Mia & the Little Gal: Mia shares tried-and-true tips for caring for your taxidermy.
Throughout the years, LG and I have had many successful hunts. We work hard to fill our tags and fulfill our dreams of harvesting animals. The memories we have of hunting in the mountains, out of tree stands and on horseback are priceless. After working so hard to achieve a goal, we want to preserve the experience. That’s when we have to decide if the animal will be mounted by a taxidermist.
Quality taxidermy is an art, and can be quite expensive. It is, indeed, an investment to have memories from the field put on the wall. Once you’ve decided to dish out the dough for a mount, you’ll need to take care of it. Below are tips for caring for taxidermy.
Caring for furry wildlife mounts
LG and I paid a visit to our taxidermist and asked him a few questions about caring for our big-game mounts. He told us that there are 4 basic, but important, rules to caring for mounts.
If mounts become brittle or cracked, you can pay a taxidermist to restore them. Sometimes this will mean paying for a new cape (hide) to replace the old brittle one. If the fur is in good shape, but the nose or tongue areas are cracked, the taxidermist can re-clay them. Upon inspection, the taxidermist may have other suggestions.
Caring for feathered wildlife mounts
While attending the Safari Club International convention I met a lady, Shawna, selling wildlife mounts. The booth she manned had a plethora of mounts on display. When I meet women in the industry, I am always interested in chatting with them. I discovered that she is a taxidermist at Pete’s Taxidermy. So, I asked her about caring for our fine-feathered-memories.
Shawna recommended using a blow-dryer to remove dust from bird mounts. This is a tip that can also be used to re-fluff the fur on game mounts after it has been placed on the wall. Caution needs to be taken if you live in a dry climate, or if you use wood as a heat source in your home. During the years, dry conditions, combined with the blow-dryer can damage the hair on your furry mounts. Using a feather duster is the best method, especially if you live in a climate with low humidity.
Our taxidermist gave similar tips for bird mounts, along with added cautions. He says, “They are definitely not to be touched.” He also warned that it is important to keep them away from animals. In other words, make sure they are in a location where your feline or canine friends don’t try to have them as a snack.
Caring for antique mounts
If you are lucky enough to inherit an heirloom feathered mount from grandpa’s house, it may have years of dirt on it. You can wash all types of bird mounts. First, place the mount in the tub or sink basin. Spray it off with lukewarm water. Use a mild soap and soft cloth and, keeping in direction of the feathers, wipe it down until it is clean. When you are done, blow the bird dry, also keeping in the direction of feather growth.
Caring for mounts that haven’t been cared for
I enjoy eyeballing the mounts in rustic restaurants and lodges. However, the problem with mounts in these locations is the environmental conditions. Smoke, dust, grease and moisture in the air can coat the animals. Shawna indicated that there is a degreaser used for mounts that have become covered in grimy dust. It will remove the layers of grime and restore the mount to a natural looking condition. You can inquire with your taxidermist about this product.
Each hunt gives us great memories, regardless of whether an animal is harvested or not. When we are successful, we then get the opportunity to display those reminders. Due to the costs associated with preserving God’s beauty, LG and I deliberate before we choose what we will send to our taxidermist. We plan to use these tips from the professionals to ensure your artwork lasts forever.
The Women's Outdoor News, aka The WON, features news, reviews and stories about women who are shooting, hunting, fishing and actively engaging in outdoor adventure. This publication is for women, by women. View all posts by The WON