This is a little article I originally put together for a hunting forum. I get a lot of comments from male hunters and taxidermists that seem to be at an upsetting loss because their girlfriends or wives forbid them to hang any of their taxidermy trophies in the house! They asked me, as a woman who just loves this stuff to share some incite with them on ways that they might be able convince their significant others to let some of their trophies in the house. This journal isn't quite the same...but a lot of it is. I'm altering it in some aspects to gear it towards DA users a little bit more. I took some pictures of the taxidermy I currently have displayed in my apartment...So, you guys get a mini-tour of my apartment.
Before I start, I'd like to say I'm not a professional interior designer (and I'm sure some professionals would scoff at my apartment). However, I do have an eye for display and I am frequently receiving compliments on my place from guests and I have always had a lot of "oohs and aahhs" at some of my taxidermy pieces from guests that aren't generally exposed to taxidermy. I'd really like to attribute that to the manner in which they are displayed as well as the quality of the pieces themselves. I'm also not a person that follows trends in interior design. I like what I like...I couldn't care less what the magazine publishers like, it's my home, not theirs. However, I am usually pretty clever in presenting some of my weird tastes in an aesthetically pleasing way.
The first thing that I talked about in my article, and the first step to successfully incorporating taxidermy into a nicely designed home, is compromise. A couple needs to know where to compromise. I know most ladies that are just plum disgusted with hunting, taxidermy, skulls, or anything related. Well, guess what ladies...you are married to/dating a hunter/taxidermist. If you are disgusted by his hobbies and interests, you might want to re-think your relationship! He's never going to stop liking those things, and as his significant other, his interests are something you should value, not shun. That being said, this is a two way street. Guys, you can't expect your lady to let you cover your walls from top to bottom with pelts and skins. It needs to be tasteful and tidy. I've seen some man-caves and rooms that are so drenched in mounts and hanging skins that you can't even see the wall. This just doesn't look good. Here's how you meet in the middle: Ladies, let him hang some of his trophies in different rooms of the house. They can actually bring out the character in a rustic room or add color and warmth to an empty wall. Men, know that you don't have to get everything you shoot mounted. It's okay to pick and choose your personal best trophies for display. By picking and choosing, this actually makes your mounts more special in my opinion.
Now, here's the real kicker. DON'T SKIMP ON PRICE! The saying "you get what you pay for" applies heavily to taxidermy. Guys, if you want your lady to be happy with a mount, it needs to be well done and expressive. I can promise you, she's never going to be happy with a bug-eyed bargain buck hanging on the wall. Ladies, you need to let him spend the money to get a nice mount. Prices for quality work will vary depending on your area. In my area, $350 will get you one ugly Whitetail shoulder mount, $500 will get you a decent looking mount that you will probably be happy with, and $750 will get a jaw-dropping mount that will amaze you every time you look at it.
Believe it or not, taxidermy is trendy right now. Taxidermy is trendy because rustic design is in style. A good taxidermy piece is actually considered an expensive accent piece. As I mentioned earlier, keeping your displays from getting cluttered is really important. Don't hang too much on your walls, it detracts from the room and feels cramped. Myself being a taxidermist, I like to mount random animals, and I usually have more pieces than I know what to do with. Sometimes, it's hard not to fall in love with my work. I have to pick and choose my favorites to hang in my apartment and I often cycle older ones out with new ones to maintain my spacious and elegant mood and keep my space from becoming an eye sore.
A taxidermy piece just thrown on a wall doesn't always look good. It's key to tie the mount in with the rest of the room so it doesn't seem like an awkward white elephant. This part is easy for me, because I like small rustic accents and I tend to just be drawn to them anyways. However, for some design patterns and rooms it might be tougher to tie a piece in with the rest of the decor. You can use design pieces of a rustic theme, color, material...there are different routes you can take to pick pieces that make the mount flow with your room. I use shed antlers, backhides, and other rustic accents like wooden duck decoys to finish off my rustic feel.
Now, I'll show you a few pictures of my displays. I have my pieces all over the apartment.
This is my largest and also my favorite piece. I have it displayed with my favorite piece of furniture which I got at a consignment store. I have this set up right as you are coming out of our entry way and the Oryx is positioned so that it's actually making eye contact with the person walking in. You'll also notice, I have a Mule Deer shed on the top of the hutch, a couple of my ducks, and also a Pronghorn shed in the bowl.
Next, these are a couple pictures of our extra bedroom. We use it as a study...this is the room we are most lax about. I've got my black bear over our DVD shelf with another wooden duck and a set of deer antlers on the skull plate. And I have a special European mount with a floral arrangement on top hung above my desk
Now, this is my living room. In my opinion, this is the most important room. It's important that everything has a good flow and warm energy. This is the room everyone sits in and will visit in. So, it's important that everything is comfortable and visually pleasing. The two mounts I have on the wall, I actually mounted special to hang on that wall. I picked the poses on the forms to compliment each other, and the pedestal backings actually match on both of them. It's important to plan your mounts for the room they are going to be in. I've got a shed antler on the TV stand and everything's set on top of a Whitetail backhide. What you can't see is that I also have Whitetail sheds under the end tables and an Elk shed under the coffee table.
And lastly, I've got my little Widgeon mount hung in my bedroom.
The purpose of this was really to show women that taxidermy can absolutely look good in a home if the taxidermy is done well and it's tied into the decor in some way. I'm hoping to have opened a few eyes and that some of these hunters are getting to hang some of their mounts in their houses now. I know a lot of you DA girls are already into this stuff and love it! Hopefully y'all will make some guy happy when you're just as excited to hang his mount on the wall as he is!