Trophy Cleaning Instructions

Body/Hair: For all trophies, it is best to remove dust by blowing off with an air nozzle connected to an air compressor. For short haired animals, it is best to blow in the direction of the hair. For long haired animals, blow against the hair to fluff. For extremely long haired animals, such as Bears, after blowing against the grain of the hair, finely touch up with a wired brush, such as a rounded dog slicker (dog brush). Do not run the brush to the skin: only place the hair in place with the brush.

Eyes: For the eyes, take a Qtip and dip it into Windex. Make sure the Qtip is only moist and not dripping; it should be just slightly damp. Wipe the eye gently, making sure you only touch the glass and not the skin, and let dry.

Horns: As for the horns, we find it best for African, and/or black horned animals to use WD40. For North American and/or brown horned animals, use Pledge. Spray on clean rag and wipe the horn clean.

Of course we are always here to answer any questions you may have, feel free to contact us.

What Happens to Your Taxidermy Deposit

In many taxidermy companies, your deposit goes into the operating account.  That means it is used to pay overhead, salaries, materials, taxes and other expenses.  If your deposit has been with the taxidermist for six months or more – it has been used and is gone.  To keep the lights on, these folks require additional clients to provide additional deposits.  If for any reason, those deposits do not come in, they have no capital to continue work.

This is one reason it takes some taxidermists so long to complete trophies that came in months before.  They simply do not have the money to pay for tanning or materials for trophies that were dropped off a year ago.  In short, it is a very unstable financial situation.  Many taxidermists don’t understand that a deposit is not an asset, it is a loan from the client to complete his work. Be aware, some taxidermy studios are using your deposit for other clients in the hopes that more money will come in down the road.  Good luck with that!

Animal Artistry uses your deposit for your mount, your tanning, your materials and the labor to produce your trophy.  It is all completed in 90 days!  You are assured that the money you deposited was used specifically for your trophies, not for someone else’s.  We are proud of the discipline we have in handling finances.  It enables us to do quality work and complete it in 90 days.  This should give you confidence that you are in good hands.


Hunting with no end game…

Hunters love hunting – we get it! In many cases, it is an obsession – we get it! Every facet of a hunt is planned, looked forward to, and savored – we get it! However, when the hunt is over, there is a huge vacancy regarding what to do with the trophies and this we don’t get.  Considering the time and money that goes into a big game hunting trip, it is remarkable top me that there is no end game regarding the final status of the trophy.

What happens by default is many of the animals are left unmounted, cut down to European mounts, or mounted and then stuffed into some opening with no real thought regarding the presentation.  The irony is that instead of a hunter pausing and planning for an end game – a trophy room – they compulsively book the next hunt, and in many cases next several hunts!  I believe there is some kind of mental denial that says,  “the important thing is I shoot the animal and someplace, somehow, someway, I will find a place to display it.”  Of course, that seldom happens.  In some cases there simply isn’t room; but in most cases there is a barrier that says, “I don’t want to spend this much money or cross into this great unknown.”

The truth is the building for a trophy room is one of the most inexpensive that can be imagined.  It should be nothing more than a shell.  Virtually no architectural features are necessary so that the interior of the building can be designed and the space can be maximized to its fullest for the introduction of future trophies.  Those who have crossed this bridge find their hunting so much more rewarding in that even before they leave they know where their trophies will be displayed.  I have clients who have significant trophies in storage units that have been there for years on the supposition that, “one day I am going to build that trophy room…”  Yet there they will be at the next convention lining up to book an additional hunt.

To me it is a tragic loss of a significant part of the hunt, by not having a place to stand back and view it properly.  There is no limit to the creative options available; such as warehouses, airplane hangers, detached garages, former workshops, even old barns! Metal buildings in particular may serve wonderfully as trophy rooms.  After thirty years of dedication to the industry I will continue to advise every client who comes through the door to deeply consider their end game, and never be the hunter who forgets the majesty of the hunt.

Custom Mounts vs. Classic Mounts

Lioness Pride Pose 8
Lion #56 – Custom

There are two types of taxidermy produced today-commercial and custom mounts. The vast majority is commercial.  That is to say the taxidermist orders a commercial mannequin from a catalog.  Some of these mannequins are well shaped with good anatomy – others not so much.  In either case, once that mannequin is in the hands of the taxidermist, it becomes the foundation of the mount.  The eyes are set, the horns attach, and the skin is applied and sutured.  This is done with varying amounts of craftsmanship.  It is pretty straightforward.

Lion #57 – Classic

The other option is custom mounts.  Here the mannequin is altered substantially if not completely independently sculptured for both the size of the skin and the unique gesture of the animal.  This requires a great deal more time, knowledge, and ability.  Less than 10% of animals are custom mounted.  They are more expensive because of the time required but the difference is significant.

Mule Deer #20 – Classic

What Animal Artistry has chosen to do is utilize the best of both.  Starting with the best commercial mannequin, we find ways to improve it – making a minor change to achieve a subtle gesture and a unique look.  We are able to do this because of the experience of our staff and it does not reflect an additional cost.  We call these the classics.

Mule Deer #40 – Custom

On the other hand, we also create complete custom mounts – animals that are in motion, sometimes reacting to one another, bounding, even airborne.  These extreme custom gestures require an understanding of anatomy as well as engineering since we have to weld support rods to sustain the mount.  We realize that for most people, the full custom option is not practical being too costly (between 20%-50% more) and in many cases creating a display that is too big. Therefore, we spend the majority of our time on the classics – giving them unique gestures and subtle looks at a standard price. You can view our recent work in our taxidermy catalog.

Brown Bear #25 – Classic

Here you get both – we’re on top of the game!

Brown Bear #23 – Custom

The Hunter Artist

The first humans were hunter-gatherers and their first expression 40,000 years ago was art.  This cave art celebrates both the animal and the hunt. Other primitive cultures expressed the same in petroglyphs and totems.  In fact, the ancient hunter so respected the beauty of the animal that he took his namesake and decorated his dwellings as well as himself with hides, feathers, and claws.  It was a sincere desire to take the beauty and strength of the animal kingdom to himself.  The art of taxidermy seeks the same, and together  we are a part of this ancient longing.

Mike Boyce has been a hunter since childhood.  Having traveled from the Arctic to Africa he has gained immeasurable stories and knowledge.  Throughout those experiences, he was captivated by the beauty of big game animals and sought a way to express what he felt.  Thirty years ago, he founded Animal Artistry, a company that is built on “the art of the animal.”  We all regard animals as so much more than trophies, they are art.

We humans were the first hunters and the first artists and at Animal Artistry we continue this ancient history.

This is but the first post of many to come for our site; Mike will use this space to speak to you personally on the topics of hunting, artistry, taxidermy, and more.  Thanks for reading, be sure to like us on Facebook!