North Rhodes Taxidermy by Ryan J. Rhodes

Frequently Asked Questions
Q) How do I ship a trophy to North Rhodes Taxidermy?
(A): If you are an out of state client and you would like to ship a trophy, here are some helpful tips:

A. All trophies should be treated with care and taken care of promptly to avoid spoiling in the field. Whether you’re hunting on your own or on a trip out west or Canada, your trophy should be skinned off the skull and antlers/horns removed. Hunters from Canada will not be allowed to bring skulls across international borders and your game will be handled accordingly.

B. Keep your trophy as cool as possible. They are best kept frozen, but this isn’t always possible. NEVER let a guide salt a raw hide, EVER! Freshly skinned hides still have lots of meat and fat on them and need to be fleshed properly. If a guide salts a hide not properly fleshed, it could ruin your trophy.

C. The best way to ship a frozen hide is UPS overnight on a Monday only. Don’t take the chance of losing a package over the weekend. If the antlers or horns are detached on the skullplate, they can be shipped separately to avoid excessive charges and oversized boxes.

D. Small mammals such as foxes, coyotes, fisher, etc. can be treated the same way. Never clean or “gut” them. Freeze them whole and ship the same way. The same goes for birds and fish.

E. Migratory birds require a federal tag to be filled out by the hunter. So when shipping migratory birds hunters must send me:

   Full name
   Hunting license number
   Collected date
   Number of
   Where it was collected

F. Alaskan hunters contact me before your trip. Arrangements can be made for your trophy in Alaska.

G. Hunters going to other destinations: Africa, South America, Europe etc., your hides will be treated in the country of origin before being shipped to the United States through a USDA approved facility. Contact us for details on getting your trophies back to the States.
Q) How long should I expect to wait for my mount to be completed ?
(A): All taxidermists will have different turn-around times. I try my best to give my clients an 8-10 month turn-around. No one wants to wait a year or more. If I know I’m behind schedule my clients will receive a call letting them know what the situation is and why. I always try to contact my clients prior to completing a piece to let them know an expected completion date.
(Q) I have a duck or goose to mount and the bill is damaged from shot. Is this a problem that can be fixed?
(A): Not to worry. I almost always use artificial bills on waterfowl mounts. Why? It is a superior product for the longevity of your mount. Real bills can shrink and crack over time leaving you dissatisfied with your piece. An artificial bill eliminates this problem and will last a lifetime, and I guarantee, you’ll never know the difference.
(Q) What does it mean when a taxidermist say s he’s an award winner? And how does this affect me?
(A:) This is always a topic of discussion amongst hunters and taxidermists. Here is my OPINION:
Here at North Rhodes Taxidermy we believe all taxidermists should at least be involved with their state association. There is no better way to learn this trade. Any taxidermist who goes to annual conventions and seminars will tell you that is how they got to where they are. This industry is constantly changing and so are the products and tools we use. Staying involved and seeing other world renowned taxidermists give seminars and critiques is the only way to improve your skill. The main goal is to give our clients better mounts.

On the other hand, clients must realize there is a difference between competition taxidermy and commercial taxidermy. There are different categories at competitions:

Amateur, professional, and masters. In my OPINION, your taxidermist should be able to produce professional quality results with his customer work. I have competed with several customer pieces at the professional level and done well. It’s not to achieve bragging rights, I do it to better serve my clients by always learning new methods. And it is very gratifying.

World and National competition level is a whole different ball game. I’ve never competed at this level, but I hope to some day.
Q) How do I properly care for my trophy in the field?

(A:) It is important that your trophy is taken care of properly and in a timely manner. If you cannot get to a taxidermist right away, here are some tips:

Don't let your deer hang for a long period of time in temperatures above 40 degrees.  The meat will stay longer, but the skin and fur can form bacteria very quickly and will begin to break down the moment the animal dies.  This goes for any furbearers as well.  Try to cape your deer out and get it into a freezer as soon as possible.  The sooner you can do this, the better.  If you are not comfortable skinning mammals properly, freeze them whole.  If you are not comfortable caping a deer, please call me and I’ll be happy to help. When you freeze any specimen, make sure it is wrapped in heavy garbage bags.  Do not leave any areas exposed for long periods of time; this can cause freezer burn, which can ruin your mount.

If you would like to mount a bird, you may freeze them whole as well.  To keep the feathers in order, make sure they all lay naturally against the body.  Birds such as ducks and pheasants can be pulled head first into a nylon to help the feathers lay properly.  You can then wrap the bird in newspaper and put it into a plastic bag.  Try to get as much air out as possible and it won’t hurt to double wrap them.

A fish must be kept relatively wet until you can freeze it or get it to a taxidermist.  Do not let the fish sit in the sun.  Put it in a cooler and keep it damp.  If you have regular store bought borax at your house, you can wipe the fish down from head to tail with it, to remove the natural slime coat that fish have.  This will prevent bacteria from growing.  Then simply rinse the fish off, wrap it in a wet towel or tightly in cellophane, laying all the fins against the body.  Finish off by double bagging in a heavy trash bag.

If taken care of properly, game can last quite a while in the freezer.  But don't take any chances with your trophy and get it to a taxidermist as soon as possible!

© 2015 North Rhodes Taxidermy by Ryan J. Rhodes
Phone: 401-787-2994