Finding the right taxidermist for your prized trophy or waterfowl mount is essential in preserving your animal. But where does one find a good taxidermist, and how does one transport their kill to a taxidermist? You will need to take a couple of steps to get the trophy you want. Planning, researching, harvesting, and transporting your trophy is the same as when you set out for your hunt. By the end of this article, you’ll understand what it takes to get the trophy of your dreams.


Research is the easiest step since we can do it while we should be working (that’s a joke). Figure out what species you plan to have mounted and what type of mount you want. Are you planning on getting a euro mount of a mule deer, a full body mount of a black bear, or a shoulder mount of an aoudad? From this point, you can start researching who has the skills to make your dream come true. Facebook or online forums are a great place to read reviews, as for recommendations and do further legwork on finding a good taxidermist. You can also start saving some extra money to get the animal done the way you want.


When you book a hunt and tell your guide what you want to hunt, you should also mention that you want to have an animal mounted. Having a discussion ahead of time about taxidermy will allow your guide to anticipate any work they need to do for extra preservation and storage. They may also have some good recommendations on which taxidermist to go with to ensure the desired end-product. This is also a great time to talk with your chosen taxidermist, let them know your plans, and they will let you know the turnaround time or if they can even accept the job. The last day of waterfowl season is not the ideal time to call a taxidermist out of the blue.


Taxidermists can make a salted cape and antlers look like a springing whitetail if you have treated the animal well during the harvest. Wounds can be patched, but if you drag a deer for a mile, there will be bald patches that no amount of work can fix. Also, when caping (skinning), animal care should be made to make clean cuts in areas that won’t be prominent on display. For waterfowlers, wrapping damp towels around the beak and feet will keep the skin from cracking, while sliding the bird in a pair of nylons will keep the feathers intact. These elements are why it’s a good idea to let your guide know ahead of time if you want an animal to be mounted.


Transportation of either the animal or the mount can be a high cost. Exporting trophies from countries outside the US  is difficult due to potential diseases or political pressure. Speed is critical if you plan on shipping a trophy hide home to your taxidermist or transporting it yourself. Make sure you let your taxidermist know there is a package en route and send it as fast as possible. Every taxidermist has a story of finding spoiled game that wasn’t shipped express. Save the headache (and heartache) and overnight shipments when possible.

Regardless of the trophy you want to display to remember your hunt and immortalize the animal, we must give the same considerations of care for the taxidermist as we do our guides. Great communication and planning beforehand will result in the best possible taxidermied mount to share for generations to come.