by Courtney Shaheen
First and foremost, before starting a competition piece, I would recommend you find a good reference photo of the type of animal you plan to mount that really strikes you and piques your interest. As soon as I found this reference photo of a coyote scratching its side with such a look of pure satisfaction, I knew that’s what I wanted to do for this piece.
This coyote had been in the freezer for a few years; my dad had shot her one winter and I didn’t want to waste the hide as she had a very pretty coat. I didn’t save the carcass for casting, however, nor did I take any measurements, so I had to sculpt the form for this piece from scratch. Challenge accepted. I really enjoy challenging myself and this was a perfect opportunity. I had to think about my stitching and how I could minimize the seams that would be within reach for a judge, and decide how to skin this animal accordingly. Minus the relief cuts on the front legs, I was able to hide all my stitching by tubing-out the coyote from the back legs and having it sit on the seam.
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