Friday, January 26, 2024

UPDATE:

Wild Goose Chase Taxidermy Studio will be relocating to Minnesota! 

I will be completing all of the birds I have in house by the end of April, 2024.

My Colorado shop is now closed to new orders for bird taxidermy and fish repros, however I can still take new orders for soft mounts (I provide the pelt). Soft mount taxidermy ships for free.

Wild Goose Chase Taxidermy Studio will reopen in Minnesota in the next year or so once the new taxidermy shop is complete. 

Thank you for your business and support over the past couple years, it's been an honor to preserve your memories through the art of taxidermy! 



Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Welcome to Wild Goose Chase Taxidermy Studio, LLC

 
UPDATE: My shop is relocating to Minnesota, and I will no longer be taking in new bird taxidermy orders.  I will update my website once I reopen for bird orders.  Soft mount taxidermy can still be completed and shipped to you (no charge on shipping for soft mounts).  Fish repro orders will also still be open, although you will have to pay for shipping if you are not located in the Minneapolis, MN area.  

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 high quality and detailed wildlife taxidermy, especially when it comes to bringing your waterfowl and gamebirds back to life!  

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 the drop off and pickup of their birds, or who wants to ship their birds to me.  Soft mount/small mammal taxidermy and fish reproduction orders typically take place via email or phone call since I source my own pelts/skins for those mounts, and fish reproductions do not require the actual skin.  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.  

Scroll down for my contact info and other bird taxidermy related information, as well as a price list.  You can also click here for a list of prices. 

Take a look at the gallery tab at the top of this page for photos of my bird taxidermy work and other resources.  I also provide custom soft mount taxidermy services, small mammal mounts, fish reproductions, and run my own Etsy shop, wgctaxidermystudio.etsy.com where you can buy various finished taxidermy pieces that I complete when not working on custom orders.

I look forward to commemorating your hunt and appreciate the business each customer brings.

Thank you, Saige

Important Reminder: when a hunter drops off their bird for taxidermy, they MUST provide their hunting license number for that bird's identification tag.

Examples of who I can provide bird taxidermy services for:

  • Hunters
  • Hobby farmers (no pets, just barnyard poultry, ornamental quail and partridges, Guinea fowl, peacocks, and such)
  • 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!

Note: custom small mammal taxidermy is created for you using pelts that I source myself.  I cannot at this time accept your own personal un-tanned pelts/un-skinned mammals.  Fish taxidermy is made using replicas only, and doesn't have any real part of your fish incorporated into the mount.   

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

             

Wild Goose Chase Taxidermy Studio Facebook

Wild Goose Chase Taxidermy Studio Instagram 

Etsy Shop

 

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


How Can You Provide a Quality Bird for a Quality Mount?

  • Choose a bird with minimal damage to the skin and feathers if possible.  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. 
  • Be mindful of the feathers.  Always ensure the bird is handled in a way that will prevent the feathers from being ruffled the wrong direction or accidentally broken.  Check your bird for large amounts of blood feathers (aka pin feathers).  Blood feathers are the bird's new feathers that grow in after molting, and are characterized by the feather quills at the base of the skin being soft and darkened in color due to a blood supply.  These feathers can also be shorter than the mature feathers around it since they are still growing in.  Blood feathers have the tendency to easily fall out during the taxidermy process, which can result in a more patchy looking mount.  If you do not want to risk having some patchy spots on your mount, choose a bird with minimal or no blood feathers.                                                                                                  
  • Freeze it!  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. 
  • Avoid freezing for too long.  Try to avoid keeping your bird in your freezer for more than a year or two if possible, 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, although a nice looking mount is still possible.                                                                                                                   
  • Prevent freezer burn.  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. 
  • Dried skins don't work as well.  Completely dried skins will not taxidermy as nicely as fresh or frozen skins.

Once your mount is home, refer to the Taxidermy Care page for details on how to care for your bird once it has been taxidermied. 



Taxidermy Care

Taxidermy care: 

Once your mount is home, maintenance is essential to ensure it stays looking at its best!  Display your taxidermy out of direct sunlight and in a dry location. 

From time to time, clean them gently with a feather duster, going with the grain of the feathers.  Make sure to vacuum near it and keep the area around the bird clean.  By gently disturbing the feathers with a feather duster and keeping them clean, moths and other pests that may be present in a house will be discouraged from laying eggs on your bird.  

Nevertheless, and it is always recommended that you check them regularly for signs of insects, such as moths or beetles, that could destroy the skin and feathers.  Signs of insects can include larvae, adult moths or beetles, webs left from larvae, small round droppings, feathers that start falling out in clumps, and feathers or feet that start looking chewed up.  

There are various products to discourage insects that you can apply to your mount every few months or so, and my favorite one is made by MountMedix.  They have a natural insect repellent spray that is gentle on feathers and safe to use.  All you have to do is water down some of the concentrate in a mister bottle, and apply a light mist of the product over the feathers.  So this after dusting the birds every couple months.  Do not make the feathers very wet with the mist.  Click here to see how you can provide a quality bird for a quality mount.  

These same maintenance principles can be applied to mammal taxidermy as well. 


How the Process Works

Pickup and drop off of birds is by appointment only, and customers must first contact me beforehand to schedule one.  Customers who want to ship their bird to me, can do so!  Just take a look at the "Shipping Info" page found on the menu at the top of this webpage.  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.  Taxidermy will be completed in under 10 months.  UPDATE: My shop is relocating to Minnesota, and I will no longer be taking in new bird taxidermy orders.  I will update my website once I reopen for bird orders.  Soft mount taxidermy can still be completed and shipped to you (no charge on shipping for soft mounts).  Fish repro orders will also still be open, although you will have to pay for shipping if you are not located in the Minneapolis, MN area.  

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.  See my prices page for more details. 


Bird Taxidermy 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.  You can even bring me your own base/branch if you'd like! 

While most birds are done as a life-size mount, shoulder mount birds are also available and are a good option if you are looking for a smaller or cheaper mount, or if the body of the bird is too damaged for a life-size mount.

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.  In addition to custom bird taxidermy, I also provide custom soft mount taxidermy/lifesize mounts and run my own Etsy shop, where I sell various taxidermy pieces that are already complete and ready to ship.  If fish are more your thing, I can provide custom fish reproductions/replicas.  There is a link to both of these on the menu at the top of this webpage. 


BIRD PRICES:

*Note: Open-mouth birds will have an additional $10 charge.  Displaying poses will have an additional $20 charge.

Quail: $320

Partridge: $340

Pheasant: $380

Standard sized Grouse and Ptarmigan: $360

Sage Grouse: $400

Wild Turkey: $1100

Coot: $360

Duck/Merganser: $400

Goose: $700

Crane: $1100

Other birds not listed: prices vary depending on species 

Bird shoulder mount with simple landscape wall display: half the price of the normal lifesize mount.  (For example, pheasant shoulder mounts are $190, while the normal lifesize mount is $380).  

Turkey tail fan on tooled leather base: $150

Turkey tail fan on wood panel: $220

Turkey tail, feet, wings, beard on panel: $480

Pheasant tail fan on tooled leather base: $80

Small bird wing - no plaque/base (such as quail, any duck, pheasant, partridge, small grouse): $50

Large bird wing - no plaque/base (such as turkey, any goose, large grouse): $100

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, 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.


NOTE: Please note that all sales are final and nonrefundable, and prices are subject to change over time.  There will be a 3.0 percent fee on all credit card purchases.  Taxidermist and/or company will not be held responsible for the theft, fire, flood, vandalism, tanning, hair/feather slippage or any other loss or damage.  The decision and discretion of the taxidermist is binding and absolute and shall apply in any situation, in any disagreements or conflicts and for any fee assessment.  Taxidermy is an art form that works with natural mediums, as such there is the possibility for natural flaws or instances where the skin has been improperly handled by the hunter where slight alterations may be needed to create the finished product.  In some instances if the skin has been improperly handled, it may not be mountable.  While reference pictures may be used, the finished product may not look exactly like the reference picture due to working with a natural medium. 



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.  Customers who want to ship their bird to me, can do so!  Just take a look at the "Shipping Info" page that can be found on the menu at the top of this webpage.  UPDATE: My shop is relocating to Minnesota, and I will no longer be taking in new bird taxidermy orders. I will update my website once I reopen for bird orders. Soft mount taxidermy can still be completed and shipped to you (no charge on shipping for soft mounts). Fish repro orders will also still be open, although you will have to pay for shipping if you are not located in the Minneapolis, MN area.  

Important Reminder: when a hunter drops off their bird for taxidermy, they MUST provide their hunting license number for that bird's identification tag.  This is especially important for those who hunt waterfowl and other migratory gamebirds.

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.  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/soft mount/fish order 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.  Bird 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 can do so during regular business hours, and do not need an appointment, although a phone call is appreciated.  Custom soft mount or fish reproduction orders can be made over the phone or via email.  Thank you!