Bug only please!

We clean skulls using beetles. We are quite fond of our friends and work HARD to maintain them. The amount of time and money we put into bugs is a story in itself. We offer a full service beetle clean skull to our customers. Full service means; prepped, bugged, degreased and whitened. What you take home is a sanitized museum quality skull mount. You can display anywhere in your home.

We have been getting calls from let’s call them “Do it yourselfers” or DIY recently. All they want us to do is bug them. Sounds simple right? Most of the time what they bring me is a dried up or a smelly mess. I then have to prepare this mess for my precious bugs. Our bugs prefer fresh food not jerky, and they prefer not to share food with maggots. By this time I wished I had told them no!

The other problem is the skull they take home is only 1/3 done. They may or may not then try to “whiten” it themselves or call it good as is. What they have is a un-sanitized, greasy, soon to be moldy, gray colored skull not fit to be in the house. When someone asks who did your skull of coarse they will say “Scovel Taxidermy”! Now our name is tried to a skull way below our quality standards.

Currently we DO NOT offer bugged only skulls unless the DIY fully understands what they are getting into and bringing home. It’s not a huge inconvenience to us and our bugs are kept fed if the the skull is in good shape, but what about our name?

What would you do?

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Hunters new ride!

I think hunters should try a new mode of transportation to their hunting spots. They need to try a bicycle! Yes, a bicycle!

I love to bike. I tend to ride on trails that wind through the countryside. It amazes me how many animals I can sneak up on! It’s like I’m invisable and soundless on a bike. I have had many close encounters with squirrels, squinnys, cats, foxes and a bobcat.

Riding up close to a bobcat was incredible! She was beautiful and completely unaware of me as I approached. By the time she saw me I was very close. She panicked and ran down the bike trail instead of hiding in the brush. Amazing, you couldn’t do that on a 4-wheeler!

The funniest encounter I had was with a cat. The cat jump with all four feet straight up and then didn’t know which way to run.

Can you imagine stalking a turkey or a deer from a bicycle?

Say no to 4-wheeler and yes to Bicycles! Photo by Brittany Scovel

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Just a Dream

My dream is to have a store front for Scovel Taxidermy. I picture a building in town on a major highway. The space will house a show room to display all our artwork proudly. There will be office space for me with a door! Currently I have a desk in my dining room. There would be a huge work room and a walk in freezer. Lots of lights and space to work. Outside of the building a large sign stating proudly that Scovel Taxidermy resides inside. Along with business hours posted on a door I can lock drive away from
Business hours, now this is a tough one for our line of work. We have to be flexible given the nature of our work. So we would still need to be available by appointment in addition to regular business hours. What I would be excited about is leaving work and coming home. To have work and home separated would be wonderful! Currently our business is in our converted garage. Which leads me to the other advantage of having a garage again.
In my dream business would continue to grow but at a even faster rate. Everyone would know about Scovel Taxidermy. We would be the leaders in the industry since no other local taxidermist has a store front.
Unfortunely my dreams comes with a high expense and yearly overhead. I would have to observe these posted hours instead of being able to leave and run an errand or spend the day with my kids. More business would lead us to employees , less time and more headaches.
Maybe someday…….

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It just feels good!

My family and a few friends put together a fundraising banquet yearly for Whitetails Unlimited. We just wrapped up our 4th year.

My family volunteering

We started this banquet to promote outdoor sports, hobbies and conservation of our beloved Whitetail Deer. A lot of schools and families don’t or can’t provided the experience of some outdoor sports/hobbies. The reason varies as to why the experiences can’t be provided such as money, time, schedules, land, equipment, transportation, and knowledge. The sports we support in particular are archery, fishing, hunting, and trap shooting but definitely not opposed to others we just can’t do them all.

I will admit this is a huge project. It takes a lot of time, heart, more time and passion to put together a banquet like we do. Every year I think “what did I get myself into?” and every year when we pass out the checks to support various projects I remember why I got myself into this. I got into “this” to see the smiles on kids faces when they release their first arrow or to see the financial burden lifted off the leaders of these sports.

It was never a dream of mine to fundraise or even a thought I tossed around until one night I was sitting at another fundraiser banquet. I wondered why there wasn’t a fundraiser for the outdoor sports/conservation we have experience with. The next day I did a little research and found the organization Whitetails Unlimited, but no one wanted to host a banquet in my community. For some unknown reason I was compelled to be that person.

Fundraising has it’s positive and negatives but the positive always wins out! I fund-raise because it feels good!  I’m proud of what we accomplish and the projects and organizations we support!



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1st Timer

I said goodbye to 1st Timer today. He was the first deer I ever mounted. First timer was created twelve years ago in taxidermy school.
I received a call from someone looking to buy a deer mount for a gift. I remembered that 1st timer was shoved in a corner in my storage room. I haven’t looked at him for years. I was worried that he might not be in the best of shape. Remember he was the FIRST deer I ever mounted and he was 12 years old.


I dug him out and dusted him off. I took inventory of his condition.

1. lower lip pulled away

2. eyes typical to a beginner, without depth

3. color faded

Overall not too bad. In fact he looked better than some professional taxidermy work  i’ve seen. I fixed his lip and  brightened up his color. He was good as new. His new owner was very pleased with her new piece of art!

Walking down memory lane with 1st timer made me feel quite good. I’ve very proud of my artwork as  taxidermist!

Tiffany and Rocky Scovel



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Do it yourselvers

I’ve had two funny stories told to me this week about do it yourself taxidermy projects.

First Story:

Parents had bought this man a learn how to mount a Pheasant book and kit. He was super excited to try it out! He was thinking he could save money and have his bird mounted way faster than a taxidermist. Two days later he had his finished product. He describe to it as a interesting piece of art that maybe a kindergartener created! The legs were crooked and the bird wouldn’t stand up straight. He told me that we will gladly pay a taxidermist and wait patiently for the finished project for now on.

Second Story:

A young boy found a buck dead. The boy wanted to keep it in his house, but of coarse it was still quite smelly. Parents didn’t want to pay to have it preserved so ask for advice. I gave them the steps to clean it. I warned them it would smell and create a soup of chunky rot. The boy was very excited to try this out. It only took a couple of days before the smell couldn’t be tolerated any longer. They gave up and just cut the rack off.

This is just two of the many stories I hear about. Sometime you have to try it out for yourself to appreciate the hard work and artistry a taxidermist puts into his work.


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Expensive Taxidermy

Poor nose texture and coloring.

Expensive taxidermy is when you choose the cheapest taxidermist and then have to bring

Skin around eye is bulging and cracked. Coloring is off. Lacking depth.

the mount to us to fix it. In other words getting what you pay for.

This is a picture of one of our clients deer mounts that another taxidermist did for him. (we had already cut the rack off to remount) Our client was deeply disappointed with the quality of the work. Notice the nose and eyes. Neither the eyes and nose look “real”. The eyes are bulging and the nose texture is well… terrible. The cape was puckered and the ears where “drummed” (pulled apart).
I understand that money is tight these days but when you have to pay twice to get a deer mounted that adds up. Plus the client had to buy a spare cape. A  cheap $300.00 mount just turned into a $775.00 mount and a lot of frustration.
Choose your taxidermist wisely not based on price.
Questions to ask.
1. How long in business?
2. Where did you learn taxidermy? (many learn from videos on the Internet)
3. Do you have work on display? Don’t just look at the display models asks to see other customers mounts also.
I’m pleased to say that our client is thrilled with the quality of our work and will never use another taxidermist again.
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Taxidermy is art and the animal is wild.

While I was doing the finishing work on a whitetail today I was reminded that this was once a wild animal and is not perfect. The fur on this particular deer was in bad shape. He must of had a cause of serious itch. He had rubbed his fur in many places. Some places rubbed the fur down to the skin.

Some deer may also have scaring from old wounds and some have fresh wounds.

Then there are the imperfections the hunter inflicts. Bullet holes, drag marks and cutting the cape to short or incorrectly.

Of course the hunter wants his trophy to be perfect. It is my job to take a imperfect wild animal and give the hunter what he wants. This is where art comes into play. I work very hard putting on the animals “makeup” and then spend lots of time “grooming the animal. Most of the time old and new wounds disappear with taxidermy “magic”. Other imperfections are harder to camouflage. Like rubbed off or broken hair. I just do my best to get the rubbed hair to blend in.

Bottom line, this is still a wild animal that has imperfection. Gotta love them with or without imperfections.

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My bug shed is NOT a hotel!!

My bug shed sometimes receives unwanted visitors. Currently knats/flys are trying to take up residency with my Dermestid beetles. Although they are not harmful to the dermestid, they do annoy them. I have taken away all food. I also have added fly strips and knat trap (pictured on the right). I’m guessing the knats are wanting in because of the lower temperatures outside. Inside the bug shed is a toasty 84 degrees and the menu is wild boar.

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Call before you get “lucky”

I used to giggle when I would get a call from a customer wanting a price for taxidermy service before they got the animal. I would think they just jinxed their hunt/trip by assuming they would be successful.

However it’s not a bad idea to have some idea what you want to have done “if” you do get lucky. For instance: I recently had a client call me on his way home from a successful bear hunting trip. He just figured a rug would be the least expensive option. So he had the outfitter cape the bear for a rug. When he called me he found out a nice rug with backing can cost almost as much as a half life size mount. Now he’s wishing he had it caped for a mount instead. Hopefully the cape can be saved for a 1/2 life size. We will have to work out taxidermy magic!

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