Where, oh where, should I have my taxidermy done?

Discussion in 'Taxidermy' started by Mr. 16 gauge, Jun 3, 2015.

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Where do you prefer to have your trophies/taxidermy done?

  1. 1. In the country of origin, where it was taken

    5 vote(s)
    8.3%
  2. 2. In the United States (or your home country, if not from the U.S.)

    44 vote(s)
    73.3%
  3. 3. Both

    11 vote(s)
    18.3%
  1. The Artistry of Wildlife

    The Artistry of Wildlife SPONSOR Since 2014 AH Elite

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    Warbird, Yes I have at least 3 companies in different parts of South Africa that can get them processed and in the crates and set to leave the country in that time frame. Nothing CAN leave africa for 90 days per requirements by S A . Then ship. I have some companies that take a year. That just happened this month. Most of the time the slow ones are taxidermy studios and not dedicated dip and pack only companies. I have had clients get their mounts back in 10 months and clients that just want dip pack take a year. And these did not involve cites animals.
    Something truly not right about that. In my opinion it's about money. Your not getting your work done thru them because you have your individual reasons and then your not a higher money making client so you wait. Makes them look good for getting out your taxidermy but not your skins for mounting elsewhere.
    I've been in this industry for over 40 years and I don't like it at all. To me it's always been a pressure point that has driven a wedge between African Taxidermists and U S and other country taxidermists. It makes the client on his next trip look at the time frame and not the quality of the taxidermy when it comes to having your trophies in your home. The wait for dip pack extends the time frame and makes you wait even longer to enjoy your trophies. ALL DIP PACK TROPHIES CAN BE LEGALLY SHIPPED IN 3 MONTHS to the day out of South Africa even with cites animals if you have obtained that cites before you left the country for your hunt. If you are told otherwise it's not true.
     
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  2. enysse

    enysse AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    I agree with Dennis, if they can't get you animals out in 4-5 on a airplane or ship, then they are making money else where. And I would not let anything sit in any shop. The longer it's there the more that can and will go wrong. They have to prepare it anyway from a raw skin, so they better just ship it out....less chance of paperwork getting messed up or the wrong trophy sent or something bad go wrong with the horns/cape.
     
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  3. Bhfs300

    Bhfs300 AH Fanatic

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    I will tell you that is true. Dennis gave the name of a place and I asked the people I was hunting with about using them and they said we have been useing the place they use for ten years and have had no problems. So not to make waves I said ok.
    Well it is just less than nine months and I think mine just got shipped. I had a hide tanned at the last minute and they said that is why it took longer. I am not sure what I am going to do with it so I wouldn't of had that done if I would have known it would make it take so long. This is a D&S place so it shouldn't be the problem with a taxidermy shop.
     

  4. The Artistry of Wildlife

    The Artistry of Wildlife SPONSOR Since 2014 AH Elite

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    Sorry for your wait 300. I must say if your going to get ANY Tanning or Taxidermy work or any taxidermy service provided such as Euro's or skulls that are bleached for display or curios made and not the simple dip pack along with the documents. You will wait longer . A taxidermy studio that does any taxidermy service or a dip pack company even tanning, that will contract out WILL hold you whole order up for shipping, The tanned skin will take 4-5 months to finish out and then for some god forsaken reason they start your dip pack process....You guys figure it out? Taxidermists in the states have been trying to understand it for over 60 years....
     

  5. Mr. 16 gauge

    Mr. 16 gauge AH Fanatic

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    O.k., I started this thread, so I'll make my point and then go on.

    I received my taxidermy trophies this past week from my hunt in S.A. last summer, and I am a bit disappointed. First off, I was more than ready to have my trophies done here in the states; had a taxidermist picked out, had shipping labels for the tannery, etc. At the last minute I changed my mind and decided to have the work done in S.A......in MHO, this was a big mistake. I fell for the "we don't guarantee dip/pack" line, and the "American taxidermists don't do as good a job, because they don't do that many, don't know the anatomy as well, etc." line. We were taken on a tour of one of the larger taxidermy places in S.A., and I must say I was impressed with the mounts that we saw on the walls/racks. We also received a "discount" if we payed for the whole thing that day (which I did with credit card), and were guaranteed that the work would be completed in 12 months, or money back. I had a flat skin (waterbuck) done, two skull mounts (impala & kudu) and two shoulder mounts (gemsbok & blue wildebeest). Here are my concerns:
    1.) the 'crate' that they shipped these trophies in was nothing more than a 2x2 frame and 1/4" plywood, and it was damaged on one side when it arrived. Where did the damage occur? Who the hell knows.....but I do know from what I've read here and on other sites that the 'handlers" of the crate in question will most likely pass the buck as to who is responsible. I was just sick when I opened the crate in the parking lot....that's right, parking lot....of my friends veterinary clinic. I was told that it would cost me $75 MORE to have it delivered to my home address as opposed to a business. I wasn't told that the crate wasn't "turnable", that it would be let whereever, hence, the parking lot of my friend's clinic (a business). I found that a large chunk of broken 2x2 was laying across the nose of my gemsbok mount, and another smashed piece of 2x2 was sitting on the kudu skull mount, and there were small pieces of fractured bone in the plastic bag that was taped around the skull (the horns were seperated from the skull). On closer inspection, the plaque that the skull was attached to was damaged.....fortunately, I was able to buff these out. When I got the mounts home, I found visible stitching on the wildebeest mounts leg (remember: I was suppose to get better quality mounts because they were done in S.A.). The gemsbok mount looks O.K., despite the broken wood that was over the bridge of the nose. The impala skull mount looks fine and I am quite pleased with it.
    While unpacking the kudu skull plate, there were 2 bugs inside the bag..............really, BUGS! I certainly hope I am not due for an infestation and that mount now sits out in the garage. I have the wildebeest mount up in my office, but it doesn't look like I pictured it would......It's a blue wildebeest, but it is quite dark, and the eyes seem rather light for the mount, but maybe I am just being overly critical. I will try and post some photos later.

    The mounts themselves aren't "bad"......I just don't think that the quality is any better than what I saw hanging in the local taxidermy shops here, and the shipping costs killed me.

    I didn't get the taxidermy done in S.A. because it was cheaper.....it actually would have cost pretty much the same, as I priced out a couple of taxidermists prior to my trip, but I did expect a better "quality" of mount, and I don't feel that I received that. Both taxidermists that I checked with prior to leaving had both photos of mounts and actual mounts of African species on the wall. I got a copy of their price list prior to leaving, and prices were comparable to what I paid in S.A. I'm starting to think that the whole "we don't guarantee dip/pack" thing is a scare tactic to get people to get their mounts done in S.A. .......I do realize that there are things that are beyond their control after the hides/skins leave their shops. However, if my mounts were severely damaged, who would I get recompensation from? The argument could always be made that it was someone elses' fault, and with three different groups handling the 'crate', it cold be argued that "it was fine when it left here" or "we received it that way".:( I still can't believe the shoddyness of the 'crate'....2x2 & 1/4" plywood to protect $3K worth of trophies....to me, that's like throwing a ming vase in a cardboard box and shipping it U.S. mail. I don't know who is responsible for the crate: if it's the taxidermy studio, or the shipping company.

    The mounts themselves aren't "bad"......I just don't think that the quality is any better than what I saw hanging in the local taxidermy shops here, and the shipping costs killed me.

    I guess I'm lucky that there wasn't more damage.

    Anyway...................lesson learned. I don't intend to have anything else mounted in S.A. again, and I will consult with my local taxidermists re: who they recommend for dip/pack as well as shipping. Before I book another trip to S.A., or anywhere out of the U.S., if they can't accomodate my wishes, I will go and hunt with another outfitter.

    Dennis.......is your studio open on the weekends? I would like to come and see your place later this summer, if I can arrange it.
     

  6. Dinsdale

    Dinsdale AH Enthusiast

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    I had 3 mounts done in Africa as part of a donation hunt.

    The results are less than spectacular; but I notice most folks (including hunters) really don't notice what good taxidermy is, and they still think its all good.

    I have used 2 taxidermists in the States; one a small one man shop who does mounts when I think he needed the money and I have lost contact with him. Good work, and listened to what I wanted.

    The other has a reputatation and lives with in miles of me......has so many "deals" going, you never know where you stand on getting stuff done. Could be 6 months or 2 years.....lost some backskins and I'm still a little ticked over that.


    So yesterday I sent Dennis a Zebra for rugging, two tiny 10 for pedestal and a Tahr I shot 2 weeks ago along with some misc tanning.

    Communications have already exceeded all the contact I have managed for the other 25+ mounts I have had others do.....
     

  7. Mr. 16 gauge

    Mr. 16 gauge AH Fanatic

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    I would just like to add that I'm not going to name the taxidermist, or shippers, in the open forum.....if people are interested, they can PM me, or just look at past posts, and figure it out on their own. There were issues with these companies in a thread posted last year by someone else, and it should have raised some red flags for me, but unfortunately, I didn't pay attention. (more so with shippers than the taxidermist).
     

  8. The Artistry of Wildlife

    The Artistry of Wildlife SPONSOR Since 2014 AH Elite

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    Sorry to hear this 16. If I can help you repair or fix anything I'd be happy to. And Yes you can stop by. I just got into our new building, 5,000 sq ft main floor. additional 2,000 sq ft upstairs for antler / horn and supply storage, a 1,000 sq ft showroom, 1,000 sq ft loading and freezer and skinning area along with our 3,000 sq ft work area.
    I'm a mess right now with the move. quite a disarray at the moment. Jamie will have it squared away in a few weeks.
    I'm headed to the East Cape o the 13th and will be back the 30th
    Jamie, there's just the two of us and Paul part time, will be here during that time working at the studio as we do 7 days a week.
    You are welcome anytime. My new bigger studio is at my home in Marlette. I'm here all the time.

    P.S. 16 Gauge , taxidermy compnay make the crates and loads them, shippers only ship.

    Dinsdale will be looking for your shipment an keep an eye out for it
    Send me the tracking number when you get it. It helps
    Thanks
     

  9. garyleach

    garyleach AH Veteran

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    We are still waiting for ours from last June to hit the shippers, communication has been good with the dip/crate but its been painful getting them to the next stage and on their way back to Canada. The company is saying issues with Permits, is anyone else having this issue, as its been over 4 months waiting on all the permits, I guess we have 3 completed out of the 6?? I didn't pick this D&C company, the outfitter did and said typically 7 to 8 months, well its been close to a yr and it hasn't even made it to the shippers....
     

  10. enysse

    enysse AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    I have had this very discussion with taxidermy and dip and ship places over there. My words were get your sh#t together, no one wants to pay an arm and a leg for taxidermy and then have it shipped in a flimsy box. You truly don't understand what the word quality means and you are a disgrace to the industry. By saving your self a few bucks you are screwing your clients out of thousands.
    This kind of crap really keeps me from hunting more....people being cheap. If you say you run a quality operation then run one otherwise you are just half-ass businessman only in it for the money.
     
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  11. The Artistry of Wildlife

    The Artistry of Wildlife SPONSOR Since 2014 AH Elite

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    With the Volumetric weight used for charges nowadays to use 1/4 to 3/8 ply and 2' by 3' minimum would add meer cents to the shipping.
    Anyone ever get a cash payment for damage from a taxidermist in Africa? Not just a few bucks thrown at you?
    The value of the trophy AND the taxidermy cost AND the partial of the cost of shipping?
    We ship or deliver with insurance that PAYS OUT when damage happens. Your trophies are insured in my studio for replacement of trophy value and the mounting cost. For Fire Theft and or Loss of any kind. Under a 1 million dollar umbrella.
    Your trophies are insured also in my trucks and trailers all the way to your door.

    We deliver in throughout the US our trucks our trailer and walk you trophies thru your front door ready to hang.
     

  12. enysse

    enysse AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Dennis nobody ever pays out the insurance it is s true racket, it only comes into to play if there is mass damage or it's missing (meaning you don't receive it).
    I wish I could move to Africa and just build boxes to ship taxidermy and skins, for what they are ripping hunters off on I would be set for life real quick.
     

  13. The Artistry of Wildlife

    The Artistry of Wildlife SPONSOR Since 2014 AH Elite

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    Well wouldn't thunk...enysse...LOL
    I have been in business 42 years.
    I had one base damaged once and it was $100 to repair. I had shipped it not delivered and paid that to a local guy to fix it out of pocket.

    Other than that NEVER had to make a claim. The way we build crates you could drop them off the loading dock and nothing would happen. I have a friend that has driven truck for as many years and he taught me well as the what freight goes thru...
    This tells you to use a company like mine that delivers TO YOUR DOOR !
     
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  14. Mr. 16 gauge

    Mr. 16 gauge AH Fanatic

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    Dennis;
    thanks for you offer to fix/repair the trophies......fortunately, I don't think that there is anything really "broken", per se. It's just the less than stellar workmanship that has me displeased.
    As promised, here are photos of the mounts.
    Here is the Impala mount. This one I am pleased with and have no issues with:
    [​IMG]

    Here is the Kudu mount..
    [​IMG]

    Close up of the nares; you can see that one area is larger than the other....this is where the bone was fragmented by the broken crate. Fortunately, it's only noticable when viewed up close.
    [​IMG]

    These are the bugs (live) that came out of the kudu skull mount while I was unpacking it.
    [​IMG]

    Here are some photos of the wildebeest mount.......I think that the eyes are too light (they look yellow to me), and I remember the mane and beard as being fuller.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    I don't know if I am being overly picky about the mount......you can tell me if you feel that I am.
    Here is the seam on the leg......highly visible when up close.
    [​IMG]

    Here is the gemsbok.....nothing really wrong with it; I just don't think that the quality is the same as what I saw at the studio in S.A.
    [​IMG]
     

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  15. billc

    billc AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I think some people maybe forgetting it is 90 days from when the taxi.gets them. Depending on the outfit and were they are they could take a few month to get picked up or sent. People also forget when they say how they paid so much for shipping they will have shipping with dip/pack or finished work.
    I would bet if guys figured out what it would have cost them to just ship dip and pack to mounted trophies the price difference is not as much as you would think. Let alone lets say the avg $100 on dip/pack per animal that you don't have on finished mounts. With that figured in you will see the so called extra shipping equals out more then gets talked about.

    I think to many guys just trust everyone to do things as fast as they can. Nothing wrong if it is only dip/pack to get answers to your questions. Before they even get your stuff you should know how long it should take from them. They miss the first time they promise let them know that is not working for you. Have your outfitter put pressure on them if he told you to use them. If you picked the place till them you want what was promised if not get your trophys taken somewhere else. Key is stay on them and get what service you were told you were going to get.

    Picking the place to mount your animals should be just like picking your outfitter. Find one who makes you happy work with him and ask questions. There is great places doing work in the states and in south Africa.
     

  16. 35bore

    35bore AH Legend

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    Dennis with Artistry of Wildlife will be the one after my next trip (whenever it happens ). I am not disappointed with the work from SA but, Dennis is the man for wildlife, plain and simple. There is just so much attention to detail with his work.
     

  17. The Artistry of Wildlife

    The Artistry of Wildlife SPONSOR Since 2014 AH Elite

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    16 gauge, as for a standard of quality. These are just barley average mounts. Not terrible but they have some issues.
    The Wildebeest does have a light yellow eye. We use a toned down yellow gold not as light because the wildebeeste is so dark skinned it does give a lifeless look when using to light of an eye. Your skin itself doed not show nice bars on the shoulders also and that can be an effect from some kind of tans making the hair and markings dull.The leg stitching yes it should have done better

    The beard? Yes where is it, not fluffed or pulled and back-brushed as it was being mounted and over the next 5 DAYS as it dried.
    Mounts need to watched and GROOMED AS THEY DRY. NOT just simply hung "over there" to dry.
    The hair roots on all long hair will not dry straight and set the hair correctly unless you groom it constantly as the weight of the hair and the effect of gravity WILL make the root set lying down along the skin.

    The MANE I see it but again it was not watched or groomed as it dried.

    The Gemsbok, it's a typical average piece. The EARS on a Gemsbok ARE the most important thing to be aware of when mounting. They are different than any other african game Since they are so pronounced it is really important to have them CRISP AND CLEAN with NICE SHARP EGDES And line. and MATCH your needed some more work.

    Many things happen at BIG studios. THE number one is what employee os going to do your work??
    A front showroom or website shows the best they have, maybe done by an employee that isn't even their anymore?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     

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  18. The Artistry of Wildlife

    The Artistry of Wildlife SPONSOR Since 2014 AH Elite

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    16guage about your bug issue, since you have both an adult and larvae , you might just want to take a BIG LAWN and LEAF bag and put your wildebeeste in one and in another your gemsbok and set oss a bug bomb into each bag JUST to be safe and not sorry...
     
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  19. Mr. 16 gauge

    Mr. 16 gauge AH Fanatic

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    Well, I'm just sick about this......................I pictured my mounts looking more like the photos you posted, Dennis. That's what I saw in the studio in S.A. Obviously, I didn't get what I paid for, but have little recourse now.(n)
    This is what it looked like when I shot it:
    [​IMG]

    And somehow, it morphed into this........................
    [​IMG]

    Lesson (expensive lesson!) learned.:(
     

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  20. james_thehunter

    james_thehunter New Member

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    davidbutts.com is a great resource. I have had my african animals mounted here and he is a great taxidermist who does a lot of African taxidermy work. He is one of the best I have ever seen and his website is actually good.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2015

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