How’s Biz: Mountain Man Taxidermy settles in to new home
Now fully at home in a new space, Mountain Man Taxidermy is back to full speed with projects sent to the Craig shop from all over the world.
Scott Moore, who has been in the taxidermy business for 30 years, said that while the majority of Mountain Man’s business does come from local hunting, they also specialize in more exotic wildlife.
Moore is currently working on two pieces from an African safari — a blesbuck and an impala, two types of antelope native to South Africa — and, in the corner of the shop, an Alaskan brown bear is in progress.
Some of the more rare projects come from hunters who have previously hunted here in Moffat County and have long-standing relationships with the shop, as is the case with the African bresbuck and the impala.
“That is what makes the difference with people trusting us to send their animals to us from Alaska, Africa, New Zealand, and all over the world,” said Jennifer Bugay, who works hands-on with animals and mounts alongside Moore.
There is a lot of coordination and detail work that goes into each piece, no matter where it is coming from. Mountain Man is a three-person show; along with Moore and Bugay, Hailey Bellin, office manager, handles all correspondence and shipping — everything except the actual mounting.
The pieces from Africa and other parts of the world are shipped to Mountain Man in crates, with the hides already salted and dried and ready to be sent to a tannery to be turned into leather. The local pieces arrive and need to be salted and dried in-house.
Moore has been to Africa and has hands-on experience working with animals from other parts of the world. When out on his own hunts, he paid attention to the smallest details that he could use later in his work.
“Everybody else was taking pictures of the sunsets, and I was over there getting close-ups of a nostril so I can get the details just right,” Moore said.
Around the shop, digital monitors flash slideshows with reference photos of the antelopes that will help in capturing the tiny details that make for a realistic final product. There are mounts of all sizes and levels of detail. Once complete, the Alaskan brown bear will be mounted with a stream and salmon at its feet.
Shipping out a piece as large as the brown bear will require a crate, but small pieces are easier to ship. Many hunters, though, even those who travel from all over, will come in and pick up the piece if it is cheaper to travel than to ship.
It’s worth a stop in to Mountain Man to see the shop and the showroom, which shows the spectrum of animals that they are able to mount.
Bugay said that whether a customer only comes in once, or they return for several projects, everyone gets the same treatment. Customers call or send a text as soon as they catch something.
“Sometimes I think we are as excited as they are to open the crate,” Bugay said.
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