Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Welcome to Wild Goose Chase Taxidermy Studio, LLC


 
Welcome to Wild Goose Chase Taxidermy Studio, LLC!

My name is Saige GriffisWest.  I am a Colorado native with a college degree in wildlife, and I am the owner and operator of Wild Goose Chase Taxidermy Studio.  I am an artist and a naturalist who is passionate about conservation and the restoration of our country's remaining wild places, and hunting can be a key aspect to both! 

At Wild Goose Chase Taxidermy Studio, I specialize in the creation of quality waterfowl and gamebird mounts, where an artistic approach and attention to detail are major aspects to each and every bird.  I provide taxidermy services by appointment along the Front Range of Colorado, but I welcome anyone who is willing to travel to my Front Range locations for drop off and pickup of their birds.  As an artist in taxidermy and other mediums, I take pride in my artwork and strive to preserve your mount in the most lifelike way possible.  Take a look at the art of taxidermy page and the FAQs and gallery tabs for more details.  I look forward to commemorating your hunt and appreciate the business each customer brings.

Thank you, Saige

Examples of who I can provide taxidermy services for:

  • Hunters
  • Hobby farmers (no pets, just barnyard poultry)
  • Museums/nature Centers/scientific collections
  • Universities/colleges/scientists
  • Wild bird rescues/educational facilities/zoos

Note:  Although I typically only taxidermy waterfowl and gamebirds, non-gamebird species such as songbirds and birds of prey  can be taxidermied as well, provided the collector has a valid federal permit listed under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Typically, only places such as museums, zoos, wildlife rescues, and universities are granted these permits, and they are not available to the general public.  Always feel free to contact me with any questions, but please leave a message if I do not pick up the phone.  If you do not leave a message, I may not be able to call you back.  Thanks!

 Visit my Facebook and Instagram pages to see what's going on in the world of taxidermy!                 

      

Wild Goose Chase Taxidermy Studio Facebook

Wild Goose Chase Taxidermy Studio Instagram 

 

 

Above image is a trademark of Wild Goose Chase Taxidermy Studio, created by Saige GriffisWest, May, 2021.


The art of taxidermy

Taxidermy is both an art and a science, and that is one of the things that makes it so amazing!   

Besides your typical flying, standing, or sitting positions, other less commonly seen positions can be done to enhance the natural beauty of each taxidermy mount.  Preening, sleeping, swimming, feeding, interacting with its surroundings, relaxing with one foot up, and stretching wings are other positions that can be created for your bird.  The choice is yours! 

The entire taxidermy process is preformed with precision and care, and great attention to detail is carried out during all steps in the process.  Bases and landscapes are designed to match the habitat for each species as accurately as possible, unless you would like a more artistic or abstract background to go with your bird.  

Once your mount is home, maintenance is essential to ensure it stays looking at its best!  It is always recommended that you check them regularly for signs of insects, such as moths, that could destroy the skin and feathers.  Clean them gently with a feather duster, air them out, keep the area around the bird clean, and check them for signs of moth damage that can occasionally occur.  By gently disturbing the feathers and keeping them clean, moths and other pests that may be present in a house will be discouraged from laying eggs on your bird.  Click here to see how you can provide a quality bird for a quality mount

 

Above image is courtesy of Unsplash.com

How can you provide a quality bird for a quality mount?

  • Try to keep your hunting dog from mangling the bird once it is dead.  Either retrieve the bird yourself, or immediately take it out of your dog's mouth.  It is always best to retrieve the bird yourself if you want it for a taxidermy mount.                                                                                     
  • Choose a bird with minimal damage to the skin and feathers.  Handle the bird with care.  Avoid damaging the feathers by carrying a bird by the neck or stuffing it in a game bag.  Carry it by the legs instead, or wrap it in a plastic bag with the head tucked under a wing.  Place it somewhere where it won't get crushed during transport.  Broken legs and wings can be repaired.                                                                                        
  • Wipe any fresh blood off of the feathers with a damp rag, especially if blood is on white feathers.  If at all possible Do not attempt to gut, skin, or breast out the bird yourself, because I will need the entire body for form measurements, and a wrong incision could ruin the quality of the mount.  Special exceptions can be made if necessary for turkeys (see below).  Once the bird is at my shop, I will save any edible meat from the body and will return it to you upon pickup (this is another reason why you don't want to let your bird freezer burn).
  • Always ensure the bird is handled in a way that will prevent the feathers from being ruffled the wrong direction or accidentally broken.                                                                                                                                                       
  • If possible, have a cooler with ice ready for your birds so that they are kept cool during transport.  Freeze your bird ASAP!!! - don't let it sit out in the sun unfrozen for more than a few hours.  The fresher the better; this is critical in order to have a quality mount.  Do not put your bird in pantyhose, because blood may make the bird's feathers stick to the fabric and pull them out.  Instead, keep your bird in a stable position so the feathers do not get broken or ruffled, and tuck the bird's head under one of it's wings as described above to prevent the neck from breaking off when frozen.  Long dangling feet should also be tucked up near the belly.  Put your bird in a sealed plastic bag.  Try to remove as much air from the bag as possible, without damaging the bird within.  To help keep any long tail feathers from breaking or bending, tape a piece of cardboard around the outside of the sealed bag to provide support - as long as the cardboard is slightly longer than the length of your bird (including its tail), it should help prevent the tail or head from bending or breaking if it gets bumped in the freezer.  TURKEY HUNTERS: If you do not have a freezer big enough for your entire bird, watch this two part video series on how to skin out your own turkey.  It will make it so that it takes up less room in your freezer and you can remove the meat from the carcass yourself.  https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=T9Tjt0Ba6C0
  • Try to avoid keeping your bird in your freezer for more than a year or so, otherwise it may get freezer burned and could be difficult to skin and mount.  It is always best to take it to the taxidermist before then.                                                                                                                   
  • To help keep things from drying out or freezer burning if it will be frozen for more than a month, wrap a damp cloth or paper towel around the bird's head and feet prior to putting it in the sealed plastic bag.  Do not wrap your bird in newspaper, because this could dry out the skin or stain the feathers, even when frozen. 

Click here to learn more about what species of birds Wild Goose Chase Taxidermy Studio can mount.


Above image is courtesy of Unsplash.com



What species will Wild Goose Chase Taxidermy Studio mount?

A list of the species that Wild Goose Chase Taxidermy Studio specializes in can be viewed below. 

  • Legally and ethically harvested waterfowl such as ducks, geese, coots, and mergansers.                  
  • Legally and ethically harvested upland gamebirds such as wild turkeys, grouse, chukar, pheasants, and quail.
  • Domesticated barnyard poultry provided they were not considered pets.                                                                                                                           
  • Museum specimens, zoological specimens, collection specimens, or educational specimens that are non-gamebird species such as songbirds or birds of prey, provided the collector or institution has the proper federal permits listed under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act that would allow them to legally possess such birds.  These are issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and are typically not available to the general public.                                                                                       
  • I can also perform repairs on old bird taxidermy that needs repainted, cleaned, fixed, or needs a new landscape base.

Note: I do not taxidermy pets, mammals, reptiles, or fish.  I can however taxidermy chickens or other barnyard birds provided they were not pets.  Pet parrots will not be taxidermied.  Birds that were unethically harvested or hunted without a license will also not be accepted, including non-gamebird species such as raptors or songbirds unless you possess the proper permits listed under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (see above).

My definition of ethically harvested or acquired birds would be that the bird was hunted with the intent of eating its meat, not just as a trophy, the bird died of natural causes, was humanely euthanized due to injury or disease, or the bird was killed through invasive species management.  All birds, even in death, should be treated with respect, and the main reason for killing them should never be solely for the purpose of taxidermy.  Remember that I will return the edible portions of waterfowl and gamebirds to the hunter, so please do not try to skin out any birds that you want to be taxidermied. 

life-size mounts are the most common way to taxidermy the birds, although I can also preserve turkey tails, pheasant tails, or the wings of any bird if the hunter does not want a life-size mount.  I appreciate the hunter who hunts not only for food and outdoor recreation, but also because they understand that the purchase of hunting licenses and ammunition helps fund conservation and habitat restoration.  Click here for a list of prices for each species, and view how the process works.  


Above image is courtesy of Unsplash.com

 

How the process works

Pickup and drop off of birds is by appointment only, and customers must first contact me beforehand to schedule one.  I provide taxidermy services by appointment along the Front Range of Colorado, primarily in the Denver and Fort Collins areas, but welcome anyone who is willing to travel to one of my Front Range locations to drop off and pickup their bird.  Fort Collins customers can drop off their birds at Dan French Taxidermy Denver area hunters can coordinate a drop off for their birds directly at my studio location.  Taxidermy will be completed in under 12 months, and typically, depending on my work load, will be complete in under 6 months.  

Upon drop off, customers will put down a deposit for 50% of the total price of the bird (I accept cash, card, or check.  All sales are final and nonrefundable).  Remember to have your hunting license and information on hand when you drop your bird off for paperwork reasons.  I will collaborate with the customer if they have a specific position or landscape base in mind to ensure that it is mounted in the best way possible.  Upon completion, I will contact the customer and we will coordinate a date and time for pickup.  The other 50% for the completed bird and any additional charge if a custom base/landscape was requested will be paid upon pickup.  See my contact information page if you have questions or need to schedule an appointment to drop off or pickup your bird.

What to bring when you drop off your bird:

  • Your bird - see my page on how you can provide a a quality bird for a quality mount.
  • Any clean, insect free piece of wood/branch that you want it mounted on unless you would prefer to use a branch from my own stockpile.
  • An idea of how you would like your bird to be mounted, such as its positioning and how it will be displayed.  Include any photos you may have taken on how you'd like your bird mounted/reference pictures you have found online of a live bird.
  • Your hunting license and harvest information.  I will need the license number and the state it was issued for, its expiration, and the date and location where you harvested you bird.
  • A method of payment.  Be prepared to make a deposit of 50% for the price of the bird upon drop off.  For example, if the charge for your bird is $280, then you will pay $140 upon drop off.  Custom bases/landscapes will be charged later on due to price fluctuation of materials, and you will be billed for this upon pickup.  Upon pickup, you will then pay the remaining amount for your bird (the other 50%) and any additional charges such as the price for a custom base/landscape.  I accept cash, card, or check.  See my prices page for more details. 


Above image is courtesy of Unsplash.com


Prices

All birds are mounted on a simple driftwood or branch base free of charge (either for a tabletop or a wall hanging location), and each bird is life-size and can be mounted in various natural poses.  Multiple birds can be mounted onto one branch/landscape/base.  Some waterfowl may not be able to have a vocalizing option due to a lack of available open-mouth forms.  Open-mouth birds will typically have an additional $10 charge.  

While the simple driftwood base is complementary, a custom landscape/base or a multi-bird landscape for more than two birds will be an additional charge.  You will need to describe the type of custom base you want and provide me with a price range you are willing to pay for, and I will then send you a quote for it prior to building it.  Click here to learn more about how the process works.  For specific questions or requests about the positioning of your mount or the base/landscape it will be mounted on, please visit my contact page.  

Please note that all sales are final and nonrefundable. 

BIRDS:

Quail: $280

Partridge (such as chukar): $280

Pheasant: $300

Small Grouse: $300

Large Grouse: $340

Wild Turkey (all turkeys are mounted with an artificial head, open-mouth for males only): $650

Coot: $280

Merganser: $300

Small Duck (all ducks are mounted with artificial beaks, open-mouth depends on form availability): $320

Large Duck (all ducks are mounted with artificial beaks, open-mouth depends on form availability): $340

Small Goose (all geese are mounted with artificial beaks, open-mouth depends on form availability): $480

Large Goose (all geese are mounted with artificial beaks, open-mouth depends on form availability): $500

Other birds not listed: prices vary depending on species 

Turkey tail fan on tooled leather base: $50

Pheasant tail fan on tooled leather base: $40

Small bird wing - no plaque/base (such as quail, any duck, pheasant, partridge, small grouse): $20

Large bird wing - no plaque/base (such as turkey, any goose, large grouse): $30

CUSTOM BASES/LANDSCAPES  

Anything other than the complementary piece of branch/driftwood: prices vary based of size and complexity

Custom landscape bases can include:   

Vegetation, rocks and dirt, fake snow and icicles, fake water, wall ghost hanger instead of a landscape, large multi-bird branches/scenes for more than 2 birds, barbed wire/old fence posts or barn wood, fancy/rustic wooden bases or panels for either the tabletop or the wall, pedestal bases, and more.

REPAIRS

Prices for repairs on old bird taxidermy will vary depending on the job that needs done.


Above image is courtesy of Unsplash.com


Contact Wild Goose Chase Taxidermy Studio

 

 
Pickup and drop off of you bird is by appointment only, and customers must contact me beforehand to schedule one.  I provide taxidermy services by appointment along the Front Range of Colorado, but I welcome anyone who is willing to travel to one of my Front Range locations to drop off and pickup their bird.  Hunters in the Fort Collins area can drop off their birds at Dan French Taxidermy.  Denver area hunters can coordinate a drop off directly at my studio.  Click here to learn more about how the process works, and here for a list of prices.    

CONTACT ME:
To contact me directly if you have questions regarding your bird or to schedule 
a pickup or drop off appointment, email me at 
or call me at 
(970) 372-7251
Please leave a message if I do not answer the phone.  Drop offs and pickups at my studio location MUST be by appointment only due to a lack of a storefront location.  Customers dropping off their birds at Dan French Taxidermy during regular business hours do not need an appointment.  Thank you!

 


 

Above image is courtesy of Unsplash.com