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Thread: Taxidermist Prices...

  1. #1
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    Question Taxidermist Prices...

    I've read a couple of other posts that mention the higher cost of taxidermists the further North you go...why? I even see that in the lower 48 as well. I could understand a cost difference from the lower 48 to AK, but why such a difference even in the continental US? I can get a mule deer head mounted in Tennessee for $300.00, that same mount in Wyoming is $500.00 to $600. (And please don't babble on about quality; the taxidermist I use has won his share of awards and does very nice work, as a matter of fact, he has been a taxidermist for 30 years.)

    Is it just because they can get it; really it doesn't take my taxidermist any less time to mount a specimen than it would a taxidermist else where...

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    Member Chisana's Avatar
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    It sounds like you are happy with your taxidermist so why does it matter what others charge? People in any business charge what the customer will pay. Taxidermy is no different. A taxidermist should not be selected based on cost alone.

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    Default Perhaps

    Perhaps a better question to ask should be: Why in Alaska is the hunter required to skin his whole animal before taking it to the taxidermist? When I say "skin", I mean removing the hide, taking the skull out of the hide, turning the lips, the ears, the eyes, fleshing, salting...etc......? In the lower 48, whenever I had an animal I needed to have mounted, I dropped off the head with the unprepared cape. Up here, I haven't found a taxidermist that will do all that fancy stuff (lips,ears,eyes, etc). They may do touch-ups if the hunter didn't do it correctly, but that is about it. Are the taxidermists spoiled up here? Thank GOD I found one up here who helps me out and doesn't scold me if I do something wrong to the hide.
    Didn't mean to hijack your post...but I've been wanting to ask this question for a long time.
    Johnny

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    Quote Originally Posted by skydiver_99654 View Post
    Perhaps a better question to ask should be: Why in Alaska is the hunter required to skin his whole animal before taking it to the taxidermist? When I say "skin", I mean removing the hide, taking the skull out of the hide, turning the lips, the ears, the eyes, fleshing, salting...etc......? In the lower 48, whenever I had an animal I needed to have mounted, I dropped off the head with the unprepared cape. Up here, I haven't found a taxidermist that will do all that fancy stuff (lips,ears,eyes, etc). They may do touch-ups if the hunter didn't do it correctly, but that is about it. Are the taxidermists spoiled up here? Thank GOD I found one up here who helps me out and doesn't scold me if I do something wrong to the hide.
    Didn't mean to hijack your post...but I've been wanting to ask this question for a long time.
    Johnny
    It's been my experience with the 4-5 taxidermists that I've used up here, that 1) some are much better with certain animals/fish than others; and 2) the less you do to a hide in the field, means that's more prep work that they have to do, which ends up being more $$ out of your pocket. Why the geographical increase of prices the further north you go is a mystery to me as well. Maybe it has somthing to do with the shipping costs from here to outside and back again. The taxidermists "might" add some extra costs in there knowing that most people won't pay it to be shipped around, so they just end up settling. Also, there's that "quality of work" to consider.. Just my .02...

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    Well I am happy with my taxidermist, and I will continue to use his services thank you.

    Skydiver, no problem you didn't hijack the thread...your comment is related to all this and even if it wasn't I'm not so anal thay it'd be an issue.

    I am meeting a buddy (that lives in AK) to hunt muleys in Wyoming and if he is lucky enough to get one that he wants to have mounted he asked me to have my taxidermist do it which got me wondering why prices vary so much from area to area. I'm just trying to learn why...

    If that's OK?

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    Member sharksinthesalsa's Avatar
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    Default prices

    shipping a huge factor in the price of taxidermy work......most of teh supply distributors are in either north carolina colorado or i believe arkansas....i've had brown bear forms shipped up and cost over 900 dollars just for the shipping ....that didnt' include the cost of time and materials it took to put the thirteen peices each bear came in back together....plus they had to be put together just so see how much they needed to be changed....they ended up being cut up and reshaped and resized anyway. altogether between the two bears before the skin was put on had already cost almost $1000 each after purchasing, shipping, materials and labor.
    "early to bed, early to rise, fish like hell, and make up lies"

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    I'm real happy with the taxidermist that I use in North Pole. I can understand why the fees might be a little more. He showed me a few packages with new forms that had just arrived and shipping for each box was in the $90-$100 range. These were for rug heads. I can imagine that larger boxes for shoulder mounts would be considerably more. Also there is the common law of supply and demand. I doubt that many taxidermists are hurting for work right now.

    He will help me with taking out paws and turning lips, eye's, etc, but he does charge for it.

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    New member AKDSLDOG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skydiver_99654 View Post
    Perhaps a better question to ask should be: Why in Alaska is the hunter required to skin his whole animal before taking it to the taxidermist? When I say "skin", I mean removing the hide, taking the skull out of the hide, turning the lips, the ears, the eyes, fleshing, salting...etc......? In the lower 48, whenever I had an animal I needed to have mounted, I dropped off the head with the unprepared cape. Up here, I haven't found a taxidermist that will do all that fancy stuff (lips,ears,eyes, etc). They may do touch-ups if the hunter didn't do it correctly, but that is about it. Are the taxidermists spoiled up here? Thank GOD I found one up here who helps me out and doesn't scold me if I do something wrong to the hide.
    Didn't mean to hijack your post...but I've been wanting to ask this question for a long time.
    Johnny

    A hunter is "NOT REQUIRED" to remove the hide from the skull, paws/hooves,split lips,nose and turn ears. All this does is make it cheaper on your pocket book, there is no requirement.

    I myself use Fosters Taxidermy in wasilla. He does excellent/quality work for a fair price. Some say he charges to much, I dissagree, you get what you pay for. He is honest and fair with pricing and getting your mount done on time. Dan has my buisness, period.

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    Member Roger's Avatar
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    Being a retired taxidermist from S.C and now living in Ak I'll chime in on this one. 2 reasons the main one is shipping it is outrageous to get a full size moose or bear form up here UPS $400 on up vs the $30 bucks it cost me to ship it to my studio in S.C and it is hard to get some of the chemicals up here second cost of living is much higher. Then you have to consider the backyard taxidermist who has no overhead,rent ,empolyees ,insurance and so on vs the full time guy. Quality of work is another factor I have won my fare share of awards and ribbons at competitions but I'll be the first to say there were other guys I knew that did better work than I on some things but lacked the skills in other areas. Just because some are cheaper does not mean thier work reflects the price.( NOT TRUE ALL THE TIME :_)
    PEOPLE SAY I HAVE A.D.D I DON'T UNDERSTA.....OH LOOK A MOOSE !!!

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    My taxidermist has the opposite view on having a hide totally prepped when it gets turned in.

    She has the mindset that if you dont know what your doing or not sure, dont mess with it. She will take the time when it gets turned in to show you if time allows.

    She is supposed to charge but if the hunter is willing to learn, she usually doesnt. If the guy comes in with a holier than thou attitude, yup, she charges.

    Granted, she likes it all done, makes her job easier.

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    Member JustinW's Avatar
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    $850 for a GOOD QUALITY deer head in my neck of the woods. Sure you can find a hobbiest that will do it cheaper, but then it won't really look like a deer. Much of it comes down to not just experience but the taxidermists understanding of taxidermy and anatomy. Watch your taxidermist mount a head. I would venture to guess that close to 80% or higher do little to no alteration on the mannikin. The mannikins that they order are just generic sculptures often done by guys who have never seen a live Caribou or moose. The neck might be too thick or the nose too long or the head too wide. Most taxidermists don't use much of the skullplate as well, they rely on the mannikin to determine the width of the head, not measurements off of the actual skull. Watch your taxidermist, extremely likely that none of this is done by your local taxidermist. Do some fun things, on your next animal, take measurements of the face, length of head from corner of the eye to the tip of the nose, caliper measurement from corner of one eye across to the corner of the other eye. Your mount probably won't return with anything close to the real measurement. Mannikin design often comes in trends, not based on real measurements. McKenzie is doing really wide broad shoulders on their deer mannikins for example. Its simply not realistic although it may make it look more macho. These are what you should be paying for.

    Sorry for the hijack, just a pet peeve I see with guys when they show me their mount they just got back from that taxidermist, and I want to recoil from the poor quality that many guys just can't see. Guess it comes from growing up in a taxidermy studio.

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    Default high prices are just a way of things in alaska

    c'mon guys, can we not pretend someone up here is so much better than someone in the lower 48. in the midwest you can find a good quality whitetail head mount for 300 dollars. don't feed me the diatribe about quality that the average person can't ever see or appreciate. i'm talking about taxidermists, not joe in the garage. compare that to an antler mount in alaska. there are no forms, no chemicals, no high priced shipping. just a plain antler mount...300 dollars.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by skydiver_99654 View Post
    Perhaps a better question to ask should be: Why in Alaska is the hunter required to skin his whole animal before taking it to the taxidermist? When I say "skin", I mean removing the hide, taking the skull out of the hide, turning the lips, the ears, the eyes, fleshing, salting...etc......? In the lower 48, whenever I had an animal I needed to have mounted, I dropped off the head with the unprepared cape. Up here, I haven't found a taxidermist that will do all that fancy stuff (lips,ears,eyes, etc). They may do touch-ups if the hunter didn't do it correctly, but that is about it. Are the taxidermists spoiled up here? Thank GOD I found one up here who helps me out and doesn't scold me if I do something wrong to the hide.
    Didn't mean to hijack your post...but I've been wanting to ask this question for a long time.
    Johnny

    I would prefer you NOT try and turn the ears, lips, eyes, and nose. I want to do it.

    I will take the head out and the feet and do all the other things that need done....


    But I will show any one how to flesh, and turn a cape.....all you got to do is ask

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    Interesting, thanks for all the responses. I had not considered the high shipping cost of the forms. I guess since they are so light in weight that the bulky odd size of many forms didn't occur to me. (Unusual shaped parcels definetly are more costly to ship...that became apparent to me not long ago when I shipped a rifle to gunsmith in another region from where I live.)

    It also makes sense that studios in the south east and mid-west could keep their costs lower based on where the suppliers are located. Thanks for the info.

  15. #15

    Talking ditto harter

    Quote Originally Posted by harterstaxidermy View Post
    I would prefer you NOT try and turn the ears, lips, eyes, and nose. I want to do it.

    I will take the head out and the feet and do all the other things that need done....


    But I will show any one how to flesh, and turn a cape.....all you got to do is ask
    I fully agree with your thoughts on this subject. The labor and time to make repairs hunters cause can sometimes exceed the time it takes to prep the hide. I also prefer to skin the head out also...very few folks can do it without cutting it up or leaving enough critical skin (eyes, nose and mouth) to work with. I actually include all this in my price. A side example on cost was just this morning...I skinned and prepped a bighorn sheep cape...no big deal there, but spent almost 2 hours cleaning the blood off of the horns, and I absorbed this cost. Just a couple examples.
    If you like getting kicked by a mule...then you'll "love" shooting my .458.

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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by holly View Post
    c'mon guys, can we not pretend someone up here is so much better than someone in the lower 48. in the midwest you can find a good quality whitetail head mount for 300 dollars. don't feed me the diatribe about quality that the average person can't ever see or appreciate. i'm talking about taxidermists, not joe in the garage. compare that to an antler mount in alaska. there are no forms, no chemicals, no high priced shipping. just a plain antler mount...300 dollars.

    I fully agree the $300 for an antler mount is a bit high. All the rest of the taxidermy prices I have seen and paid in Alaska I thought were on par considering everything all of you have brought up. I could even see an antler mount running $150 since the ones I have seen and had done in Alaska have a higher quality covering and wood.

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    Default Garage Taxidermists

    This was done by a "garage taxidermist"...don't bash them all. The owner of this mount thought it looked better than any panel mount he had ever seen. He's taking apart all of his panel mounts done by the "big shops" and bringing them to me to do "in my garage."
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Default nice

    I have to say that it does look nice. Proof is in the detail. Very close pictures showing the material and how its wrapped, etc.... Not saying that yours doesn't look good or even better than alot of bigger shops but if you want to make comments like that I might suggest a little more proof for everyone to see

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    Member JustinW's Avatar
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    Taxidermists themselves and clients often times undervalue the artwork done by taxidermists. Taxidermy is a labor of love. I assure you, even "expensive taxidermists" in the lower 48 charging upwards of $850 for a deer head aren't getting rich. If you think you want to do taxidermy for the money, you are much better off doing just about anything else!

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    charge what the market will bear
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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