"Can't Kill the King" Wins Honors

Send by email Printer-friendly version Share this

Craig, Colorado can be considered the hub of hunting, with a large migrating elk herd and home to a variety of wildlife. Taxidermists there share plenty of work from hunters. Two taxidermists, Scott Moore and Leland Reinier from Craig collaborated on "Can't Kill the King." Leland Reiner owns Big Cat Taxidermy, and Scott Moore owns Mountain Man Taxidermy. Reiner took over the business from his father, and says his father was one of the best, that in his father's time taxidermist didn't want to share any of their trade secrets, and his father wouldn't enter work into competitions. But Reiner thinks the business has changed, that by collaborating and doing competitions everyone comes out a better taxidermist, and in this case friends. Moore started taxidermy work at 15 when he worked under Bob Barton at Mountain Man Taxidermy, he says he was lucky and caught a break with Barton taking him in and teaching him everything. Now the industry has changed and there are seminars for taxidermists.

Can't Kill the King is a project that took over 80 hours and $4,000, a full sized African Lion. Moore contacted Reiner for help on the project. They won first place in the collective artist division at the Colorado State Taxidermy Competition. From Craig Daily Press.


hunter25's picture

Beautiful mount and a great

Beautiful mount and a great win for these guys. What makes it even more impressive is the mount being of an animal that I'm sure they don't get much practice with. That is what shows the quality of the work and the attention to detail and research that a great taxidermist puts into his work. I don't get work done very often but when I do I drive past many shops much closer to home to go where I know I can trust to recieve the quality of work I demand. Some of my friends have had stuff done locally that although not bad just don't give you a wow factor. Some of them would even be better kept in the shed than in the house. I learned my lesson a long time ago when I had a squirrel mounted by a local "prize winning" taxidermist. What I got back lookked more like a rat than a squirrel, he did no research on a local animal and bent the tail wrong and put it on the wrong type of tree branch. I actually just threw it away a couple of months later.

Anyway impressive work here and congratulations to the winners.

arrowflipper's picture


Great news for all taxidermy lovers.... they now collaborate on making things better.  I have used several taxidermists over the years and there is a huge difference between them.  You would think that in an industry this small that there would be a lot of similarity, but that's just not the case.  Each taxidermist is an island, doing his own kind of work.  And as the article stated, they seldom share trade secretes. 

Taxidermists are "artists".  Like a painter or sculptor, they reproduce an animal as close to what it looked like in life as possible.  I can't tell you how many times someone has looked at one of my mounts and commented on how it looked 'alive'.  That's the objective.  Exactly like a painter wants his/her painting to look real, so does a good taxidermist.

And boy has the industry changed over the years!  The forms used are nothing like they were 40 years ago.  I shot a nice mule deer buck in the early 70's and wanted to try my hand (I really couldn't afford a real taxidermist) at mounting him myself.  I went to a local taxidermist and bought a form from him.  It was made of heavy, solid fiberglass with no chance of modification.  You should have seen my end product.  Today, the forms are easy to mold and change and the detail on the forms is incredible.  The veins and wrinkles on my first commercially mounted deer were put on with clay.  Today, they are built right into the foam form.

With all that said, I believe the hardest animals to mount are cats.  If I am looking for a new taxidermist, I always ask to see his cats.  If they can mount a cat that looks alive, then they will do a good job on my deer or bear or whatever.  Just look at the cat's face and you will have no trouble deciding if it looks real.

The lion that won first prize looks fantastic. 


GooseHunter Jr's picture

That is pretty cool to hear

That is pretty cool to hear of some local guys from Colorado do well in the contest.  That is also a great looking mount.  Congrats to all that helped make it possible.