It’s a classic conundrum among hunters: you want to proudly display the trophies of your hours spent in the woods, but your guests seem to get a little shaky when they see that your home has more or less become the taxidermist version of Noah’s Ark. From deer heads on the wall to stuffed statues of the small game you’ve collected throughout your career, a prolific hunter can easily cross the line between taxidermy decor that adds a rustic or atmospheric feel to a home and taxidermy decor that feels like obsessive overkill. The trick, naturally, is knowing where that line lies.
Easier said than done, right? If you are a passionate hobbyist in the hunting realm, it can be hard to part with even the smallest and most inconsequential of trophies. Taxidermy allows us to both display our hunting prowess and decorate our homes with things that speak to who we are personally. With that said, there is no reason to stuff every single animal you ever shoot. Even among hunters, there is a line between good taste and outright insanity. Preserving your milestone hunting kills – the fox you brought home from your first hunting trip with your father, perhaps, or the biggest buck you ever bagged – is okay. Filling your home with the entire cast of Bambi is not.
What about a specialized taxidermy room, you might ask? Honestly, what’s the point? A room filled with dozens of animal corpses looks more like a museum or a sacrificial shrine than part of a residential home, and chances are that even some of your more hunting-minded friends will be a little creeped out by it. Displaying a trio of milestone deer heads in your living room can be tasteful and respectable, especially if you tell your guests the stories behind them and why they mean something to you personally. A room filled with taxidermy sends the signal that you are a hoarder at best and an animal serial killer at worst. Keep the important trophies, toss the rest, and turn your trophy room into a place where your friends won’t be worried that you might taxidermize them as well.
If you’re stubborn and want to hold onto every animal you ever kill, go ahead, but be aware that many non-hunters won’t be impressed by your collection. On the contrary, studies have shown that homes full of taxidermy don’t do too well on the real estate market. If your house is for sale, you might actually want to put all of your trophies out of sight. You never know when a vegetarian or an animal right activist might walk through the door and start giving you an earful.
Photo via Slate