Racking up the awards: Craig taxidermist twice bags ‘best professional’
CRAIG — After two big wins in Utah, the awards are mounting up for Scott Moore, owner of Mountain Man Taxidermy in Craig.
Moore was recently awarded best professional large life-sized animal for a mount of a Himalayan tahr he killed during a 2016 hunt in New Zealand. He was also awarded best professional large game head for a bighorn sheep he mounted for a customer.
He won the awards at the 2018 Best of the West Taxidermy Championships, held March 15 and 18 in Salt Lake City, by the Utah Taxidermists Association, in conjunction with the International Sportsmen’s Expo.
This was the first time Moore has entered the Utah championships, though last year, he competed at the National Taxidermist Association’s convention, also held in Utah, winning first place honors with the same tahr and a mule deer, as well as second place awards for a wild pig and chamois. He has also frequently competed at shows in Colorado.
“With each mount, the next one should be better. It’s a constant learning process. That’s the big reason for going to the shows. You get to talk with the best taxidermists in the world and learn from them what you did well and what you could do better,” Moore said.
His passion for preserving animals began at age 8.
“My mom shot a buck. I begged and begged to have it mounted. I spent a couple hours with Jan Roth at Rimrock Taxidermy and was hooked,” Moore said. “When I killed my first buck, I went to Mountain Man Taxidermy. I worked out a deal to work off the cost, and I’ve been doing that ever since.”
He purchased the business from Bob Barton in 1998.
From guts to glory, the work can be pretty monotonous, Moore said.
“The day-to-day isn’t art, but when you’re building a piece, a habitat, there’s a lot of thought in design and flow and color. We use a lot of things that would not be used for their intended purposes, such as dental tools, sculpting tools, files, paint, super glue, metal and wood,” he said.
After 20 years in the profession, Moore still thrives on the challenge of running a business, staying on top of techniques and new products and striving to always improve his craft.
“And the wildlife. If I can’t own them, at least I can preserve them and work with them with my hands,” Moore said.
He considered a career in wildlife biology but didn’t see a lot of prospects, considering the number of people who enter the field. Now, he gets to work with an impressive array of animals.
“I like the cats. Mule deer for what we do around here. I’m really getting into the sheep and goats; the horned animals. They are quickly becoming my favorite,” Moore said.
Business is brisk, with hunters bringing in about 200 animals per year, plus random requests. And, racking up awards usually brings even more hunters to his door.
“I think customers see the ribbons and awards,” Moore said. “There’s an advertising value, some assurance and peace of mind.”
Some of Moore’s award-winning work is on display in area businesses and in his showroom at Mountain Man Taxidermy, 1176 Yampa Ave.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.