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Thread: Bear Taxidermy Photos - What do you think?

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    Default Bear Taxidermy Photos - What do you think?

    I killed this bear last spring. I was extremely excited because the hunt was so rewarding for many reasons. It was on father's day with my 72 year old Dad. I worked like mad for 3 years to score on a trophy bear. The skull measured out at 20 11/16 green, and 20 2/16 after the taxidermist cleaned and bleached it. It was an old boar and I will always remember how I felt after I found him on a long blood trail through some very nasty stuff.

    So, the taxidermist has now sent me the photos of my nearly completed bear without the carpet that he says he still needs to install. Please have a look at the photo of the taxidermy and the 4 photos of the bear in the field to give you an idea of what it looked like.

    I'm extremely disappointed in the work, but wanted to see what others think. Maybe I'm overeacting, but I think it stinks.

    Please be honest. Describe what you see and what you think is good or bad. Head, ears, body, front legs, rear legs, etc. You won't hurt my feelings either way.

    Thks,

    alder

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/58509435@N05/?saved=1

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    I'm certainly no expert but just comparing field photos to your taxidermist's photo I notice a couple things. First, the way his ears were done make his head look much smaller than in the field. The 'raw' photos show him to have a nice, broad, rounded dome while the ears on the mount seem to be more towards the top of his head. The second thing I noticed is that a LOT of his hide got trimmed too much, especially around his front legs. Where did you have this done? Sorry you're disappointed, it is quite an animal. Remember this though; no taxidermist or botches mounting can EVER diminish the great memories made in the field!

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    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Alderwillow,
    Well.....you should be disappointed.
    You now have what I call a "swimming bear rug", a bear rug where the bear apppears to be swimmings the breast stroke with its front legs thrust forward.
    Well....this MAY be because of the way you skinned the bear between the point of the elbow and the place where the front leg cut joined the center-line body cut. Or it may be shaped that way because you used a really terrible backyard taxidermist. I don't know.

    Part of the bear body has ended up on the taxidermy cutting room floor. Again, this can happen if the bellybody cut is way off center-line, or if you used a really terrible taxidermist. I don't know what else to tell you.

    I just got to know who your selected taxidermist was...pls PM me...especially if that taxidermist in AK.
    dennis

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    Tough to tell from the angle of the pics. If the taxidermist would take a more ground level pic it may look more like the bear in the field shots. Any reason the ears are not pinned back on the bear? They look a bit off and pointing towards the front of the head. Looks like quite a bit of excessive trimming was done down both sides of the bear. Can't tell if it was needed for removal/covering of entry and exit wounds. Like stated above...the bear is a great trophy and the memories of hunting with your dad should far outweigh the results.
    "Shoot straight and keep your powder dry"

  5. #5

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    While I would like a closer shot, I agree, the head is too small and ear are laid back too much. The head is what makes the rug. It also does not look like it was "stretched" after tanning. Raw, the bear is very wide, now it look really narrow. Sorry to see this done to your bear. It obviously is a BIG BEAR and that needs to show in the rug, which in my eyes, it does not.

  6. #6

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    Not certain just how much the taxidermist can do to modify the opening cuts in the finished rug. However, the opening cuts are way off in that there is no symmetry to the hide as pictured.
    These mounts are really a "team" effort between the hunter and taxidermist. If either fall short the quality of the end product may suffer.
    Joe

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    Usually, the taxidermist will look over the skinned hide and tell you what he's going to do to 'fix' the hide (if the cuts weren't made properly in the field). Did the taxidermist express any concern over the field prep? In general, black bear rugs run from $100 to $125 a foot ... curious who and what the deal was on your bear. Like others said ... the memory will last forever. Hope you got some good field photos with the bear.

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    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Alderwillow....
    Truly, i am not trying to whack you on your skinning job. It is a tough job when a bear is all bent up in the bushes, at night, in the rain, ect....
    But after looking at the photos of the raw pelt, it appears that the rear/hind legs were cut improperly also.....
    Look at the photos. It appears your bear has "extra hind legs". I'll try to explain.
    The rear/hind legs are clearly the back two legs. But right in from of them is A LARGE area of pelt/fur. When that area/piece of pelt/fur is that big, then the cut on the rear legs was too far back on the back edge of the bear legs. Therefore a large area of skin-pelt-fur ends up in front of the hind legs, appearing like a pair of extra rear legs. And all that area of pelt and fur got cut off and went into the trash. If you had made the rear leg cuts farther forward on the inside of the legs then the rear legs would be farter apart on the rug, and the bear rug would have a nice rounded butt shape.
    This is not easy to explain. And again, really not trying to criticize the skinning job. Really.

    There was a time when taxidermist would cut and sew bear pelt/rugs "back together" so that hunters were unaware of their improper skinning job. That ship has sailed away and sunk with mass production assembly line bear rug production. Also keep in mind that most every little imperfection in bilateral skinning symetry ends up with a little more of the bear pelt on the floof, and not on the rug.

    I urge everybody to "adopt" a taxidermist. In the spring, somebody will shoot a bear off the road system and bring it into the taxidermist "in the round", whole. That is the best way to learn proper bear skinning. A second great method would be to attend a bear skinning seminar. The third and worst way to learn is like I did 20-somthing years ago, and screw up a bear or two on the way to success.
    (Note that I gave my first bear rug to a relative in Calif 'cause I skinned improperly and found a cheap taxidermist buddy to compound my booboos.)

    dennis

  9. #9

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    Dennis,

    You're absolutely right, I undertsand your description perfectly, and no offense taken. I fully realized this that the cut was made too far back and I discussed it at length with the Taxi. when I dropped it off. He said no problem on that and any other imperfections, we have a great sewing team, which I do fully expect from a Taxi. but thanks for pointing out. and thanks to others for their comments. The Taxi is not in Alaska.

    alder

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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    alderwillow sorry to see your bear looking that way and hope something can be done to fix it up. The field photos look like a great bear and I love the fresh battle wound on its face!

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    I do Taxidermy work and by the looks of it the person just did some bad work.
    It could be the way you had skinned the bear bear out but I would be sadly disappointed with that work
    Dan

  12. #12

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    I've done a couple of black bear rugs, and life size bear mounts. I wouldn't consider myself a professional, but everyone tells me I do good work. I see what appear to be a few problems with your bear. The taxidermist used a head shell (form) that's too small, and it appears that he stretched the hide too long relative to it's width, he may have gotten a little carried away with the trimming too. Also, the front legs shouldn't be stretching forward like they appear in the picture, but should be more perpendicular to the axis of the body.

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    Years ago I to worked in a taxidermy shop in AZ and I have done my share of bear mounts and rugs. Its hard to see any detail of the face from that photo but the hide looks OK to me. I would wait until he gets the felt around it and see what you think then. They always look kinda skinny after trimming. Tell him to felt it with dark colors, like 2 rows of black and a 3rd of dark brown or dark grey. That should buy you at least 2" around the perimeter. It does look like they trimmed to much in the front shoulder and flanks though. I can remember having to trim more then I wanted to get the symmetry back after things like a bad skin job or hair slippage. Its really common to have hair slip in the arm pits and the flank area and forelegs. Its also hard to hide it it in those areas and that's when the excessive trimming comes in. I'm not saying that's what happened with yours but its what comes to my mind. Its hard to tell but a spot on the left foreleg appears to have weird shine to it, or maybe just a weird angle...

  14. #14

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    Thanks guys. I've read a lot of helpful comments here and I really appreciate it. I'm going to see the bear in person and I'll post photos of the finished product in a couple of months when the taxidermist has done all he can (good or bad).

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