You finally bagged that whitetail of a lifetime, so how much should you be paying for the taxidermy deer mount?
Deer hunting has such a rich heritage in our country that it's almost impossible to describe. The memories of those hunts are an indelible part of the psyche of the deer hunter and having a good deer mount is one of the best ways to rekindle the relationship to each individual hunting experience.
Even shed antlers have a way of keeping alive the recollection of a day spent in the deer woods. Having a way to share these and be able to reminisce about it has long been a part of the hunting culture.
We may have started with the hide and the antlers, but somewhere along the way it became possible to keep the entire head and shoulders forever frozen in time to that fateful day, and even the fateful moment when the deer of our dreams was harvested.
Differing Taxidermy Deer Mounts
Here's a short list of the most popular methods of mounting a harvested deer.
- Antler Mount
- Traditional Skull Mount or European Mount
- Shoulder Mount
- Wall Pedestal Mount
- Full Body Mount
Probably the most common among sportsmen is the typical shoulder mount. It's a great way to memorialize a prized mule or whitetail deer. Skull mounts are common since the cost is much less, and full body mounts are the most expensive.
The differences between a shoulder mount and a wall pedestal mount are sometimes confusing. A shoulder mount is meant to be hung on a wall, and typically depicts the deer looking straight forward with an upright, semi-sneak, or full-sneak orientation of its head. A wall pedestal, on the other hand, has a distinct right or left bend to appear more natural. It exposes the back of the mount, which is usually covered in felt or buckskin. A pedestal mount can be made to fit on a wall as well as a table or stand.
Approximate Deer Taxidermy Costs
Each individual taxidermist has their own price list, and some are certainly better than others and deserving of their higher prices. Costs take into account the materials used to do the mount, the work load of the taxidermist, and the artistic credibility he or she carries with their name.
The traditional skull mount, or the European skull mount as it has recently become known, is another great way to create a hunting memory. They aren't terribly difficult to do as a DIY project, but it comes with an expense in messiness and time. They can generally be done for around $75 to $120 by a professional taxidermist. There are a slew of new products available to help display your Euro mount, most notably the aptly-named Skull Hooker.
Deer shoulder mounts are far and away the most popular and longest standing mount for deer hunters. A deer head hanging on the wall in your den, man cave, or at the hunting cabin is the epitome of keeping your big game trophy alive for posterity's sake. They generally come in at around $400 to $550 depending on your area.
In 2004 I had the shoulder mount you see above done for $350. Taking into account the time lapsed and the cost of materials, that seems about right in today's prices. Spend much more than that, and there had better be something special about your deer or your taxidermist.
A wall pedestal mount is a great way to hang your whitetail buck in the room and costs roughly the same as a shoulder mount, but add in more money since it is a more specialized mount. Typically, it adds about $70-80 more compared to a more basic, straight on wall mount.
A full body mount can come in anywhere from a minimum of $1,000 to upwards of $3,000 or more, especially with extras added. Some opt for things like local plant life, rocks/dirt to match their habitat, or a larger base to hold it all.
Other Taxidermy Mounting Considerations
Of course the other species such as mule deer and antelope can be done in similar ways, but the prices are typically different. If you're just commemorating deer antlers or sheds, there are alternatives like the Rack Hub, which is reasonably priced and gives the user multiple hanging options.
A deer mount is one of our favorite things to display. When you realize it's the hunting community's favorite North American game animal, there's really no wrong way to do it.
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