Trophy Specialist
Taxidermy

Here's what to look for in a quality deer head mount.

A deer head and shoulder mount should appear "alive".  Trophy Specialist Taxidermy uses reference photos to create the most lifelike, realistic looking commercial mounts available.  Many other taxidermists make some common mistakes (or shortcuts) that detract from the quality of their finished products.  Trophy Specialists will not cut corners.  Our mounts that will look good for the rest of your life  and beyond.  Your prized trophy will be passed down from generation to generation as a family heirloom.  We encourage our customers to look very closely at our work and compare it to the competition's.  Here are some things to scrutinize in determining a quality mount:


Eye Detail

Quality eye work is critical to a lifelike appearance of a mount.  Look for a relaxed looking eye with a hint of white in the corners.  The eyes should be symmetrical and the coloration around the eyes should be a blending of brown and black colors without appearing painted.  The inside corners of the eye and the edge of the lids should have a wet appearance.  The tear ducts can be either open or closed, but they should have a waxy appearance with an off-white to light tan coloration.  The eye lashes should extend out over the eye at a slight downward angle.  A subtle brow indentation should be visible.  Long whiskers around the eyes and muzzle should be present and need to be positioned in the correct hair pattern.

The nose and muzzle area are also critical as it is one of the first things a viewer will be attracted too.  The nose pad should be a dark brown, dark gray or black color with a wet look.  The dimples on the nose pad should be visible but not bulgy looking.  The nostrils need to have depth to look realistic.  Shine a flashlight inside the nose and the nostril should extend deep inside the muzzle.  The coloration of the nostrils should be a gray, brown, and fleshy pink blend with a wet look.  The lip line should be crisp and clean looking with no gaps.  The skin of the lower lip should be slightly showing and appear wet.  The corners of the mouth should be slightly upturned so the deer appears to be grinning, but not laughing.  Whiskers placement should be natural looking.  

The ears should have crisp edges without wrinkles or hair sticking out at weird angles.  The interior of the ear should be detailed deep inside reveling the irregular features of the cartilage.  The exposed skin inside the ear should be colored a neutral off-white to tan with some flesh tone deep inside the ear canal.  The ear bases need to be full detailing the muscles and cartilage features of the ear butts.  Positioning for the ears needs to complement the mounting pose.  The ears should be positioned symmetrically.  

Any gap between the antler base and the hide looks horrible.  The hair patterns around the antler base, forehead and facial areas are critical for a natural looking mount.

One of the biggest mistakes most taxidermists make is poor positioning of the brisket area.  The leg pits should be visible, but not stretched over the base of the shoulders.  The brisket should be groomed and formed so the hair patterns appear attractive and natural.

The muscle detail should be defined, but smooth and natural looking.  Bulging, squared-off looking muscles are not natural and detract from the beauty of the mount.  Hair patterns should lay flat with no cow-licks or fixable flaws showing.  The hair should be neatly tucked in behind the form for a professional touch.  The hanger should be invisible to the viewer and the back of the mount should hang flush with the wall with no gap.  

The seam along the back of the head and neck should be invisible.  Even when you feel for it, it should be nearly smooth to the touch.  Any repairs (bullet holes, cuts, etc....) should also be invisible if possible.  

Return to Trophy Specialist Taxidermy Home Page