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.
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.