As hunters tag out and send their trophies off to the taxidermist, you may want to give your other mounts some love. Your feathers, fur, and antlered memorials get dusty and age. A little annual care will keep them around for many more seasons!
Hunters see their hard-earned taxidermy as memorials and special memories. For others, it may be considered wildlife art. No matter what we call it, taxidermy needs annual attention. You will be surprised how some dusting and care will make your displays look better and last longer.
Take some time to inspect your mounts. Look for moths, insect eggs, rodent damage, fading, or anything that seems out of place. Larva husks mean there are some insects feasting on your critter. You may also see tiny bits of what looks like saw dust. Areas of hair may be missing or falling out. The larvae are what is doing the most damage.
Most of the bug damage is the result of a discount or poorly skilled taxidermist. If they left meat or small bits of skin under the hides, hooves, or on the bones, bugs will be there to finish the job. Bug spray is not enough. Older mounts were cleaned using chemicals no longer allowed such as arsenic, carbon tetrachloride, and other toxic poisons.
Humidity, heat, sunlight, and dryness will also damage your mounts. Consider where you place the mounts. Direct light will cause the critters to fade and lose any luster. Check for heat vents, intakes, lighting, and other damaging issues.
To clean your prized mounts, start with thorough dusting. You can vacuum or blow off the hair and mount. Brush and comb the hair and feathers as you go. Damp clothes can be useful, especially on fragile areas and fish. Use a hairbrush that will get to the base of the hide. This is where any bugs will be living.
Next you can get a product called Mount Saver. Spray the liquid onto the mount, then cover the mount in a large trash bag. Allow them to be sealed overnight. This will kill all the bugs. Dry the mounts and give them a final brush. Once done, consider respraying your mounts with Mount Protector. This product can be applied every 6 months and will keep the mounts from getting reinfested, maintains hair, makes antler and horn shine, and keep the mount in perfect viewing shape.
Back in the day, cleaners would include Windex, WD-40, Furniture polish, and other generic home cleaning products. These are often too harsh and will damage the mount. Stay with products designed to address taxidermy products.
While you have the mount off the wall, consider writing the story on the back. You can use a marker or drill a hole to insert the history. Include dates, locations, friends’ names, and facts. When the mounts outlive us, there needs to be an explanation to share. The story makes the mount more meaningful. Otherwise, it is just a dead critter hanging on the wall!
Mounts are priceless. Take some time and care to preserve yours!