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MAKENZIE’S OUTDOOR ADVENTURES: Bird Taxidermy

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 11:17 AM CST
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STERLING, Okla. (KSWO) - It’s duck season in Oklahoma, and many hunters choose to preserve a memory from their hunt by getting a bird mounted.

In Makenzie’s latest Outdoor Adventure, she learned all about bird taxidermy, from a high school senior who started his own business with his brother at just 14 years old.

“There’s just a good feeling about stepping back and looking at a bird and being like you know I just mounted that and it looks pretty sweet you know, I like that a lot,” said 18 year old Reydon Register.

The Sterling High School senior started doing taxidermy a few years ago. His older brother started mounting deer, and asked Reydon if he would mount the birds. It was the start of what is now Porter Hill Taxidermy.

“It’s pretty cool feeling you know,” said Register. “I mean people were trusting me when I was a 14 years old to mount their stuff. And you know it’s a good feeling to kind of have my own little business at 18 years old.”

It’s taken a few years to feel confident in his work, eventually winning at a youth competition in Arkansas with a duck, and later winning in an adult division with a turkey.

“I love doing turkeys. Turkeys are my big deal, like I wanna be known as a Turkey guy,” said Register.

The amount of time and work put into these works of art adds up quick.

“Probably about 5-6 hours of work on a duck, but a Turkey, you know I’ve got a lot more work in a Turkey,” said Register. “Probably 25-30 hours in a Turkey.”

When someone brings him a bird to mount, there’s a lot of prep work that must be done first.

“You have to skin it, flush it, wash it, and dry it, and then it’s good to go,” said Register.

Then he gets to work on the mount.

“I try not to pull the wings inside out, because you don’t want to ruffle all your feathers up. Keep’em as pretty as you can,” said Register.

Once he’s got the wings wired up, he picks a form.

“All ducks have different little shaped sized bodies, some are long and fat, some are short and fat,” said Register.

Once he’s got the bird on the form, he’ll sew everything up and then it’s ready to be put on the driftwood.

“Then that’s when I start doing all the the fun work is what I call it,” said Register. “I love preening these things and making them look like a duck, and making them come to life. It’s my favorite part.”

He puts on the bill and eyes last, using caulking to help fill in all the loose skin. It also acts like a glue.

It takes a duck about a week to dry before it can go home, and a turkey about 2 1/2 to 3 weeks. Reydon says seeing the look on his customers faces makes it all worth it.

He hopes to continue doing taxidermy even after high school, and has goals to one day compete at the world level.

“I’d like to become a pretty well known business around southwest Oklahoma, even Oklahoma,” said Register. “You know being known as the taxidermist that has good turn around time, good prices and just good all around taxidermist. And I want to be a competing at the world level one day, in the world shows and be one of the big dogs is what we call them.”

For more information on Porter Hill Taxidermy, you can find them on Facebook.

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