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Thread: My Amateur Taxidermy Skills

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    Member Kay9Cop's Avatar
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    Default My Amateur Taxidermy Skills

    Years ago a hunting partner of mine taught me how to do my own shoulder mounts. He apprenticed under some award winning taxidermists, so his knowledge was invaluable, but not all of it rubbed off on me. Below is my latest attempt at taxidermy. It's a sheep I shot in 2005 that's been sitting dry tanned in my freezer since then.

    It was heavily stained from blood after two shots through the cape area and a roll down the mountain side. It's a horrible pic that's a bit out of focus, but you get the idea.



    I bleached the entire cape with peroxide and standard white for about a day to get it all out.

    "Beware the man with only one gun; he may know how to use it."

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    Member Kay9Cop's Avatar
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    Then came the sewing. I used some clear braided fishing line for the sensitive areas.



    Next the mounting of the horns to the form. I chose an upright, turn to the right form to show off his longer left side.



    "Beware the man with only one gun; he may know how to use it."

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    Member Kay9Cop's Avatar
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    Then I clayed in the eyes and fixed the nose, which was a bit too short for the cape.



    I had to break the hide a bit through the neck to get it around the outside of the curve of the neck, but it went on well.



    Finally I pinned up the loose spots and trimmed a bit off the back. The one armpit was very loose and I pinned on some cardboard to hold it to the form till it dries.





    The hide is still a bit wet, so the hair is laying tight. It will fluff up and look more natural as it dries. I still have to paint the eye membranes, nose, and lips, so it's not completely finished. I'll post a final pic when it's all done.
    "Beware the man with only one gun; he may know how to use it."

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    Member Kay9Cop's Avatar
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    The form is a little tilted to the side from me pulling on the hide and stretching while sewing it up, so it looks a little lopsided in the photos.

    There's also a scar in the front of his lip that's splitting open as it dries. I haven't decided whether to apoxie it in or leave the scar natural.

    I'm just an amateur, so advice is always welcome.
    "Beware the man with only one gun; he may know how to use it."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kay9Cop View Post
    The form is a little tilted to the side from me pulling on the hide and stretching while sewing it up, so it looks a little lopsided in the photos.

    There's also a scar in the front of his lip that's splitting open as it dries. I haven't decided whether to apoxie it in or leave the scar natural.

    I'm just an amateur, so advice is always welcome.
    Sure looks fantastic in the photos!

    I've been toying with trying some amatuer taxidermy, i'm working on tanning some hides right now, did you tan that cape yourself?

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    Member Kay9Cop's Avatar
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    No, I had the tannery in Fairbanks tan this cape.
    "Beware the man with only one gun; he may know how to use it."

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    Sponsor protaxidermy's Avatar
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    OK,
    I am going to point some things out that I can see right off & I dont want to upset you but it can be fixed NOW, BEFORE ITY DRYS or you will have to look at it like that for ever.

    First is Your Pupils of the eyes are not set level.

    Next you are using the Wrong eye for a Dall sheep,

    Next the eye set ( CANT, ANGLE , & DEPTH are all Wrong.) The eyes on a sheep protrude more so they can see more.

    Next I can tell by your repair that your stitches are not tight enough & This WILL cause a problem after it drys. You will be able to see the form through your stitches.

    The nose & Inner nasal pasage is not done very well. THEY HAVE TO BE ABLE TO BREATH in real life.

    Anouther thing is the way you have cut the mouth open , when it drys in a week or so that mouth is going to dry open & have a huge gap that you will have to fill & it will be VERY noticable.

    Anouther thing that is VERY IMPORTANT ((( NEVER USE NAILS to hold the skin in place on a White sheep ))) This will Very quikley make rust & you will NEVER be able to remove it , even by rebleaching it.

    Again, I am not trying to Burst your bubble but if someone doesnt say what there is wrong with it versus OW WOW thats Beautiful, you will Never learn the RIGHT way to do it.

    Call me & I can explain how to fix what I have pointed out. Or tell me to take a flyin leap.

    Just trying to help.

    RJ Simington
    PRO Taxidermy Fairbanks
    907 322 0936
    Custom Taxidermy, Experience the difference !!

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    Member Kay9Cop's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice. I appreciate it and I'm not offended. I know I'm an amateur and my quality won't be as good as a professional.

    The eyes are sheep eyes from Mckenzie. I actually used a level when I set the pupils and verified they were horizontal. My photo was taken from down below the mount, so maybe they look off. I'll look at some more photos to get the set depth better next time.

    The hide is dry and the glue set. The stitches didn't pull apart, even the ones on the face, so I got lucky.

    No nails in the hide. Those are t-pins and don't rust.

    I actually talked to my friend about the mouth and he mentioned closing it, which I did, so that's fixed.

    As the nose dried I kept pushing the passages open, so it dried a bit better.

    Thanks again for the pointers. I know it's not professional quality, but for me it will serve its purpose and when I look at it on the wall I'll remember the hunt. And no offense, it didn't cost me $900. But I realize I get what I pay for.
    "Beware the man with only one gun; he may know how to use it."

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    Member Kay9Cop's Avatar
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    Looking at some stock photos, I see what you mean about the eyes needing to bug out a bit more. Thanks for pointing that out!
    "Beware the man with only one gun; he may know how to use it."

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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    I think it takes a lot of guts to attempt a shoulder mount on anything much less a sheep when you are not a pro. Good job tackling the task and it is looking good to this untrained eye. I know it looks better than anything I would be able to produce.

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    Freshly mounted & a Finished product are 2 different things all together.

    All the time we see guys put photos of Lion rugs, Bear mounts, Birds, Fish & other things that they post on here showing what they think was a good jobn but in all fact looks like ( Well you know).

    But no one will be honest with them & tell them just how bad it actually is.

    Then some others say OH THATS SO BEAUTIFUL & give them aplause for something they have no idea what they are talking about.

    Then the guy says, WELL they liked the job i did on that one , so I think I will start doing it for other people.

    Pretty quick they have a taxidermy license & put out that kind of product for a Bunch of people & actually have the gall to say they produce QUALITY TAXIDERMY.

    I only wish I had someone tell me what I was doing wrong in the first place , Would have saved ALOT of ruined skins 18 years ago.

    RJ Simington
    PRO Taxidermy
    Custom Taxidermy, Experience the difference !!

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    I echo what Bronco said. Kudos for doing this yourself. To my eye, it looks great at the stage it is in. Would like to see pics of the completed mount when your done.

    I will say that to me, there is something that feels good about doing it yourself. Sure there will be some things that stand out (to you) as mistakes. But the memory of the hunt/packing, the meat processing/consuming and then the mounting process completes the trifecta. Thanks for posting the pics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkwarthog View Post
    I echo what Bronco said. Kudos for doing this yourself. To my eye, it looks great at the stage it is in. Would like to see pics of the completed mount when your done.

    I will say that to me, there is something that feels good about doing it yourself. Sure there will be some things that stand out (to you) as mistakes. But the memory of the hunt/packing, the meat processing/consuming and then the mounting process completes the trifecta. Thanks for posting the pics.
    Absolutely, I have a coyote wall hangar that I shot last year with a custom rifle I put together, hand loaded bullets by me, called it myself, skinned and fleshed it. I didn't have the guts to tan it myself. Never the less I'm very proud of how much of my effort went into the wall hangar I ended up with.

    The OP may not end up with a "Proffessional" mount but it appears he'll end up with a mount that looks like a sheep, which I would certainly be proud of.


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    Kay9cop - I remember the first pine marten I mounted 13 yrs ago. It was pathetic, to say the least. BUT, it was the best I could do, with the skills I had. Nothing wrong with that..13 (almost 14) yrs later and it is oh so easy to see the mistakes others make, and be quick to point them out, without remembering what it was like to get started.....The trained eye sees things so much more quickly...

    I am curious if that sheep was an albino? It looks like he is lacking pigment in his nose, lips, and eyelids? In which case you would not want to use the 'normal' sheep eye.

    Someday you may decide to remount your sheep, or you may look at it and remember the learning experience that it was. Good on your for trying!

    Juli
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    Your mount is more than a trophy, it's a memory. Relive The Memory!

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    Member Lone Wolf1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tuffboots View Post
    Kay9cop - I remember the first pine marten I mounted 13 yrs ago. It was pathetic, to say the least. BUT, it was the best I could do, with the skills I had. Nothing wrong with that..13 (almost 14) yrs later and it is oh so easy to see the mistakes others make, and be quick to point them out, without remembering what it was like to get started.....The trained eye sees things so much more quickly...

    I am curious if that sheep was an albino? It looks like he is lacking pigment in his nose, lips, and eyelids? In which case you would not want to use the 'normal' sheep eye.

    Someday you may decide to remount your sheep, or you may look at it and remember the learning experience that it was. Good on your for trying!

    Juli
    The pigment was most likely bleached out due to the hide being left in the bleaching solution too long (common result if you overdo it). "About a day..." per the OP. Excess bleaching can also make the hair shafts very brittle.

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    Member JuliW's Avatar
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    I wondered if that might be the case. Bleaching/whitening is definitely best left to the professional tanneries.
    Taxidermy IS art!
    www.alaskawildliferugs.com
    Your mount is more than a trophy, it's a memory. Relive The Memory!

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    Member Kay9Cop's Avatar
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    Yes, the pigment bleached out. I had a choice between the dark brown color of the coat, which didn't come out after normal bleaching, or to lose the nose and lips pigment. I chose the white coat. The hair turned out fine, with no brittleness, but it will be a bear to put the color back and have it look natural.

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    Member shimano 33's Avatar
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    Love to see the DIY stuff on here. Be sure to post some pics once you get it on the wall!

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