LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) -Now that deer season is over, many hunters will be looking for a taxidermist to help display their trophy buck.
In Makenzie's latest outdoor adventure, she found a local taxidermist to show her how many hours go in to mounting a whitetail deer.
Taxidermy requires a lot of patience, and a steady hand.
Clint Hunt has been a taxidermist for about 5 years.
“It’s fun, and I enjoy it. It’s something I enjoy. And I can stay home, I can work for myself. I can make my own hours,” said Hunt.
It’s a long tedious process and most taxidermists like Clint have racks waiting to be finished.
“It’s not just a turn around go to town and have it done the next day.,” said Hunt. “To do a good job on one deer, if I was solely working on one deer, it would take 2 weeks or longer for one deer and try to get more than one deer going at once.”
Clint says when a client drops off an animal, it usually takes him about a year to finish the mount.
He says he loves to see the look on their faces, especially kids.
“When I drop off a deer to a kid or something, I’ve seen kids cry,” said Hunt. “I dropped one off to a kid about 4 or 5 years ago. I told him I’d have it done for Christmas just for them as a Christmas present and they didn’t realize I was bringing it to them. And they saw it in the back seat and they had tears in their eyes. It was a great feeling.”
For Chance Caldwell and his boys, finding a good taxidermist is all about trial and error. He says mounting a deer is all about preserving the memories.
“Regardless if these deer were big small, they can look back at their very first deer they ever shot and say hey that’s where I started,” said Caldwell. “It’s really special to know that when they have their cousins over, or their friends over they can say hey look what I got. And maybe it’ll influence them to go next time.”
Tillman County Game Warden Jeremy Brothers says taxidermists are not regulated by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, so it’s important to do your research before choosing one.
“It’s best to stay with someone that you either personally know or you get recommendations for from a friend or family member, someone like that who you can trust,” said Brothers. “And make sure you have receipts that you get from them. Don’t just go there and give them money and your animal.”
“A lot of these people have put 2 to 3 years into one deer,” said Hunt. “You spend all this money on this deer feeding it, the whole nine yards. Choose a good taxidermist, or it’s not going to last a lifetime on your wall.”
Clint says he is thankful for the relationships taxidermy has helped him create.
“You meet a lot of friends, you meet a lot of people that you grow a bond with,” said Hunt. “I know a lot of people that I’ve never known in my lifetime, and I know them to this day, and we talk every month. We call each other just to talk, that I never knew before I got into taxidermy.”
To find a taxidermist near you, you can contact your local game warden for a recommendation.