Taxidermy can often be expensive to have done. Before you have a deer stuffed, make sure you know how much it’s going to cost you.
The average price of taxidermy for a deer shoulder mount is $658 in the United States, but prices frequently range between $475 – $850.
There are a lot of taxidermists out there, so it is important that you are getting the best quality work and price.
Below is a table with the cost of shoulder mounting a deer at 21 different taxidermists in different areas.
The average price is approximately $658. The most common price is $750. The cheapest price is $475 and the most expensive is $850. Some companies will charge an extra $50 or so to include a panel-the board on which the deer is attached-though some include that with the normal price.
Many companies have prices that vary based on the job. The size, type, and condition of the deer will all factor in. Some areas have a lot of competition between taxidermists, so there is a lot of fluctuation in prices. If you are thinking of going with a company because of their price, talk to a representative directly to make sure that the price is still the same and see if there are factors that may increase the price, such as including a panel, extra cleaning, or bringing in a different type of deer.
Make sure to do some research into the prices in your area and pay attention to reviews of companies. This will help you find a company that will give you the quality you want for the price that you want.
Introduction to Taxidermy
Taxidermy is a method of preserving deceased, vertebrate animals for display. You often see taxidermied creatures in museums, but they can also be found in houses and cabins. People often have animals taxidermied that they have killed while hunting. Small and large animals can be taxidermied, and their whole bodies can be stuffed, or just their heads. You can even just mount the antlers of a deer or moose on the wall. The more large and elaborate the taxidermy project will be, the more it will cost.
Contrary to popular belief, only the skin of the dead animal is part of the taxidermy process. The animals are not “stuffed” either. The taxidermist cleans and preserves the skin of the animal, then stretches and shapes it on a frame that is modeled after the animal. These frames are typically made up of wire, wood, and wool.
The taxidermist will start by skinning the dead animal, cleaning the hide, and sending it to a tannery. Tanneries will preserve the skin through salting, drying, and chemical solutions, then send it back to the taxidermist. Before sending it to the tannery, the taxidermist takes measurements of the animal and skin. While the skin is being preserved, the taxidermist will build a frame of the animal. Once the skin comes back from the tannery, the taxidermist will stretch the skin out over the model, making sure it lines up with the limbs, face, and body of the frame. They will then sew the skin up, and the animal is taxidermied.
The eyes of the animal are usually made of glass or acrylic because the real eyes of the animal will rot away quickly. When a deer or moose is taxidermied, the taxidermist will also remove the antlers, clean them, and attach them back to the animal at the end. Shoulder mounted animals can also come mounted on a panel, or just attached to the wall.
Already taxidermied shoulder-mounted deer heads are available to purchase online. On eBay, used ones tend to range from $100-500, while new ones that have not been displayed can be from $700-4,000. The cost primarily depends on the owner and the condition of the trophy. If you can, look at the trophy you are buying in person. Pictures can often be deceiving, and the trophy may be in worse condition than it appears in a photo. Make sure that you are paying a good price for the trophy that you are purchasing.
Caring for Taxidermied Trophies
If you have a taxidermied deer, you may have spent a lot of time hunting it yourself. You also probably spent a lot of money getting it taxidermied. You probably want it to last as long as possible. In order to make sure your taxidermied deer lasts a long time, you can’t just leave it alone on the wall. You need to make sure to take care of it.
- Keep your taxidermied trophies out of direct sunlight. UV light can cause fading and cracking.
- Make sure your trophy is not in a place with shifts in temperature or humidity, like outside, in a garage, or above a commonly used fireplace.
- Make sure that your trophy is mounted on the wall correctly. Falling off the wall may damage your trophy. Use high-quality screws or bolts that won’t break. For heavy trophies, make sure they are centered on a wall stud or attached to two studs, as this will offer them more support; you should also use more than one screw or bolt to hold it so that the weight is distributed.
- You will need to clean your trophy regularly. If it is in a controlled environment, clean it about once a month. If it is exposed to high amounts of dust, clean it twice a month. Use water and mild cleaners to dust the fur and use glass cleaner to clean the eyes, which are usually made of glass.
- When not displaying your trophy, keep it in a dark, dry area. Make sure it is kept away from bugs. Moths especially can really damage your trophy.
- Don’t touch your trophy more than you have to. The oils from your skin can damage the fur and skin of your trophy. Try to use a clean cloth if you absolutely need to touch it.
- Keep your trophy out of reach of pets and children. They will not know to be as gentle with it as they need to be.
Getting an Animal Taxidermied
Once you have killed an animal that you would like to taxidermy, here are a few steps you need to take when transporting the animal to a taxidermist.
- Be careful when handling the animal carcass. Don’t damage the hair or feathers of the animal. The taxidermist will make sure that the end result looks good and that the fur is clean and brushed, but they can’t make fur grow back if it is torn off. Clean off any blood before it dries. The taxidermist may charge you more if you make their cleaning job harder than it has to be.
- You can skin the animal yourself if you know how, but skinning the animal is part of the taxidermist’s job. If you skin it yourself, don’t roll up the hide. Let it hang free and dry.
- Don’t cut the throat or “bleed” the kill. This is unnecessary and will damage the carcass.
- Try not to drag it across the ground. This will remove hair and damage the skin.
- Try to get the animal to the taxidermist as soon as possible. It will be easier for the taxidermist to skin. If you can’t get it to the taxidermist quickly, freeze the carcass.
- Keep it clean and dry as you transport it.
- Don’t put the carcass in a plastic bag unless you are planning on freezing it.