Some of you may not know this, but one of my favorite hobbies is collecting and restoring taxidermy. Now I'm no expert, I can only do light restorations and cleanings. But I have been doing this for a several years now. I have a few head/shoulder mounts in my collection. They range from a very small 'stick point' buck to my biggest, an 11 point. I also give names to all of my pieces. I'm not really sure why or how I got into this hobby. I'm not a hunter. I've never been hunting. But I do enjoy 'rescuing' pieces of taxidermy from flea markets, garage sales, antique stores etc. So I thought I'd introduce my collection to you!
This is Wilson. He is an 11 point Whitetail Buck. This big boy I pulled out of a barn at an estate sale a few years ago. He was in pretty rough shape when I found him. And he did have a 'wife' (a shoulder mounted doe) but she was way to far gone for me to save, so I didn't take her home with me when I got Wilson (Named after my favorite character on House). He was also my first big piece of taxidermy.
Willem was named after Vincent van Gogh, (Willem was his middle name) because he only has one antler. The other one was broken off before I got him. This is, as far as I can tell, my oldest piece. The name plate says 'Colorado 1980'. He is in pretty good shape for being as old as he is. But if you clean and seal your pieces regularly, they will last quite awhile.
Albinus is my most interesting looking buck. For a while I suspected he might be a more solid Piebald... but he may just be a very light colored common Whitetail. Albinus was names after a character from one of my favorite books. He came from the same antique store, where I got Willem. So they are sort of distant cousins. Haha.
The Jackalope was the very first piece I ever owned. He was a gag gift given to my dad years ago. And eventually I sort of inherited him. He went so long without having a true name, we always called him 'The Jackalope.' So I guess it sort of stuck. He is a little worse for wear, and is missing some fur on his face and neck. But I still like him. I was able to patch him up pretty well, but he still has a few bald spots.
Nesbit was the first piece of true taxidermy that I ever bought myself. I got him from the Nashville Flea Market a few years ago. He was sitting in a watering troff with 3 or 4 other mounts (he was the smallest). I'm not quite sure what kind of deer he is... He is very tiny compared to the other Whitetails that I have. The woman I bought him from said he was some sort of European deer... but I'm not so sure I believe that... But who knows. If anyone recognizes his 'breed' let me know in the comments below! I'd love to find out what he really is. Nesbit sort of came with his name. Its written on the back of his mannequin.
So this is my mounted collection! I have a lot of shed antlers and bones/skulls and a few other pieces. But this is everything that has a face... I know that this hobby might be a little off-putting to some people. And I don't condone killing an animal just to have a 'trophy'. All of these mounts were salvaged and restored with loving hands. To me, getting these pieces with holes, rips and covered in dust and cleaning and fixing them is like restoring the life to them. I feel like I'm giving them a new purpose, so that the animal that once was isn't wasted. For me, this hobby requires a lot of respect.
Do you collect taxidermy or have an off beat hobby? Share it with us in the comments below!