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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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Sunday, November 21, 2021/Author: Administrator Account/Number of views (1844)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: 3.7
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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. •

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Sunday, November 21, 2021/Author: Administrator Account/Number of views (1689)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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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.

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Sunday, November 21, 2021/Author: Administrator Account/Number of views (1299)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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National Taxidermists Association

National Taxidermists Association

2021 Convention, Competition, and Trade Show Sioux Falls, South Dakota

After canceling the scheduled 2020 convention due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NTA came roaring back to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for the 50th annual National Taxidermists Association convention, competition, and trade show. The NTA had been at this facility three times before: in 2005, 2011, and 2019, at the Ramkota Hotel and Convention Center. There were 233 competition entries, 110 registrations, 196 banquet attendees, and 27 states represented.

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Sunday, November 21, 2021/Author: Administrator Account/Number of views (1178)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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How to Paint a Flathead Catfish

How to Paint a Flathead Catfish

by Ron Kelly

This is a paint schedule for a flathead catfish (Pylodictus olivaris) or what some folks call an opelousas or yellow cat.

Like all fish, these catfish vary in coloration from a yellow to brown and almost black at times. They are a fun and profitable fish to do as they cannot be conventionally mounted very well, so a good replica will save you a lot of grief. I learned this technique from my good friend and fellow “fishhead” taxidermist Don Frank. It has come to be known as sponge painting. I apply the basic colors and then add the detailing with a coarse sea sponge. The effect is very accurate and a lot better than trying to do the pattern with an airbrush.

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Sunday, November 21, 2021/Author: Administrator Account/Number of views (1361)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: 3.0
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