Capp's Taxidermy Studio

African,north,south American wildlife taxidermy art and sculptures

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Archive for April, 2012


You must improvise a lot in live. At Capp’s Taxidermy Studio LLC , we must improvise every day .Thinking on your feet.  Every time we do a life mount , we must improvise by make the form fit the skin, by altering the way the form is to meet the standard of the client . You are only limited to the way you think. For example, you are mounting up a impala and you ordered the form to the dry measurements of the tan,ordered the glass eyes,etc.. When you are done prepping the form and the skin you noticed that the earliners are the wrong size and now you must make your own, you can do a bondo ear which is fine for bison or hogs but not for a thin ear impala so that means that you must use the real liner as a guide and make a pair out of h-form which is plastic with a cloth sides which I make a lot of custom liners out of. so you make one,try it,trim it,re do it, etc.., until it fits perfect. then the form is too long in the face so you cut some off and reattach the nose piece or fill with foam and then sand to fit and so on–that is what everyday at the studio is,esp. if you are doing life mounts. Then you are basically  remaking the form that you just spend hundred’s on. On fish you must do it a lot, the fins are not perfect so you are fixing them,etc..Same with live in general, you cannot make this so you make that, the road is down so you must find another way to your destination . its a way of live here for me . So if this studio is to stay professional then we must improvise to please the clients and myself…..


US Custom now has a war on American hunters . They are making up rules as they go. They are seizing legally taken African/world game that requires a CITIES permit to enter this country. Take for an example ,leopards that are taken legally with the quotas in the country of origin are seal by their wildlife dept. with the right paperwork but now the custom ports are saying that must have the number in quota that they were taken–5 of 300, etc, and not telling the country of origin that they must now have this on the seals. Each port has their own rules it seams .The head of the USFG has promised to fix this big problem but as of Feb. at the SCI meeting in Vegas has failed to do this but promised to get around to it someday. So when  hunters wants to go to Africa to hunt, hopefully they do not want a CITIES permit animal but if they do they all must first get a SP 50 forms for their firearms and send it in to US Customs and then if they are sure that they are hunting a CITIES critter that must apply form 3-177 at least 3 months  before going over or if not sure then apply after you come home  for you only have 1 yr to have your trophy shipped into customs before the permit is no good and they are not allowing any more shipments to be exported and then imported again and no more 30 day grace period and so your shipment will be seized. I only trust a few US custom ports ,(they are not all the same cuz of the personnel ) they are -so far – friendly to the hunters and will work with the custom brokers that my studio--Capp’s Taxidermy Studio LLC  uses and if they are in need of a USDA I have them shipped to one of the tanneries I use by that port. All of this is in my international hunting packet that is given to hunters that are using my studio for their taxidermy. So if you are going,call or email and find out the good and the bad about the trip and shipping home your trophies……………

Mother Nature

Nothing in the world is perfect, there is always something just off center compared to the other side. In the animal world there is always off. On antler game-elk, deer , etc. one side is perfect and the other side of the rack maybe laid out a little to the left or right or the horn is up higher on the main beam or its the tines that are different. On horned game-antelope,goats,etc. are different for those horn shells are removed to clean the meat under the horn and are placed back on with glue and are arranged back to almost perfect but some do grow just like antlers. Now it’s the taxidermist job at Capp’s Taxidermy Studio LLC to make them almost perfect when they are placed on the form for mounting by placing wedges under the skull cap to align it so it looks normal. All animals have something out of place, just look close at your pet,even people are like that-one eye is lower that the other, nothing is perfect . There is one record book that measures animal horns,skulls and antlers and in their world it must be perfect or you get a deduction on the final score and I think that is just wrong. The main record book that I place my entries in is SCI and they measure everything and that’s the way it should be for nothing in the real world is perfect….


Decisions,Decisions,Decisions, what to do . When you bring in your critter to a taxidermist like Capp’s Taxidermy Studio LLC  you have to make a decision on what you are going to do-reality you have to make that decision when you harvested the animal but that another blog.Are you going to do a shoulder mount for the wall or a pedestal mount-alone or with a habitat with it or a floor pedestal or a table one. Or are you going to do a rug-open or closed mouth  and what 2 colors of felt,backing are you going to do-most have the wife pick out the colors to match the room it will be going in. Or finally you can do a life mount,open or closed mouth, running, bedded, walking, climbing. Habitat can be rock, water,logs, sand, and on and on. Then on all but the rug,which way are you going to turn it, left, right, straight or something custom. The shoulder mount will take up the less room but a simple life mount will take up less room than a rug. But in my opinion you can do what you have the room for but if you have the room, do a life mount. Its requires a lot more attention to details but if you want something WOW, then this is it but only if you realty use your imagination and do not just have it there staring into space, make a work of art out of it. have it bedded with a kill by it and small game sneaking in on it or have like a mt goat bedded with blue grouse walking by it and the goats head looking down but the eyes watching them, or have a bear running on river rock or in water with it splashing up with a fish in its mouth.  Mt lion or a leopard climbing a branch or rock with a kill its it mouth. Make them great for you will have a lifetime to look at them and If done right like  by Capp’s Taxidermy Studio                                                                         LLC you can have WOW….

Fish mounts 2

Warm water fish or cold water fish, it matters when you are mounting one. Warm water fish do not have much oils in the skin and fins and the skin is a lot thicker than a cold water fish. Warm fish are pike, walleye,bass,perch,etc and they are all white colored meat,very good to eat. For color, they have a lot of green and yellows in them and do not change shape or color when spawning like a cold water fish. They are mounted the same as all other fish here at Capp’s Taxidermy Studio LLC with a hand carved body,a custom molded fiberglass head,hand painted glass eyes and all painted with a airbrush with lacquer and a completion gloss top coat. With the cold water species, like trout and salmon these fish are very oily and must have the head , of course,and fins removed and glass ones are placed in their areas on the skin(fin replacement is on large fish only or on all salmon). They have lots more color than warm water fish and all turn different colors and shapes when spawning and that is what most clients want their fish too look like , even if they are not caught in the spawn time. They both take time to dry out right so it does take months to get them back, why, cuz they have to dry, fins will curl if not done right,and then it’s just working them into the rotation. If you want one within a couple of months then I would say to get a repo one of the fish,warm or cold. So I guess that whatever species you are fishing for and catch a good one,take care of it stated in fish mounts below these post,and have it mounted by a professional taxidermist so you and everyone can enjoy it…

fish mounts 2

Fish mounts

There are two ways to mount a fish. One is the real skin mount and the other one is a glass repo mount. To do the skin mount one must caught the the fish and then take a pic of it,wrap it in a cloth-towel,old shirt-and keep it cold. If one is in a mountain lake or camping you can bury it in salt in a bag and it will keep for a few days. Bring it into the taxidermist as soon as you can then before mother nature starts on it. Here at Capp’s Taxidermy Studio LLC we do more skin mounts than repo’s . Here we hand make the body and using the real one as a reference,take a mold of its head and make one out of glass so it looks like the moment you took it out of the water. Then when all dried,it is then painted by airbrush with lacquer paints and a enamel top coat for real life perfection . The repo’s are bought by the two measurements ,length x width. There is a lot of junk on the market now and this studio only buys the best there is and you cannot tell the difference between the repo and a real skin mount. They will come in and the fins are placed on and sometimes the head too. All the litte defects are fixed and on to the paint part of the process. The repo one will be completed faster than the skin mounts for the main reason they do not have to dry. When choosing a fish taxidermist, one must check out all of their work in person and on their web site, don’t just call around for a rate for real good fish taxidermist are hard to find and not everyone is created equal. Have fun and go fishing and bring someone with you…….

Shipping trophies 2

When hunting aboard,it’s a complete different world from hunting and shipping your trophies to the taxidermist from north America . First thing is to decide on what you want to hunt . Then if any of those trophies are a CITIES permit animal then you must apply for the permit ,3months before you go. Then go to the taxidermist and they will give you a international hunting packet which here at Capp’s Taxidermy Studio LLC contains papers for the USDA, customs,shipping tags,etc that you help you when hunting and shipping your trophies back to the USA and to the taxidermist. Once you are there and start harvesting game , they will bring your trophy to the skinning shed and that is where you will give them your shipping tags-2 per animal,one for the skin and the other for the skull or horns. Then your trophies will be brought to a taxidermist to be dipped and packed for the shipment to your custom broker, this will take awhile,it’s not like hunting here when you can box your game and take them on the plane,etc with you. Here it will take 3 to 16 months to get your turn to be shipped . South Pacific is the quickest at 3 months and the further you go inland in Africa, the longer it will take to get here. For your CITIES permit animal,elephant,leopard,croc,etc you must have the export co. ship them before the permit expires which is one year or you will have to reapply and start all over again. Once the trophy care is paid for, they are shipped by air freight on commercial airlines to a USDA port and then on to your custom broker in the port that you have picked,clears customs and all is paid for on this end it then is shipped by freight to your USDA taxidermist or to the tannery that your taxidermist uses for USDA . And its only go to a USDA tannery if you harvested swine-hog- or primate- baboon. It can get very complicated so be patience and contact your PH , taxidermit and your broker when questions come up. The final cost usually runs around $1200 to $2400, depending on the weight and that’s for all, customs,USDA,air bill and ground shipping. If you take three plains game or 12 plains game,it usually cost the same in shipping so you want to have fun and spend some time hunting and enjoy that country, you may be back to hunt again or you may never see that country again so have fun.

Shipping trophies

When shipping in trophies to the taxidermy shop like Capp’s Taxidermy Studio LLC,you must do the following. On game animals You must skin out the trophy and use fine salt and if you want and have a freezer in camp, then freeze them too, if no freezer then you will have to roll up the hide with the salt inside and place the hide out of the weather and get it off the ground ,place it on an angle so the hide can drain. If you are out in the bush for sometime, then you will have to start to dry out the hide and then you can fold the hide so it can fit in a box for shipping. On birds , you can place them in a woman’s pantyhose , that way the nylon holds the feathers down tight to the body with no damage and then they must be frozen. On fish, you can do two things, one is to take a photo and measure length x width and put it back in the water or you can or the real skin mount-only on some types of fish- and place it in a cloth,and freeze it or keep it on ice-2 days top. Or if you are without a freezer , you can bury the fish in salt and it will be good for 3 or so days. If the items are frozen without being salted then you must ship by next day air,FedEx or UPS. If the item is freshly salted then you could go with next day air or 2 day air- its a little cheaper. If the item is dry salted then you can mail it by whatever for it will not go bad but use one with a tracking number. For all frozen or freshly salted item you can use a waxed fish box or a real cooler, place inside with some newspaper and duct tape the hell out of it so no leaking occurs. For all other one can use a regular box. Once the items are mounted and ready to be shipped,it’s measured and a box is custom built for the item or items out of plywood-for UPS- and for larger mounts it’s built out of 7/16 wafer board ,the mount is then screwed into the wood on the crate and then cross bars are placed by the horns so nothing moves,once the client receives the crate,it does take awhile to unpack. All shipment are then shipped out by a major freight lines. Capp’s receives a major discount that is passed on to the client so it’s not as large a bite out of the pocketbook.The best thing to do is to contact the taxidermist before you go for the shipping packet and after you come back so they can be on the watch for the shipment…..