would have a nearly 100% success rate over 25 years. He doesn't advertise much because he doesn't need to do so. He isn't the cheapest, but he will be far cheaper than three attempts. I shot mine with him in 2008 on the third night.
Thanks, I will check him out. I'd be looking at 2025 - Dr says no hunting until then.
 
Franco, For some scale and ideas.

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It has to be a b*tch to clean those mounts. :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO:
 
I have decided to build a trophy room and am in the basic layout/size calculation phase. Are there some basic numbers to calculate space requirements for typical mounts.

Here's a list of what I have or have coming:
Elephant - shoulder mount
Rhino - 1/2 body mount
Lion - full body
Leopard - full body
Cape Buffalo - shoulder mount - we donated my 4 head mount to DSC
Hyena - full body
Sable - shoulder
Kudu - shoulder
Lesser Kudo - shoulder
Gemsbok - shoulder
Eland - shoulder
Bison - shoulder
Roan - shoulder
Waterbuck X 2 - shoulder
Bush buck - full body
Alligator - full body
Crocodile - full body

Euro mounts/skulls - elephant, rhino, hippo, warthog, sable, kudu, wildebeest, hartebeest, impalla, bison

I was planning a 40' by 60' room - might need to be bigger.


Congrats on your great hunts.

I think you need to add a lot more space under the assumption that you will hunt again, and these mounts won't be your best mounts. What will you likely do? You'll replace the superior horns with the current horns, and you'll convert the old horns into euro mounts of a sort. I'd make sure to have a wall or two for "honorable mention" trophies you'll populate in the future.

You might also ask, will anyone want to see the trophy room? You might want to do a functional addition that weaves the trophies into functional rooms, rather than a warehouse of taxidermy approach. Billiard room? Bar Room? Den? I'd start with what functional space you want, then figure out where the trophies would fit in that space. The elephant of course is above a massive fireplace, probably the rhino near the roofline at the opposite end.

Also keep in mind that you'll want natural light with windows if its functional space, but natural light is the enemy of taxidermy. So you'll need to determine where the mounts will go while staying out of direct sunlight.

It sounds like a great project and you have some great animals!
 
All I have to say is that you are going to have one hell of a trophy room.
 
Congrats on your great hunts.

I think you need to add a lot more space under the assumption that you will hunt again, and these mounts won't be your best mounts. What will you likely do? You'll replace the superior horns with the current horns, and you'll convert the old horns into euro mounts of a sort. I'd make sure to have a wall or two for "honorable mention" trophies you'll populate in the future.

You might also ask, will anyone want to see the trophy room? You might want to do a functional addition that weaves the trophies into functional rooms, rather than a warehouse of taxidermy approach. Billiard room? Bar Room? Den? I'd start with what functional space you want, then figure out where the trophies would fit in that space. The elephant of course is above a massive fireplace, probably the rhino near the roofline at the opposite end.

Also keep in mind that you'll want natural light with windows if its functional space, but natural light is the enemy of taxidermy. So you'll need to determine where the mounts will go while staying out of direct sunlight.

It sounds like a great project and you have some great animals!
Thanks, and I agree with what you are saying. You will understand, of course, my hiding your comments from my wife - no need to get her started.

My plan is for a wet bar and walk-in humidor, and an outdoor kitchen attached on one side. The house we are leaving has a 20' X 52' outdoor kitchen with grill, BBQ, pizza oven, wood oven, two fireplaces and a dedicated cigar area. Hoping to replicate that.

Definitely don't want the warehouse look.
 
If I may make a helpful suggestion, get in touch with Nick Nolte https://nicknoltehunting.com/. Many of the Consigliere (among them Chris Dorsey and Gerald McRaney) would second my opinion that he is the best leopard man in Africa. For leopard, he hunts the mountainous area of central Namibia. The cats are typically large, and if all his clients could shoot, he would have a nearly 100% success rate over 25 years. He doesn't advertise much because he doesn't need to do so. He isn't the cheapest, but he will be far cheaper than three attempts. I shot mine with him in 2008 on the third night.
Red Leg,

I just sent Nick an email - thanks.
 
Congratulations on your accomplishments and enjoy the design, planning and building. I have nothing in quantity of trophies that you have. But, what I always thought would be nice if I had a trophy room would be to put a sitting area on a second floor opposite the end with the elephant and other large trophies. Then along each side on that second floor have a 'cat walk' maybe 6 - 8 feet wide that would stop 10 - 15 feet short of the wall with the elephant. Along the cat walk memorabilia, books, prints/paintings, or even some of the trophies could be placed. And when you are standing on the end of it you get a different perspective of the trophies by being up higher. Underneath each catwalk could be sections for different categories like spiral horned, etc. or the wet bar, bath room and humidor.

Please post photos as you build it so we can join you on the journey and enjoy it with you.
Very creative idea!!!
 
Red Leg,

I just sent Nick an email - thanks.
From my research he is simply outstanding but even though he does not advertise much people know his great reputation so he stays booked up far out so it’s good to see you not hesitating to reach out to him
 
Is that a gun vault or are they open to the trophy room?

I opted for a 1/2 body mount on my rhino, with the intent to place it in a corner. There's still time to decide left or right pose.

Here's my giraffe and one of my hippos. The giraffe was processed as a rug, but seeing yours perhaps I should get another.

I never considered an actual hippo mount - just skull and tusks. Now that I'll have room I suppose I could get another one and sub in these tusks.

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