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Breakthrough's Encounter with Hurricane Ida

Breakthrough's Encounter with Hurricane Ida

I felt it was important and necessary to let our readers know why our office has been shut down for phone calls and Internet communication for many days in September. As of this writing, because of Hurricane Ida, we still have no telephones or Internet at the Breakthrough office. We only recently reached the company that handles our Website and they assisted us in getting our Website orders with safety and security for our customers. Here is a short story of what has happened.

On August 28, 2021 I was enjoying my birthday with family and friends… OK, I will tell you, my 73rd. We all expected that the next day would be anxious with Hurricane Ida strengthening and showing a direct path toward the Louisiana coast near Grand Isle, about 100 miles south of us. We had all been through some pretty bad hurricanes in the past, but the eventual path Ida took would produce the worst devastation our home area (Hammond, Louisiana) has ever experienced. The storm hit us August 29, only a few days before our press date for this issue. Unlike thousands of other businesses and homes in south Louisiana, our office and house suffered no severe damage, but we were facing no electrical power, no land-line telephones, nor Internet for weeks. It took days before any dependable cell phone communication returned.

Our local airport reported gusts to 134 mph and sustained winds of 110–115 mph as we were in the eastern eye wall of the storm for 6 hours. Being 40 miles northwest of New Orleans, our topography and landscape abounds with mature virgin pines and towering oaks. Thousands of these trees were uprooted and broken over by these powerful winds, downing power lines and poles. Our personal property has 18 mature pines and oaks on the ground. Fallen trees and then water intrusion damaged or destroyed at least 50 percent of the homes in our neighborhood.

As bad as it was here, there are locations along coastal parishes of Louisiana that were hit much harder than we were, with winds exceeding 150 mph, tidal surges, and up to 15 inches of rain.

Two weeks after the storm we had power restored to our office where Kathy has her graphic and publishing computers, but no telephones, emails, or Internet. I had a gasoline generator at our home office where I work enabling us to finally complete this issue 17 days after Ida. There were several articles, such as reference and stories of the new Taxidermy Hall of Fame inductees, planned for this issue but we could not complete them because of no Internet, photography, and graphic needs. Our reference articles and much more will be back as normal next issue, including coverage of the 2021 European Taxidermy Championships in Budapest Hungary.

We offer a big thank you to all who have reached out to check on our well being, who have offered hope and assistance. I hope by the time this issue is printed and mailed we will have all of the good features we have come to work and live with. God is great, and even in times of difficulty he gives us the strength we need to continue. •

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Seasonal Habitat for Turkey Mounts

Seasonal Habitat for Turkey Mounts

by Scenes-n-Nature

Taxidermists are often asked to create a base for multiple turkeys, whether a hunter was fortunate enough to score the coveted Grand Slam or simply had a great spring. We will walk through techniques that could be used to achieve any type of lightweight wall mount display for clients.

There were a few different processes we could have used. This includes creating an understructure: breaking pieces of foam and screwing them together, then applying spray foam. There are also other common methods involving chicken wire or carving A/B foam.

For what we had in mind, these techniques were not ideal. Using these methods often makes the display heavy and limits the shape of a custom rock. While they certainly have their places in the world of taxidermy, we went another direction. Our process allowed us to adjust terrain formations as we went and create a dynamic base without the weight. •

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Mounting a Fox Squirrel Using the John Cook Sawdust Method

Mounting a Fox Squirrel Using the John Cook Sawdust Method

by David Luke

In the early seventies, state taxidermy organizations began to flourish around the United States. The years were exhilarating to young and old taxidermists alike as the organizations grew quickly, with bi-monthly meetings, state competitions, and regional get-togethers. It was no different here in the South as our regions grew rapidly in dedication to the taxidermy arts. In the earlier days of creating these organizations, there were many “big hitters” in our organizations: men and women taxidermists who spearheaded the growth of our industry. Most of these men and woman have gone on before us; due to their hard work, sharing of information, and leading us into the future, taxidermy organizations fortunately are strong today, sharing work knowledge, supplies, and new concepts.

In our Gulf Coast states, there were few taxidermy families that stood out more vividly than the family of Mr. John Cook. Working the Gulfport-Biloxi area with all phases of taxidermy, John raised a family that included three sons: Buzzy, Ronnie, and Sam, who all became well-known, knowledgeable, and successful taxidermists. This is where the mounting technique of using balsa wood sawdust on squirrels was first shown to me. When traveling East on I-10 through coastal Mississippi, I would stop by their large studio directly off of Interstate-10 and visit. On my first visit, John his son Ronnie were busy at the workbench mounting southern fox squirrels. With a dozen fox squirrels mounted on driftwood, drying, and six on their bench, I was amazed at the speed and efficiency that father and son worked, but what was totally intriguing was how all four legs were “stuffed,” and that the entire squirrel was flexible and moveable to any shape, especially, to fit any driftwood or base! •

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What the Customer Wants… He GETS!

What the Customer Wants… He GETS!

by Larry Blomquist and Jim Beenken

Two winters ago Jim Beenken, an award-winning taxidermist and sculptor from Wisconsin, texted me some intriguing photos of a project he had just completed. It was unique, different, and eye catching. A few months later he and I were discussing the article I was writing about the World Taxidermy Championships® Live Sculpting Competition and I asked him to send me more photos of the project. I suggested that it would be a very good human interest story for Breakthrough. With his additional photos and an hour interview on the project, here is the story of the Samurai warriors on horseback. •

TO SUBSCRIBE OR RENEW, VISIT WWW.BREAKTHROUGHMAGAZINE.COM OR CALL 800-783-7266.

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Mammals Part 3: The Balancing Act

Mammals Part 3: The Balancing Act

by Brian Hendricks

The Value of a Good Scoresheet.  The first few times you utilize a taxidermy competition scoresheet, you learn as much, if not more, from it before the competition than after. A scoresheet helps to guide your focus through the entire mounting process—from choosing a position to the final finish work and the habitat. Just understanding every term on the scoresheet will make you a better taxidermist. But you need to be diligent and continually focus on all the components. There should not be a huge difference from your commercial work to your competition pieces. People like to think that practice makes perfect, but really perfect practice makes perfect. Practice, practice, and more practice, solidifies muscle memory, good or bad. The World Taxidermy Championships® scoresheets are not about being as great as God or nature; it is about creating the most perfect taxidermy piece possible. Perfect practice is about how to get there.

TO SUBSCRIBE OR RENEW, VISIT WWW.BREAKTHROUGHMAGAZINE.COM OR CALL 800-783-7266.

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