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Doin' Stuff With Old Extra Antlers

Doin' Stuff With Old Extra Antlers

by Ralph Garland

This article is filled with a lot of country/mountain jargon. “Piddlin’” is a word that was used a lot where I grew up in the country, so I’m gonna write this the way people still talk in Thorn Hill, Tennessee. This is not to belittle those people. It is to show that a small mountain community is so remote, not only in locale, but also in more modern lifestyles. Judgin’ from my travels, there are other small communities like this within a 50-miles radius, and Tennessee is not the only place like this. There are others, believe it or not.

    I was talkin’ with Larry one day and we got off on whitetail deer antlers: how they accumulate and the things people do with ’em. I told him about a project I was a-workin’ on and the next thing I knew I had agreed to write an article for him. After I finished chastisin’ my-own-self, the wheels in my mind told me, “It couldn’t be all that tough, after all, you used to write articles and you have made stuff out of antlers your-own-self.” Well, I started gatherin’ up things and soon, I had a pretty good bunch of things piled up.

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Preparation of the World's Largest Freshwater Turtle

Preparation of the World's Largest Freshwater Turtle

by J├╝rgen Fiebig and Marco Fischer

The stately male of the Yangtze giant soft-shell turtle (Rafetus swinhoei), who died in January 2016, had lived for many decades in a lake in the middle of the capital Hanoi. With a total length of about 2 meters and a weight of about 170 kilograms, it is the largest known specimen of its nearly extinct species.

    Nobody had ever prepared such a huge soft-shell turtle before; there was no experience in this matter. But we could rely on experience gained in the preparation of very different reptiles, including a Komodo dragon and some species of turtles, in the years before. A medium-sized soft-shelled turtle had also been satisfactorily prepared for the exhibition of the Berlin Museum a few years ago. It was soon also clear to us that for this turtle only the impregnation with polyethylene glycol (PEG) was the method of choice, especially because of the unique texture of the soft turtle carapace (top shell). The leathery epidermis of the shell and the enormous cartilaginous rear edge had to be kept as shrinkage-free as possible. The skin of the neck and extremities, which is enormously spongy when fresh, was very difficult to fix in an appropriate form.

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Article rating: 3.0
Breakthrough Award Winners 2020

Breakthrough Award Winners 2020

The highest award an entry can receive is Judges’ Choice Best of Show. Breakthrough honors this top achievement with the Breakthrough Award for Judges’ Choice Best of Show. Each winner receives a handsome plaque and a gift certificate from Breakthrough worth $50 in subscription renewals and merchandise. This is our way of thanking and perhaps giving additional motivation for the many artists of our profession. Here are the winners from 2020.

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Refurbishing Old Fish Mounts

Refurbishing Old Fish Mounts

by Don Ryno

Having started in taxidermy with my grandfather in 1954, I still enjoy looking at the old mounts. I love redoing old fish mounts to allow them to once again hang proudly on the wall rather than find their way to a Dumpster. A few products that I use are Zip-Strip for stripping, 3006 White Lightening Caulk for hide glue, Zinsser Clear Spray Shellac for sealing, and Ultra Soft for relaxing.

    When relaxing old fish skins, you can get them pliable again, but you won’t get the stretch back. The skins have a lot of memory and want to stay as they were mounted. Clear spray shellac is great, as lacquer will not cut it. You can go over the other colors with spray shellac, then detail with white and not have bleeding.

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Article rating: 5.0
Waterfowl Reference Study: Gadwalls

Waterfowl Reference Study: Gadwalls

by Larry Blomquist

Gadwalls (Mareca strepera) are common and widespread dabbling ducks in the family Anatidae. Gadwalls were first described by Carl Linnaeus in his landmark 1758 10th edition of Systema Naturae. DNA studies have shown that it is a sister species with falcated ducks; the two are closely related to the three species of wigeons, and all of them have been assigned to the genus Mareca.

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