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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Taxidermy business booms as hunting seasons progress

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Photos by Ken White/Special to the Herald-Tribune Don Andrews, Morrisville, with some of the many deer mounts he has worked on at his shop, Rattlin Horns Taxidermy.
With the firearms deer season opening in less than a month and hunting in general going strong, taxidermists across the area are preparing for big business. One taxidermist, who has been at it for 20 years, is ready for the onslaught of hunters that have success in the field and want to keep memories of that special trophy.

Don Andrews, Morrisville, started working on animals and fish some 20 years ago. Along the way, he has had all kinds of fish and game brought to him including a tiger rug for Exotic Animal Paradise and a host of North American game. Andrews never had formal training in taxidermy; he is self taught. Being a hunter and fisherman since he was very young, he had a desire to work with wildlife.

"I went to SMSU and got a degree in Industrial Technical Engineering and worked at it for nine years and hated it, so I quit and started doing something I always wanted to do," he said.

A monster concrete bear welcomes visitors to Don Andrews' Rattlin Horns Taxidermy shop.
The name Andrews chose for his business is Rattlin Horns Taxidermy. "I think getting a big buck's attention by rattlin' antlers is a big thrill," he said. Today, the bulk of Andrews' work is with deer and with the bow season under way and the firearms season about to start, he will be busy from now through the winter months.

To see all the big buck racks in his shop, one wonders how he ever gets caught up. He stays busy, especially at this time of the year. "I get enough work from October through January to keep busy all year," he said.

Andrews doesn't work on ducks, but does a great job on mounting tom turkeys. Andrews' shop has a showroom, where he displays some of his work including moose, mule and whitetail deer, tom turkeys and other animals.

"Taxidermy has changed from the time I started," he said. "The materials used has tripled in price while my prices have almost doubled."

Andrews still hunts with a bow as well as with a gun and has taken some big bucks around Greene County over the years. His son, Tanner, 17, also has taken some big bucks with bow and arrow.

Taxidermy is a skill that includes a lot of different aspects, including anatomy, painting, tanning and sculpture. Andrews, like all taxidermists, keeps busy the entire year by using his skills in preserving animals that keep memories of past hunts and fishing trips alive.

Many people have no idea of what is involved in taxidermy, so Andrews likes to show them what he does. He has groups of young students that he has shown what he does and most of them lose interest in becoming a taxidermist.

The fall hunting season brings out the decoys, calls, camouflage, tags and firearms. For those who are successful in bagging a trophy buck or perfect tom turkey, it might mean a trip to a taxidermist.

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Ken White
Outdoor Living