Fact checked by Steven Lines, lifelong Hunter, and Outdoorsman.
Elk hunting is one of North America’s most popular and sought-after hunting adventures. After a successful hunt, most hunters will want to mount their elk to proudly display the animal and preserve the memories from the adventure. But how much does it cost to mount an elk?
Shoulder mounts are one of the most popular options, but they can be pricey. A shoulder-mounted elk can cost anywhere from $900 to $2000, depending on the location and the taxidermist.
No matter the size of the elk, mounting it can be a great way to have a beautiful display piece to hang in your home to remember the hunt and the animal. Continue reading to learn more about elk taxidermy and important considerations for mounting an elk.
Types of Elk Mounts
Elk can be mounted in three ways: lifesize, shoulder, and European. European mounts, while not technically an animal mount, consist of removing the hide and flesh from the skull of an animal for display.
This is easily the most economical option and can be done from home with the right equipment. If you pay a taxidermist to do it for you, it will cost anywhere from $150 to $500.
Shoulder mounts are the next most popular option and consist of placing the hide (starting at the shoulder) on a foam mannikin and having the animal appear as it did when you hunted it. Because these take more time and material, they also cost more.
It also takes a special artistic touch to make these mounts look lifelike, so finding good taxidermists can be challenging. This results in an increased price compared to a basic European skull mount.
The last type of mount is lifesized. This is similar to a shoulder mount but instead consists of the entire animal. As you can imagine, these mounts are extremely large and take up a lot of space.
They also cost the most, as it is even more time and material that must be used to mount the entire body of the animal. These mounts can cost anywhere from $5000 to $12000.
When You Should and Shouldn’t Mount an Elk
Deciding to mount an elk is a personal decision. Before deciding to mount an elk, you may want to consider a few things and ask a few basic questions to yourself. For example, do you have the room or wall space to put a shoulder mount in your home?
If not, perhaps a European mount is a better option. Your budget can also play an important role in the decision. While lifesized mounts look really cool, most people often do not have the money or space to keep them and instead will get a shoulder mount or European mount that can be hung on the wall.
Why Taxidermy Costs So Much
The costs of taxidermy continue to increase every year. But why does it cost so much to mount an elk anyways? The costs come down to how much time it takes to mount the elk, the material that is used, and the skill level it takes.
European mounts are the cheapest because they take very little skill or time to do, and they also require very few supplies or materials. Shoulder mounts, on the other hand, take much more time to put together and takes a skilled artist to do. They also take more materials, adding to the costs.
How Long Does It Take to Mount an Elk?
The time it takes to mount an elk will depend entirely on the taxidermist who is doing the work. Some taxidermists are in high demand and will have work backed up for a few years. Others may not have as much work or have additional help, allowing them to mount an elk in a matter of months.
In general, it will take anywhere from 6 months to two years to shoulder mount an elk, while European mounts may only take a few days or weeks to complete.
Lifesized mounts can take much longer, and it is not uncommon for them to take as long or longer than shoulder mounts, depending on the availability of taxidermy supplies and artist demand.
Best Elk Taxidermists
Elk taxidermists can be found in every state, but the most skilled are found in the states where elk reside. Here are a few of the best elk taxidermists that can mount your elk with reasonable prices, great turnaround times, and amazing quality!
Judkins Custom Taxidermy
Located in Sandy, Utah, Judkins Custom Taxidermy has been in business for over 20 years and is known for its amazing elk mounts that have won several taxidermy competitions. They offer high-quality work and payment plans to help hunters better afford the mount of their dreams!
Dan French Taxidermy
Located in Laporte, Colorado, Dan French owns and operates a full-sized taxidermy studio that boasts some of the quickest turnaround times in the country.
Instead of waiting years to get your elk mount back, with Dan French Taxidermy, you will get it back in under seven months, with many only waiting seven weeks to complete their elk mounts. This is extremely fast, and the quality is extremely good as well!
Lengacher’s World-Class Taxidermy
For those wanting the most realistic and lifelike mounts in the world, look no further than Legachers World Class Taxidermy. This taxidermy shop has won more world competitions than any other and knows what it takes to make a piece of art with your elk.
They are located in southern Indiana and can help you achieve a world-class elk mount.
Mounting your elk is an excellent way to preserve the legacy and memory of a special hunt. It can allow you to proudly display the animal in a place where you can look back on these memories every single day and inspire others to get out there as well!
Steven Lines is a hunter and outdoorsman from Safford, Arizona, USA. Since he was a child, he has been hunting and fishing and has over 20 years of outdoor experience. Steven works as a hunting guide in Arizona during his spare time and runs a Youtube channel dedicated to sharing his outdoor adventures with others.