With the high number of taxidermists in this great state of ours, I want to emphasize to folks looking for a taxidermist some things about my studio and my work. I have been a taxidermist for 15 years now. Most of that working for a well established taxidermy studio here in the valley, but a few years with my own business as well (here and in Tok). I was fortunate to work for a very good taxidermist and be able to hone my skills there. Truthfully, I feel that taxidermy is a career in which one never ever stops learning. I certainly hope I don't!
Taxidermy is a very personal subject. It elicits many emotions by it's very nature. Taxidermy is an attempt (hopefully successful) at bringing life to something that is no longer living. It should be inspiring, educational, artistic, and above all else, beautiful. I really love taxidermy, I love going to work every day, and I hope it shows in the pieces I create.
From a business and personal perspective, I believe people deserve the very best in quality taxidermy. By very best, I mean VERY best in all aspects of the mount and customer service. That includes using the best materials, best tannery, the most realistic glass eyes, using the animal’s actual nose rather than a reproduction one - which looks like plastic (because it is) - and giving the animal ‘expression’ that matches what the customers wants. Whether that is relaxed, alert, aggressive, scared, or surprised. The true art of taxidermy comes to play when setting the eyes and forming the musculature around them, knowing the proper anatomy of the muscles around the ear and the anatomy of the ear itself, shaping the nose correctly, the lips, and correctly sculpting the body and the feet. Taxidermy is not just sticking some eyes into the eye socket and gluing the skin to the form. It is much, much more than that. Taxidermy IS art! (my favorite saying )
Secondly, I believe people deserve to pay a fair price for their mounts and rugs. I set my prices for rugs by the linear foot rather than having 3 or 4 prices based on a ‘size’. My 2015 prices are $255/foot for brown/grizzly bears and $240/foot for black bears, and starting this year - due to customer request and ease of paperwork for me - that includes fleshing and skinning. So, why charge per linear foot? Because it is most fair to the customer, plain and simple. If a taxidermist charges $1900 for a bear rug that is between 6' -8' long, the customer with the 6 foot bear is going to pay $316 per foot, while the guy with the 8’ bear is going to pay $237 per lineal foot. Does that seem fair? I personally don’t think so. As someone who has stretched a lot (over a thousand) of bears over the years, I can tell you how easy it is to make a 5’10” bear into a 6’ long bear or a 7’11” bear into an 8’1” bear. Have you ever seen a loooooong, skinny rug? I have (sportsmans in wasilla)! It is just a matter of stretching the rug for length first. – that is as much as $1000 difference in price vs a business who charges by the linear foot.
And lastly, customers deserve to get their mounts back in a reasonable amount of time. Currently at Alaska Wildlife Rugs and Taxidermy, the turnaround time on mounts is less than 12 months (currently 8-10 months). I hope to be able to maintain that time frame in the coming years and am currently anticipating decisions I will have to make in order to do so.
I always welcome anyone to stop by my shop and take a look at the mounts I currently have. You will see different expressions and custom, one-of-a-kind pieces.
Remember, your trophy is more than a mount. It’s a memory! Relive the memory with a mount done at Alaska Wildlife Rugs and Taxidermy.
To see photos of my work you can visit my website and look at the gallery page. There are also random photos scattered throughout the site.