Deer at Taxidermist for 2 years. What to do now?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by ReedTX, Dec 15, 2021.

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  1. ReedTX

    ReedTX Member

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    Mods - please move if this is not the right place.

    In November 2019 my wife killed a real nice Axis buck at her dads ranch. It was high fence, and I understand the hate for high fence, but this is the only land we had access too. Not much public land in Texas.

    We called around for a taxidermist and found one a 2hr drive away who had great reviews, sounded great on the phone and at the time I spent a lot of time in the area for work so it made sense. My wife dropped the deer off and said the store and the taxidermist was very professional, the weird thing is he insisted on no deposit. This was the first deer we had took to a taxidermist so at the time we thought this was OK and proceeded, he took note of the license/ID and took possession of the caped deer head

    In Summer 2020 I emailed and was told that with covid things were really slow. I emailed again in January 2021, just over a year from when we first dropped the deer off, we got a reply a week later saying he was awaiting on the tannery and that he will begin working on it as soon as he can. I said I would reach back out to him around Easter 2021. Since January 2021 I have heard nothing, I have emailed, called and text. I have tried calling from different numbers but no answer. I call every couple of months but nothing....

    I called the game warden for advice in September 2021 and she said she had multiple complaints about this taxidermist ghosting people and that she would call him. Later that day she called to say that he is working on the deer and it will be ready when it is ready. She said that she could not do anything and that the only thing we could do is pursue a civil case.

    I really want the deer back, complete or not. If it is incomplete I will pay for the work he has done and take it elsewhere. I would rather not go down the civil case route, but he really is not giving me any option right now. If he just called / emailed / texted back with an update (good or bad) all would be good.

    Has anyone experienced anything similar?
     
  2. Laphroaig

    Laphroaig Member

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    Yes, there is a taxidermist locally here who takes forever too. We've had 2 bear mounts and an elk head that pushed the 2 year mark. I have a bear rug there now that's over 1 year. I don't understand it, but I know it will get done. I love going into his shop and talking about hunting and taxidermy though so I don't get too upset.

    Not far away is another guy who only does it part time. His work is usually complete in a couple of months and he does a good job. Go figure?

    In my talks with the slow guy he said that he is having a hard time getting the foam molds due to Covid supply chain issues. Maybe that is slowing your guy up too? If he is still in business and didn't take any of your money, I'd just be patient.
     
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  3. 27hand

    27hand Member

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    I just had a slow return on a nontypical 14 point whitetail mount with 3 main beams. I only had it mounted due to the oddity of the rack.

    The guy did get back to me each time I called but it was 18 or 19 months from drop off to pickup. Drop off in Sept, Pick up in Apr.

    Kept telling me covid just about stopped everything.

    He did do a good job though. Hope your guy gets it done soon.

    51150494975_b73ea69689_k.jpg 2021-04-30_08-36-57 by poofy27, on Flickr
     
  4. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Well, now you know why it takes him so long! :rofl:
     
  5. ReedTX

    ReedTX Member

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    One of a kind deer. I have never seen one like that before!
     
  6. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    Many good taxidermists can be backed up for a year or two. Especially if they work alone and hold a regular job. Many times the big money jobs or friends get put in line to the front. IME, being the squeaky wheel helps.
     
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  7. Laphroaig

    Laphroaig Member

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    I think that you might be on to something. He's a very interesting guy. Good taxidermists are like artists, never in a hurry and they love what they do.
     
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  8. Axis II

    Axis II Member

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    Seeing how the GW talked to him I would be a little on ease but I would give him until say spring and go up there and say I want my cape back but find someone willing to do it first. I started freaking out when I had a 120'' 8pt with antlers out past his ears take longer than quoted. The guy was kind of weird and people who knew him joked he had his parents stuffed, sitting in rocking chairs in his living room he was so weird. Buck was killed in Jan and he quoted October. October rolled around and no deer so November I called and asked. He said it would be done in a few weeks. IMO whether they do this part time or not 2.5yrs is excessive. If you cant handle the work load than stop taking people's deer. Get what you have done and then open back up. I would say April if he doesn't answer I would be going there and leaving with my cape.
     
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  9. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Member

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    Sad story. A friend of mine had a nice buck head and cape at a taxidermist that ghosted on him.
    After no return calls or email he decided to drive to the guys shop.
    The taxidermists wife met him at the door and told him she threw the loser out. When my buddy inquired about his deer she took him out back behind a small barn and showed him a chest freezer full of rotten game parts and a big pile of heads and rotting hides and told him to take whatever he wanted.
     
  10. South Prairie Jim

    South Prairie Jim Member

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    Swing by the shop and have a look at his quality and work load but try not to be rude but business is business. If he does great work then it should be worth the wait
     
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  11. Nature Boy
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    Nature Boy Contributing Member

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    And the better they are, the more work they get and the longer the wait
     
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  12. Highland Lofts

    Highland Lofts Member

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    The tannery we had deer hides tanned at took a year just to tan our deer hides.
    So if the taxidermist sends your hide out to get tanned he is sitting on getting the hide back for a year as well then he hast to do his part.
    A lot of hurry up & wait going on these days.
    A lot of the times people can not get everything they need to complete the job.
    The butcher shop we have process deer meat in to venison sticks, sausage, make the best pickled sausage, we wanted ten jars of it made up. Last Monday they had two jars left. She said they might not be able to get more jars in for several months. The government shut a whole bunch of companies down and gave the workers an extra $600 a week in unemployment and a lot of workers refuse to go back to work. So now they have a worker shortage and can not produce enough product to supply the entire industry.
     
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  13. lightman

    lightman Member

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    That sounds like an unusually long time and I wish you luck. My local guy usually gets November Deer out by the following Spring. He has gotten a few back to me by Christmas, back when my Boys were still living with me. But with Covid, longer wait times may be the new norm.

    I always enjoyed stopping by his shop to visit. Pretty often he would set a Deer head and scalpel out in front of me and I would skin the head out while we visited. Good times..............
     
  14. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    While this can be true, like artists, they can be pretty independent and disorganized. Sometimes to the point that after a while, they don't work until they need the cash. This is especially true for those that have a regular day job.

    Good friend of mine was an excellent taxidermist, because in fact he was an excellent artist. Did hand carved wooden duck decoys before he started in taxidermy. Could sketch and draw as good as anyone. Took home many awards for his work. Have a & 1/2 pound bass(very big for Wisconsin) on the wall, that he did. Took him over two years to get to it. Then, for another year, he took it to trade shows because it was the biggest bass he had ever done. The day I was finally able to pick it up at his house, he took me out back where there were about 50 deer skulls laid out on his back patio. Some had had the tips of their antlers nibbled off by squirrels and mice. Told me he could fix them and no one would know the difference. He too went thru a divorce and I haven't seen him since.
     
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  15. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Another reason I like euro skull mounts- cheaper, faster turnaround, less materials required, take less room on the wall.
     
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  16. ReedTX

    ReedTX Member

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    I agree. All my white tails are euroed by myself. The wife wanted this axis properly mounting and there was no talking her out of it. I hope we see it again soon!!
     
  17. hq

    hq Member

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    Sometimes it's a great asset to be able to scratch their backs too. I'm the freeze drying guy and we run the only commercial production and lab freeze dryers within 200+ miles. Which means that whenever he needs FD for his projects, he calls me or he's pretty much screwed.

    So... my projects seem to get finished in record time, in museum quality (that's what he did before he went independent) and the attention to detail is nothing short of incredible; shoulder mounts are life-like down to eye details like plica semilunaris and so on. For approximately half the price others would charge, or as trades for FD work.

    I love it. :)
     
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  18. WisBorn

    WisBorn Member

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    If you are not getting any response from the taxidermist? I would go to the shop and see at what part of the process your mount is at.

    Many of these premadonas spend more time drumming up business than taking care of what they have.
     
  19. Ranger99

    Ranger99 Member

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    Taxidermists are a coin flip IMO
    Pretty much 50% of the people I personally
    know that have had mounts done have had
    a bad experience. I have a stack of racks
    in the yard and none will ever see a
    taxidermists shop. I cherish the memory of
    the hunt more so than the head growth of
    any deer I've shot.
    It's a shame that people can't reliably depend on anybody who promises to do a job to do
    that job like they said they would.

    Hopefully, it's just a case of unforeseen
    circumstances, and not any deception
     
  20. Sniper66

    Sniper66 Member

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    This is a cautionary tale that happens all too frequently. Do your homework and go the extra mile and sometimes extra expense to find a good taxidermist. I have a blue wildebeest mount on my wall, a gift from my brother. He spent tons of money on an African safari and paid fortune for mounts. Added a room to his house to display his trophies. Finally got a big shipment of trophies a year overdue and required lots of calls, letters, and threats of civil action. The one mounted on my wall is not the one he shot. He took lots of pictures and has a good record of his kills. Most of the heads he received were not the ones he shot, others were hard to tell. I'm betting none of them were. He took lots of time picking out the ones he wanted and took lots of pictures once they were on the ground. I suggested he sue the outfitter (still in business) and create a photo display of his actual trophies. He just dropped it and moved on. My office looks impressive with the mount on the wall above my desk, no matter who actually shot it. Still makes a good story.
     
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  21. hq

    hq Member

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    Africa is a minefield for taxidermy. Even some reputedly good ones are complete frauds. I received my giraffe hide (the one in my profile pic) after two years of waiting, most of the tail hair cut off for souvenir bracelets for tourists - so as the actual shooter I didn't get one even though it's traditionally THE item for the hunter who has downed one. And no-one else. Which has prompted me to develop a habit of asking everyone who is wearing one where he (almost always she) has shot a giraffe for that. If the person is a hunter, I'm in for a good story but if it's from a gift shop, I get to ask why (s)he wants to appear as a giraffe KILLER if she hasn't done a such deed.

    Not to mention numerous awkward antelope mounts that don't even resemble the animals in trophy photos. Approximately half of the animals were the same ones we shot. My trophy oryx from my first trip to Africa long time ago was probably the saddest loss; it was the first big game animal I had shot - ever - and wanted it mounted regardless of the cost and wait. I couldn't mount it to the wall next to my trophy pictures like I had planned, it doesn't look even remotely the same.

    I thought about suing the taxidermist but the PH who arranges our hunts begged me not to, because that one is the only semi-decent taxidermist within hundreds of miles in Polokwane. According to him, others are even worse.

    I've now decided that I refuse to have any taxidermy done on my trophies in the whole country if not continent. Have the skins dried, tanned and shipped to me so I can take them to a local trusted taxidermist at home and avoid the anger and frustration of getting a bunch of someone else's trophies.

    Caveat emptor.
     
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  22. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    I did that and the shipment arrived with hundreds of worm eating on the salted hides. No tannery was used although he said it would be.
     
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  23. The Glockodile

    The Glockodile Member

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    Not to make light of your situation...
     
  24. Nature Boy
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    Nature Boy Contributing Member

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    Taxidermist use a metric calendar when quoting lead times to get your mount back.

    The conversion formula is pretty simple.

    1 taxidermist month = 2.5 standard months
     
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  25. giggitygiggity

    giggitygiggity Member

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    My brother’s taxidermist generally takes 1-2 years to complete his work.

    In your case, I agree that it isn’t right that he not reply to your messages. If he got good reviews, perhaps something else is up. However, his death is the only circumstance that I could really foresee that would definitely prohibit him from responding to his customers. Even if he’s got other things going on that slow or prevent his work, he could at least send a brief message to keep you informed.

    Is there any way you can go and visit him in person?
     
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