I recently received my trophy from a taxidermist (today in fact) it is my girlfriends first black bear. It was a great hunt after several unsuccessful ones. A decent boar taken at 225 yards. She was estatic! I'm very proud of her. Once we got to our kill it was apparent to me that it was a smaller bear, no less a trophy after so many attempts. We packed it out and have been enjoying it's meat all winter. I had a bear skull that has been sitting in my freezer for a few years, we decided to have our Skulls cleaned and her bear hide tanned. I already have a wonderful bear rug in our living room so we decided that we would just have her hide tanned and consider it a creative accent for our couch. After all the trophy is in the experience.
Shortly after dropping both skulls and the hid off at the taxidermist, he called me to tell me that "once he had gotten around to it" the bear had squared 6'5" inches! That's great Maybe my field judging skills aren't as tuned as I thought, no big deal. He charges for tanning by the foot. Alright no problem.6 months later I big up two awesome skulls and a nicely tanned bear hid that looks quite small. It's the same bear I brought him last fall it's got the same big cut in it where I goofed up skinning it, easy to recognize. It's my girlfriend's bear no disputed. Still the same small bear I brought him. It looks good I pay him and I 2 hours back home. I measure it a 5 foot 4 inches. It is way smaller than my 6'3" rug. I'm concerned that he may have measured the bear wrong or told me the bear was bigger than it really was. Because he charged me for a much bigger bear than I thought I gave him. Is there considerable shrinkage in a hide after tanning. I'm happy with the work but I feel like he overcharged me by a large margin.