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Thread: Taxidermists

  1. #1

    Default Taxidermists

    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.
    Patrick

  2. #2
    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default who?

    Sorry to hear about it. Info needs to be shared

  3. #3
    Member Alaskan22's Avatar
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    Default I feel ya

    I got crapped on too, and feel your pain. All I ask for is honesty, that way SOMETHING can be done about it. I realize things happen, just don't blow smoke up my rear! Honesty!!

    Sorry for your pains!

    Just an FYI, you can't bash the taxi on here. However (this is from my lawyer and moderators on here) you can post pics of what happened, and the Taxi's name and give the events of what happend. All of that is factual, and allowed. Just can't say " They did a Horse poop job" as, that is/can be slander and puts the website and you in jeopardy.
    Know guns. Know peace. Know safety.

    No guns: no peace. No safety!

  4. #4
    Member wykee5's Avatar
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    That's a bum deal. I am always nervous when I drop something off at the taxidermist or tannery. So far though the few animals that I have had done have turned out good. I was pretty nervous about our sheep capes this year, and happy to see when they came back right away in good shape. Sorry to hear about your experience.

  5. #5

    Default

    You know I am really going to mark my bears with my initials carved into it so I know I get my bear back. I think I was played a switcharoo on.
    Thanks for the empathy guys.

  6. #6

    Default

    When you find a good taxidermist, always stick with him/her. I found one in Eagle River and he will be getting all my work from now. Sorry to hear about your bears, there really is no excuse for what happened, she got your money and you got screwed. Take her to small claims court and let others know of what happened to you. Good luck to you.

  7. #7
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    The only way to pick a taxidermisdt to get reliable recommendations from people and then actually visit the place an9 look at the work done. I use one of two here in anchorage, either Knight's or Lone Wolf. Russ Knight is an excellent taxidermist and does great work, although it does take awhile. Dave at Lone Wolf is a small operation and I would usually avoied them but he does excellent work also.

  8. #8
    Member wykee5's Avatar
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    When I took my capes into alpha furs, I watched him as he punched the invoice number into the hide on the back part of the capes. No question about getting your hides back. This wouldn't work on a finished rug, but for tanned items it would seem pretty failsafe.

  9. #9
    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    I have only used two taxidermist in Alaska and have had great luck with both of them. I have been using Knights since 2006, yes they do take their time and they charge more than some others but I get the finished product myself and my family expect so its worth the money and time in my opinion. The other taxidermist was in Delta Junction but don't think he is around anymore, he did a caribou shoulder mount for me back in the late 80's and it looks as good today as it did the day I picked it up.

  10. #10

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    Couldn't agree with AKhunter45 more, when you find someone that you trust and can work with, stick with them. I've got a buddy in the lower 48 that is a true artist. I've been sending him all my taxidermy work and I know when it's done that it will be a work of art. He works with me on the project and keeps in touch to let me know how it's progressing, qualities hard to come by these days. He does his own tanning so the hides are never out of his shop during the process. When you find someone that's dependable and can trust, yeah stick with them.

  11. #11
    Member JuliW's Avatar
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    Being a taxidermist myself, I find it upsetting when other taxidermists produce low quality work, neglect to get their work done in a timely fashion (1 yr, in most cases), or just plain take advantage of their customer....

    Hope that you are able to resolve things...

    and yes, you can ID your bear rug...Your taxidermist should punch your customer number or receipt number into the hide when you drop it off (whether it is tanned or not)..You should confirm this if possible...When the rug is being mounted, that number should be written on the bottom of the rugshell, and also in perm. ink on the hide after it is stretched..and lastly between the two layers of felt in a specific location....the number can only be read if you lift up the top layer of felt.

    Juli
    Toklat Taxidermy
    Taxidermy IS art!
    www.alaskawildliferugs.com
    Your mount is more than a trophy, it's a memory. Relive The Memory!

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