View Poll Results: which taxidermy shop do you choose?

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  • shop #1 - most expensive, high quality (looks alive), 12 month turn around

    20 58.82%
  • shop #2 - average price, average work - some noticeable flaws, 12 month turn around

    2 5.88%
  • shop #3 - below average price, above average work - few noticeable, 18 month turn around

    10 29.41%
  • shop #4 - higher than average price, 6 month turn around, average work

    1 2.94%
  • shop #5 - least expensive, 10 month turn around, poor quality

    1 2.94%
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Thread: You get what you pay for...so....

  1. #1
    Member JuliW's Avatar
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    Default You get what you pay for...so....

    Here is a question for all the NON taxidermists...This is a question that has come up in discussion and I am curious as to what folks who have their trophies mounted have to say...As a taxidermist with a 'non taxidermist' other half, we discuss in great detail quality, versus quantity, versus cost, etc etc...He from the 'purchaser's viewpoint' and I from the taxidermist viewpoint

    You have shot an animal and want to have it mounted. You need to choose a taxidermist... based on the following, which do you choose and why? 5 taxidermy shops with which you are familiar - you have been to each shop and talked with each taxidermist.
    Taxidermy IS art!
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    Your mount is more than a trophy, it's a memory. Relive The Memory!

  2. #2
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    I guess I'm a tough customer. Why mount it if you want to look at taxidermy mistakes?

    tuff, you nailed it when you said "alive". That look is my personal benchmark for choosing a taxidermist. For example your avatar. If I saw that mount in the taxidermist's shop I'd go nose to nose with it. If I feel a shot of adrenaline then the taxidermist is hired. If I see a stitched together ragdoll then no sale. I like a mount where you can easily see the animal's current "attitude".

  3. #3
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    I choose my taxidermist based on recommendations from friends and a face to face discussion with the guy as well as examining his work. Price was last on my list of concerns, relatively speaking, never the less it was literally the LAST question I asked. Never did visit a second shop. He's just short of 12 months now, which is ok with me, suppose to be done at the end of October which would be just under 12 months.

  4. #4
    Member JuliW's Avatar
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    Part of my other half's and my discussion regarding 'quality' often leads to 'what is quality'? Everyone views things and forms opinions on them based upon their knowledge of that topic. So, someone with little knowledge might look at picture number 1 (for sale on ebay, currently), and think it is an excellent mount - whereas, someone like myself, with more than the 'lay person's' knowledge sees and average mountPicture 1.jpg...Some might look at picture number 2 (also for sale on ebay) and see an average (ok) mount...I see a below average mount..Picture 2.png
    Taxidermy IS art!
    www.alaskawildliferugs.com
    Your mount is more than a trophy, it's a memory. Relive The Memory!

  5. #5
    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    I don't care what the turn around time is but still like to know what to expect. The cost is not that important but it still is nice to know that way I can plan accordingly. What the finished product is going to look like is the most important aspect to me yet I still have a couple animals in my home that I am not happy with despite doing my research ahead of time.

  6. #6
    Member Milo's Avatar
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    The problem with the poll is that the 3 criteria items (price, quality and time) do not necessarily have any correlation.
    Death is like an old whore in a bar--I'll buy her a drink but I won't go upstairs with her.

  7. #7
    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tuffboots View Post
    Part of my other half's and my discussion regarding 'quality' often leads to 'what is quality'?
    To me, quality means lifelike....plain and simple. The eyes say it all. Not to say that the rest of the mount isn't important, but if somebody goes the extra mile to make the eyes look alive, then they will probably do the same with the rest of the mount. I used to watch a taxi friend of mine take hours upon hours to get the eyes just right....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  8. #8
    Member JuliW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milo View Post
    The problem with the poll is that the 3 criteria items (price, quality and time) do not necessarily have any correlation.

    actually, there is some correlation...and I am fairly confident there are shops in Alaska that fit each and every one of these categories...

    shop 1 is known for quality - probably been established for a while - has learned that raising prices deflects the tire kickers so the number of animals coming in is enough to be able to keep business running in a timely fashion

    shop 2 - an average shop - word of mouth on 'average' or 'ok' mounts keeps him/her from being able to raise prices, because they only have enough coming in to keep them busy.

    shop 3 - trying to beat shop 1's prices and does really good work - word of mouth on very good work and decent prices keeps new customers coming in...thus the yr and a half turn around time

    shop 4 - prices keep people away, esp when they hear the quality is not that great for the price...thus 6 months turn around - this might be the 'new taxidermist' shop - the guy or gal that has attended 12 weeks of taxidermy school and throws up their shingle.

    shop 5 - gets all the tire kickers - the people who call around looking for the lowest price without actually seeing the work of the taxidermist (they do exist) - and I am amazed no one has chosen that option yet...
    Taxidermy IS art!
    www.alaskawildliferugs.com
    Your mount is more than a trophy, it's a memory. Relive The Memory!

  9. #9
    Member Tearbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tuffboots View Post
    ...shop 5 - gets all the tire kickers - the people who call around looking for the lowest price without actually seeing the work of the taxidermist (they do exist) - and I am amazed no one has chosen that option yet...
    I am not amazed that no one has chosen shop 5 which has poor quality...why pay for something that you are so embarrassed to hang on your wall, that it's hidden in a closet out of sight?
    "Grin and Bear It"

  10. #10
    Member JuliW's Avatar
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    true! lol...or maybe they are the ones who would not pick number 5 again.
    Taxidermy IS art!
    www.alaskawildliferugs.com
    Your mount is more than a trophy, it's a memory. Relive The Memory!

  11. #11
    Member Milo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tuffboots View Post
    actually, there is some correlation...and I am fairly confident there are shops in Alaska that fit each and every one of these categories...
    Certainly there are shops that fit in any category that you want to define, which is why I said "not necessarily." It is not a cause and effect relationship (i.e., high price does not guarantee good quality, fast turnaround does not guarantee poor quality).

    There are other factors too (for choosing any business), such as the stability of the company - Is he under criminal indictment, going through bankruptcy, have a pile of outstanding court cases, getting a divorce? There are taxidermist that fit these categories too and it certainly may affect whether you ever see your stuff again. Maybe I am overly cautious, but my first taxidermist got in a giant lawsuit and then decided to put a bullet in his head.
    Death is like an old whore in a bar--I'll buy her a drink but I won't go upstairs with her.

  12. #12
    Member Kay9Cop's Avatar
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    I think you pointed out one of the issues yourself that taxidermists and lay people will argue over, and that's the fact you will notice things wrong with a mount that others won't. If I look at a mount on my wall and see nothing wrong with it then there's nothing wrong. It's only until someone else points out that there are flaws that I would notice. Maybe it's an ignorance is bliss thing, or maybe I shouldn't ever invite a taxidermist into my house. Either way, I often wonder how much of the art is lost on a client. They might be able to look a mount and say it looks "alive," but can thy appreciate or even notice the little details that took hours to get right. I know for me I don't notice those things...I just look at a mount and decide if it looks good or not.

    I have one mount that was professionally done with an off center nose. Yeah it pisses me off. The other professionally done mount looks good, but I guess it's not what some would call "alive". For the money I spent and the results I got I just do it myself now.
    "Beware the man with only one gun; he may know how to use it."

  13. #13
    Member JuliW's Avatar
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    how long ago was the mount with the offcenter nose done? possibly repairable depending on it's age and method used to mount it.

    Educating the lay person about quality taxidermy is important, I think. It is relatively simple to compare two mounts that are side by side and tell which is the better mount...

    Also - the lay person doesn't necessarily care if their mount has nictitating membranes (inner eyelid) or tear duct holes, or inner ear detail, or artificial septum (cartilage that is between the nostrils)...but they SHOULD care if the eyes are looking the same direction and correctly set, the ears are properly positioned with proper musculature at the ear butt, the nose is centered - and properly shaped (I have to admit I like a good nose)..

    One other thing that I think lay people should pay attention to and ask about is what their taxidermist means when they say they are 'award winning' taxidermists...how many lay people realize there are not one but FOUR categories that can be judged in a taxidermy competition ranging from beginning to master level....So - if your taxidermist states that any mount going out of his or her shop is competition quality, ask them at WHAT LEVEL...A professionally/commercially done mount should easily be meeting the criteria of the 'commercial' category (at a minimum) not the 'novice' category....
    Taxidermy IS art!
    www.alaskawildliferugs.com
    Your mount is more than a trophy, it's a memory. Relive The Memory!

  14. #14
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    I agree wholeheartedly Tuffboots.

    There are MANY taxidermists that boast about High quality , Museum Quality & say they are AWARD Winning taxidermists.

    Even though the only award they ever got was a Honorable Mention ribbon in Novice division at a state show.

    Kind of like winning at a state fair. LOL

    the taxidermist that is competing in Novice Division, ( Based for people that are BEGGINERS & LEARNING the basics ) Should be just that.

    The Open or Professional Division ( Based for folks that have the basics & are striving for a Proffesional level quality) This is where MOST taxidermists doing mounts for hire should be.

    The Masters or Division of Excellence is based on the taxidermist that performs ABOVE normal quality & has excelled above & beyond the normal professional level. In MOST states & National Levels, this taxidermist has proven by his competition pieces that he or she can stand with the best in our proffesion by winning several 1st places judged by CERTIFIED JUDGES.

    Believe me its a big step jumping up to Division of excellence & has humbled some great taxidermists by bursting their bubble. Going from every mount in Proffesional level getting First places to getting seconds & third places in Masters puts things in prospective & makes a guy start paying attention to details again , until he can again rise & to the top with First places in Masters division.

    The guys that actually compete in Master have EARNED ( In most cases) the top rung of the ladder by the Quality they have produced.

    Before I started into taxidermy, I looked for the guy that did the BEST quality work not really inhibited by price. Now 18 years later & having my own taxidermy studios I am STILL happy with the work that was done by the guys that mounted my mounts.

    DO YOUR HOMEWORK, Make the taxidermist Prove he or she can actually do what they claim or you could be very sorry for many years everytime you look at YOUR trophy on the wall.

    RJ Simington
    PRO Taxidermy
    www.protaxidermy.com
    Custom Taxidermy, Experience the difference !!

  15. #15
    Member akgun&ammo's Avatar
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    Here in Fairbanks area..
    there are shops that are average price, above average work, and below (above??) average turnaround
    Figure 18 to 36 monthes for a mount
    and there are shops that have above average price that do sub-par work
    hair falling out, eyes looking different directions..ect
    I have been "got" by taxidermists in two states now..
    the first time I was active duty PCSing to Alaska.- the taxidermest said no problem we can ship the mounts up..
    Due to distances I paid in full.
    He sent one really bad mount COD for over the price of all the mounts..
    Couldn't open package to examine mount, so paid and then found maggots and a really bad mount

    contacted, sent back, and NOTHING__

    apparently due to a divorce he went out of business..

    So I vote for a taxidermist that is readly acessable, affordable to your pocketbook, and does quality mounts- I don't expect musisium quality just really good mounts.

    Had a taxidermist in Texas do a whitetail- came back very high quality- next mounts he did for me look like they were done by a fifth grader!!
    including replacing the skull on a european- instead of being honest and and telling me he accidently cut the horns for a horn mount.
    mount looks "ok", but I see the clay around the base, and if yuo look inside, you can see the dowels where horns were cut and put on a much yuonger skull!
    And at that shop- paid above average prices! (not ever again though)

    Chris
    sent

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