The art of taxidermy
When Jeremy Sanders started thinking of a clever way to get people interested in his business, he considered the cliched sexual innuendo, but instead settled on Bone Head Boiler.
Sanders is a taxidermist, and a unique one at that. He doesn’t do your traditional shoulder or full-size mounting, he does boiling. A hunter will bring Sanders the head of a deer, elk or pronghorn, and Sanders boils it to get the excess meat off, bleaches the skull and then mounts it, depending on what a client wants.
Sanders has been boiling for 10 years but has being doing it as a business for about four years.
Sanders works full time as a supervisor for the city of Craig’s Park and Recreation Department, and he estimates that after coming home from work, he will boil until about 1 or 2 a.m. and then have to be back to work by 5 or 6 a.m.
“I usually have lots of heads to boil,” he said. “Since I do this year round, I sometimes turn into a walking zombie.”
Sanders is unusual because he promises a 24-hour turnaround on his services.
“If someone brings me a head on Tuesday, they can pick it up on Wednesday morning,” he said.
Sanders said that most taxidermists take three to 12 months to return a finished product.
Sanders is an avid hunter, and since the age of 12, he has collected racks from every animal he has hunted.
“Every single one of them is a story,” he said.
Sanders said that’s another reason he enjoys boiling: the stories. Every hunter who comes in with an animal head has a story to tell, and Sanders said he enjoys listening to what they have to say.
“It really is a very social event,” he said.
Sanders said he has been getting a lot of requests for European mounting, which is a specific way to mount just the horns of an animal on an oak plaque.
Sanders said most people are interested in keeping the skull of their animal or having it mounted in some way because it is a memento.
Whatever the reason, Sanders is happy to drop whatever comes through his door into the 47-gallon boiler he uses and turn that head into a work of art for someone to cherish forever. n
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