Taxidermy evolved out of the tanning trade, whose practitioners preserved the skins of animals for use as clothing and blankets. In the early part of the 19th century, some of the first so-called trophy animals were crudely stuffed with scraps of fabric by upholsterers. Later in the Victorian Era, the art of taxidermy as we know it today evolved, pioneered by, among others, Carl Akeley, who worked at the Milwaukee Public Museum, the Field Museum in Chicago, and the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
Although Akeley was one of the leading innovators of taxidermy, excelling in the realistic mounting of mammals, later in his life he would reject the practice of bagging animals such as gorillas just so they could decorate a museum diorama, let alone a hunter's study. By the end of his life, Akeley had devoted himself to protecting these creatures—Africa's first national park was established in 1925 in no small part due his efforts.
Today, collectors of taxidermy have a range of animals and pieces to choose from. Gameheads are perhaps the most well known form of taxidermy. These include zebras, kudu, and other African animals whose heads are attached to pedestals that are designed to hang on a wall.
In the United States, the practice of mounting deer heads is very common, especially if it's a buck with a full rack of antlers. Complete animals known as full mounts tend to be of smaller species such as bobcats and fox, as well as skunks and raccoons.
Mounted fish is another popular taxidermy type. Birds from peacocks to pheasants to roosters mount well, too, as do quail and falcons.
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Tips from a taxidermist on the proper ways to prep a bearFairbanks Daily News-Miner, April 24th
FAIRBANKS — Taxidermist Charlie Livingston once had a customer who inadvertently hauled a still-living grizzly bear back from the North Slope to his North Pole workshop. The customer shot an arrow into the bear, which went into shock from blood loss...Read more
Follow the Ladies of Prey As They Take on the World Championship of TaxidermyBlogHer (blog), April 23rd
A dead bird in the hand feels like a grenade: cold, compact, loaded. On a Saturday morning at Prey studio in downtown L.A., eight taxidermy students — a grab bag of artists and curious amateurs, all but three of them women — lower frozen European ...Read more
Moore taxidermist wins four best of show awardsNewsOK.com, April 18th
Moore taxidermist wins four best of show awards. After previously winning first places at state competitions in Texas and Missouri for his work, Jason Smith cleaned up at last month's Kansas Taxidermy Association convention in Wichita, capturing best...Read more
Morbid Anatomy Museum's Taxidermy Classes Offer a Slice of Life (and Death)New York Times, April 12th
Katie Innamorato, 25, one of the two taxidermists who teaches the classes, said most students had a serious interest in taxidermy or loved nature and the natural sciences. For women, who represent a vast majority of the students, taxidermy is also a...Read more
12 taxidermy heads stolen from Hopatcong homeDaily Record, March 31st
HOPATCONG – Police are looking for 12 taxidermy heads that were stolen from a West River Styx Road home. The owner of the home contacted police Saturday afternoon and told them she had locked up the house, which she uses as a summer home, at the ...Read more
Mill Run taxidermist honored at North American Taxidermy ChampionshipTribune-Review, March 30th
Burkholder received Dealer's Choice, second place for a mount featuring wild piglets, voted on by Big Rock Sports customers and fellow taxidermists. With the honor came $300 in prize money and a Barnett crossbow. Burkholder has been practicing ...Read more
Taxidermy clearance saleBoing Boing, March 29th
The Weird & Wonderful calls itself, "The North's Finest Natural History Store," and who are we to argue? They have a brick and mortar store you can visit by appointment outside of Manchester, but there's no need to bother getting in your Vauxhall and...Read more
Taxidermists' craft on display at Maine Sportsman's ShowKennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel, March 27th
Paul Reynolds, of Wild Wings Taxidermy in Dayton, talks about taxidermy Friday during the Maine Sportsman's Show at the Augusta Civic Center while sewing up holes in the fur from a wild boar that eventually will be mounted on a form. Staff photo by Joe ...Read more