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Animal Art Taxidermy

I have been practicing the art of taxidermy since 1996 and I also traveled to NewZealand to undertake basic training. Being a keen hunter myself and a general animal observer I am familiar with the behaviour and posture of both Australian and International game. In May 2009 I traveled to St Charles, Missouri, USA to compete at the World Taxidermy Championships and also attended training seminars. I am happy to say I received a second place score in the Professional division, Gameheads.

I take pride in myself knowing that I stay up to date with the latest innovations and products available in the taxidermy industry and then apply those techniques or products to the mounts I work on.

When it comes to your trophy I won't cut corners. While in the past I have worked on birds, native mammals & pets, I now focus solely on game mammals. Custom mounts are a specialty so if you are after a mount that is truly unique I can help you achieve the look you wish to capture...almost anything in nature can be replicated.
Field care and tips
•Do not wet/wash the skin. Moisture and heat creates a haven for the already present bacteria. Blot up excess blood with a towel or paper. Don't rub.
•Don't cart your animal around for hours before skinning, especially on the hood of your vehicle. Skin it as soon as possible. Skins can be opened up to cool some first.
•Foxes are prone to hair-slip. Immediate cooling and skinning and/or freezing are a must.
•Animals frozen whole to be used for Life-sized mounts must be laid out flat in the freezer, NOT curled up into a ball.
•Boar capes that are being frozen should also have the shoulder skin laid out behind the lead, NOT bunched up under or rolled around the head.
•Always work with your knife blade facing up and skin down the neck/back to the shoulder/tail, not up.
•You can leave the head, feet and tail in a skin being frozen for a life-size mount.
•Don't make unnecessary skinning cuts this will add $$ to your total fee.
•If you are caping the whole head remember to split the lips and turn the ears. Otherwise — freeze as is. Do not apply salt to a cape with unturned ears.
•You can use any fine grained salt. Do not use pool or rock salt. Iodized or monodist? It won't make a lot of difference.
•Rub the salt in well with the palm of your hands. Get it into every crease, you can't use too much. Change the salt every 24 hours until the skin no longer drains.
•Skins should not be transported inside plastic bags. They will sweat and rot.
•Capes like deer & goats being frozen should be folded like a towel, not rolled up with the head outer most. If the skin was salted prior, it must have finished draining. Knock any remaining salt off.
•Salted skins need not be frozen; they can be kept in a Hessian bag in a cool dark place away from moisture & rodents.
•Fully skun, turned & salted skins can be posted after draining and drying. (wrapped in butchers paper & placed into a cardboard box)
•Call your taxidermist if you are going to arrive late with an item or you have posted an item.
•Accept that poor field care will result in a refusal to work on your trophy or possibly retainment of any deposit paid to cover costs of preparation & tanning.
•A fee now applies for skinning & caping.

Removal of horns, antlers & jaws:

For antlered animals: Cut the skullcap from the head using a hacksaw or similar. Use the eye socket as a point to aim for when cutting the cap. Make the first cut from top of skull down to the center of the eye socket and the second cut from the back of the skull to the center of the eye socket. Simmer the skullcap for ½ hour being careful not to immerse the actual antlers in the water or burn them if simmering over a campfire. Remove all meat still clinging.
*Also see download page for removal of antlers without caping head instructions.

Antlers in velvet: Velvet is skin. If soft and spongy on the tips there will be shrinkage to some degree. The antlers must be frozen ASAP or delivered to your taxidermist ASAP. Do not touch the velvet with your hands. Velvet does slip just as hair/epidermis does and needs to be treated as quickly as possible. You can spray/inject with formaldehyde but this product is extremely dangerous - best left for the experts.

Horned animals: Simmer skull cap and up to 2 inches of horn for 30 minutes then tap the simmered skullcap where it meets the horn lightly with a stick or simply twist and pull from cores. (Inserting a knife under the horn can help). Clean all membranes from within the horn and on the bony 'cores' and rinse with a little Pine-o-clean, Metho or Dettol. Replace horns on the cores to dry, as they will shrink if left off after heating.
*Also see download page for removal of antlers without caping head instructions.

Removal of the jaws (pig, fox, deer, cat or dingo): To begin, cut from the top of the skull down past the last molar, thru both top and bottom jaws. The jaws are then simmered for 20 minutes to 45 minutes and any meat clinging to the bones removed. Don't simmer longer than is necessary as the tusks will be even harder to remove or may crack. Pull the tusks out while hot using a towel to hold. You will notice you have to push the top of the tusk back towards the imaginary ear while pulling up at the same time. When removing tusks and whets be careful not to damage them and clean them of inner nerve tissue. Do not clean the outside of the tusks.
Competition quality jaw sets are available.

Animal Art Taxidermy

(03) 5282 2614

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