Tough Times in the Taxidermy Business

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The Great Recession has hit nearly every segment of the U.S. economy and taxidermists are no exception.

The Star Tribune has a rambling article up about the taxidermy trade and takes an interesting look at Storm Amacher and her business. It's worth a read if for no other reason than to learn about how a European mount is prepared with bugs.

The fallout among taxidermists can be felt even in the bug business, said Storm Amacher, owner in St. Paul of Remains to be Seen, a provider of flesh-eating services. "Some taxidermists I worked with for years are no longer around,'' Storm said the other day. "Times are tough for a lot of people.'"


jim boyd's picture

I guess this should be no

I guess this should be no suprise... times really are tough all over and hunting expenses will, by rules that are predicated by having to pay the bills - be some of the first to get pared down.

Taxidermy is certainly no exception to that rule. More on that later.

I have definitely seen a tremendous reduction locally here in the south as far as hunting expenditures are concerned.

Five years ago - you could not find a lease in Game Zone 6 in South Carolina... and if you could find one, the cost per acre was sky high... all of the hunting clubs were full - you name it...

Now, leases are not only available but they are also lower in cost.

We are seeing land owners make concessions they would not have made back then.

More and more folks are opting for European mounts rather than shoulder mounts.

Many are just using a $15 plaque and are mounting the antlers themselves...

States are seeing less hunters and revenues are down - that is no wonder... if left with having to pay for the kids braces or go hunting, which one do you choose?

Look how many guide services have gone out of business.... I will now tie this to taxidermy - as I alluded to earlier....

Of all the things that CAN be let go - and a person still continue to hunt - taxidermy and guide services are two of them.

You can still hunt close to home and you can put a set of antlers on a plaque yourself!

What you can not (generally) do without are licenses, a vehicle, fuel, etc.... so, it should be no surprise that this article points out a reduction in animals that are taken in for professional taxidermy services...

My .02, anyway!

Thanks - Jim

Sad for the little guy


I am sad to see the state of affairs in our economy. What makes it worse is the little guy is taking most of the fall from it. Not a whole lot of bail out for them either. It is an interesting story of how Storm uses these bugs to create the mounts. I am sure that is not a common skill you find in every town. Taxidermy is a business supporting by mostly by sportsman obviously. People are less likely to pay the money for a mount when things are tight at the house. I for one have recently used the taxidermy business with both a deer mount and fish mount last year but it is not a cheap endeavor by no means. I can understand how the working class person is less likely to spend that money anymore and just take pictures instead for memory sake.

hawkeye270's picture

Well... well... I think it is

Well... well... I think it is about time we start sending off our resume boys! ha I am sure being a professional writer is a lot harder than we give it credit for but I agree, this article is not of the highest quality. I can give you guys my word that you will never have to see the words "genitalia paraphernalia game" in any of my stories ha ha. I have never heard of that and it struck me as a little bit odd.

I think you might have hit the nail on the head with the fact that new taxidermists are just not going to be able to break into the market at a time like this. The economic climate that we have found ourselves in is not very friendly to any business newbies... especially a business that provides only a luxury. I bet that the economy has hurt even the established shops though. There are a lot of people that are not going to get that borderline buck or bull mounted in the current economy. A bull elk can run you up over a grand with detachable antlers and that is not a figure to laugh at.

CVC's picture

Detachable antlers on an elk

Detachable antlers on an elk mount?  I have never heard of that, but i am assuming that you can remove and re-install the antlers in case you need to move or transport the elk?  If so, that makes sense, but I have truly never heard of it.

Once again I learn something new on here.

gatorfan's picture

Man, I bet that writer gets

Man, I bet that writer gets nervous every time he submits a new story!  All his editor has to do is come on one of these hunting forums one time and he'll be able to find a replacement writer in minutes!

I haven't heard about a huge drop-off in hunting numbers so I was a little surprised to read that there is a big drop-off in taxidermists.  I would guess that, if there is indeed a big drop-off, it would be more likely those that have only been in business for a short time.  A good taxidermist makes a living mainly by repeat customers and word of mouth.  I can't imagine that there are very many successful "new" taxidermists in areas where there is already an established practice.

I have always been interested in some day getting some of those beetles and trying it out myself!


CVC's picture

I hear you....the stories

I hear you....the stories written on here have been much better than this professionals.  Maybe someone will get offered a job.  It wouild be fun to write about hunting, but I think the pay probably sucks.

I haven't heard about taxidermists going out of business around here.  As far as I can tell business is still good.  My taxidermist seems to have lots of work.  When I dropped off my goat his shop was full with antlers and other mounts in various stages of work.

I am not sure about the beetles, but I think you have to keep a steady supply of food for them.  So, keeping beetles will require having people bring you skulls or purchasing food for them.  Wonder how much they need to eat to survive?

CVC's picture

Man, you weren't kidding when

Man, you weren't kidding when you said it was a rambling story.  it goes all over the place with no direction or theme.  It was slightly interesting,but could have been more informative.  I like the job beetles do on a skull and I usually get europeon mounts because they are less expensive and look good too.

They are right about the problems with boiling a skull.  you have to be careful of the antlers or horns and not overcook it or the skull will become brittle.  I did one myself by just letting it sit in water and picking at it over several days.  It worked out well and looks as good as the pro's, but if I can afford it I'll send it off to be done.  Less hassel.