My mom tells this horror story about a hog head that my dad had a taxidermist mount that stunk so bad she had to throw it outside! It really is one of my favorite stories that mom tells about her adventures with Dad in their younger years before my sisters and I were born! She really should write a book about all their crazy escapades as a outdoors-loving couple. But anyhow, Mom says that the pig head was just plain rancid. After a few weeks of it proudly hanging on the wall, she just couldn’t tolerate the smell any longer. To top it off, when she climbed up to pull the thing down off the wall, she noticed it was covered in tiny little bugs! She still gags just thinking about it! My Poor Momma! I roar laughing when she tells the story, but in all honesty I can’t help but thoroughly inspect any piece of taxidermy I come across now because of the imprint this story has left on my mind! EEEEEEWWWWWW!
The chance of a taxidermy failure like this happening now days is slim to none (I hope). It is pretty darn wild to see how much taxidermy has evolved from its early arsenic and stuffing days. The amount of detail that now goes into stretching a hide over a foam form is incredible and in no doubt a work of art. These foam forms allow for so many options for the type of mount a taxidermist can produce. A huge array of sizes, styles and positions are available for taxidermists to choose from. The hard part is making a decision on how you, as a hunter, would want your trophy memorialized. You can flip through pages of foam mount options, but I would recommend browsing through a local taxidermy show to check out the latest trends and artistic possibilities that can turn your next trophy into a true piece of art for your home or office.
The California Association of Taxidermists hosts an Annual Wildlife Art and Taxidermy Competition Show in Woodland, every year. In fact, this year’s show is the 31st Annual Show and it is happening this Saturday! My co-workers at Cal Waterfowl and I have had the opportunity of judging a few categories in the competition the past two years and it is has now become an event that we wouldn’t want to miss! It is absolutely amazing to see the level of talent that is on display in this little show. Fish, big game, waterfowl, birds, reptiles and even mice mounts can be found on display at this show and it is definitely worth your time to stop in and browse through. It is tough to pick a favorite but I posted a few photos of some of the work that caught my eye or at least my attention at this year’s show. I do admit that it is sad to see the junior entries dwindling and I hope that the lack of junior entries is not an indicator as to where taxidermy Is headed. So bring your kids with you, if you do stop in, and introduce them to this part of our hunting culture. You never know what might inspire them!
The show is open to the public 9am – 3pm on Saturday March 4th in the Home Arts Hall at the Yolo County Fairgrounds in Woodland! If you do go, let me know which piece was your favorite!