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Our First Ever Virtual Photo Competition With the New Mexico Taxidermy Association

Our First Ever Virtual Photo Competition With the New Mexico Taxidermy Association

by Larry Blomquist

We can blame the COVID-19 virus for the multitude of changes that have evolved in our lives and  businesses for the past 10 months; it seems like years for me.  How many times have you heard the words “virtual,” “Zoom,” “lockdown,” and “social distancing” during this pandemic? Nevertheless, life and our economy must carry on so many business owners have found or fashioned new ways to keep their businesses viable using the Internet. With the Internet and digital photography being important parts of our lifestyle today, and they have rocketed in usage during the last two decades. They have made the pandemic and lockdown more bearable than just 10 years ago.

    I was contacted by John Young, a board member of the New Mexico Taxidermy Association, who wanted to try something different for their members since their May 2020 show was called off because of the pandemic. He wanted to have a photo competition for the association members. His emphasis was to work with me on doing this and as incentive he told members if their mounts were selected they might be published in Breakthrough. Plus he had an idea that would produce prize money.

    I must say I was hesitant at first, but after considering the challenge I said yes. John and I put some information together and I suggested a scoresheet that would take into account that judging was by submitted photos, 3 to 5 for each entry, and limited scrutiny would be available for judges to see. I secured the services of three judges: Joe Meder, mammals; Dave Luke, birds; and Jeff Mourning, fish and reptiles.

    By the end of September there were 16 entries submitted, fewer than John had hoped for, but he and I agreed enough to move forward for this first attempt. I will admit it was more time consuming than I expected to develop and send scoresheets out for each entry with instructions on how to return them by email so we would have understandable critiques for the competitors. I thought the judges did an excellent job in scoring and critiquing the entries. In fact, if we had time and room I think that would have been another learning experience for our readers. I am not sure I would try this experience again, but I certainly learned from it and could do it at a faster and more efficient pace if I did repeat it. For now, I will consider it a one-time experience and stick at producing the World Show where I have 30 years experience.

    We selected six of the entries that had the strongest composition to feature with a smaller glimpse at the other ten. I definitely thought it was an experience we should tell you about and show. Thank you John Young for contacting me and exposing your idea to our subscribers.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2020/Author: Administrator Account/Number of views (4155)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: 5.0
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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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Tuesday, December 15, 2020/Author: Administrator Account/Number of views (3082)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: 1.5
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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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Tuesday, December 15, 2020/Author: Administrator Account/Number of views (3083)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: 3.0
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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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Tuesday, December 15, 2020/Author: Administrator Account/Number of views (2781)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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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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Tuesday, December 15, 2020/Author: Administrator Account/Number of views (2647)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: 5.0
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