Contributors to this thread:
Taxidermist Lost Friend's Buck
I just got a call from a childhood friend who was very, very upset. He shot a buck this past year that was over 170" with his recurve. It was the best buck he's ever shot and he got it on a piece of ground he worked his butt off to purchase. Special deer all the way around.
His brother-in-law went to the shop to pick-up his deer and the taxidermist sheepishly said that he lost my friend's buck. The brother-in-law and my friend shot their bucks on the same day and took them to the studio on the same day. After getting a butt-chewing from the brother-in-law, he called my friend and told him that "he'd been dreading this call for months."
So the story goes, he boiled the skull plate and my friend took it with him for awhile. Eventually, it was getting close to mounting time and he brought the antlers back. The taxidermist reboiled them and placed them outside of his shop. While these were outside, a couple of kids came and asked to go fishing on the taxidermist's pond on his property. He let them fish for the afternoon. Either a dog, coyote, or the kids took the rack. The taxidermist has combed the property for hours and cannot find it.
This taxidermist has mounted a lot of big deer and is not the type to steal it. No one is accusing him of that. However, negligence is a big issue here. My friend is upset that he didn't get a call when it happened when he could have looked on Craigslist or possibly posted on his state's message board for a possible theft. Months have gone by and he doesn't know who the 2 kids were that day. The taxidermist is a registered P&Y scorer but never got around to scoring it like he said he would, otherwise a resin replacement would be a possible option.
The taxidermist said he was sorry--like that's going to make the situation better. Who is going to have the best buck of their career just walk out of their life like that and say that it's no big deal and stuff like this happens--it doesn't. I think the taxidermist wants the apology to be the resolution. My friend isn't going to be content with that. The taxidermist has no insurance.
What would you do here?
Uhh another lost animal from a taxi. If it was me, I'd start doing some recon. IMO the kids took it. I would start with all houses by the taxi. Hopefully the kids live nearby (they knew about pond) go door to door and explain the situation. Maybe these kids told parents they found in the woods. Yes I'd be pretty angry at the taxi, but it's not gonna help resolve the problem. Sometimes you gotta do take matters in your own hands. Good luck and I hope he gets his deer back
I don’t know what I’d do but I’d be pissed off too. There’s no reason at all to put any rack.... let alone a world class whitetail.... outside after boiling it for the second time. Or the first time for that matter..... I mean.... he has a freaking taxidermist shop.... what’s he worried about.... the smell ?? I boil them in my kitchen.... what a jackass.....
That sux bigtime! Surely your friend has pics of the deer. I would think you could get a reasonably close facsimile resin replica made. (Not sure I would do a “what’s he score” thread on here. You would get scores anywhere from 114” to 200”!) It’s not the same thing of course, but it might take a bit of the sting out of it. No idea what something like that would cost, but, IMO, that should be on the taxi.
That's horrible. I'd be so mad the taxidermist would simply want to close up shop. The least he could have done was call immediately so rewards or bulletins could be put out. I lost a 190" on the neighbor's back in 01' and it still haunts me
I'd be really pissed. I would spread the story, name him.
I lost my own caribou rack... fell out of my truck. Still openly cry about it... Ed F
Grunter, I agree on the kids being the culprits. After thinking on this more, my friend is going to go down there and look around himself. I’m sure this will be fruitless. That being said, I told him the best idea is to make a $1,000 reward poster with a couple of pics of the buck and post it all over the town. If the rack is found, no questions asked. Oh, and the taxidermist pays the reward money and for the shoulder mount.
It’s a small town of 750, I think word of the theft and $1,000 reward will get anyone with knowledge to immediately come forward.
Sounds like a good plan. I hope your friend gets his rack back.
The taxidermist is more culpable by not promptly alerting the owner of the antlers there was a loss. That is not how you operate an honorable business. There were options stolen from the owner of the antlers by not being notified immediately.
I had a taxidermist go bankrupt and all I got back was my horns with skull cap. I was not upset about the bankruptcy and losing a deposit. I was upset he let the hide go bad rather than call me promptly so I could get the hide over to another taxidermist to get it tanned. That made him a loser rather than merely a crappy business operator.
In a town of 750, I'm surprised the taxi didn't know who the kids were? That's raising the BS meter a little. And he just let's kids he doesn't know go fishing in his pond? I mean I'm all for kids fishing, but I feel like the taxi may know more. If he can't get any more info--then go door to door starting by the taxi's house. Maybe a $500 reward if all else fails. That's still alot of money for some people. Just some thoughts
i'd be mad and move on and thank God for the memories and enjoy a photo or two.
That would suck for sure
Any chance of doing a Replica??
Hang in there---------->
Good luck, Robb
"It’s a small town of 750, I think word of the theft and $1,000 reward will get anyone with knowledge to immediately come forward."
A town of 750....somebody knows something. Is there a bar in this town? LOL
Hopefully he has some pictures. Have the taxi make a resin mount at his cost from the pics.
I am with Grunter and others...750 people shouldn't be too hard to figure out kids who fish these days. Something sounds a little off with the story to me as well. Not saying he stole it or anything, but an excuse for a dog chewing it up or something. Is this in KS or CO? Hope he finds him!!!
Matt, friend and taxidermist are in Kansas.
Wow, that sucks big time. I would offer a reward for the rack and in the mean time I would have a long serious talk with the taxidermist and demand that he get a replica rack made. I am sure your friend has a number of pictures of his buck so a replica would not be that difficult to have done. The taxidermist should eat the cost of the replica.
Since it is only a 170 incher you could easily kill one bigger this year
Accidents happen…………not calling wasn’t an accident
Dang. What a bummer. Only thing I can think is taxi should offer to make a replica based on pics at no charge.
Woodguy65, you are right about the bar. I told him the liquor store and the convenience store would be top of my list for posters. If there is a bar, that would be my first stop, for therapy and posters!
If it was stolen, then money will make the "secret' come out sooner. Anybody that would steal or buy the rack also wants to show it off. If more than one person knows a secret, it won't be a secret for long.
Make up posters with a good pic of the rack and put a $500 reward with it. Post them on all the community boards and local social media sites. Just like a lost cat.
Hope you get it back, because a replica is just not the same, although definitely better than nothing.
Many many year's ago, one of my closest friend's and hunting partner took a 160 + buck to a meat processor to skin, butcher etc. Giving specific orders to leave a full cape so he could have his buck mounted. When he went back a couple of days later the processor told him he discarded the rack, "threw in in the waste barrel".
It was / is a good thing my partner is a devout christian. After praying for forgiveness at being upset over the situation he quickly moved on and really never spoke much about of it again, other than to laugh about it.
This said, we both should have known better and caped the buck ourselves.
Personally I do believe I would have "backslid"
That's a horrible situation. Don't really know what I'd do. The taxidermist made things 1000 percent worse for not fessing up ASAP.
A few years back I had killed a nice buck one evening and cut the rack off for a antler mount. I had left the rack laying in the garage floor. The next morning my wife went to work and left the garage door open. Went I went out there about an hour later the antlers were gone. I go crazy for the next couple of hours trying to figure out what had gone on. Never found them. Later in the afternoon, I stop by the neighbors a 40 acre field away and we visit for a while. When I'm leaving he asks if I had killed a buck because his dog had turned up with a rack. Weird stuff happens.
'When he went back a couple of days later the processor told him he discarded the rack, "threw in in the waste barrel". It was / is a good thing my partner is a devout christian. After praying for forgiveness at being upset over the situation he quickly moved on and really never spoke much about of it of again, other than to laugh about it.' buc, I thought I was a pretty devout Christian myself (with flaws), until I read this and compared what my reaction would have been to your friend's. I now know that I am not one, as it would have been, quite honestly, much different. ;)
Besides doing whatever can be done to find the rack I would expect a replica to be made pro bono. And it better be a dang good one.
The fact that the taxidermist didn’t call your friend right away makes his story much less believable. Either way he is at fault and needs to make your friend whole for his loss.
I'm with Ace of Spades. Some people would pay well for a 170"+ rack, and reputation notwithstanding, the fact that the taxi wasn't forthcoming immediately looks really bad IMO. Putting myself in that position, I would have been doing everything I could think of to find that rack, not "dreading the day".
Regardless of where it went, the taxi is at fault, and should have to replace it with a resin duplicate, or as close as possible to the original.
Edit: That still won't be enough, and your friend will still be pissed, as he should be.
I hate lawyers but I would sue the taxidermist. I don’t care if he has insurance or not. He made a major mistake by leaving a clients property unsecured and not immediately notifying the owner and the police
Actually his insurance should pay for it.I know a taxi that was broke into and they stole a couple of really big heads and his insurance wrote them checks.I would just stop by and ask for his agents name. Call a couple of collectors and get estimates.Wouldn't surprise me around 1000 or two,figure time labor expenses at least if you get something back you can buy habitat improvement equipt.Or take to small claims. Either way he was negligent by not properly protecting your property while in his business
Sounds fishy to me . Why leave it outside and why wait to call ???
Apparently this kind of thing is more common than one would think. we have had lots of threads about this happening over the last 20 years.
The Taxidermist needs to compensate the owner of the rack, he was negligent. Not offering to do that immediately says a lot about his character.
The taxidermist I've used for many years has had $3500 of my money to do a bear & Roosevelt elk mount for almost 3 years. After I hired an attorney the taxi finally did my wife's bear but now he can't locate my Roosevelt cape. Now I'm out a $1000, so far, in lawyer fees & got a Krappy bear mount for my wife's 1st archery critter. Luckily I kept the elk antlers at my place!
Taxidermist, that’s all we need to know. They are slightly above politicians. ...just slightly.
Believe me I understand where you are coming from. It would have been a far different outcome had it been me. I always felt the processor sold that rack. NO ONE would have thrown such a beautiful rack away.
My friend is just that type of man and christian. He is one of the finest men I have the privilege to have known in my lifetime. Unfortunately he now is disabled with Alzheimer's.
Wow. This would be hard to swallow. I'm pretty certain the taxi is lying through his teeth about how it happened. Whether he deceitfully sold it or, negligence led to its disappearance, doesn't really matter at this point. I know one thing, I've got a ways to go on my walk with the Lord after hearing buc's post.
He can apologize now all he wants but, that would tick me off even more after waiting the way he did to tell me. I'm sincerely afraid I would have pending charges of some sort at this point. That's sad to say but, I'd genuinely loose it after thinking about the way he handled it. I cannot stand disrespect for fellow men.
I would do the reward and fliers/social media posts, but I would also have the local cops meet me at his shop so they could get his statement while I filed a report.
With the number of loiterers hanging around taxidermy shops, it could easily have been picked up by any number of folks. That's also one of the reason taxi's are always way behind. Everybody thinks he wants to hear a two hour re-cap of their hunting exploits and the taxi feels compelled to listen.
I agree the Taxi is lying. There's always the possibility he knows exactly who took it and is protecting them for some reason.
It`s not unusual for a taxidermist to put racks out side after "simmering" (never boiling) and then hose them off. You guys might think a 170" is rare but in the taxidermy trade they are not and is not going to bring any great wealth to somebody. You can purchase a 170 class set of antlers for less than the cost of a shoulder mount. I severly DOUBT the taxidermist sold it as he would make more on the mount.
My bet is they`re around somewhere and more than likely the kids snatched them. The taxidermist would know if dogs would be the culprit around his shop. If they can`t be found have the guy hire a QUALITY repo guy at his cost. Let`s not "jump the shark" here....."put him out of business....sue his ass....kick his ass".....WTF.
I would agree,he would not sell a customer's rack.That would be just stupid.He will likely be on the hook for more than he could sell them for.If he were dumb enough to steal customer trophies he would have been out of business long ago.
My friend is going by the shop tomorrow to look around. Perhaps the rack is laying around there with another name on it, etc. Tomorrow will tell a lot, as he will know with absolute certainty the rack is indeed missing. Fingers crossed that the taxidermist is just disorganized. I'll keep you all apprised.
I agree with Franklin. It was just another rack in a shop full of them, I highly doubt the guy stole or sold it. He's out the money on a the mount and no matter how many inches the antlers are, it'll always mean WAY more to the hunter who killed the deer than anyone else. They probably walked off with someone else or are laying around there somewhere. I took a cape and antlers to my taxidermist during gun season last fall and he had several skulls laying around his barn and horse stalls that had come in that day. One of them had been rough taped as a 185" 10 pt and it was laying in a pile with several others, just another rack at that point. The guy was negligent in not reporting immediately to the owner the fact that the antlers were missing. Hopefully they will turn up.
Had a nephews buck stolen off the meat pole about 10 years ago. Had lots of pics. My brother does a little taxidermy business. We learned how to make replicas bought a cape problem solved. If you have pics and good taxidermist it can be done depending on how much you value it and are willing to pay. I get teh taxi should pay but good luck with that.
Is this a legit Taxidermist Business or some guy doing a few heads in his garage? If it's legit, he almost certainly has Insurance and he'd have to be Licensed. I think I'd look into that.
My office is directly next door to a taxidermist, and there are always capes, heads, forms, and such in his alley with no fence. We are in a small community as well, but a dog, kid, or someone passing through could just walk off with stuff.
Taxi was wrong in not calling right away. That being said I have lost 2 nice racks to mutts. 1 right out of a boiling pot and the second out of a ant bed I was trying a meat removal method I had heard of. Found both months later chew into pieces.
I know of at least three racks Thatcher disappeared while inside a taxi shop (different taxis). Anymore I keep the skull plate at my house until the day he's ready to put it on the form.
Somebody in that town knows where it is if a dog didn't drag it off. I bet it shows up.
Most hunters never see a 170+ buck in their lifetime, let alone get one with a recurve on their own property that they have worked their butt off for. To have it “disappear “ under suspicious circumstances then not even notify the owner is unacceptable. Yes, I would get an attorney and if it causes him to go out of business, so be it. It doesn’t sound like he should be in business as one in the first place.
No doubt your friend as a picture of the deer have the taxidermist make a replica of the rack, it is not the same but it will be close and the price to have one made is not cheap. Have a good friend that is a taxidermist for 37 yrs and he is very careful with storing the horns that come in, their have been incidents of someone trying to break in and steal. He had one that was about 200 and he told the owner not to say where he took it to get it mounted and when he got it back suggest to put up security system to his place if he hasn't done it already, there are some people out there that are obsessive to get their hands on big rakes.
So I spoke with my friend yesterday evening and got the full story and resolution. He did a surprise drop-in with his brother-in-law when he went to get his deer mount. After a long discussion, my friend does feel better.
So apparently the "kids" were of driving age and drove-up to his shop to ask for fishing permission. The lake is quite sizable and viewable from the road. He denied fishing permission because he only lets family fish and had a family member coming out to fish that afternoon. This must have been their retaliation. He knows what their old Ford looks like but hasn't seen it since.
My friend said the taxidermist was genuinely upset and felt terrible. He then asked my friend what he wanted as far as a resolution. The taxidermist was open to paying for a resin mount. My friend didn't want a resin mount, as he'd just look at it and it would be a constant reminder. Instead, he told him that he'd prefer a professionally printed and framed high-end photograph for the wall. I would have wanted a resin mount but to each their own. He gave my friend $100 for the cape. The taxidermist is also giving him his next 2 shoulder mounts free. The biggest thing to my friend is lifetime fishing rights to the watershed. It's close to home for him and he's allowed to just text the taxidermist and go whenever he wishes.
My friend is not going to actively tell the story but did tell the taxidermist that if someone asks what happened to his big buck from last year, he is going to tell them the truth. The taxidermist was okay with this, as he knows my friend isn't going to blab about it to everyone and hurt the man's reputation (which is very good).
My friend said he could've kept digging and got more restitution but the taxidermist does this as a side business to his blue collar job. Ultimately, this will be his retirement business for extra income. My friend is at peace (as best he can be) and that's what matters. You can't undo what's already been done but at least the two came to a reasonable agreement.
If your friend is satisfied with the restitution, then that’s all that matters. Kudos to the taxidermist as well, for doing his best to try to make things right. Who knows? The rack may still show up. I hope your friend kills a bigger one this Fall!
Thanks for the update, ks!
Sounds like a fair resolution that both are happy with. That’s all you could hope for in that situation.
He appreciates everyone's feedback. None of us is as smart as all of us and he felt comfortable going into the conversation knowing that his demands were fair and reasonable. It's easy to let emotions get in the way. He took it a lot better than I would've taken it.
Glad things were resolved as best as possible.
Taxi is obviously a good guy glad it got worked out. Hope the rack still comes to light.
It`s amazing what communicating face to face can accomplish.
Any taxi that leaves a rack outside unsecured is asking for trouble because anyone who has done taxidermy for any amount of time knows that antlers and bone are too tempting to dogs, trespassers and other critters . When clients bring me in a "special" rack like the biggest or first I always offer to give the rack back to them after caping and then they have to bring it back before its ready to mount. That eliminates some of my liability but not all. Secondly he should have told client right away.
That's a pretty solid ending to a bad story. Good for the taxi and good for your friend. Now, I hope he kills a 180" with his curve this fall. :)
I would still post a reward for the next few weeks. It wouldn't hurt to drive every street in that small town looking for the truck. I lost a bird dog one time and drove every street in a town of 13,000 looking for him. I also had a caped 10 pt stolen one year and I looked in all the neighbor hoods for days. It could have been the crew of Hispanics putting in the sidewalk across the street, or it could have been a dog that carried mine off. Either way, I never found the deer rack but I did find my bird dog.
Glad to see the taxi tried to make it right. But if it was me--I'm still putting out some fliers with a $500 reward. And once school starts, I'm going to the school to look for that truck. If I found it, I'd casually ask the kid if he ever fishes said water source. If he says yes boom case closed. I would not get angry as this kid is a minor probably. I want my dam rack back! Or if found truck maybe easier to call cops and let deal with it. Maybe seeing a cop will make the kid turn it over easier?
Driving a couple of local high school parking lots is a great idea. Thanks.
its my opinion with all the pictures they should have of the rack, the taxidermist should pony up and pay for a replica set of antlers to be made
put a cost on the rack, put it in to insurance company
Also I would ask if he filed a police report. That could separate a guy that lost a rack vs. a guy that says it was stolen.
Grunter, why are you so sure the kids took it? Because they had an old truck and asked to fish!?
Post a reward. If it was stolen, someone will eventually turn some one in. No honour among thieves. Anyone that would steal it will also want to brag about the rack “they” got.
Seems like a more than fair agreement. Things happen. All of our racks will end up in a dump at some point getting chewed on by rats. At least he can get some good fishing in now.
"Driving a couple of local high school parking lots is a great idea. Thanks"
You may want to think twice about that in this day and age. Just saying.
Tobywon-is it illegal to drive around a high school parking lot? Not that I know of.
Ambush-of course I can't be positive, I wasn't there. But with all the details and from Kscowboys posts that's what makes sense. Didn't you do alot of dumb stuff when you were a teen?! It's the most logical answer
You need to contact the police, they are the professionals at solving thefts. Using the system most states now use to assess value to poached/stolen trophy deer racks it should be a felony. That would garner more police resources to solving the mystery. Meanwhile you could still place your reward posters around the area. In the end you would have the final say on prosecution if they find the culprit(s). You may be surprised in a small town how serious the police or sheriff takes this potential crime.
Grunter, I never said it was illegal. Maybe its where I live but you can expect to be stopped snooping around school grounds is all. Involve the police as others have said.
Guys I hate yo tell you this, but the police could care less about deer antlers. They rely on the details you give them anyway, do doing all the homework would be the best interest. If you find the antlers, then you call the cops.
I can't imagine wanting my limited law enforcement resources spending time looking for lost animal parts. there has to be a better use of their time and effort.
theft is theft.... does it matter what was stolen? I see no reason why they cannot be on the lookout for the truck that might have been involved and ask a couple questions.. If it was my rack, I'd want the FBI brought in...
No theft is not theft. Not all cases of stealing are treated as equally important by society or police. Try robbing a bank and a candy store and see who they focus on. I agree if it was my rack I would want total focus on the case. I would not expect to get it over more pressing law enforcement issues though
I’m glad it worked out for him. I still think police and DNR officers should be notified and given a picture. I have several friends that are DNR Officers . They usually know who the area trouble makers are. Lots of times during arrests they find lots of antlers and other illegal game parts. If they know what the antlers look like they might find them one day
If there is a general vehicle description a call to the police might be productive. The idea of school parking lot check would be on my list in Sept. Consider a flyer with description of track, vehicle, boys and a reward. Taxi pays the reward!!
That stinks. An all-around bummer. I am certain the taxidermist feels terrible here as well. Sounds like a solid and reasonable agreement for the two to come to in the end. In the end, sh*t happens and life is too short to mope around wearing a grumpy face.
Yikes he should have told you immediately. That said mistakes happen. If he made a mount with duplicate antlers as close as possible and did it for free or $100 I would say that is ok.
It does not fix it but nothing can.
The missing antlers should have been reported to the police & the owner notified right away. Photos & a description of the antlers should also have been given to the police. At this point in time, I'd over a reward as big as I could afford to get people's attention. Put an add in the paper. Buy some radio time. Go to the local bars & buy everyone a beer. Go to the local sporting goods store & visit with the owner. Law enforcement might stumble on them if someone still has them. If a critter drug them off they probably are gone forever. The taxidermist made a fair offer but ain't enough fish in his pond to replace a 170 whitetail!
This thread is why I only use a reputable, full time, professional taxidermist. I’ve heard plenty of stories where things went south with part time, out of the garage type of shops. Glad your buddy got some kind of closure.
1st call police, second call attny.
Sorry but I would not want a replica or for that matter a different deer cape. I want the actual deer that grew the antlers to be the one wearing them on my wall. I have a 160" plus whitetail that honestly the taxi did a terrible job mounting. I have a fried who has won the worlds as a taxidermist twice and he said he could re-do the mount with a fresh cape, sorry I want the original wearing the horns. I believe in this case there should be some compensation but what I don't know. Shawn