On this week's episode of the Pennsylvania Woodsman we sit down with Brian Good from Triple Trophy Taxidermy. Brian has pursued this art of taxidermy from a young age and has never ceased learning and honing his craft making trophies come alive (almost). Brian is an avid hunter, and we of course discuss his interest in turkey hunting, hunting with his children, and everyone's favorite, whitetail deer. WIth each of these hunts, there comes a different level of care and preparation if you plan to have them mounted, which Brian breaks down easily for everyone.
Triple Trophy stands for the three big game species here in Pennsylvania - turkey, bear and deer. With each species opening this fall, skinning and handling each properly are vital. Are there additional tools to keep in your kill kit for preparation? How should you handle skinning and field dressing? Should you take measurements for a taxidermist? We cover this and more! Brian provides insight to how he handles certain aspects of his work, which highlights the quality of the product he delivers. This is a major reason why people will travel to take their trophy to him. If you're looking for a quality taxidermist, check out Brian near Ringtown, Pennsylvania!
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For more information, visit interstatebatteries. com. Interstate Batteries, outrageously Dependable. You're listening to the Pennsylvania Woodsman, powered by Sportsman's Empire Podcast Network. This show is driven to provide relatable hunting and outdoor content in the Keystone State and surrounding Northeast.
On this show, you'll hear an array of perspectives from biologists and industry professionals. To average Joe's with a lifetime of knowledge, all centered around values, aiming to be better outdoors, men and women both in the field as well as home and daily life. No clicks, no self-interest, just the light in the pursuit of creation.
And now your host, [00:01:00] the Pride of Pennsylvania. The man who shoots straight and won't steer you wrong. Johnny Apple. See himself. Mitchell Shirk. Mitchell Shirk. What's going on everybody? Thanks for tuning into another episode. I have been having a rollercoaster of emotions here lately.
I had had some crazy stuff happen work wise. I'm up and down with this rollercoaster. I had, make a long story short, I had some cool offerings and exciting things happen in my work life. I'm still working at the same job and love, I really do enjoy working at my job. Great people, everything else, great experiences, all, can't say enough good things.
But you still had some stuff happen that rocked the boat here lately, and it's just created a little bit of chaos. But we've been working through that. I'm in the heart of field hockey season and coordinating stuff with my wife and everything else. But I have to say, I've been so [00:02:00] thankful. My, my wife is doing more for me this fall to make.
Things happen with the things I want to do in the hunting atmosphere. And I just, I feel blessed. I'm so thankful for that. I literally condensed all the preparations for the season into a few days and a few weekends leading up to here. Did I get as much done as I would have loved to? to do and and cover as many bases on property planning and maintenance and all stuff.
No, not even close. However, when I think about what in my mind qualifies as the bare essentials to get going and have potential at connecting at my target I feel prepared. I feel like I have a good chance. I feel like there's windows of opportunity that I have the mindset that when I go in, I'm going to be successful.
And if I don't, that's okay. I think I've learned a lot this [00:03:00] fall already and I'm ready to put those things into application. Let's see, I finished hanging finished hanging a few last minute tree stands, cutting some shooting lanes Yeah, I've been shooting my bow, again, nowhere near as much, this is like the least I've ever shot my bow leading up to hunting season in my entire life.
But I have to say, mentally, I still feel confident. I think I've changed my logic in how I shot. I'm probably going to condense my range a little bit more than I normally have in the past because of that lack of shooting, but the mental focus that I have shooting, I feel good. Good. I'm making good shot executions and I'm hoping to relay that out here.
I have these at work we have these flex Fridays and where we try to, shorten our work week up to have a four day work week and take Fridays off because we're a little bit slower this time of year and we like to get that flexibility. So I've been trying to utilize those Fridays for something [00:04:00] productive.
Last week I was with with my good buddy Clayton at a ground that I've hunted since I'm 12 years old. And we were scouting with the mindset of just trying to find food for the fall. And hopefully that's going to lead to bear being there. Past three years, the acorn crop has just been terrible at this one location that we hunt has not been good.
And we have not held the concentration of bear there. Like we have some other years. It's. boom or bust. And the last few years it's been borderline bust. We've killed some bears, but man, it hasn't, it's been like you, you hunt hard for two days to see one bear versus the years where there's a lot of food.
We might have a bear in every single drive. And those are the years that I look forward to. I wanted to scout that with him, with the thought of rifle season, but more because I was just curious. Is it going to be, is the food there to be valuable for me to put a sit in during the early season in October?
[00:05:00] With the time that I have devoted to hunt that time of year, is that where I want to put some time? And I very well might. What was unique, and I don't know if there's any merit to my logic behind this, but When I think back to the frost that occurred in May, there was there was a farm in particular that I got a call from that the landowner thought the farmer sprayed a herbicide and damaged a bunch of his planted pretty oak trees.
And when we started looking at him, it was... clear, after that frost, we realized that the trees that had the most damage were in the lowest topography, like the in the drainages, the swales, stuff like that. The low spots where it would have taken the longest for that frost to burn off the next day.
And those were the trees had the most damage. So I took the logic of maybe low spots are going to have a little bit clear, more risk of damage from that frost. And then, the other thing, too, is if you've got a south facing slope or if you've [00:06:00] got some kind of topography elevation that's gonna allow the sun to hit trees first.
Those are gonna be the furthest along trees in the production. So things, trees that would have seen warmer temperatures or something like that in the springtime and then got hit by the frost. Maybe they're gonna have a lower production of mass crop than something that was farther behind.
And maybe I was biased because of the places I looked, but I don't think there's complete it's complete hogwash because I noticed there was some north facing slopes and places that had more shade or would be farther along that had a higher production of acorns. We didn't really see much for white oak acorns and chestnut acorns, chestnut oaks which are in the white oak family. It was mostly red oaks, but there was still acorns, so that excited me. The next two Fridays of these flex Fridays, if I can make all work out and cross my [00:07:00] fingers, I am planning to go down and do some more scouting in New Jersey. I'm trying to...
Have the logic of just work hard, scout hard, and take it for what's best. I'm just, not gonna lie, I really want to kill a bear. The closer we get, the more I talk about it with people, the more I think about it, the more I look on maps and scout and just... I'm just, I haven't felt this level of drive and excitement for something in the hunting woods in a few years.
And this is really eating at me. I really want to kill a bear this year with my bow. And now I'm even getting greedy thinking, maybe there's a way I can shoot one in New Jersey and then I'll come over to PA and shoot one. I'll be like, I'll just be happy if I get one. That's how your mind plays those kinds of games on you.
But That's what's new and happening with me and with everybody preparing for season, let's face it, we all want to be successful. And when you have a successful season, we talked about meat preparation and butchering and things of that nature and what to [00:08:00] do after the harvest. And we're going to have another after the harvest conversation on this week's episode.
We're talking with Brian Good from Triple Trophy taxidermy. Brian is I've had some mutual interaction with over the years. I've gotten to know him. He's a heck of a nice guy. He's a fantastic taxidermy. His attention to detail is obvious, even in the pictures that he posts on his Facebook page, but I've seen his work in.
In in person. I also had the privilege when I was younger to shadow he and some of the people he worked with. And we talk about that a little bit in this episode and get to see the level of quality that's put into the work and the knowledge behind his work. And it's something I can greatly appreciate.
And I'm hoping that I'm successful enough to have something to take to him this fall. But we're going to talk about. Care for game, whether it's a deer, a Turkey, a bear, whatever it would be things to consider when you're, when you want certain types of mounts [00:09:00] or poses or things to do, they're going to, first of all, help your taxidermist and keep him happy, which is ultimately going to end in a more quality product for you.
And we just have some general hunting conversation. Brian's an avid hunter. He loves to deer hunt, loves the Turkey hunt, loves all the same things. You and I enjoy enjoy. But he's he's an artist and he brings his art into light in this conversation. I think you guys can appreciate that. So let's hop into it real quick before we do just want to give a shout out to our partners, Radix hunting.
I am running three M core cell cameras right now. And I have to say, I have been very impressed as far as the. Ability to adjust them with the Scout Tech app. I've been happy with the image response. And just their I'm not missing things. I did a little bit of testing on the camera that I have behind my house.
And trying to see if it would miss certain things. And I tried to replicate how a deer might approach this situation. And see if [00:10:00] there was a way that I could miss an opportunity. And every time that I did, I, I captured those images. And I appreciate that. I'm also I hung two of their new hang on tree stands in their sticks.
And I have to say, I'm really happy with that. First of all, the stands were comfortable. They were easy to hang. One thing I don't like about a lot of hang on tree stands is they'll only give you one strap to hang. Just the main strap, but I like that. With the RAD X stand, you have the main lead weight bearing strap to put around, you'd set your tree stand to be be flush with the tree and be stable, and then for added security at the bottom of the stand, put a ratchet around it and tighten it up and secure it, just that extra level of assurance, but quiet, And the other thing I too, I like with the sticks is they're separate sections, so you can cinch them in and really get them tight to the tree and they're a lot more quiet.
You don't have that clinking where you've got metal sections that go together. I like those sticks better than like a ladder stick that you put together and ratchet around the tree. [00:11:00] So I've been really happy with Radix. Check him out guys, RadixHunting. com. Follow him on Instagram. Follow them on on any social media that have a, just look up at Radix Hunting and you'll find them, a lot of a lot of great things coming from them.
And that's not to mention, last thing would be their stick and pick feature accessories for trail cameras, whether it's a truck camera mounts and adapters or things like that. And then lastly, guys, our shout out to Huntworth right now, as they speak, they have a 20 percent off sale going on right now.
So check out huntworthgear. com right now. I am running. pattern on the camouflage that I'm using. But I have to say leading up into the season, I'm probably going to be running their their moisture wicking base layer. And then the the, oh my goodness, it's leaving me their lightweight gear. that they that they sent me.
I'm happy with how comfortable it is. I wore it in turkey season. I really [00:12:00] didn't perspire and feel like I was drained even though it was 80 degrees on some of those turkey hunts. I was I was thrilled with the level of maneuverability that I had and just feeling comfortable when I hunted.
That was something I never appreciated before in in hunting clothing. I was always cheap. And I think you guys can appreciate that too. And here's your opportunity to get something that's highly versatile. You can get you can get one set of medium weight or lightweight and it can last you most of Pennsylvania season and you can get it at 20 percent off.
So check out Huntworth Gear. And with that guys, let's get to this week's episode.
So joining me today on the show, I have Brian Good from Triple Trophy Taxidermy. Thanks for letting me crash your party this morning in the shop. Sure. Not a problem. Yeah, I was I was talking to you about this last year and we never made this happen. And then I really wanted to do an episode with you because you do a ton of [00:13:00] different taxidermy work.
A lot of it's to this area, but some of it's not. You, you do all kinds of North American stuff, right? Yeah, so definitely majority of the work would be local, excuse me, local work. Now there are, like, for example, this past summer I would have done a javelina, I got in an ibex. So there's some customers that travel to hunt, but majority would be...
more local North American game. I also really enjoy doing predators. So I do a fair amount of those as well. You enjoy turkeys, I think too. So I try to save enough time to do some deer, save space for turkeys as well as predators. So sometimes that means saying. No, to some works, I don't get flooded with deer, so I still have some space for turkeys and predators, things like that.
I'm curious, how did you cut your teeth in taxidermy too? Because I remember when I was younger, and you go through the whole spiel of what do you want to do when you grow up, and I was a, I always was an avid hunter and [00:14:00] loved taxidermy. I just think the coolest thing in the world is a wall that's just completely void of space because it's filled with deer heads.
But I thought, yeah, taxidermy sounds cool, and I started learning about what it is, and I tinkered with it a little bit. I'm like, I am not the person with patience or the artist in me to be able to handle that. So I'm curious how you got into it. Sure, so my first memory of that would be when I was probably 13 we had a taxidermist come to the school I was in and he showed us the basics of taxidermy and it was that day I was like that's what I want to do when I grow up I want to be a taxidermist and lit a little bit of a fire.
under me or an interest to do that. And I know sometime later, I don't know exactly what age I was. I shot a squirrel and found out, or I found in a catalog, you can buy a taxidermy or a squirrel kit for taxidermy. So I bought that and. But the squirrel I had to mount on that, on the form that I got in [00:15:00] that box, the form was too big, and I gave up on it.
I'm like this isn't gonna work. Now, I know, yeah, there would have been ways to still make it work to adjust the form, but I never did mount that squirrel, but still had that interest to be a taxidermist at some point, and then my cousin... Was it or does taxidermy and when I was 17, I heard that he was looking for someone to help him out in his taxidermy shop and specifically with deer and that's when I was like I would love to do that.
And when I was 17 started part time for him and many years later, I'm still doing taxidermy. That was the where I started working for actually Kanati taxidermy which at one point was wildlife studios Yes, what was a funny story? We made the connection If you listen to a show a couple weeks ago, I had I did my hundredth episode with my two grandfathers Yes, and my one grandfather That was on the show.
He did a bunch of hunts out of the country [00:16:00] and he took a lot of his trophies to Wildlife Studios. Sure. Canadi now. Yep. I remember him. And in the process he he just worked your cousin over the coals convincing him that this, he has this young grandson that needs a summertime job. And I actually worked there at, like two days a week or something like that one summer.
And, probably caused your cousin some more gray hairs and a shorter amount of time. But anyway, it was neat that we made that connection years later that, I was there for a summer. I think you were at there at that point. Yeah, I would have been now. Was that still a wildlife studios at that point?
Yes, it was. I actually don't. When was it that they made the switch? Because that would have been, I was like a freshman in high school, so I was probably like 14 years old when that happened. You're looking. That's a while ago. Yeah. You're almost 15 years. Yeah, I don't remember what year it would have been.
I'm going to say it's at least five years now that switch, but I know how time flies and it might be closer to seven years. I really [00:17:00] don't know for sure. But you worked there for quite a while and then you've branched out now and you've moved to a different part of the state and you're on your own here.
And you do, you work a lot of stuff. Every time I come to this shop, it's loaded with stuff in the showroom or the workroom here. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I was a little nervous about starting on my own. It was, I had a great job at Kanata. You really enjoyed it. Got a lot of experience there.
I was working for them for 15 years. Definitely had some experience there. The area we moved to, I had a few local people that knew I'm a taxidermist that nudged me a few times. Hey, you really should consider going your own. There's no taxidermist right around here. And I do enjoy getting to meet local people.
And finally, fall of... I went on my own and really wasn't sure what to expect, how much work I would get in, but... Really, the struggle more is when to say no. I've been even blessed with full time work, even the first year, and now the second year going into it, I realize it's hard for me [00:18:00] to say no. But it is important to say that sometimes because my goal is to keep it within a year turnaround.
And I know, so far for example, I'm working at last year's Deere. Now I'm almost finished with last year's Deere, and this is August, so I'm Ideally, I like to stay within nine month turnaround. Now, some of the predators I can't stay all within the nine months, but I def definitely want to do what I can to keep it within a year.
So been blessed with work. And that's a good way to have it. I'd rather have it that way than the other way too. So the big question too, because I've had this conversation with our mutual friend, Devon, and I've had this conversation with other people who do stuff, hunting related as for career.
Do you get to spend the time hunting you want to spend time hunting when you're doing something that revolves around your time in hunting season too? That's the challenge. That's a big challenge actually. Now last year it probably cost me a buck, a good buck, but... [00:19:00] Oh, we gotta dive into that now.
It was the first week of archery, it would have been the second Saturday of archery. I had... I've been scouting I called him the wide 10. He was he didn't have high tines, but he was a good 20 inch wide 10 point and knew about where he was betting. And we had a little bit of a cold front that Saturday.
And before I went out hunting, I had a customer call me, he had shot a nice buck. He was wondering if I could skin it out for him for a shoulder mount. I was like, sure, I'll make that work. He had about an hour drive and he came down and I skinned it out for him. And after he left, I'm like, I have time to at least slip out and watch that field edge where I thought he could possibly come out.
Like I figured if it, if he would come out, it'd be that final minutes of shooting light. So I'm like, it's a fairly low risk to move at least the field edge and observe that. And if he comes out, get a shot. And I [00:20:00] went out there, I'm sneaking up to the field edge and I wanted to glass it just to make sure there's no deer out there.
And wouldn't, the buck I was after was standing 10 yards in front of where I wanted to be positioned at that field edge. I was pretty sick about it. Wow. And yeah, so he ended up moving into some taller grass and I tried to make a move on him, but it didn't work out. And I did see that buck. One time later during the rut, tried grunting him in, but he was on a mission and that was the last I saw the buck.
I did get a trail cam picture of him later, but I really don't know if he made it through the season or not. But I look back at that as oh man, if I would have, said no, would have it all worked out? Maybe not, but it is what it is. I'm right. I'm like I said, it's, I'm grateful for the business.
But yeah, that definitely adds a bit of a challenge to trying to hunt and Do taxidermy because you're busy at the same time. Yeah, you got to almost cater your hours in a certain manner that makes it advantageous. And that's still tough when you've got a family too. I know we were [00:21:00] talking in the past about some of the deer you've hunted and the pressure that you deal with on some of the places that you hunt, are you better off trying to get one early and get it out of the way in most years, or is it not like that all the time?
That's great. If it works that way. I am not strictly a trophy hunter, like some guys are, and the properties I hunt a number of private properties, but it's, the private properties are sometimes more pressured than public land, because the properties that I'm hunting are mainly people that want the deer, farmers that want the deer shot, some of them are enrolled in the red tag program some of these farms are getting pressured, throughout the summer even, because of the crop damage.
And then the private places, yeah, some of them just, I feel like I can't get back in like I can on public land and sometimes deal with a lot of pressure. Yeah, I love it when I can get a buck early season. I've been fortunate to do that for a few for a number of years, but it doesn't always work out that way.
No, it doesn't. I try to do it every year because [00:22:00] it seems like for me... The first three weeks of October seem to be the chances of me seeing a deer I want to shoot and I've been fortunate. I've killed a bunch of buck in that time, some of my best ones, but yeah, it doesn't always work out that way.
Sometimes it doesn't, but now you and another thing too, I've learned, like you enjoy deer hunting, but you enjoy turkey hunting a little bit. More, if I'm not mistaken. I'm not sure where to put that. Maybe about the same... Very close. I'm not sure which one I would rather be doing, but...
In the springtime, there's just something so neat about being out there. Beautiful spring morning and hearing that gobbler, but... It's also just a lot of fun out there in the tree, or... I mainly hunt out of a saddle, but sitting out there... As it's getting light, just, it's pretty hard to beat as well.
There's like a four week span. In the year right around May, April, May, where the only thing I think about is turkeys and it's the greatest thing ever. And I [00:23:00] remember for whatever reason this year, like I was really in turkey mode and even in the early June, I was seeing birds like the first week of June, I was seeing gobblers with hens and strutting and everything else.
It still got me fired up and I was watching turkeys and I'm thinking, man, this is never going to get old. And then I was thinking about it yesterday. I was in a field and I drove up and went, Oh, there's some turkeys. And then one about my business. Like it wasn't a big deal anymore. So it's funny cause like it's only the greatest thing in the world during that time for me.
Every other time it's just all about white tails. I've thought about that a number of times, like getting a picture of a gobbler in the fall when I have the camera set for bucks just doesn't do the same for me, as in the springtime when I'm after him I completely agree. I think about that too.
Like food plots. I've done a lot of broadcasting food plots and you broadcast something and within two, three hours, you've got a flock of turkeys on it. And then I'm cursing the darn things out. Cause they're eating my food plot seed. It's not what it's there for. Yeah, they don't know that, but you've been pretty much a diehard turkey hunter for a long time.
We try to. You try to turkey hunt annually and [00:24:00] you usually put one or two birds down, am I correct? Yeah, I really enjoy it and I get out a fair amount in the spring. One thing that's, I'm blessed with too, with being self employed, there's pros and cons, but one of the pros would be I can somewhat adjust my schedule to get out there a little bit more often than some guys working a, a strict schedule with work.
That definitely gives me some time to get out there. How was your season this past year? Oh, you know what, I switched to something else. Is that a touchy subject? It was a... It was a tougher season for me than many seasons. Now there were, it was also good in many ways too. So I have two sons that now like to get out there some, and on the junior day, Carson, my second son, shot his first turkey, which was an incredible hunt.
That was just. It's a beautiful morning to be out there. So that was really cool. My oldest son later missed a gobbler. It was a disappointment, but it is what it is. Took off flying and away he went. [00:25:00] And yeah, it was a, so in this area, we definitely don't have bird numbers. Like we used to, which is for many parts of the state, that's the case.
The numbers are a little bit lower and. Yeah, the spring. I did get one bird. I did not get the second bird. I had an opportunity, but I blew it. Oh, really? I shot a branch. I thought I was above it. It was a rookie mistake. He came in strutting. It was super thick. And he came in an opening. I'm like, I can take him there.
I knew he's well within range. I lifted up my gun. I just shoot a 870 express, bead on the end of the barrel, just a simple gun. Yeah, same thing I shoot. I'm like, I can take him right there. He lifted his head a little bit. He wasn't alert at all, but he just lifted up looking for the hen. And I shot and he wheeled around and then took off flying.
And I was just dumbfounded. I'm like, this is before I had shot any bird. This was the first week of the season. I'm like, what just happened? So I walked out to where he was. I'm like, how did I miss him? But I knew when he came in, there was a [00:26:00] tree about maybe 10 feet in front of me that had a branch going out to the right.
And when he came in, that branch was right there, but I felt I'd lifted my gun enough to get above that. I walked back to that, and here, I have a picture of it on my phone, but I nailed that branch really hard. There was actually a BB still lodged in there. I would say almost all my shot went right into that branch.
I just, in my line of sight, I thought I'm above it, but, my barrel's a little bit lower, and being that close to me... That branch took the shot. Yeah, I think those stories haunt you more than you like to realize it happens a lot. But you did say you killed the bird. You were messing around hunting with the bow for a while, too.
Do you do that as much? I like to, so I have one spot, and now this spring it wasn't as good as some other years, but I have a spot where a farmer lets me put out a blind. And in that case, I only have permission to turkey hunt it. He is a deer hunter, but he lets me turkey hunt, which I'm really grateful for.
And he doesn't have many other people that hunt that. He has a buddy that hunts it some, but... I've been blessed with... We took a lot of birds off of that [00:27:00] property and I've taken maybe four or so off of that spot with my bow. Now last year I'd taken one with my bow at a different property that was outside of a blinds.
That was a really fun hunt trying to take a bird with the bow. That's tough. How did that happen? You need the right setup at least. It works a lot better that way. Yeah. In that case. I was set up right beside or somewhat behind a greenbrier bush and I had a decoy set out really close to me just at the field edge and I was back in behind the greenbrier bush and I was working the bird, he was out in the field and he would usually gobble when I called which was really nice so I could know where he's at and he slowly worked my way and he could see the decoy and when he got to He was right along that field edge, right beside the woods there.
And when he got to maybe eight yards or so, I could see glimpses of him coming right up to the decoy. I knew as soon as he gets behind that green briar bush, I'm gonna have the draw and I'm gonna have to be at full draw when he steps out because there's gonna be a [00:28:00] point when he comes past that I'm gonna be way too visible.
But fortunately with the decoy, that was a huge help in that scenario. he was locked in on that and he comes strutting right behind that greenbrier bush and it was not quite a point blank shot but it was probably a six seven yard shot of him in full strut no clue i was there and shot him and he took off running and i felt like i should have hit him good but i wasn't exactly sure so i jumped out from the position i was just to look out in the field further and by that time he was expiring already he maybe ran 15 yards and just piled up oh that's awesome i look back at that hunt that was Any bird is special, but taking one with the bow outside the blind was one of the more memorable hunts.
I was on a kick for the longest time. I could not kill a spring gobbler with the bow in PA. Now, I know that's very specific. I killed I killed, I think, two in Virginia in the springtime. And I've killed two or three birds in the fall in PA while I was deer hunting with the bow. Sure. But for [00:29:00] whatever reason, I just...
Would always choke and mess up and PA trying to kill one with the bow and I did the same thing this year Okay, I ended up had birds in a field and Got myself situated behind a giant brush pile and did the same thing called him to a point where I'm like Yeah, I can shoot him there and shot and when he when I hit him it I heard it Sounded good, and he ran over And then all of a sudden he took off sprinting down the hill, and I'm thinking, Don't tell me I wounded this bird, and I ran across the field and got to this edge, and I'm looking down the hill, and I'm like, He's got to be like, I'm thinking he's going to be under a log or something, and I'm looking, I thought, I can't believe I don't see him hobbling because he was hurting, and I'm looking, I'm like doing the whole scan, and I start scanning closer to me also, and I look, and I'm like, holy cow, this is a blood trail better than some deer I've shot, and I followed it down, and he was laying dead under a tree branch, he was dead instantly, I was like, And he went 40 yards.
Wow. That surprised me. But yeah, it was, there was something special about shooting one outside of a blind like that. Sure. And it was just a Jake, but [00:30:00] I didn't care. It was the first one with the bow. Yeah. And I feel like anyone with the bow is fun. Yeah. Congrats, man. That's, yeah, that's an accomplishment.
It's something. It was definitely fun. Like I said, it's just something about chasing turkeys. But I know you, I want to bring up, go back to turkeys. You, you said, I remember talking to you and you said you really enjoy... mounting turkeys. It's just, you probably don't help. Do you get a lot throughout a year?
So this spring was the most I've ever got. It was believe 17 for life size mounts, which at that point I realized I got to start saying no because No to future birds at least for this point because they take a lot of time and again I'm I look at I try to gauge how much can I get done within a year and I don't want to just take in too Many I did really didn't expect to get in that many.
So that's enough for me where I'm at right now for a year So I believe that I'm assuming they've got to be just tedious, just because, when it comes to skinning a turkey, it's got to be very tedious as far as what you do to make sure it's well [00:31:00] prepared for a form. Sure, yeah, they take a lot of time, and...
One thing with turkey, I'll say this about predators and turkeys. There's a lot of taxidermists that do a lot of deer, and they're good at doing a deer. They can put a nice deer together. There's a lot of taxidermists that aren't as they don't have quite the what word am I looking for? I don't know if skill is the right word, maybe not as much practice with some of the like turkeys and predators.
So one thing I've been blessed with the experience I've had and going through some training, I found out that there's some turkey hunters out there that are willing to travel for a turkey taxidermy, is that they're happy with the birds. There's people that are willing to travel for good predator taxidermy.
Not saying that they, there aren't people out there willing to travel for a nice deer mount, but I see it more with.
I tried to push a little bit more for turkeys and predators because I really enjoy doing those as well and like I [00:32:00] said, I don't want to do strictly deer. I like the variety. The turkeys I would take taken in the spring, for example, most of them were somewhat. Local people, there's one, maybe several that would have traveled a few hours to come here, but most of them are more local customers.
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com and be sure to follow them on Instagram and Facebook. Turkeys are one of those things and it comes to any game species. When you, if you're excited and you shoot a good deer, you shoot a good bird or whatever, and you get excited and you wanna get it. Get it mounted.
Most of the time you're not thinking about the taxidermist from the perspective of, how good of a job did I prepare this to give it to him? A lot of time there's excitement and they give it to you and you might not never go. And turkeys are one of those things. I always cringe at some of the birds I've seen after you kill them from stepping on the head or, blowing her head off with a 12 gauge or whatever.
So with that in mind, I wanted to know, like when it comes to [00:34:00] preparation, Let on some of those, more specialty stuff that you like to do. Are there do's and don'ts, or things that people should keep in mind if they want to get a turkey mounted, or if they want to get a coyote mounted, or something like that?
Sure, yeah. That's a good question, and I'm glad to hear someone else cringes when they see somebody stepping on a turkey head. I step on a turkey head knowing I'm not going to do anything with it, but I've seen that, and then people say, I'm going to get it mounted, and you look at the neck and it's all the feathers are gone.
Yeah. Yeah, no, I hear you 100%. I have no problem with people stepping on turkey head if they don't want to get it mounted. It's just too many times where in the excitement, they might not even really think about, how's this going to look in the end, taxidermy wise, but I have a Facebook page and I usually, before the spring turkey season starts, I'll put a something out about, how to care for a turkey if you do want to get one mounted because turkey, more than a deer, you need, if you want to get a good mount, it starts with the hunter and caring for the animal, caring for the bird after the shot and for a turkey, [00:35:00] I would say the most common thing is, after the shot, a turkey usually starts flopping after the shot.
Ideally, if you can get that bird off the ground before he starts flopping, that's better. Because in some cases, especially if it's rocky or if it's steep, the turkey starts flopping. He might start... Losing some feathers and feathers while you can replace some feathers, it takes time. It takes a lot of work and depends where that's a big patch ripping out.
That just becomes more difficult to repair. So I just, I can really appreciate when someone brings me a turkey that I can just tell was well cared for after the shot. I would advise either picking it up by the head or you can pick it up by the feet. You just really need to watch out for those spurs.
I would say grab above the spurs when you're holding the turkey upside down, like by the feet. So if the turkey starts spinning, if he has long spurs or sharp spurs that he's not cutting up your hand. Yeah. I've made that mistake. Fortunately, I didn't get cut up too bad, but yeah, I got dinged up already, but doing that same thing, flopping like crazy.
What about what about like head [00:36:00] preparation stuff? Do you use like a freeze dry? Do you freeze dry the heads or do you use like a formed head or like? Because that's got to be something to consider, because again, that's a very delicate portion. Sure, yep. So I do use the reel head, freeze dried head.
I will send that exact head out to get freeze dried for the customer. Now, unless it's shot up too bad or we need to replace it or something like that. There's sometimes where that happens. But most times I can use the reel head for the hunter. And, back to stepping on the head. Usually it doesn't do...
damage to the head. But what often will happen if they're stepping on the turkey's head while it's flopping, you're also most times stepping on some neck feathers and which can often be pulled out during the time the turkey is flopping. So it's fine to pick it up the ground, pick it off the ground, let it flop around and while you're holding it, he's not being on the ground, losing some feathers.
As far as the head I'm not as concerned about that, but if the hunter has access to paper towels and the turkey head is bleeding, if you can wrap it in paper towels, even put it in a bag, just put a plastic bag over it just to keep [00:37:00] the blood from running down the feathers. That's always good.
But more important, I say the most important thing is just not letting the turkey flop on the ground, losing the feathers. Yeah, so blood can be washed off. Yeah, it's ideal when it's not over the feathers, but all right doesn't concern me same thing with anything I mean i've seen some stuff and i've been guilty of this where you bring something to a taxidermist and it's just And it's, to me, it's just like Colin Carter said, Yeah, you can clean it up, but if I were you, I'd charge a premium.
But no another thing, you were bringing up predators and talking about specialty stuff. Somebody told me once that one of the areas where a lot of predator work can lack is around the face, because the detail, I don't know if this is true or not, but the details, nose, eyes, and stuff like that, there's very specific things between a cat and a dog, and that's what separates, really good work from, Decent work and stuff and I was curious like if that's true and what are some of the other things when it comes to predators if people want to get a predator mounted that they should keep in mind when they're a caring for it and be Trying to think of you know [00:38:00] come up with a taxidermist to do that.
Yeah. Yeah a couple things I Comment on that so This holds true for almost anything with taxidermy the sooner you can get it Either in a freezer or cooler the better now deer for example I understand you want to skin it maybe take it to the butcher and they'll put it in a cooler It's fine in the cooler for some time, till you get it to the taxidermist.
But what people, back to spring turkey a little bit, some guys will gut them. I prefer, or field dress them. I prefer if they're, if they don't do that, just ends up making more of a mess. If they can get it in a cooler, in a freezer, or... Call their taxidermist as soon as possible and maybe see what their taxidermist would like them to do with it.
It's always a good way to start out rather than just assume. In the spring, it's warm. You need to get that turkey cooled as soon as you can. I'm not saying you need to rush around like within an hour, but just think about that. Don't let it hang out all day on a spring [00:39:00] day and then, oh, decide you want to take it to the taxidermist.
Handle it like you would be. If you want to eat the meat, just think about... Basically handle it the same way for taxidermy. You don't want to have your meat sitting out in the sun and getting warm, same thing for the skin of the animal. As far as you ask about predator work, I'll just comment a few things.
So I'll go again back to, I don't want to come across as having it figured out or being boastful like Taxidermy is an ever learning process. Sure, just like funding. You'll never completely master it. So my bobcats, for example, I'm going to continue learning something with each one. And this past year, I put a bobcat together.
and a red squirrel and a turkey and took all four of them to our state show. And that was the first time competing and it was a really neat experience. I was grateful for the opportunity, definitely learned some things for the future ones and. I also had bought a DVD on [00:40:00] mounting a competition bobcat, learned a few things here and there.
So anytime you can go to a class and even if you just pick up on some minor details, some very minor details make a big difference in the end result. So there's a lot of taxidermy that I see, especially with predators that you look at and you like, it's hard, almost hard to look at the animal. I am, I just seen a post someone had about getting their bobcat back from a taxidermist.
I don't know where it was, but they were extremely disappointed with the way it looked and were wanting some. It does for a good mount, it is good for the customer to shop around a little bit to check with the taxidermist, look at pictures and, or even sometimes it can be a little deceiving if they just see one picture of a mount, Oh, this was a good mount.
Did they have help putting it together or did they do it on their own or is this consistent with their work? So a lot of things to think about when shopping around if you really want to get a good mount again Especially for your more your specialty stuff, whether it's turkey or bobcat or fish or whatever it is [00:41:00] make sure the taxidermist is consistent with putting out nice work and some of that people are More focused on the price and I can understand like when a customer calls me and it's price shopping I have no problem with them price shopping Sometimes I will make a comment to just you know as your price shopping just be aware you jet in general you get what you pay for I'm not I'm certainly not the cheapest guy around but I know I'm not the most expensive guy around either So I say that for whatever it's worth.
I mean I continue learning and Continuing to improve also, at least I find it for me, I am spending even more time on my mounts than what I would have sometimes. Those little details, they take time. There's a balance to it all, when you take something to a competition, you can spend...
There's guys that'll spend 10 hours painting a deer nose. Does that pay for commercial work? Yeah, you'd have to raise your prices significantly. Triple. Time is money. There's a balance to it all. But my goal is to put out the best I can in the [00:42:00] time that is allotted to mount the animal.
I'm not sure if I really answered your... No, I think that does. Quality work is gonna come from experience, right? Anything you do, experience is hard to beat. I like that. You brought up price shopping. I don't know if this is countrywide or if it's just confined to like the stubborn Pennsylvania Dutch mindset of our area, but there's so many times like, Oh, that's too much.
That's too much on anything in life. But you do get what you pay for. And if you truly value a trophy, you want quality and you want to preserve that memory. And I think that's important to consider. Sure. And back to the guy that's price shopping. Or I tell people, if they're happy with their work, then that's what's important to me.
That's what I care about. So I don't care if they take it to someone cheaper. I don't care if they're happy with the end result. That's what matters, right? So I don't want to try to pressure someone into spending more than what they want to. And I'm going to bring up a good point there I just thought of.
So I have a [00:43:00] friend of mine who got a really nice buck mounted. Two years ago, and when he got it back, he told me what he paid for and everything else. And I looked at it in my personal opinion. I thought, man, Brian does nice at work. Rodney does nice to work, a couple of different taxidermists. I know I'm like, that's just not as nice.
But at the end of the day, what you just brought up, he was happy with it. And that's all that mattered. So I bring that all up to say. If somebody else doesn't like your mount, who cares? It's your deer. It's the same thing of the concept of the buck you shoot. If you don't like the buck I shoot.
It doesn't matter. I shot it. It's my idea. I wanted to bring that up. Yep, exactly. So while I like to see quality taxidermy, I guess it comes down to more what the customer is happy with and what they want to pay for. And taxidermy is not a necessity as much as we might think it is sometimes. It's my wife definitely doesn't think it's a necessity.
Sure. So I don't want to see someone put themselves in a financial hardship, if they have a family to provide for, and [00:44:00] then spending too much on taxidermy. Yeah, to me, that doesn't feel good to me either as a taxidermist. Predators, pretty much when you look at predators or any care for.
for game species that come in, keeping it cool, trying to minimize hair loss, feather loss, stuff like that. And there's really not much to buy. What about from the perspective of whitetail? So we're coming up here on whitetail season and that's going to be the big one. I'm sure you probably get as many deer heads as anything.
I've heard people talk about, if you really like your taxidermist you want to help them, you should take measurements. And I don't even know what those are. So like I just open it up. Like when you get a deer, I'm sure most people bring you a deer and Tell you the way they want the head turned.
And the form that they like the most. And that's about it. But are there other things to consider if you wanna, be a friend of your tax terms to help 'em out? Sure. Yeah. There certainly are, and that's a good question. One of the most common. I see on a deer, for example, is in the skinning process.
A lot of hunters don't realize how much brisket is on a shoulder [00:45:00] mount. Now I know our listeners can't see what we can see right here, but you can see the briskets on these deer there's. Every year I get deer that are brought in with a brisket that was cut too short. And maybe for the listeners to give them a little bit of a visual when that deer is skinned, usually make an incision down the belly.
Some guys will take it all the way up into the brisket, like between the front legs, or you, for a shorter amount, you want to stay back a little bit. You don't want to go up into that brisket and cut directly in between the front legs. The other thing people will do sometimes they'll cut down. The front side of the front leg and go straight across leg to leg.
When you do that, that removes all the brisket from that cape. And a lot of butcher shops are familiar with, how to skin for a shoulder mount, but even sometimes they make mistakes too, and cut down. Basically you do not want to cut straight across from front leg to front leg for a shoulder mount, or you're going to remove too much of that [00:46:00] brisket.
If you go around to the back of the leg, you have that white hair. and brown hair meeting. There's a hair pattern change there. If you cut directly down the front side of the or the back side of the front leg and angle that back to where you made that incision for gutting the deer, which leaves all that brisket, that skin between the front legs attached to The Cape, the neck of the deer, you really want to leave that attached to the deer.
So it can be fixed. It can be sewn back in, but it just makes extra work for the taxidermist. And you can see that sometimes, right? If it's a short haired deer, it's extremely hard to hide that a hundred percent. So yeah, like an early season deer, like my favorite mounts are actually like the first. Two weeks of season.
I just love that coat at that time of year. I think that's like the neatest looking stuff I like I'm glad you brought the skinning too because I remember the first couple times I did it I butchered it and like I've to the point now when I do it if I'm gonna get a deer mounted I've actually been giving the whole hide to the taxidermist because [00:47:00] I've seen people talk about Oh, it's good to hang the deer and then, take measurements where you want to make your cuts.
And I've even seen guys put tape around certain places where you want to make a cut. So you get, precision cuts and up and legs and stuff. And one thing I learned the first time I tried to do it and I tried to just cape it, that was a pain in the neck. So I just, when I do it, I leave the deer hanging and I'm bringing this up because I want to know if I'm doing my taxidermist a favor or if I'm doing him a problem.
But like I'll skin from the legs down and bring it over, up to, where the, I make the gut the gut incision and then just keep bringing it down and then just let the whole hide on. When I do, and following that white line stuff is that just as easy if not, just so that you can make the cuts you need?
Yes, I'm glad you brought that up. And most deer that I get in do have the full hide just attached, just like you're saying, and a lot of butcher shops will, excuse me, leave the whole hide there as well. So that's nice. And even what happens sometimes, even if the brisket is not cut properly, if the full [00:48:00] hide is still there, I can still save that brisket off the deer.
Now, if the customer cuts the deer. The length where they think they need, which if they do, sometimes they don't realize again, how much of the shoulder is there. Sometimes they'll cut it too short thinking, this is a deer I'm going to get the neck and head mounted. There's still a lot of shoulder there.
So save that. If you're going to cut the hide off, save at least half the hide that way your taxidermist can cut. If he needs to take extra off, he can, you can't so easily put it back on. So yeah, that's, that sounds real or that what you described there is good. Cause a lot of them, like I said, we'll bring the full hide.
And there was something else I wanted to comment on that. Now let's slip my mind. Oh, measurements. He brought up that. And that's a good question. And some taxidermists may say differently than what I do, but I personally. When a customer takes measurements and gives me their measurements, that doesn't mean a whole lot to me, and here's why.
I don't mind at all if they take measurements, but measurements I've [00:49:00] found, like, when you're talking little measurements, say eye to nose where exactly was that tape measure held on the eye to nose? There's that makes a difference whether it was used with the calipers or just a measuring tape, you know where they started and stopped Nose to burr like even though they can get fairly close there.
I'm talking burr of the antler Most times when a deer comes to me the head still in I can take those measurements Now if they take neck measurements, even if I don't have that If they just bring the head and hide to me and they tell me how big the neck measured where exactly they held that tape makes a big difference.
Do they hold it an inch behind the neck? Two inches? Three inches? Because your neck keeps getting bigger as it goes down. Also sometimes, the customer, wants the biggest amount possible, so they might stretch it a little bit. I've come to the... place in the experience that I've, I measured a lot of deer capes, probably a thousand or so, or probably beyond that.
I'm comfortable with letting the skin tell me what [00:50:00] size that neck needs to be. So I don't want to say never take any measurements because it can't hurt anything. But to me, I don't look at it as, this is now I can get a better amount now because I have these measurements. So again, I guess I would suggest.
People ask their taxidermist, do you want me to take any field measurements or not? And if the taxidermist does, they can guide them through some field measurements. Now, in the case where say the deer is taken out of state and sometimes a hunter will take it to a local taxidermist just to have it caped out and then brought to their taxidermist, a more local taxidermist, it can be helpful for an eye to nose measurement.
And if it's taken from another taxidermist, I'm going to. Take that as a little bit more accurate than say the hunter, not to just discredit the hunter, but, or just to not believe the hunter, but as a taxidermist, a little bit more exactly where to take those measurements. But even with the eye to nose, I can gauge off this skin now with experience, What that skin is telling me what the eye to nose length really [00:51:00] needs to be what the neck length really needs to be That makes a lot of sense and I that was good because the other thing too I've talked I've heard people talk about was like taking a measurement like from the tip of one of the antlers to the nose to get a gauge on where that angle is of the rack and you can see that if the head if the skull is still attached within the deer if you're doing that finishing process And here again, I have a visual here that the listeners don't, but I can gauge a lot just by looking at that skull plate where those beams need to be in alignment with the head looking at where the eye, the skull starts to or where the eye socket is on the skull.
So that tells me a lot too when I go to set the antlers. How much more difficult does it make it for you as a taxidermist? Let's say somebody shoots a buck and they put it... Put it on a board for years or they just keep the rack for years and they got rid of the hide, but for some years later they look at it and go, you know what, I'd like to get that mounted so they get somebody else's cape on it.
Is that a bigger pain in the [00:52:00] neck or is it still if you've got a cape, you can just form it to that cape and it still looks preserved? So you want to get a cape ideally that is proportioned to the age of the deer the caliber of the deer So that's gonna be the biggest thing You don't want to put a hundred and forty inch deer on a year and a half old buck cape Or it's just gonna look funny because you can't it's just gonna be that right now No to answer your question in a short answer would be no that can easily be done.
And I've had that happen sometimes even for guys that Get them out and they're not happy with it. They want to get it remounted. I'll get a replacement Cape for them and put their antlers on that. Now, ideally you want to get a Cape to where. The mass on the antlers was similar. It can, you can adjust it.
You can make adjustments where trim it a little bit bigger or make it a little bit smaller, but it's good to have one that was close just to make the process a little bit less grueling. Sure. [00:53:00] Good deal. Hey, this is this has been good. This has been fun. Am I missing stuff when it comes to taxidermy that.
We ought to let people know about when it comes going into fall. I'm just thinking out loud like I was thinking about preservation I was thinking about good cuts. We talked about that What are some other things that maybe I wouldn't think about from a taxidermist perspective? That would be good for people to know about going into fall.
Sure. Another area that maybe I'll address is Dragging a deer. So some hunters, especially if they're hunting way back in now, there's a lot of hunters that are starting to pack their deer out, skin it themselves. While that can be great, they might not be dragging it and rubbing hair off. But the more hunters that are skinning their deer, if they're not familiar with where to make the cuts for a shoulder mount, you get a little bit more, you can get more capes that are not cut properly, but again, it can be simply fixed [00:54:00] by if they have any questions or there's YouTube videos.
Or again, I would say call your local tax or your tax service that you use and get some pointers to them rather think about it beforehand, rather than an afterthought again, thinking about the more you care for the amount or the more you care for your animal after it's harvested, the quicker you get it cooled, skinning properly should end in a better result for the finished product when it's on the wall, the better the hunter cares for the animal.
So back to dragging a deer. Some people again don't really thinking about or they in the moment they're focused on getting the deer out of the woods and they might be attaching a rope behind the head or on the neck of the animal and just dragging it. What happens then if you're dragging it that way, those shoulders are going to rub the rocks.
You drag it across logs. And how many times have you been in the woods where you, it was obvious where someone drug a deer out cause there was hair left behind, every rock, you could see the hair left behind those shoulders. If you're going to drag a deer, you need, if you're going to drag a deer and you want to [00:55:00] shoulder mount, you got to keep those shoulders.
off the ground because you risk breaking hair off. It will happen if you're dragging the shoulders, you're going to be damaging the hair. So keep that in mind. If you're dragging a deer really any distance, because all it takes is one rock and you really hit it, hit a rock card and the shoulders on the ground, or you're going to leave hair behind.
And. It's going to show in the mouth. Yeah. Speaking of that, you bring that up. I had that happen to me. It was the biggest buck I'd ever killed at the time. I'd killed him with a rifle opening day, a rifle season. And where I shot this deer, it was one of those where. It wasn't that I was lost, but I didn't exactly know where I was at and what the best way was to take this deer out.
And when it started, like I shot this deer and was looking at him like, this is my biggest buck. I'm going to get it mounted. And I started dragging the deer and it turned into an all day into the night event until I got it out. And it came a point in time where the cape meant nothing to me and I ended up getting a European.
I just did a European on it, but there was stuff. And another good thing you brought up, and we didn't even talk about this. I'm glad you brought this up. Talk about dragging and losing hair. Bear [00:56:00] are a perfect example of that. I'm fortunate that the group that I've bear hunted with, every single bear we kill, we carry out.
For that very reason. And I wanted to share this with people too. I learned this method. So a lot of people, I've seen videos on YouTube and stuff. People kill a bear in PA and they drag it out like a deer. And that makes me cringe because, if you want to get a rug or something, like... That's rough, but I learned another method that if you have less people, it does a good job, like if you want to get a rug, I had people like they took a large log, maybe four to six inches in diameter and put it under the front legs.
of the bear across the chest and let the head drape over the front and tied it up really good. And then you could get two people on that and lift it up. And the only thing that drags lightly is is the back inside part of the back legs, which aren't going to be as important for the rug, so to speak.
So that was one thing I learned from a dragging perspective. Like that actually worked really well. The first time I did it, I was looking at it the one time I was like. But this is actually [00:57:00] easier than when we carry them out because we've carried them out we actually use a stretcher sometimes we'll bring, we'll go back to camp, get this stretcher, put the bear on the stretcher and you can get four to six guys on it.
It works great. But some of the mountains you carry through it's rough, but that's just one. I just, you brought that up and I wanted to bring that up with bear. Sure. Yeah. That's. I'm glad you did. I have found that bear are more forgiving with deer as well for dragging. They're not, the hair is not going to break off quite as quick.
Deer hair is just a little more fragile, but. Excellent. Yeah, if you can do something to prevent hair from falling out, that's great. And another thing too I saw this mistake. The first bear I ever killed when I went to the taxidermist, there was another guy there that skinned his own bear.
And when he skinned it for a rug, he didn't realize that he could cut right through the pads. For a bear, for a rug and the cut went down the leg and it turned over the front and went to the top of the paw. And I remember the taxidermist looked at it like, Oh, that's going to be fun to fix. Yeah. And is there [00:58:00] anything to keep in mind?
If somebody is going to skin their own bear and bring it to you? Yeah, there is. Now that's going to depend a little bit. Some taxidermists might have. Their own preferences on how a bear is skin, but usually for a life size mound anyway So you make an incision to field dress the animal what I tell people when they call and have questions on that.
I Tell that I explain it this way to basically extend that incision where they feel dressed For this is for life size or even for a rug. This would hold true as well. And in that case You can almost go from take that incision down basically to the vent and up the back leg up to the pad basically to pop the you can just cut off the foot leave the foot in for the taxidermist to skin out unless someone really knows what they're doing with the skinning they can take The pad out, but, or the foot out, but most cases they just leave the pad in for the taxidermist to skin or the, sorry, the foot in for the taxidermist to skin.
And then the front legs the same way, take it up that [00:59:00] incision between the front legs and then just take it down both legs and remove it that way. Gotcha. Cut the legs off at the foot. One more thing that is changing this year. with Pennsylvania, and maybe I'm not sure if other states are making changes on as well with C.
W. D. I'd actually just got a letter in the mail from the game commission this week, I believe that they are giving taxidermist and Deer processors, the opportunity to receive deer taken in CWD areas. So the restrictions are being lifted a little bit in that sense, where I'm planning to submit my information so that a hunter can, bring me a deer that was taken in a CWD area.
So I'm not sure how broad those. changes are, maybe you know more about that, Mitch. I really don't. And that's probably one of those things that I should look up and research and put on the show so people can hear it because it's good information. Like I remember the first time I hunted in a [01:00:00] CWD unit, I was caught off guard, but what you were supposed to do if you killed a deer and I'm prepared for it now, but that's a lot of stuff that people can get caught with their pants down, so to speak with that.
But no, this has been great. I think this was really helpful. I'm curious. So going into hunting season, anything you're excited about this fall? This summer has been, I would say, busier than any summer I've had before. And I've observed some fields. As it was getting dark in the evenings and seeing some bucks out in fields.
But unfortunately I have zero cameras out yet. We're putting an addition on our house. And with the taxidermy load that I have, I'm just focused on trying to get as much done before hunting season starts. So as far as what I'm focused on, I have two sons this year that are wanting to do some archery hunt or deer hunting as well.
I know my time in the woods will be a little bit less than some years, but I'm still looking forward to it. It's just [01:01:00] personally, I wish this was June yet just to get some more work done, but it is what it is. I know what you mean that off, like I, it happens every year. It's just, I just said this again on another podcast, like it's.
I just see it getting shrunken down more and more at your time. Like I'm doing stuff to my house and kids and family. And it's just like the stuff you used to do in preparation gets harder and harder. And I think that's why I enjoy the podcasting aspect of it because I get to talk to a lot of people who live very similar situations and still find a way to be successful year in and year out or maybe.
What it does is maybe their success as far as the deer they harvest have changed. Maybe that's changed and it's not the way it used to be, but their perspective and their outlook on the phase of life and how they handle that mentally. That's really helped me because I've had times where it's just I'm acting like a little kid, not gonna want to throw a temper tantrum because I'm not doing what I want to do. And at the end of the day, like it's this much of, it's [01:02:00] such a small portion of life. So that's what, one thing I've enjoyed from that avenue, but yeah, you've got a family, young kids and everything else.
And that's a, it's a walk of life that changes stuff, but I'm still hoping that I shoot something to bring to you this fall. Yeah. That would be great. And I'll say this yet too. We talked about predators and Turkey. I really enjoy trapping as well and going after predators. And that's something that with my children growing up, that's something they're taking an interest in.
And I just, I love going out in a trap line with them and taking them out. And the last year over Christmas break, when they had off of school, we had ran a trap line for raccoons. Not just raccoons, but we were targeting raccoons more than other animals, and I'll say this yet, with the turkey numbers, and I mentioned the turkey population declining, there's, in my opinion, a lot of Are too many people hanging up their traps because the fur doesn't have value to it And I look at it [01:03:00] as we do need to manage your fur bearers And I think the raccoon population in many areas is way too high And I wasn't aware for many years how devastating raccoons are on turkey nests now with people putting show cameras over turkey nests that they're finding and seeing the destruction that a raccoon will come in there and raid the turkey nests sometimes take the eggs, sometimes even kill the hen.
And look at all the nest predators that are out there. Even skunks will raid nests when they can. You take the eggs and a lot of people saying, hey, the fur is not worth anything so why bother? And I'd say for the the guys out there that have children, Hey, take your children out and get them to introduce them to trapping and take help out with the nest predators, get the predator population or keep that in check or in control.
Not, we're not out there to eliminate them. We are stewards, but we do need to manage. And I would encourage people to get out there and get after [01:04:00] those predators. I agree. And trap trapping. Is time consuming. It's not as time consuming as you'd think, but I remember one time with the first year that I helped do some trapping The trap line that I said I remember I had all these ideas of where I wanted to set traps and I looked and it's all day the whole day Went by and I got a lot done back.
I was like, I can't believe That took all day long to set all those traps that I did. And I remember the first few years, the amount of raccoons was just incredible. I remember like the first 15 days of trapping, we caught like 16 raccoons on one property. And that was eye opening.
One issue I have with trapping. And it's my own personal blockheadedness is, when I want to be deer hunting, that's when I should be trapping. When you want to have the best impact on reducing raccoon populations, it'll be done when it, when the first part of the season. Sure.
And. I know there's a lot of controversy over this, and I think it's very dependent [01:05:00] on the property type you have, but I will say, this is just my opinion, some properties you hunt, if you're going to check a trap line every day, I think that has an impact on your deer hunting. Not every property. I think there's properties that might be mixed ag, agriculture that you can do early in the morning with a truck and stuff like that, because there's a level of Traffic there that deer get used to but I've hunted mountain properties and stuff where you start going around with an ATV.
Consistently and there hasn't been an a t V used or a truck or something like that. I think some of the deer that has an impact, not all of 'em. Yeah. And like I said, are you gonna avoid the landscape of every single deer in the area? No, because some deer do get used to it. I've seen that, but there's others that you don't.
And I'm just so mentally it's just such a mental blockade. Plus that's a busy time of year in the first place. And then when I do get time to trap in the wintertime, if you've got snow cover, like it's hard to catch raccoons sometimes and make the major impact. And I think it closes somewhere [01:06:00] around a little after Valentine's day, like the 25th or something, somewhere in that range, I've noticed some states are opening and extending the trapping season towards fawning season for raccoons and stuff.
And that was one of those things that like, I keep thinking like. I would love if we had that opportunity because I think like from February up until fawning season and nesting season like I would have time to do that and I would love that opportunity, but yeah, it's got to be a labor of love because I hate skinning.
I really don't like it. The idea of fleshing raccoons makes me cringe, but you brought up a good point. That would be one of those things to incorporate your kids in, too. And that's some of the reason I mentioned it. With the stage of life where I'm in with my family growing, my children, that's something I can easily do outdoors.
Just take them along at least some mornings, even if it's not every morning, still include them some in the trap line, something they enjoy. And yeah, at the same time, controlling some nest predators and I'll say this too. Trapping is something I enjoy not [01:07:00] everyone enjoys it I enjoy it and I do it for several reasons something I can do with my children but also thinking about nest predators and I hear you on the it's a busy time of the year to do that yet and I feel the same thing So I try to go after I enjoy deer hunting especially archery hunting and trapping over overlaps with that but Usually After, if I can get my buck in archery.
I then shift a little bit to trapping and get some traps out there. And I'll tell you this yet, Mitch. Trapping season runs a lot longer than deer season. After rifle season is over, you still have opportunity. Yeah, but there's late season. You missed that. Your tags are full by then. Some years they aren't.
Last year, I had a lot of full tags and I still was like itching to go deer hunting. It was like January 28th and I'm still trying to show them like, what am I doing? I shot a bunch of deer. I know I have a tag. It doesn't mean I need to, but no you're absolutely right, Brian. You're [01:08:00] absolutely right.
I'll say this. So I don't want everyone to feel like, oh, they need to be out there setting traps. No, not everyone needs to do it, but there's too many people that have just hung them up because their furs aren't of any value. But I think we've got to look at it from a different angle and do it for the sake of.
Predator control. Yeah. And when you talk about wildlife and being a steward of the land, there's a lot of topics along that discussion. . And one of the topics that I I'm planning by the time that this episode airs, I think a lot of those episodes will have already dropped.
But when it comes to habitat and managing deer numbers in the first place too, because, as you said earlier, some of the places you hunt have pretty good deer population and A lot of farmers want to see the deer numbers reduced. And I've said this many times that for many farmers have a caring capacity, a mindset of the caring capacity being lower than what it can handle.
And many hunters have an idea of the caring capacity being over what it can. I think [01:09:00] somewhere in between is where the deer population. is or could be. But one thing when you look at mixed ag farmers have agricultural fields that are manicured, invested in, produce high quality forage that deer can eat.
So obviously that's already an attraction, but the landscape itself, when you look at the same age forest across many of these valleys. The amount of invasives that have crept in, closed canopy again There's so many things that we don't have the level of quality native browse and vegetation to withstand populations that we have, and therefore, there's certain areas of the state that I think we're okay with the population because they can go to ag fields.
That's just my personal observation, I see places, because I've been to a lot of farms where I'll go out and Bean fields are just [01:10:00] absolutely devastated, and you look and there's 60 deer out every single night, and maybe those 60 deer are healthy, but they're also healthy at the expense of a farmer, so I bring all this up to say, when you bring up about trapping to be a good steward of the land, I'm not saying we need to shoot every deer, but keep in mind, what else can you do that's going to improve the quality of Thank you.
The game you hunt, not everybody has that opportunity. Not everybody owns land that can manipulate stuff, but if you've got the ability to remove invasives, manage the overstory and do things that are going to promote quality things it's the same concept as trapping. Sure. And I, I. I, I just had to bring that up.
Sure. Yep. That makes sense. Hey, before we before we close this out tell us a little bit more where you're located. Tell us a little bit more about your setup here and, how people can follow you, get in touch with you, that kind of thing. If they're interested in in doing some [01:11:00] taxidermy work with you.
Sure. Yeah. So located in Ringtown, Pennsylvania. Yeah. And. I do have a Facebook page, TripleTrophyTaxidermy, you can find me there, and also a website, TripleTrophyTaxidermy. com, and yeah, so I am a one man operation, so as I said before, I try to somewhat manage how many animals I take in so that I can keep my turnaround time within a year.
I know what it's like from a hunter's perspective. They're ready to get their trophy back, shortly after they drop it off. And there's a lot of people that already have the mindset of, it's going to be a year because that's, a lot of times that's the case. Now there's some taxidermists that are less and there's some taxidermists that are, Over two years behind.
To me, that would overwhelm me. I don't want to get to that place, so that's why I try to manage a little bit how I, how much I take in. Even my plans for the future are [01:12:00] to still try to take in a variety of deer. I really do. The only thing I do not do is fish. I don't accept any fish. I don't have much experience in that, and I have plenty of work the way it is, so at this point I'm not accepting any fish but predators, bobcats and fisher are what I really enjoy.
I can have about a dozen fisher to mount after I get these deer finished, as well as a number of bear and deer. Coyotes, things like that, are a variety of predators really, and then after that I want to move towards working at those spring turkey that I took in, so that'll keep me busy for quite a few months away it is, so I don't know what it'll all be like come fall, how much I'll take in, I also have a, my second son is Really taking an interest in taxidermy as well.
In fact this summer He's probably out here in the shop more than he's not just loves to watch loves to get a little bit of hands on where he can so [01:13:00] Yeah, that investment might pay you and it'll pay you in the long run, right and I'm not opposed to ever getting someone else to help me out as well, but at this point, it's not necessarily something I'm looking to do.
Certainly. Certainly. Hey, Brian, thanks for thanks for having me. Thanks for having this conversation with us. Be sure to check out Triple Trophy on Facebook and Hey we'll catch you later. Good luck on the hunting season. Nice talking to you, Mitch. Thanks for stopping by.