When searching the sites here there is so much bad press about taxidermists. Why are there so many bad reports? I just got back two of my black bears that were harvested from last year and I almost threw up. This last 6 months have been such a roller coaster. I have been lied to, my money stolen and no bears to speak of. I finally get my bears back and they are not what I wanted. I had one rug made and the largest black bear I have ever taken came back in shredds. I dont even think it is the bear I shot. Why is it hard to get some one honest that does a good job. I dont even care how long it takes for completion. Just honest and good work. I dont expect much.
Here is the story.
I shoot a beautiful spring bear, Best coat I have ever seen. Hair 6 inches long and just gorgeous. A good friend from work, suggested a neighbor and friend and a person who goes to his church and who is also doing his sons bear. I contact her. She gives me a good deal, 150 a foot. Awesome. The bear is only 5 feet, so this is going to be my rug. So i send it off give deposit of 400 more then half of completed cost of 750 dollars according to my calculator. She says expect to have my bears by Christmas maybe sooner. This was 8/26/2008. I tell her I am in no way in a rush. We part ways, I feel good about the transaction.
September rolls around, I spot a 6'9" black bear and harvest it. It was not in the fish so the meat was also harvested. I contact her again and tell her I have another bear and I would just like a tan and want to send it to my father. I pay her 200 in deposit about half what it should cost and part ways again. This bear was never frozen, fleshed salted and skinned. It had a bad toe with very little and green claw. I skin my bears always the same. I leave the pad intact and skin around the pad on the hair line. I also removed all the bones in the toes. We parted ways again.
Christmas comes and goes no word, no big deal. Then April comes along and while I am in mexico for my belated honeymoon, I get a call from her. She lets me know the bears are done and will be sending them with my friend from work.This taxidermist lives in wasilla and I live in seward. She tells me to send her the rest of the money. The price is off by quite a bit. I ask her the size of the bears and she says one is about 5.5 and the other is about six. I thought the small one was more like 5 and the big one was almost 7 but whatever. I just want the bears so I pay up. I send the money, and she sends me no bears.
My friend comes and says she didnt get them done but her husband will be bringing them down to seward that weekend. Week goes by still no bears. She now Has 1400 dollars of mine and I have nothing but a receipt. I start calling her, and she wont answer the phone.
I then was notified by My co-worker that the taxidermist has gone on a vacation for 2 months to the lower 48 and wont be back until june some time. I start flipping out. I call her and tell her that I need her to respond to my attempts to contact her or else I will have to file a police report.
June rolls around and I still have no word from her. I get busy with summer but this is still weighing on me. Supposedly she returns from her trip according to my co-worker. I call her and still no reponse. August rolls around, and I plea with my co-worker to have her contact me and give me some details as to what is going on or I will be contacting the troopers this week.
In late august I hear from her and she spits out all these excuses but I hold back my frustration and anger because I am clinging to a hope that I will see my bears. She at this time notified me that my large bear came back from the tannery and the face got ripped off. I ask her why it took this long for her to tell me this and she had no answer. She said she would fix it by adding a face from a scrap bear and I would never know it ever happened.
It is now October 8th and I got my bears. I open the bag and first see the tanned bear. Destroyed. 400 bucks down the drain. The face is gone, not fixed. The ears are gone. It has bald spots on the back like the hide slipped. HMMM I dont think this is my bear. The pads are not skinned how I skin. The one green small almost non existient hind toe nail is not there but replaced with all normal looking nails. This hide has no worth to me nor my father who I was hoping to send him a good bear hide he might be interested in having made to a rug in the lower 48. Nope not the case.
The bear rug looks pretty good. The fur is thick and dense. Then I notice the face. Open mouth, and no tounge. HMMM I asked for closed mouth. A sow growling at me without a tounge. Its a 5 foot bear, growling, just doesnt seem right. I didnt shoot it while it almost attacked me. It was 200 yards up on a hill eating grass. Not a growling face moment and not the way I wanted to remember her. What a shame.
So now I have receipt of the bears, I call her to let her know what I feel.
She gives me a bunch of excuses and says fine I will just reimburse you all the money and we can act like it never happened. I say that doesnt sound fair. I am somewhat pleased with the rug other then the open mouth and the crappy job on the ears. I tell her the hide is worthless to me on the tanned bear and that I am really upset about that. She says she will re-imburse me for the hide, but I dont beleive her. I want her to show me the money first.
So here I am 14 months later 7 months after I paid in full. I have learned alot of valuable life lessons. Also I have a heavy weight in my stomach because of the destroyed bear hide. I can understand accidents happen. I didnt care how long it took to get the bears back, but.... I dont like being lied to.
Sorry for rambling on, but I needed to vent.
If anyone is interested in who the taxi is please PM me. I do not wish this happenes to anyone else with thier trophys. It is bad for the hunter and disrespectful to the animal.
Honesty and integrity its not all that hard.