Silver Willow Taxidermy

February 15, 2015

Hey again from the shop with another week in the books. This week was a really good one here, I got a couple lynx sewn up and a deer mounted along with some necessary skinning. February will be mostly devoted to fur animals such as lynx, fox ,fishers ,marten and any other type of North American Fur you can think of. I think it will be a nice pace from the large animals like the moose and buffalo, at least on the back.

We made it through another show, we set up a display at the Provost Fish and Game supper. Setting up for those functions is a lot of work and care that goes into the transport of the animals so they don't get damaged. As of right now we have nothing else booked for shows but have a couple in our sights, we will have to make a decision about that as we get closer to those dates.

This week we got an email from one of our customers in Edmonton who we finished up this zebra rug for. He got it hung up in his board room at work and I think it fits well. I have to say Jen did pretty much all the work on this one, I think it came out pretty good.

February 4, 2015

Curtis is still sewing like crazy out in the shop these past couple weeks, no rest for the wicked I guess! lol I, on the other hand, have been buried in paperwork and I don't think I will see the light for a while yet. We are constantly amazed at the amount of office work that goes along with a taxidermy shop, but grateful to be so busy. Lately I've been thinking about the life of a taxidermist and from the questions we field at shows I've realized that we experience some things that are, um, unique to say the least. I put together a list of some of the quirkier things that go on around here.

  • Bloody Everything. Numerous times I've been loading a large item into the "Taxidermy truck" after a day of shopping in the city and suddenly realize as I let the tailgate down that somebody forgot to wash the blood off. Again. Silently hoping no one notices and/or calls the cops.
  • Surprise! Sometimes you go to take a shower, but you can't because there is a water buck hide soaking in the tub.
  • Will there ever be enough freezer room in the shop? I send one of the kids to the deep freeze in the basement to get some hamburger out for supper and they can't find it. I yell down the stairs, " It's under the wolverine!" *sigh*
  • Do you want some salt with that? We use a lot of salt in the shop to preserve hides before tanning. Some how it goes everywhere. Sidewalk, house, shoes, vehicles, mats, etc. Doesn't matter how careful you are or how much you sweep and vacuum, it is everywhere, all the time. At least the sidewalk isn't usually icy.
  • Wildlife Wonders - Both of our children have taken various types of tanned hides for almost every single Show n Tell they have ever had. Teachers, you are welcome! Also, the children want to "life-size" every animal that happens to die around here, hunted or not, wild or domestic.
  • Strangest. Arguments. Ever. Curtis and I both have life-sized Dall sheep of our own to be mounted and we actually argued about whether they could both go on the same rock base. He said my sheep couldn't go by his sheep because his was shot later in the year and therefore had longer hair and so it would not be realistic for these two sheep to be in the same display. I think I gave up on this one.
  • Card Carrying Sally Beauty members - Curtis and I were shopping for hair bleach in the Sally Beauty store and the salesman turns to me, because I have hair I suppose, and says " I assume it is for you?" and I say, " No, it's actually for a sheep hide..." Strangely, the conversation kind of dwindled after that. It is even funnier when Curtis and my dad end up shopping for product together. Oh, the looks they get in the beauty aisle debating the merits of Chestnut over Mahogany hair dye.

So the taxidermist's life is very peculiar at times, but it really suits us! We have met so many great people through the industry that have become lifelong friends. No matter how much blood, salt and stares to be endured, we love doing our best for our customers so they can enjoy the memory of their hunt every time they look at their trophy. And, no, those are not their real eyes.

January 21, 2015

Man has the weather sure change for the good I guess from what we had. I really hope it continues to melt off the hill tops for the deer, last thing we need is a freeze to put a hard crust on the snow, it will make it too hard for them to get through to the feed. This lack of snow is also a blessing for the deer, makes it easier to escape the coyotes when in chase. Speaking of coyotes, it sounds like a lot of them are getting piled up this year, the good prices have sure made more coyote hunters take it more seriously as well as defending our deer herds.

The shop has been steady for sure. We're making progress, still little bit behind but gaining a bit of ground each day. This week so far, two impala and a nyala have been sewn up and a life-size pig, half life-size mule deer and mule shoulder are up for the rest of the week. I think Sunday I am going to take off and maybe try and see if I can help on the coyote situation, hope the weather stays good.

I finally found some time and mounted my bear that I shot in 2013 on Boxing day of this year. He scored 21 9/16 on a spot and stalk hunt which I was solo on. For this mount I made a replica of his teeth and jawset by casting the original teeth because I didn't want to wreck the skull by using the originals. I also wanted an open mouth but not aggressive so I chose to have him feeding. By having him standing, he takes up less room.

January 15, 2015

Hey again from the shop. Well the traffic in and out of the shop has slowed a bit this past week which has help the production inside the work area. We did have some large pieces leave on Tuesday and created a pile of room in the showroom so I am sewing like a mad man to help try and fill it back up.

We also got some interesting news this week we have been waiting for, stay tuned here to see what creature is soon to arrive in the shop and no it is not another kid, lol.

This past weekend we attended the Macklin wildlife supper where we put a display of our work up for viewing and as usual the Macklin club put on a heck of a feast. We got set up and taken down without any incidents or damage to any mounts which is always one of my worries when hauling mounts, thanks to the Macklin club for inviting us to your supper and banquet.

Staying with an African theme this week, here is a mountain zebra that went out a bit ago. If you get a chance, check out our new "African" gallery on our site here.

January 5, 2015

I hope everyone had a great holiday season, I know we did. We took New Years day off but that was it and have been going pretty hard in the shop. This past week we managed to mount a lifesize bear and five shoulder mounts as well. To top that off, I cleaned out one of the freezer of capes and hides that needed to be fleshed for the tannery, so one day was just fleshing hides. The New Year has started off good, some guys on trap lines are catching some critters and bring them here. We got calls this week for wolves and lynx for mounting and had a cougar come in as well.

This week coming up will be focused more on finishing work, there are a few large projects that need to be finished to make room for more to be mounted. Also we will be headed to Macklin this upcoming weekend for their annual supper and awards and putting up a display for them, it will be a good time.

Here is a goofy looking critter that we did up here last month for a client. It is a Red Hartebeest from Africa, not one of god's most beautiful creatures but I have to admit they have very nice hides. Thanks again Joe for bring your animals to us.

December 28, 2014

I hope everyone has made through the Christmas holidays in good shape and has plans for New Years. We managed to take a couple days off to enjoy some family time and fit in a bit of coyote hunting and other things that have been put on the back burner.

I took one day to do one of my own projects over the holidays and you will have to watch for it soon, it is a pretty neat piece. Tomorrow I am back in the shop on a regular basis and hours, we have a bit of catch up to do and a few projects that need some attention.

Today we had a customer come and pick up his nine animal African safari, we will be posting pics here now and then, it was a neat line up of animals he brought. I will post the first one, it is a kudu and this kudu had to have had one of the nicest capes I had a chance to work on. There was a no hair missing on it and the skinners in Africa did a good job getting it ready for here. Stay tuned for more of this safari.

Happy New Year to all our clients, see you in 2015.

December 12, 2014

Another week down and more animals skinned and ready for tanning. This week seemed to never come to an end as the deer flowed in quite steady. I spent most of the week skinning and fleshing lots of deer, moose and a couple cougars. I guess a guy thinks he is in the clear from skinning deer then you're reminded that cougar season is after deer season, lol. Well the skinning is caught up for now and it is time to focus on mounts. This past week I sewed up a really nice archery elk with a beauty cape, keep watching we will post it here in the new year.

I am glad to see the weather warm up a bit, hopefully it keeps going this way to get rid of all the snow. Warm ups like this can be dangerous to our deer herds as the wet snow will create a crust once frozen again which makes it hard for the deer to get through to the feed. So once it warms up, best is it just keeps going and let winter start all over again, our deer herds need the help. I can say though that the deer that came in this year although a bleak deer season, were good deer. Mostly white-tails, a few of them were crankers, so hope is out there even after the bad winters.

I finished this mount up this past week as well. What a neat piece. The customer found the buffalo skull and brought the deer and antelope and let me do what I wanted with it, it really came together I think. Thanks Russ for giving me some reigns with this one, makes it fun.

December 6, 2014

Well its over for another year. Deer season was a disappointment for most this year, I really hope next year is better. We had a decent deer season in the shop, deer seemed to be coming in steady but no records broken. I managed to get out a little bit around home here, I never found a white-tail that peeked my interest but I did manage to harvest a decent mule deer.

We finished up the season doing finish work and getting a safari mounted up for one guy, it is all mounted now and drying. This week I am going to try and get a few more pieces mounted and more animals skinned, then we're gonna slowly wind down to Christmas.

After Dec 15 we will not take in any animals until the New year so if you got something to bring, get it in before the 15th or wait until Jan 1. We're still going to be in the shop working over those days but the skinning knives will be put away and the needles are coming out to get some animals sewn up for clients, I hope you understand.

Here is a massive mount that has seen me take a few trips to the chiropractor, a few band-aids and lots of thinking to pull off. This double cape buffalo pedestal is a custom piece that I had to weld all the attachment points and balance it in hopes it will turn out. We have a few more cool mounts to do for this client so stay tuned for them.

November 24, 2014

One week left everyone. It has been a very busy fall but a slow deer season if that makes sense to anyone. Although from what I have been seeing on the net, there have been some good deer taken in the last few days. The last week of November usually holds some surprises, let see what comes.

I managed to slip away from the shop for an hour last week and took a nice mule deer. Although not the biggest mule I have taken, a good one for this year. The WT rut is in full swing from what I have seen in my travels and all little bucks running does. I think this means it is only a matter of time and a big one will be with.

In the shop, as I mentioned earlier, we seem to be skinning but not the numbers like last year. Gameheads though are up for us this fall and lifesize as well so our 2014/2015 year will be full of neat projects.

Being deer season I thought a big mule deer would be good for the this blog. This deer was taken by Dean Spornitz of Lloydminster. Really nice weight and dark antlers along with a wall pedestal really show off this deer. Thanks Dean for bring your deer to us.

November 11, 2014

Man is the deer hunting slow! I think a combination of three hard winters, too many tags given out and I think coyotes are playing a part in the low deer numbers. A few hunters are getting lucky but it seems the hunters with the moose and elk tags are doing fine.

We are skinning some deer in the shop but not the amount we did last year. We did however take in some deer in archery season and the rifle season is not over yet, the rut hasn't kicked in yet from my observation. On a positive note,the slower skinning season allows me to keep the progress going in the shop. I started a nine animal African safari last week for one client,were getting closer to finishing that one up and moving onto another one.

Here is a lucky hunter who harvested her first deer. This young lady happens to be my niece and from the story she told, she made a fine heart shot on a nice white-tail that her dad rattled into 30yds. Congrats Farrah on a beauty deer.

November 4, 2014

It is finally here, rifle season. I am not sure what your area has to hold but here it seems the deer are pretty scarce. I think it will pick up, maybe this shot of snow will get the deer out of the bush and feeding on the fields which will bring the bucks out too. We have caped a few animals so far, a couple nice white-tails. Both deer were rattled in and both taken by youth hunters, great to see. It looks like the moose are hitting the the ground quite steadily as well as a few elk.

In the shop, I started an African safari for one guy which will keep me sewing into next week if all goes good. Last week I spent sewing up some other exotics so the shop walls are filling up again.

Here is a Tur from Azerbijan that was taken by Pat Garret of Breton. Alberta. Pat is headed out for Marco polo next month, good luck Pat and thanks for bringing your tur to us.

October 24, 2014

Recently we have done several large mountain-rock wall habitats for some life-size pieces. Some clients have very specific ideas about the type of rock and vegetation they would like for their mount and others are happy to leave it up to us. I find that we learn something new from every piece we complete and we are inspired to try new things when a client puts their trust in us.

The creative possibilities are endless when it comes to habitat and the types of rock that we are able to create- river rocks, field stone, shale, mountain rock, etc. Materials and techniques have changed a great deal in the past few years and it is easier than ever to replicate almost any type of habitat. Even if a full mount or pedestal base are not in the budget, you can still get that custom look with a shoulder mount by including an attached wall habitat.

These antelope mounts show a variety of options for habitat, pose and bases.

October 16, 2014

I hope everyone got a belly full of turkey this past weekend and some got a chance to get out hunting. I managed to take a couple days off and went out goose hunting with a couple friends and my boy. We got into the big Canada geese and we limited out on them in short order which made for a great morning. I planned on getting out the next morning to look for elk but I couldn't drag myself out of bed to do so but I do plan on going up to look before season end.

In the shop this week I am not mounting any animals. This week has been spent doing finish work and building bases along with skinning. Next week I plan on doing more finish work with some deliveries and hopefully this will help empty the shop out.

Check out this ram! A friend of ours has spent numerous season in search of a stone sheep and this year he was lucky to get this awesome ram which happened to be his first. The cape on this sheep was a beauty. Keep your eyes peeled to this site down the road, this ram will appear as a finished mount one day here, can't wait.

October 9, 2014

 Not much exciting happening around the shop these days. We're just busy mounting and finishing animals. There have been a couple real good moose dropped off this week, as well as word that more sheep are on the way. We also took in a huge Alaskan brown bear for a lifesize which is going to be an awesome project to work on. A few archers are still having luck on the elk and moose but the deer seem to have vanished from the earth. Who else has noticed deer numbers really low this fall where there usually is deer?

This past weekend we delivered a couple pieces to Edmonton for a meet with customers. This is one of the mounts we delivered to Travis Tiffen who came down from Peace River to pick up his cougar. This cat weighed 223 lbs right after it was shot and was a pleasure to work on. Travis picked a great pose and the rock helped complete such a majestic animal, thanks Travis for bringing us your cougar.

October 2, 2014

AntelopeThis past week we have continued with the finish work in order to clear some critters out of the work space. The crowded zoo look is interesting, but not very efficient or safe. Antler in the back, anyone? If you come visit us now, you should be able to safely walk through the shop with much less difficulty. That being said, the floor space is filling swiftly with antelope capes and horns. Congrats fellow antelope hunters - seems to be a successful season so far.

We also sneaked away for a few days of antelope hunting. Curtis and his dad scouted out the situation and set up camp a couple days ahead of season and Lyndon and I joined them late opening day. By the time we got there they had their two bucks down, skinned, cooled, quartered and caped. They were just starting supper for us when we arrived. Perfect timing. The next morning I pulled the trigger on a little buck. He's going to be very tasty. Lyndon only had one day to hunt with us because of school so I'm glad he was able to be there to see me shoot my antelope. It was his first overnight "big guy" big game hunt.

CougarHere is a gigantic cougar out of the Peace country that is heading home this weekend. Definitely one of our favorite pieces to come through the shop. Curtis had to order the biggest form he could find and then still needed to enlarge the head and neck to get the hide to fit properly. Apparently this cat tipped the scales at 223 lbs on the day he was taken. Something to dream about- cougar season isn't too far off now. 

September 18, 2014

 Judging by the number of velvet deer we have taken in this past couple weeks, I would say that archery season is going well. The new deep freeze is now chock full of the fuzzy guys. Very nice to see. Our family has been doing a bit of deer spotting and all signs point to an excellent November deer as well. Let's hope our deer population is finally recovering.

Aside from caping out all the deer rolling in, we managed to find time to finish a few things too. We are working on the bases for a couple cougars and put the finishing touches on a very special cat. Curtis delivered this gorgeous leopard to Shane Tingley of Lloydminster. Thank you very much for your business, Shane. This was one piece we would have loved to keep for the showroom.

September 2, 2014

Apparently, my return from the NWT has created some excitement (in our house at least) so I'm going to take over the blog this week. The past two years Curtis has spent time in camp at Redstone Trophy Hunts working for Dave and Dallas Dutchik -and hunting a little too. He enjoyed it so much that he insisted it was my turn to head north. I said yes. Curtis promised me that he could hold down the fort for 16 days, so I booked my flight in mid July and faxed my paperwork away for my tag. I added a caribou tag at the last minute just in case I ran in to a whopper while on the trail for sheep.

August 13th arrived very quickly and I found myself standing on the dock before I knew what was happening. I was nervous about riding as I hadn't been on a horse in 10 years. After a six hour trail-in to sheep camp I was wishing for the Advil in the bottom of my pack. We spotted some sheep across the canyon as we were setting up camp - it was very exciting to see legal rams right away.

On day three, after 2 days of tough riding and hiking up the mountain, I shot the ram I was after and watched him fall off a 150 foot cliff. One of the guides had to free climb half way up the cliff to retrieve on of his horns that popped off during the tumble. He's a 12 year old ram, 33 and a half inches on his right side and has a heavily broomed off left side. I was ecstatic. Two other hunters filled their tags with beautiful rams at the same time, out of the same band of sheep. It's the first time there has been a successful triple at Redstone that anyone can remember.

We continued to hunt for caribou by taking day trips out of sheep camp, but mostly saw cows and calves and a few small bulls. Eventually we trailed back to the main camp. I had no expectations of taking a caribou and was happy with my successful sheep hunt. I had decided I wanted to shoot a hard-horned bull, which I knew would be tough to find that time of year.

On the day before I was supposed to fly out, I spotted a hard-horned bull a few miles away while the guide was skinning a wolf that my hunting partner had just shot. After a quick ride and and an epic sneak I ended up with a different bull out of that group. He's a full velvet monster with double drop tines and rough scores in the Boone and Crockett range. Anyone who knows Curtis, knows how much he loves caribou hunting, so I decided to keep my trophy a secret and then I was surprised him with this guy at the airport.

August 25, 2014

Some good news from up North came in since our last update. Jen Called via SAT phone to tell me she connected on a good old dall ram. I haven't seen pics yet but it sounds like a nice sheep. She said she was having fun and has been putting some miles on in the saddle to look for a caribou but no luck with that.

She should be home this Thursday and we will have to get her to do the next update so she can tell her stories. 

 While she has been gone, I have stepped into the Mr.Mom roll as well as work in the shop. Although I have not got as much done, I have accomplished enough to keep the shop full. As well we took in another sheep and and nice velvet caribou this week from a lucky hunter. 

 Each morning now is getting to be more like fall, it is upon us. Pretty soon the arctic geese will be making their way down and the smell of harvest will be in the air. I having been talking to a few local dedicated hunters and from what I have been hearing, they haven't seen much for deer in their travels. I hope it has been just due to the extensive heat we have had and they are just tucked away in the shade. 

 Here is what a shipment from Africa looks like when we get them in. This is from one lucky hunter and this also came with the hides salted and have been shipped off to the tannery.

August 5, 2014

 Not too long away is the new hunting season. Sheep season in AB opens on the 25th of August this year, how many are planning a bighorn hunt this year? A bighorn is an animal that is somewhat interesting me into maybe looking at hunting, getting in shape is the first step, lol. 

 This week in the shop has been real steady and productive.

I am busy sewing up animals and finalizing shipping arrangements for animals heading to the U.S. We still have a mountain of work to get done in the next week before Jen takes off up to the NWT for her sheep hunt. The last few days I have been getting the urge to go along, but will not be going. She has been busy shooting her gun and testing out some gear for her trip, good to test it here rather than there. 

 Back to African for this week. Here is a sable that Gary Leach of Lloydminster brought us to have done. These animals are majestic and they have the most beautiful hides. Gary chose to have a floor mount for this sable. The base was built out of walnut wood with hickory inserts. Thanks again Gary for having us do it up for you.

July 29, 2014

 If anyone has been looking for me, sorry I have been off with my family on holidays. We took a couple weeks and went out to the coast in the hot old motorhome to put a line in the water for salmon. There were lots of fish swimming by in the river but they didn't seem to want to bite anyones hook. I did however get some great family time in and did get a chance to hit the shoreline on the ocean to pick up some driftwood for some mounts. Now it is back to the grind of finishing what I mounted before I left and then a hard run of sewing here before the fall.

It is hard to think about but hunting season is only a month away for the sheep guys, then stick throwing (archery) will be in full swing. As well Jen just learned that she will be heading north this year to look for a dall sheep. The camp I worked in the last two years phoned and have some freed up horses for one of the scheduled hunts and it was a great chance for her to go, she will have fun.

Here is a beauty lynx that was brought to us by Chris Halasczyk of Millet, Alberta. Chris did some trapping last year and brought us a few nice animals to mount, stay tuned for those ones and thanks Chris for your work.

July 15, 2014

 Wow what a week it was. I mounted up three lifesize cats, two cougars, one leopard. I took the leopard up to Ken Walkers shop in Alberta Beach who gave me a hand with the big project. This week I managed to get a mule deer and a antelope mounted up and got some cleaning done in and around the shop.

Well tonight at midnight the 2014 fall hunting draw results will be out, I hope everyone gets what they have hoped for. We should be up for camp Wainwright deer and mule deer here for WMU 234. The country side looks good and there have been a few animals seen that have some good potential.

We also got some great news, my wife will be heading up North this year to hunt dall sheep. There was a late opening left and she made a deal to try for a white sheep. I wanted her to experience the North country and she will be doing a 14 day horse hunt so she will get the full experience...good luck to her.

Staying on the topic of sheep, here is a bighorn mount I did for Jason Bender of Water Valley. These are replica sheep horns and the fox Jason caught while trapping last winter. This is a great looking piece that flows together and the base with its colors complete the mount well......thanks Jason.

June 28, 2014

Hey again from the shop! Thing are truckin right along here. This week was full of base building and finish work so now the showroom is full and time for some of it to go home. I will be heading out on Tuesday to deliver some of it and it will give some much needed room.

I hope all of you got your draws in as it closed on the 26th. I have a feeling it will be a good year for hunting around our area as the habitat and grasses look good for antler growth, lets hope.

Here is one of the pieces I finished up this week. This is a set of replica horns that the client bought. He found himself a cape and he also trapped this fox and wanted a diorama with all of it together. This is what we came up with here at the shop.

June 19, 2014

I am getting some grief about my lacking on the blog updates, sorry about that. Well I think bear season is now closed everywhere and as I said earlier, it was a tougher season all around for a lot of guys. We did get in some good ones this spring and a few more to come too and that will be it for bears.

If you have forgotten, draws are due on the 26th for the Alberta residents, make sure you don't miss out. What will you be hunting this year? I am hoping for a mulie tag and we should get camp Wainwright deer /first rifle season.

If you remember a couple posts ago I posted a beauty Grizz mount that I did for Randy Bowers in Sylvan Lake. Well here is his cougar and it is the last of seven lifesize animals I did for Randy. This is a good sized cougar that Randy wanted in an aggressive pose as that is how he remembered his cat from his hunt. Thank you Randy for all your business.

June 7, 2014

Well its draw time again people. You have until the 26th of this month to get them in, I hope you all get a chance to hunt the critters you have been waiting a long time for. As usual it is feast or famine for tags for us and it looks like we're up for a bunch again this year. I also triple nined some animals and saved them for next year.

Bear season has come to a close in almost all the areas, it seems it was a slower year for most hunters. We did get in some nice ones this spring and a few more to come yet that guys haven't had the chance to drop off. I will not be closing my tag on a bear this spring which is fine with me . The tag is still good for the fall too so hang onto them.

Here is a wolverine I did for Randy Bowers of Sylvan Lake. I did a couple of these for him and if you remember from a while back the grizzley we did for him. Keep watching int he next couple weeks, we will have another mount for Randy and this one is a must see mount. Thanks Randy for all your business.

May 29, 2014

I hope all those who have been able to get out looking for bears have had their chance. I know a few camps are having a tough time finding them but the season is not over yet. Today I caped out a really big bear for a shoulder mount and he had a beauty hide on him as well.Good luck to those who are still looking.

Just a reminder that Alberta hunting draws open up on Tuesday, don`t forget to get them in early just in case the new system has any issues, we hope not. The shop has been steady, the phone has been quieter which has allowed me to knock off some big projects. It has been all lifesize for the last couple weeks and those projects take some time so it is good to get them behind me. I have a couple more lifesize to do them it is back to shoulder mounts and that is where I hope to gain some ground.

Here is a lifesize Nyala from Africa that Dean Herron of Esther, AB shot on his first trip there. As we speak Dean and five others are in the air heading back over to the dark continent and they have quite the list. I wish them safe travels and good luck. Thanks again Dean for bringing your animals here.

May 19, 2014

Sorry I never posted last week, I just never got around to it. Since I got back from Nebraska it has been all go. I did however stop for four days to take in our annual bear hunt up North again. This year I wasn't trying to put a pile of effort into harvesting a bear but more to just get out with family and friends. We had a blast as TJ and Vanessa from Outdoor Quest joined us and we put tons of miles on looking for bears and found some but in the process we got dirty and tired. We also had lots of laughs and the weather could not have been better.

This week in the shop I have a couple lifesize to do which will consume most of my week and finish a couple more animals to go out. I have heard of some good bears being taken this weekend and from the pics sent, they are truly great lookin bears. I hope everyone who is out still looking has great luck and drop us a line and let us know how you've done.

Here is a pic from the weekend away.

May 5, 2014

Sorry for missing last week, I had a good excuse. I left Tuesday morning for North Platte, Nebraska for the United Taxidermy Association Competition.

I made it as far as Broadus Montana the first day where I stayed with fellow taxidermist Paul Klar. I worked in his shop on Wednesday where I helped alter a form for him which took most of the day.

Then Thursday morn we hit the road again for the rest of the trip. We crossed through South Dakota then down into Nebraska. I took a waterbuck and my little beef calf for the competition and I competed in the Masters division. I got a third place ribbon on the waterbuck and a second place ribbon on the calf. It was good to meet up with some old friends again from different places in the U.S. and meet some new ones. I also loaded up on some supplies while I was there and checked out some new products on the market.

Now it is back to work this week, it will be bear rugs for the week and catching up on shop cleaning and organizing what I brought home. Here are some pics of the waterbuck that I took.

April 27, 2014

Word has it I am slacking a bit on my blog postings, lol. I have to admit yes I haven't been diligent on making sure it comes out on the same day every week but most days I forget where my shoes are, haha.

It has been steady in the shop and the skinning has subsided for a little bit even though I did flesh and turn a half life size muskox last week and caped out a couple more deer....yeah that's right, deer still on the head. I didn't get a ton mounted in the last two weeks because I was busy doing the finish work to a bunch of large life size animals and those bases take some time and space. Now they are gone and I am back to mounting here for a couple days then I will be gone for a bit.

I am heading to Nebraska to compete in the UTA Taxidermy Competition and then I will be spending a couple days with another fellow taxidermist in Montana who asked me a while ago if I could lend him a hand on mounting a yak! It is a big project and it will probably take a bit of altering but it will be fun. Thanks to all of you that stopped by our booth again at the Consort Gun show a couple weeks ago. Again this year we won the award for the best display which is always an honor as there are some nice ones there.

Here is an eland from Africa that I had at the show and was a big project. Trent Usselman from Czar, took this guy with archery gear and the video on it was awesome. Thanks Trent for letting me do this guy up for you.

April 10, 2014

Hey again. Well two weeks of finish work has now been completed and it is now time to get back to mounting some animals. I filled the shop for the last four weeks with mounts and now it was time to empty it out.

So to say the least, all I have been doing is painting and building. I managed to get one animal mounted int he last two weeks and it is a competition piece I am doing for the UTA show at the end of the month in Nebraska.

If you are around Consort this weekend, stop by the gun show and say hi at our booth. You will get to see this nice grizzly I did up for a client. Thanks to Randy Bowers of Sylvan Lake for bringing me this nice bear to mount. Stay tuned for more of Randys' animals going forward. Maybe see you this weekend at the show.

March 31, 2014

After almost a full month of lifesize and half lifesize critters, it is time to shift gears and get into the bear rugs. Curtis informed me that I am going to be busy sewing very shortly. If the weather was better I might not want to be stuck inside!

Oh well, we had taste of spring ,just enough to start thinking about bear season. This year I might decide to try for a bear as Curt has been doing it for some time and I have not had much of a chance to get out at all. Both boys want to go too so it might be a nice little break away.

Here is a half mount white-tail that Kevin Matheson of Sedgewick brought to us. We work together to design this mount and I think the end product came out really well. The mount shows movement which I think is key in any form of taxidermy. Thanks Kevin for letting me do so neat things with this project.

March 18, 2014

It has been one year and one month since we went full time with the taxidermy business and many people are still asking us if we are all caught up yet. The answer is no... but we certainly don't want to be either, because that would mean that we haven't had any work come in for the last ten months! A big thank you to all our clients/friends, new and old, for all your business and support in the past year.

The projects keep pouring in and we are loving all the new challenges. Lots of work going out the door too- we just sent a life-size dall sheep home with Dave and Dallas, owners of Redstone Trophy Hunts in the NWT. It will be part of a "mountain" of sheep in their trophy room and we're looking forward to seeing a pic of it once it is in place.

Now, for the pic of the week. Here is a badger that Calvin Horn of Coronation brought us last winter. The badger has a beautiful hide and Calvin chose a really nice form for his mount, thanks Calvin!

March 8, 2014

I think winter has finally given up its' grip on us here and everyone else in the country. I maybe shouldn't speak too loud yet. It has been a long couple weeks with these temps that have been keeping us indoors and working, who needs that. On the upside to that we have been making some progress and things are moving right along here in the shop.

This week coming up, I am looking at sewing up a lifesize Nyala and will be doing some finish work on other critters. The finished animals have been moving out of the shop as well and the showroom is looking empty so the as we finish, the showroom won't look so bare. This week as well we will have a very large piece coming in an old bison bull that is estimated to be 15-20yrs old, not looking forward to skinning that but it is a part of the job.

Here is a Gemsbok from Africa that Dean Herron of Esther, Alberta brought last spring. Dean picked out a really nice base that we put some back hide into and it also has a granite top. Dean has many other mounts getting done here right now, watch for them. Thanks Dean!

February 27, 2014

It has been too cold to do anything but work - but that's okay as we have had a lot of animals leaving the showroom lately.

This past weekend my wing man, Quinn, and I delivered a truckload of animals an hour south to a client and did some coyote hunting along the way. Although we saw a lot of coyotes, our success rate was low.

Better luck in the shop- this week so far I got a life size wolverine and a life size bush buck sewn up. Tomorrow the shop will be closed as we are delivering an Aoudad out in Western Alberta and picking up a bunch more critters to work on.

Here is the Aoudad from New Mexico that Pat Garret brought to us. It is all finished up and ready for delivery. We will be doing more mounts for Pat coming up, stay tuned to see them. Thanks a bunch, Pat.

February 16, 2014

Hey again, I think winter is on the way out, better be careful what I say too loud. The weather has finally broke here and we have some decent days on the horizon.

The phone was a bit quieter this week which was good, we had a big grizzly that got mounted up and it took a few days of concentration to get it to fit and up on the base. It was a back breaking project but it will be a great piece once it is done.

Also last weekend Quinn and I attended the Calgary Boat and Sportsman show while we did some deliveries and pick ups. Thanks Quinn for riding shotgun on the trip.

Here is one of the pieces we delivered last weekend, an axis deer for Vanessa Harrop from Outdoor Quest TV. It was a fun project to do and these animals have neat markings as you can see. Thanks guys for your support and business.

February 3, 2014

I am really starting to think someone upset Mother Nature this winter again. The wind has blown steady here this winter with some nasty temps to go with it.

This past couple weeks has been pretty steady in the shop with over twenty new animals that came in and about six more so far that need to be picked up or dropped off here. So the skinning knives have to keep their edge for a little bit longer this winter, not a bad thing I guess.

We just did a display at the Provost Fish and Game Supper this past weekend and had lots of fun. We took mostly African animals which kind of didn't go with the theme but it was all we had done, lol. At the supper I received the award for the largest black bear for the 2013 season, it was a tough one to beat.

This weekend coming up I will be delivering a couple steers and other animals to the Calgary area and picking up a cougar, fox, lynx, fisher, deer and a Highland steer on the way home so the skinning continues. I might take a few minutes to stop by the Calgary Boat and Sportsman show and check it out, should be fun.

Here is another silver fox I did for a customer in Dawson Creek B.C this past month. This guy was shot with a 7mm and took over ten feet of stitching to put him back together, that's more stitching than I use on a wolf ! Thanks Darren for your business and it was great to finally meet you.

January 21, 2014

The 2013/2014 season is now over for all big game except cougar. We have sure taken in our share of the animals this year and we want to thank all of the support from our clients.This years local elk season I would say was a let down for most who carried a tag. The big bulls just didn't show this year and lots of miles were put on in search.

We just got home last night from a weekend hunt with the Outdoor Quest crew for cow elk. It was lots of fun and we seen elk, but they had the advantage and we came home empty handed.

Now it is back to the shop to start a run of African mounts for the next couple months. Last week we started on them and it was a nice change.

Here is a nice piece I put together for Ben Nutting of Sundre, Alberta. I designed a wine cabinet and had two of his big velvet mule deer installed on it, it really brought this piece together. Thanks Ben.

January 8, 2014

I hope everyone had a great holiday season. I know we had a quick but good few days off. I worked up to the 24th and then was back in the shop on the 27th.

The elk hunters are now going again and no word yet on any big bulls being taken. I think it will remain the same for the remainder of the season just because of the snow. There is still the odd deer trickling in but the main load of hides is now at the tannery. I just made the grueling drive down to Kalispell and then after the hides were dropped off, I went 80 miles further south to pick up some bases for some upcoming mounts we have to do.

We have also been going pretty hard trying to get ready for the Macklin Wildlife supper this weekend. We will be taking a pretty good load for a displey so if your there, make sure to stop by and say hi.

Here is a nice short-haired white-tail that Ben Nutting brought us. I really like doing the short haired animals, there is just something about them. Thanks Ben.