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Thread: Taxidermy Gone Awry

  1. #1
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    Default Taxidermy Gone Awry

    I have an ethical question and I want some advice. I had a local taxidermist work on some birds for me. One was to be a gift to my dad, who is an avid birder. When I got the duck back that was to go to my dad, it looked pretty bad. I had already paid for it, so when I saw it I felt like I had to take it. Now it is sitting at a friends house; I can't bring myself to send it to my dad! Should I confront the taxidermist? I feel horrible about it, because he did do the work; it just wasn't very good. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2

    Angry take it back

    My advice would be to take it back and demand a refund. Having him do another will probably yield the same quality, and if folks don't confront the taxidermist (or anyone else for that matter) then lower quality work will continue, and everyone loses. It'll force the individual to either increase his quality or eventually go out of business. The profession doesn't need another black eye.
    If you like getting kicked by a mule...then you'll "love" shooting my .458.

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    Default Previous Work?

    I once had a friend who mounted an antelope for free for me for letting him stay with me when he returned from guiding each fall. The antelope looked horrible and I seriously wondered if he had used the form for another animal. I never said anything to him since I got it for free. A few year later the hair began to fall out and I sent the horns and a new cape to a "real" taxidermist and now I have a beautiful mount.

    How did you choose this taxidermist? Did you look at his work or did you just go with the cheapest taxidermist? Some guys are better with birds or fish or whatever. If the animals/birds in the shop are of a higher quaility than your bird then you do need to take it back. However if your bird represents the skills and artistry of this taxidermist then taking it back won't change anything. In some shops a lot of the work is completed by "apprentices" and the quality control is up to the shop owner. I know how you feel.

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    I was trying to support a legitimate local taxidermist, and I know he does many different kinds of animals. The other birds I got back looked better (but one of the heads did fall off; they're kind of fragile...). Can anyone tell me what is an "average" price for a single mounted duck? And does anyone know anything about the bird taxidermist in North Pole? I saw the pictures on his website and they looked wonderful.

  5. #5
    Member greythorn3's Avatar
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    dang heads falling off and horrible looking birds, i think this is one of the times you need to take them back and have him fix the uglyness or give you a refund. im sure it wasent cheap either.
    Semper Fi!

  6. #6
    hap
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    Get your money back... He is not going to do a better job next time...

  7. #7

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    I have a few harlequins in the freezer I'm wanting mounted, so I'm really curious if anybody can recommend a good taxidermist.

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    Member thewhop2000's Avatar
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    Default years ago, in north pole...

    There was a guy named Jim Rothenbuler or something like that , that did great work. Don't know if he has retired or what but he did great stuff with birds and small animals.
    If a dipnetter dips a fish and there is no one around to see/hear it, Did he really dip?

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    Please let us know what taxidermist this is, so we don't take our birds there. The one in North Pole does good work, not the best I've seen, but it's local. He does take a couple extra months to get birds back to you though, but the quality is there.

  10. #10
    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    Sugestion,

    Go to the Knotty Shop in Salcha, and ask who does the anmials that they have on display.

    I thought their display was pretty good.

  11. #11
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    Default Rothenbuler

    is in Salcha. I don't think he's taking work any longer, but I could be wrong. Skip in Salcha is also a dang good taxidermist. But it'll be a long wait. Again, he's got so much work, he may not be looking for more.

    v/r

    salcha star road

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    Member jeff p's Avatar
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    Default

    I will 2nd Skip's work, he is an artist.

  13. #13
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    Default Taxidermy Work

    I have heard so many stories from friends and guys on here about the shabby work done by taxidermist here in Alaska on birds. To add to this.. I have heard that there are some awesome taxidermists in Alaska that do an outstanding job as well. I understand price shopping..but this should never be your determining factor when getting your trophy mounted. It does play a part..but get references and really inspect his work. I will tell you after mounting thousands of waterfowl...heads do not fall off if properly mounted...even if they run the wire up into the skull, when the skin shrinks and dries..it helps secure this and believe me..it will be hard to fall off...the only reason I can see it falling off is the skin was stretched to tight to begin with and therefore cracked and split where the neck material attaches to the base of the skull....interesting..would like to know if he is using the latest modern supplies or still using the old string around the wire method with batting...Regardless..you have to be careful with those birds.

    I will tell you after owning a Taxidermy business and doing birds for years before coming up to Alaska...Do not give this to your dad if you are uncomfortable with this. This bird was harvested behind some great memories and probably while spending time with you. Either way..there is always some great memories behind any animal harvest to be mounted.

    Take it back and explain to him why you wanted him to do this. Tell him you have always enjoyed his work and supported him. He might not have actually mounted this bird himself. He might have had someone new working for him mount it, and used this opportunity for a training session etc...lot of different scenarios out there.... I use to train my guys with pen raised birds and never had them work on customer birds until they were ready. Straight reflection on your business.

    He might even have another bird in the freezer that he had harvested in the season. He will have to fill out the paperwork associated with this for you to transfer this to another taxidermist for the work. If the bird was one that is hard to find..you might have to wait for next year to harvest one..if not, I know of places online you can purchase "Pen Raised" birds for mounting purposes etc. There are places that will freeze them and mail them to you.

    Tell us what species it was and someone on there might be able to help you out.

    Best of luck..if you have any questions..continue to ask.

    There also might be a taxidermist here in Alaska that will help you out with one in their freezer if not accounted for by a customer.
    DH01





  14. #14
    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    Default Taxidermy

    OK guys, here's a guy who has won many National awards for his duck Mounts.
    Call Caribou Taxidermy in Soldotna and ask for Rick Richardson.You wont be disapointed.
    PM me if you can't get the phone number. tell Rick Roland sent you. May not give you a discount but you can be sure of quality work.

  15. #15
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    Default Take it back

    And ask him to do one of two things. The first have him do a new mount. (If he has the talent)
    Second, if he does not have the skill, have him provide a bird, and have him send it out to a wholesaler. There are many good guys that do nothing but wholesale bird work.

    Birds take a special knack, and most guys in Alaska don't have the quantity of birds to become proficient. I think this past year I had only three birds come in. And one of those was a duck; considering I don't have my license to do waterfowl, I turned that customer away.

    Something I started when I was just getting into the business was to call or e-mail my customer two or three days after they picked up their mount. Because let's face it you have waited a year if not longer to pick up your mount. So when you first see it you may be like a kid with a new puppy. But after it's on your wall for a day or two you start to see the little imperfections. That's where my call would come in, I would ask if they are still happy with the mount, or if there's anything else, I can do to make them happier. I still carry on with this courtesy.

    A wise man once told me (my dad) that you can please every customer that walk through the door, and you would never hear your name mentioned. However, if you do poor quality work for one customer he would tell everybody he sees and knows that you do terrible work. And it would get back to you so fast.

    So tell him and let him try to right the wrong.
    Alaska Mountin' Man Taxidermy
    North Pole, Ak 99705
    (907) 488-7083

  16. #16
    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default show us

    How about taking a few close pictures it and show us what you are taking about. Maybe you can share a few more details reguarding the taxidermist without naming the name per forum rules.

    P.S. I would definately go back and hold their feet to the fire. May taxidermist have suppliers and a sub could be purchased for you dad with none the wiser.

    Quote Originally Posted by southeast stephanie View Post
    I have an ethical question and I want some advice. I had a local taxidermist work on some birds for me. One was to be a gift to my dad, who is an avid birder. When I got the duck back that was to go to my dad, it looked pretty bad. I had already paid for it, so when I saw it I felt like I had to take it. Now it is sitting at a friends house; I can't bring myself to send it to my dad! Should I confront the taxidermist? I feel horrible about it, because he did do the work; it just wasn't very good. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  17. #17
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    Thanks for all your help guys. I still cannot post this persons name, however, it would not be right because I think this is not the norm and I don't want to slander his name.

    It would not be that hard for me to get another bird. It was a beautiful male goldeneye (common), and I can find another one without too much problem (except that duck season closes on the 31st!). I just wanted to send it to my dad because he lives down south and rarely gets to see them. Fortunately, its not a super special bird or anything. I can't take a picture of it, however, as it is in another town at a friends house... As for the other two, they are also common local species and aside from the head issue, they are fine. (The head falling off was at least partly due to damage it sustained when taking a tumble from a coffee table at my friends house; the base of the mount wasn't stable enough and it fell over. I think it can be fixed easily. maybe I'll take a picture when I go home and then post it later.)

  18. #18
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    Oh I was too much of a chicken. ****; thats not like me! I was going to nab it the last time I was in k-town, but my friend said she didn't mind if I left it there; she liked how it gave people an evil glare when they walked in the front door... Oh well... On a lighter note, my bear hide should be here sometime this week. I just had it tanned; didn't feel like paying for a rug, since I wasn't bear hunting or anything. I think I'll just send my dad the bear instead of the duck. I think that will be a good substitution! His den is decorated in bear stuff anyways; it'll look good!

  19. #19
    Member huntalaska's Avatar
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    Default Right is Roland..

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland on the River View Post
    OK guys, here's a guy who has won many National awards for his duck Mounts.
    Call Caribou Taxidermy in Soldotna and ask for Rick Richardson.You wont be disapointed.
    PM me if you can't get the phone number. tell Rick Roland sent you. May not give you a discount but you can be sure of quality work.
    Roland is right. Rick is one of the best around..

  20. #20
    Member akfirefighter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roland on the River View Post
    OK guys, here's a guy who has won many National awards for his duck Mounts.
    Call Caribou Taxidermy in Soldotna and ask for Rick Richardson.You wont be disapointed.
    PM me if you can't get the phone number. tell Rick Roland sent you. May not give you a discount but you can be sure of quality work.

    Can't say anything on this guy but Rich Dykema with Foul Play taxidermy does excellent work. He is Located in Soldotna also and does mounts for people from all over the world. Here is his website http://www.bird-taxidermy.com/

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