If you hunt and or fish in the state of New York and find yourself one day in need of a New York taxidermist perhaps this article will guide you in making the right decisions. This article can be also applied to other areas of the country, but we will be focusing on taxidermy within New York.
The biggest and most common mistake one does when looking for a New York taxidermist is price shopping. You should never ever allow a price to dictate which taxidermist you are going to choose. It is a nightmare ready to happen. If you find yourself calling around to get the best price on a deer mount, do yourself a favor and hang up the phone. Until you can bank some disposable cash after all your monthly bills are paid and keep that piggy bank balance healthy, then and only then should you be considering preserving your trophies.
Getting your trophy of a lifetime mounted is a big deal. It is something you will be looking at for the rest of your life while it hangs on your wall. It’s your trophy and something you worked hard for and most likely have already spent a big chunk of change on in pursuing it. From your sporting license, to that $800 rifle, $200 in camo, another couple of hundred dollars in gear whether it be a tree stand or game blind, all the gas spent going to and from your hunting grounds, etc. Think about it, it adds up and now you are going to call around and shop for the cheapest taxidermist? Shopping around for the cheapest New York taxidermist is like shopping around for the cheapest doctor to deliver your first born. There is no other way to explain it.
What anyone should be shopping for when looking to hire a New York taxidermist is the quality of their work. In this day and age the internet has made it very easy to weed out the good from the bad. I will tell you that every business orientated taxidermist today will have a website and most likely social media profile promoting their work. Look at them, studying them. The pictures of their work should be clear and up close for the most part. Study the eyes, nose and ears. If that mount stood in the woods would it fool you into believing it was a live animal? If you’re looking for a fish taxidermist does their paint jobs look like the real thing. Compare a live fish photo the mounted photo. Are all the colors there? Are the fins positioned correctly? The next step is to read the comments on their profile page like on Facebook. Is there any negativity and or complaints? You should also Google the New York taxidermist in question if you know their real name, and not just their business name. You may learn a lot more about the individual by doing just that. Any taxidermist who has a strong online presence and can be easily found on the first page of Google is most likely someone you will want to look into further to possibly creating a business relationship with. If you Google the taxidermy advertised business name in question or the taxidermist who owns the business, and you can’t find them stuck to the top of the search results page that will be your first red flag.
If you must know what to expect to spend on quality taxidermy from a New York taxidermist I guess there is no harm in throwing out some numbers. Deer mounts should be in $500 to $600 range and yes there are a few New York taxidermists who push the $700 mount and don’t have a problem in getting that price. Euro mounts for deer alone should be anywhere in the $200 range. Fish taxidermy should be around the $15 to $20 per inch range minimum. Those $10 per inch prices are so the 1980’s, don’t expect to find them anywhere in New York. Waterfowl mounts should be $350 and above for ducks, and $450 and above for geese. Upland game birds like grouse and pheasants will be in the $300 range. Squirrel mounts will be close to $300. A qualified New York taxidermist who mounts turkeys will always be in the $500 to $700 range. If you find a New York taxidermist charging these prices I just mentioned, you still owe it to yourself to do your research. Just because a taxidermist is charging $650 to mount deer heads doesn’t mean their work is great. They just could be a really good business man or woman who knows how to operate a profitable business or has a hired accountant with half a brain, but actually suck at taxidermy.
If you didn’t know New York State does not require a person to be licensed to practice taxidermy. But the federal government does if anyone engages in migratory bird taxidermy. There are also NYDEC laws that pertain to taxidermists when it comes to business records and the handling of CWD. Every county within the state requires and individual to have on file a DBA with the county clerk when conducting a New York taxidermy business using a name other than their own legal name. Furthermore it is illegal to conduct and accept any money for taxidermy services without a certificate of authority issued by the New York State Taxation and Finance Department.
New York is flooded with low ball taxidermists. There is no shortage of them. Everything mentioned in the above paragraph does not apply to them in their own minds. These are the ones who will charge only $250 or $350 for a deer mount and make big promises that it will be done in 4 months or less. Your drinking buddy will swear they do great work and in the same breath state that they heard that from another party, so it must be true. These are fly by under the radar operations. Most of the low ballers hold other full time employment and taxidermy income is more or less beer money because they are making very little profit. That’s if they are using high grade materials and actually tanning your deer cape. Year in and year out new low balls open up shop and many others fold up and vanish with their clients’ money. There is a big demand for low ball taxidermists and price shoppers will flood to them thinking they are getting a good deal. Getting quality taxidermy at those prices is like having a qualified experienced auto mechanic charge you only a $100 for a complete engine rebuild. More than likely people who have never had taxidermy done before and can’t tell a good mount from a bad mount will know no better and conduct business with these taxidermists. If by chance or bad luck one of them gets caught flying under the radar you can most likely kiss your trophy good bye. The state can and will seize all specimens found within the premises of the illegal operation and it could be years before you get your antlers back once the courts settle. If the taxidermist never got around to mounting your deer, you can kiss your deer cape goodbye.
I know I have thrown a lot at you and it’s probably going to take some time to digest. You don’t need to go to a big taxidermy shop to get your deer done. There are plenty of New York taxidermists who operate out of small shops and produce great mounts. Only a small percentage of taxidermists compete at competitions nationwide. If you think you are going to get the same work back that your taxidermist produced and won with at the World Show at the same price he or she charges for commercial work, think again. Competition taxidermy and commercial taxidermy are two totally different animals. Blue ribbons and trophies on the wall mean nothing if they are not giving you quality commercial work back.