Contributors to this thread:
Taxidermy Wait Time?
Background: My bother took a buck he killed in November of 2018 to a local taxidermist. The gentleman does outstanding work at what I think is a good price. He left the required deposit. November 2019 rolls around & no deer. I inquire and get a timeline of, "around Thanksgiving". January 2020 hits & I make an inquiry re: the status. "Soon" is the response I get. A couple more months go by & no deer. My brother makes another inquiry in late April. "Almost there". We are now approaching the end of June & still nothing. So, we are at 1 year & 7 months now & he's concerned and angry. To compound the issue, I took 2 bucks to the guy this past November. I left a deposit, ( I thought he'd have his deer by last Thanksgiving). One was to be mounted & the other was to be a Euro mount in trade for the cape. Now I'm concerned. There was no contract or agreement signed indicating when the work would be done. I've heard that he is getting work done from 2018 but IMO it's not getting done in a reasonable amount of time. I'm not looking for any trouble and I don't want to bad-mouth the guy. I realize that people have issues in life that pop up and must be dealt with. Anyway, I'm curious what folks thing is an acceptable amount of time to get a mount back?. If he does get my brother's deer back soon, I'm thinking of asking for my animals back, eating the deposit, and go elsewhere. Thoughts?
I think it'll depend on the Taxidermists workload.
The taxidermists Ive used over the years work on the "first in first out" principal regsrdless of whether we paid a deposit or not.
For what its worth, we've waited upwards to 2 years for mounts to be completed.
Shot my mulie last oct. Picking it up monday! He is amazing and swamped. He sent me a pic of it completed and finishing the drying period
I don't see a probably with two years or 10 years if that what you agreed to. However if he told you a year when you decided to go with him and your going on two years that different. I will say taxidermist time and normal time are different. Two or three months later than told I would not get to bent out of shape much longer I think you got a real complaint. A lot of taxidermist are a different bred.
On another note. I always keep by horns/antlers until he is ready for them. I heard to many horror stories of taxidermist disappearing. If I have the horns worse case I can always find another hide.
Do you have the option to visit him in person and talk it over? I would start there For a deer i expect 1 year or less from my taxi
He's only a few miles away & I've thought about visiting him but, I'm hesitant. I want to avoid confrontation. It's just disappointing . I'd hoped to be a long term customer. For what it's worth, he's had a buddies 1.5 pound bluegill for 4 yr's.
Why would you want to be a long term customer with a taxidermist that can take 4 years, and does not keep his word?
Here is a tip come up with a good reason why you need by a certain date. Your grandfather from Indonesia is come to the US for the first time in two months and he has been talking about see your mount for months and you hope you can have hung when he arrives.
12 to 16 months is acceptable and common for a busy and reputable taxidermist. Should need any longer, especially for a shoulder mount.
Amazing artists aren’t always great business people or even great with managing timelines. Sometimes they are and that’s a real win. But realizing that when you’re going in and making the decision with that in mind makes for a far more pleasant experience, with realistic expectations. I would lay out clear expectations, ask him if that’s possible in his mind and once agreed, follow through with it. It doesn’t have to get nasty or anything just good honest conversations about what you want, when you want it and follow through on those deadlines. But often if others are doing this with him and you aren’t, your project will be last to get completed. All the best. Getting taxidermy back is always exciting
My buddys bull and my brothers mule deer took almost 2 years to get done but they knew that going in. He does great work. I would stop by (possibly un announced) and ask to see the progress on your mount and what kind of timeline he's looking at for completion in a friendly sort of way. Don't go in with an attitude or you'll get no where. If he is accommodating and shows you where he's at that fine but if he gripes or goes off about you wanting to see YOUR animal after almost 2 years I would be a little concerned. First priority is getting this mount back from him. How he treats you in the late stages of this process will determine what kind of business and referrals he will be receiving from you in the future.
Most top-end taxidermists get a lot of work to do and can sometimes get backed up; and everyone’s been impacted by COVID to differing degrees.
Fortunately I’ve found.two exceptional taxidermists. I’d say both of them average somewhere in the neighborhood of 15-18 months, but both are meticulous and it’s always worth the wait. Just picked up my Aoudad about two weeks ago that I dropped off in early March 2019, and it is spectacular.
Once bought a taxidermy credit at a fundraiser from a guy who supposedly did great work with a quick turn-around. Found out the hard way that he was no longer doing it all and he’d started farming out his work. Stuff was always back within 6 months but the work was mediocre at best. In fact, I’m having at least one piece completely redone.
So, is 1yr 7mo a long time? It’s getting a bit long but it isn’t unheard of for quality work, and who knows what he’s been facing in this very abnormal year. I’d wait until later in August and contact him then saying another hunting season is approaching and was wondering about the deer I took back in 2018.
I'm so glad I found a taxidermist that does great work and works. My November bear, I got back 3 weeks ago. December deer he said should be done by August or September. I just can't understand how if it's taking a year and a half to do mounts. How they can ever catch up???
In my area of VA, a whitetail can take up to a year. Anything else and you are rolling the dice with getting it done at all. I jettisoned the notion of taxidermy years ago because I just became exasperated dealing with them.
I've always told m taxidermist that if I develop a terminal illness, and they put me on short time, I'll be moving in with him.
He's been stretching six months into two years as long as I've worked with him.
It always amazes me when people have all the answers when they aren’t in the business. If it’s a full time taxidermist then a year to a year and half is reasonable. If he is part time then expect a longer wait. Sometimes it depends on when the cape is shipped to the tannery and how long the wait is to get it back. Work load is a big factor. Taxidermist’s aren’t just doing shoulder mounts. Add in euro’s, antler plaques, birds, fish, life size, rugs, etc.
I spend 3 out of five work days in the meat plant and I’m lucky to get 2 full days in the Taxidermy shop. I still have 8 to do from 2018 before I start the stuff that came in February 2019. I’m done doing Taxidermy once I’m finished with everything. I can’t keep doing both and I’m a lot busier processing meat and make way more money doing that then I ever will in Taxidermy. Best thing to do is have a honest, calm conversation.
To those wondering, yes, I’ve had customers come pick up there antlers because I didn’t get them done fast enough. The reason I didn’t is because the customers never put a deposit down and I’m not even going to start a mount without the money to pay for tanning, manikin, and some labor.
You need to go there in person and speak to him. While you’re there ask to see the antlers and capes. Something is very wrong.
I also wait until they have the cape back from the tannery and are actually beginning work They call and say “Your up” and to bring the antlers. I’ve learned the hard way to stay away from the part time garage taxidermist. But 12 months is average. And up to 18 for certain type of mount is not unheard of. If it’s a basic shoulder mount 12 months is more than enough.
Let me add. I now use a full time professional taxidermist and they charge the top going rate. And for that price, I don’t get the feeling they are doing me a favor by returning my animal in the promised time. Or that I have to walk on egg shells and kiss their ^$$ I’m paying them and I’m the customer Professionals It’s a business transaction.
Price, and wait time are two variables that need to be discussed and received in writing at drop off. Otherwise you're in for disappointment.
Never leave the antlers. Never leave over 50% deposit. Get a receipt with final cost & estimated finish date. Check references from previous customers. If the shop is in total disarray find someone else. I just paid a lawyer to get my money back from a taxidermist I had been using for years. The lawyer fees ate up most of the money! I lost a really nice Roosevelt cape in the process but the antlers were at my house!
I'm never in a huge hurry, considering I'll own the mount forever. But a good rule of thumb I use as a paying taxidermist client....12 months turnaround maximum. Of course I always give consideration to any life-crisis he might be experiencing, and if he's honest about it and communicates well. With today's easy tools of texting and email, there's no reason not to keep a client very well-informed. Otherwise if he runs much past 12 months that means he's probably getting further and further behind. If that's consistently the case I might seek a different guy who manages his time and workload better. My own taxidermist turnaround runs 3-10 months typically. He gets 'er done and does beautiful work on all species.
Never was a bit strong on leaving the antlers. I trusted BOWUNTER with a set of velvet antlers 1 time & they came back in perfect shape. I would also trust Dennis Razza with anything just by the way he posts on here & the look of his shop. I like looking at the antlers while the taxidermist is getting other things ready!
Up to two years is normal for me.
A guy on another thread posted that most on social media that make comments don't know the hell what they're talking about.
Not sure how right he is...
I have no problem with waiting 2 years if I'm told upfront that's how long it'll take, and I think it'll be worth the wait, but these taxidermists that tell you it'll be ready in 8-12 months and then give you the run around and sh!tpile of excuses for the next year and a half irk me to no end!
It all depends what he told you! If he says 1 year and it goes 14 or 15 months that to me is acceptable. Any longer I am asking for a portion of my money back when it is complete. That is why unless the guy or gal is a good friend you have everything in writing. Shawn
HDE, I don't know who was talking on another thread but I'm sure guys on Bowsite have dealt with every taxidermist situation that has come up. I know I have. An honest, quality, hard working taxidermist is tough to find.
Shot my ram in October 2012 and picked him up 11 months later. Pretty happy with the turn around time.
I’ve gotten shoulder mount elk back in two months. I just say hey I’m leaving Montana by the end of November so if you want the job here is MY wait time. Once the hide is tanned it’s a 1 week job.
Randy that's why I did Crissy's bear skin and euros on her bear and buck skull myself... not a pro quality job but at least I'm sure they get done.
you need to come see us
I do Taxidermy full time. I quote 8-11 months. I used to keep that with slight exceptions. Here’s how things go astray, last summer my wife had surgery, had to babysit her a lot. Not complaining at all, she’s my wife. As of today I am turning stuff over at 12-15 months. I am trying to recover but it’s never easy unless you forego quality. I hope to catch up within the next year but with my work load it’s not gonna be fun. Sometimes Taxidermists get burned out too. Try working 12 hour days for months on end. It gets old. Your house and property suffer as you neglect repairs and maintenance. Try hiring some one.....good luck finding someone who will actually work. My skinner, who is a great worker is 60. Young people find work is hard to off they go. Just saying sometimes there are reasons, legitimate reasons.
a longtime friend that been doing taxidermy for 38 yrs usually take about 6-7 mos. depends on the case load. Now he is cutting back for retirement and getting less tolerant from some of his customers do to the virus, it has set him back because of the tanner being shutdown, like he said he doesn't need the problem at his stage in life from some of the individuals.
Let's get together and kill something, Cecil. :)
sd, that is a cool pedestal. You got a close up pic and a description?
Randy are you going to SR in September?
Some pretty funny responses here. Giving someone an ultimatum about getting your work is never a good idea. If someone told me I had a few months to complete their mount or I wouldn’t get it, I would politely inform that person to find someone else. If someone refuses to put half down then the work won’t be started until the deposit is made or they can leave with their animal.
Trust me, I have heard all kinds of excuses about the condition of capes and the condition of their meat. It’s a real pleasure to do a mount or process the meat when it’s taken care of properly in the field.
Drnaln - it's the "I'm the customer and what you say doesn't matter" attitude is what I'm talking about.
Very, very arrogant for a hunter to think their mount is more important than anyone else's...
I agree...Everyone should wait their turn & nobody should expect to jump to the front of the line. I've only used 3 taxidermists in over 40 years with over 50 mounts done. 1 guy retired, 1 guy turned into a complete flake after 15 years & the 3rd Taxi has did the last few with great results!
I've had both extremes. My deer heads usually take about 15 months but look exceptionally good. My guy could take 3 years and I'd wait. I took a wolf in for a full body mount. He quoted 18 months but it was done 5 weeks later! He said he seldom gets to do full wolves so he just couldn't stop working on it. He was super excited about getting that job.
Chuckster, here is one although not the best photo. My taxidermist, he was along on the hunt, found the twisted cedar and mounted to a cedar base. He added the snow since we hunted in a 3 day snow storm in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
This topic is exactly why I learned to do my own taxidermy work. I can usually have a shoulder mount deer done in about 2-3 weeks after killing the animal. My first attempts weren't the best, but I learn something new each time, and now my work isn't half bad. The satisfaction of doing it yourself also adds to the enjoyment of killing a trophy caliber animal, IMO.
You tan a hide in 2 weeks?
If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck......its probably a duck. My Taxidermist insists customers take their horns with them until he is ready to mount it. Makes sense
"You tan a hide in 2 weeks?"
I do the wet mounting method that uses Borax to preserve the hide. You can literally start the mounting process as soon as you flesh the hide well. I've also done the tanning method, but found that the tanning process often causes tears in the delicate areas around the eyes, ears, and nose, thereby creating more work to repair. Tanning also causes the hide to lose much of the natural color around the eyes, nose, and insides of the ears, requiring more air brush work to look natural.
I know some people claim the Borax method doesn't last as a long, but I have mounts that are over 25 years old, and they still look like the day I completed them.
I get euros done here in about 6 days by an amish guy. Last ones were $45.00. With wall or table mount.
i'm a taxidermist. If you are waiting a year - you should be getting the very best mount available today. i work hard to get all my deer done by April. however - i limit my work load so i can keep my customers happy and i also tan my own hides - which greatly increases turn around time.
As far as tanning a hide. it can be done far less than two weeks... i have had a deer brought to my shop and had it mounted in less than 7 days from the day it was killed (still required around 2 week drying time + finish work) a hide can be properly tanned for shoulder mounts in 4-5 days. Most taxidermist extended wait times are because they ship off there hides to be tanned at a tannery - which is generally 4-6 months wait time.
If you would like to boost your turn around time - learn to fully cape out a deer and measure the cape and drop off to your taxidermist a frozen cape and skull cap....