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Author Topic: How long is too long to store a bird you plan to have mounted?  (Read 436 times)

Offline gbfan

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Need some input/opinions on the subject.

I say store a bird, but i imagine it's still frozen (don't know for sure yet).  I killed a bird in spring of 2020.  I wrapped the head and feet in wet paper towels, placed the whole bird in a black trash bag, then froze it for a week.  The following weekend, I took the whole frozen bird to a taxidermist.  The taxi looked it over and said it was a good candidate to have mounted.  They mentioned the potential for a longer turnaround time (18-24 months), and I told them I was fine with waiting for quality work.  I contacted the taxi in July of 2021 and specifically inquired on when the bird would be started.  At that time, the taxidermist responded to contact them in May 2022, that they were running 24 months on their turnaround time.  This led me to believe it was not started as of July 2021.

It's now May 2022.  I have yet to contact them and have not heard anything from them since July 2021.  If I contact them and they tell me the bird is still not started, is there any potential of damage (freezer burn, loss of color, or anything else), to the bird if it's been frozen for 2 years?  The taxi does use the freeze-dried head for mounts, and I imagine they color it anyway, but I'm not sure.

How long would you wait for a quality mount?  They do have an "express service" and I can't help but wonder if customers that pay more have pushed me to the back burner for 2 yrs, or if I should just chalk it up to the pandemic.  The taxidermist is about 4 hours away, so if I did go and pick it up, I'd have to factor in the cost of gas and 8 hours of driving, and then I'd be back to square one anyway.

I'm also curious about the price of the mount and whether or not it will increase.  The taxidermist took no money down, and a bill of sale was not generated.  I did want some sort of receipt/acknowledgment they actually took my bird, so they emailed me an invoice with a total of $0.00 on it.  I now see the price on their website has increased by $100 from when I took it in 2 years ago.  I have to imagine I'm now on the hook for an extra $100 since the base price invoice was not generated in 2020.

The bird in question is a gould's turkey and I have no idea if I'll ever get the opportunity to hunt another one.

This could all be premature.  As I said, I have yet to contact them and I have no idea how the bird was stored, but would still like some opinions.


Offline Yoteduster

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Re: How long is too long to store a bird you plan to have mounted?
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2022, 10:03:35 PM »
If he's a reputable taxidermist I would think they would take all the proper steps to keep your bird in good condition

Offline Taxidermist58

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Re: How long is too long to store a bird you plan to have mounted?
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2022, 07:41:53 AM »
Birds are a very thin skinned species. They do not last long periods of time in the freezer. It could be that he " Farms " his turkey work out to another taxidermist too. Some Taxidermists send certain species that they are not particularly good at working on to a wholesale taxidermist to have them completed and sent back. Stehlings Taxidermy, for example, does wholesale work. That may be part of the waiting time. If he is doing the work himself, you have waited way too long IMO. Also, you should have gotten a price up front and should be locked into that price.
I have ran my taxidermy shop for 30 years and my longest customer wait time is 10 months, but usually less than that. I take 50% down, and give you a carbon copy receipt that describes everything we went over at drop off; type of mount, pose, total cost, deposit etc. In Taxidermy, time is money. Taking long periods of time ( 1-2 years ), isn't cost efficient and isn't making money. No Taxidermist spends weeks working on someone's turkey or deer or whatever, in order to make it exceptional. If people think that's what the long wait times are, then they are mistaken. The key is to do quality work and get it back to the customer ASAP. In 2 years time that you have been waiting, I could have gotten 4 or more turkey's back to the customers like the one in the picture. At $1000. each, while your guy is making squat for money because he's not getting the job done. Waiting long periods of time doesn't necessarily mean you are getting quality work, but you may have hired a taxidermist who takes in way more work than he can get done in a timely manner! This mount was back to the customer in less than 6 months., and, while working on my days off from my full time job.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2022, 02:18:05 PM by Taxidermist58 »

Offline gbfan

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Re: How long is too long to store a bird you plan to have mounted?
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2022, 06:54:25 PM »
Thanks for the input.  I normally don't mind waiting, but it does seem excessive.  I'll update when I receive a response.

Offline GobbleNut

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Re: How long is too long to store a bird you plan to have mounted?
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2022, 08:53:50 AM »
Answer to first question:  Yes, a properly "packaged" and frozen cape can last several years in the freezer and still be mountable,...although there is no excuse for any taxidermist to not be efficient and conscientious enough to get the bird done much sooner than that.  The entire operation sounds a bit fishy to me.

On the other hand, you were much too trusting of this guy to have not insisted upon a fixed/firm agreement on price and timeframe for receiving your bird back.  Perhaps all will turn out well for you,...here's hoping so.  At least you do not have any upfront money involved, but that, in itself, is a bit concerning. Maybe post a picture of the mount if and when you get it back.  I, for one, will be interested in seeing if the delay and aggravation was worth waiting for in terms of the quality of the finished product and the final cost.

From what I have seen, there are way too many "supposed" turkey taxidermists who charge way too much for what turns out to be an inferior product.  Here's hoping that this is not one of them.   :icon_thumright: 

Offline eggshell

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Re: How long is too long to store a bird you plan to have mounted?
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2022, 02:56:43 PM »
My experience has been that the guy who doesn't take care of the details on the front end doesn't take care of them in the process or at the end. I will be very cold and blunt, I think your about to get hosed! I hope you can post a picture of a great mount and a happy review of your experience, but I'll be surprised if that's the case. I did know a guy who was an exceptional taxidermist and his turnaround time was way too long. He had my buddy's rio for 3 years. He just couldn't say no and took on way too much work and then got cancer. That is an exception. I dabbled in a little taxidermy when I was a young man and I appreciate the work it takes to get the details right, but still I could turn a bird around pretty quick and make it look decent. Now I never done it as a business and all my work was freebies and maybe not top shelf, but it was good enough to display so I understand enough to know he should have gotten your bird done or at least communicated why not.