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“Reno-based taxidermy company Animal Artistry is showcasing their work at Safari Club International Convention 2017 in Las Vegas, Nev.,” AA’s presser proclaims [via]. “For over thirty years, Animal Artistry has set the standard for creativity and quality in taxidermy. They aim to consistently expand options for hunters when it comes to trophy display.”

This particular example will set the standard for anti-hunting animus, methinks, even though “all the cubs in this display died of natural causes and were acquired from breeders.”

Do you have hunting trophies? A trophy room? Hey Bungalow Bill. What did you kill? And if you do have hunting trophies, have you ever faced hostility from visitors? How did you deal?

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  1. At the risk of sounding “liberal” or “PETA”, I don’t believe in trophy hunting. I hunt, but I’m after meat for the freezer, not a set of antlers for the wall and bragging rights. Honestly, I feel a tad disgusted when I’m around someone whose sense of masculinity seems to be enhanced by how big a set of antlers is hanging on their wall, or the size of the bearskin rug on their floor. As for hunting non-meat animals, I feel it should only be done to deal with nuisance/destructive animals. Not “potentially” a nuisance, or destructive, but proven to have been a problem (like our local pack of ‘yotes, or feral hogs, or a bear that was the habit of breaking into cars until he was dealt with – okay, I know, bears and hogs are edible, but I’d have to be starving to eat a ‘yote…). Note that, unlike a liberal, I’m not screaming “BAN TROPHY HUNTING!”, I am simply stating my personal feelings on the matter.

      • I don’t know about where YOU live, but around here you can’t buy venison or rabbit in the local grocery stores (except snack sticks which have generally been mixed with other meats besides the game meat). One of the local stores, however, DOES carry buffalo (they have their own herd)…

    • I’m right there with you. If you want to mount the buck you shot to eat that’s all good but flying to Africa so you can have a guide tell you when to shoot a lion is just lame. It’s usually like some cheesedick middle manager who didn’t get laid in highschool. The worst is when they want to tell you about their lame guided hunt. The only real Hombres involved in the whole thing are the guides. I don’t think it should be illegal but I still think trophy hunters/fishers are creeps.

    • Trophy hunting means different things to different people. If I have a tag for a whitetail buck and see two grazing, isn’t it a bit of a “trophy” hunt if I kill the one with the better rack? What if next year I want to get a license for a moose? What about Yellowstone’s exploding wolf population and them considering selling tags to keep that population under control?

      I assume people here know that populations, even endangered species, have to be controlled if one area has too many for the pack to sustain itself. I’ve read enough to know that Cecil The Lion was a tag offered because the preserve’s lion population was too big to sustain itself. I know a fair portion of the guy’s money went to financing the park. That Cecil didn’t go to waste as a local village got the meat.

      I doubt anyone on this thread would say population control for conservation is a bad thing. That using meat from the animal to feed people is a bad thing. That giving your money to a nature preserve is a bad thing. But call it “trophy hunting” and suddenly it’s wrong? Why? Is it because the hunter enjoyed himself? Time to start calling him names I guess and pretending he’s a failure at life. How dare someone participate in a conservation program, give meat to a local village, and donate to a preserve…. if he uses a gun at the same time!!!!!

    • Exactly my feeling. I hunt for meat and the enjoyment and challenge of being in the woods. I get the guys that want the challenge of hunting a big elusive buck. I think the African safari-type hunts with some dentist is what turns most people off, sure the meat is used and some proceeds go to conservation. You need to put in some work when you’re harvesting animals.

    • So I’ll assume all you “meat hunters” never apply for Buck tags since all you care about is meat? right? Otherwise you’re all just lying sacks of sh!t.

      • Yes, they’re looking for bucks. But they’re not wasting the meat.

        I also think that this stuffed maternal love scene is in incredibly poor taste (no pun intended).

    • Trophy and extermination ‘hunting’ are indeed detestable…

      That said, I wouldn’t lump bear rugs into the trophy category. I would love to have a big ass bear skin coat to keep my ass warm, its also very manly fashion.

  2. I had my first buck mounted from when I was a kid, as well as a shoulder mount of a red stag that I killed a few years later because it was the biggest deer killed in our property ever, and a handful of euro mounts of some of the nicer racked management bucks I have shot. I don’t specifically go out trophy hunting so probably won’t ever have a trophy room.

  3. Yes. Unashamedly. Each mount takes me back to a place and a time. Each one special. And I helped eat every one.
    And not just critters. Carvings from Zimbabwe, an axe from Mozambique, a simple bowl from Botswana.

    • There ya go, right there.
      My (few) trophies aren’t for the approval of the general public, they’re for me and whomever I wish to share their story with. Anyone who doesn’t like the trophy’s story of how I or my family member killed it can pound sand as they show themselves to the door.
      So since we’ve beaten this topic to death one a month or so for the past year, what’ s the final answer? Or is the question being asked again just to fill space?

  4. No mount. Just a 30 foot high pile of miscellaneous bones and skulls in the front yard.
    Sometimes, on warm sunny days, I like to climb to the top and laugh and laugh and laugh…..

  5. If I had enough money and I could literally afford to light hundreds of thousands of dollars on fire, I would definitely have a trophy room. I would set it up like an English billiards room from the Golden era of African trophy hunting. I would wear a Safari helmet, get wasted, and randomly yell dumb British cliches while smacking the billiard balls around. As for anyone who doesn’t like the idea of throphys, blah blah blah, recording and remembering a hunt goes back to cave paintings, get over yourself.

    • You forgot to mention the liquor globe. That room needs an absurdly large globe full of booze in crystal bottles. Chip chip cheerio!

  6. I have mounted (myself) several of the animals I have taken. Have also eaten every one. No room, just some on the wall of the garage. If two deer show up I shoot the bigger one, why? More meat, nicer trophy, and usually more challenging to get. I hunt for meat, but am very happy when I can take a buck over a doe. That being said some of the doe I have shot were much harder to get then the little bucks in the area.

  7. No. I hunt for meat, and a doe taste better than a buck. My uncle has a few mounts, and for the most part they don’t really do anything for me, however he has one set up that I do like. It is a skull mount of a pretty decent buck hanging flat on the wall inside the antler basket of a very nice bull elk skull mount.

    • +1 on the doe. I rarely even kill bucks since I’m looking for meat. Ain’t nothing better than a nice doe backstrap wrapped in bacon.

  8. Nope, no trophy room. Just a freezer full of meat. I do keep the occasional skull and rack…they’re dead anyway. I would like to try and make me a pair of britches sometime.

  9. This last whitetail season, a neighbor of ours who has always (rather loudly) declared himself “a meat hunter, not a trophy hunter,” came across a 12-point red stag on opening day that had escaped from a local exotic ranch several months before. You bet he brought that thing into my brother-in-law’s taxidermy shop for a mount, because who’d believe him otherwise? It filled his freezer and then some.
    But it serves to illustrate a point: everyone who hunts, but is against trophy hunting, just hasn’t come across a game animal worthy of mounting on the wall.

  10. I don’t hunt, but I appreciate high quality taxidermy. I also think a nice shoulder mount (or three) can add a lot to a room’s decor.

    Except the local Moose Club. They have a moose head there that looks pretty nasty. They need to dust it off once in a while.

    Anyway, there is a museum near me full of awesome taxidermy from around the world, including a complete elephant (they had to modify the ceiling to fit it in). I’m amazed at how realistic they can make the eyes look on a predator. They have a stuffed lion there that scared the bejeebers out of me when I first saw it.

    • Oh Curtis! LOL I suspect that applies to every Moose Lodge in the country. My late husband was a loyal Moose member, and I went to the club with him a lot. The poor old, ratty looking moose head on the wall was a disgrace… The ladies of the Moose attempted to clean it once, and it simply disintegrated. I have no idea if they ever managed to get another one.

  11. I have my first buck mounted and hanging on the wall of my office, and have no reason to be ashamed of that, even if his rack isn’t that big. I will always remember that first one, and we ate the meat, so essentially we wasted none of him. I do not have a room full of mounts, nor could I afford such a thing. But if/when my son gets his first buck, we’ll mount it, too. I don’t know why people think that if you have a “trophy” mount, you didn’t eat the meat (or vice versa)? It’s not like I was gonna eat the neck and brains and eyeballs anyhow. If I ever get a really BIG deer, I might mount that one, too… or maybe just the antlers to use as a coat rack in the garage… or maybe not at all. I don’t see what the big deal is with that.

    That said… I took my son someplace for a hunter’s ed class a few years ago, and that dude had mounted zebras, giraffes, leopards, water buffalo, etc. To me that was a bit over the top.

    • I’ve been hunting whitetail deer since the age of 15, and it took 15 years to shoot a buck, and it was literally the largest male deer I have seen in person (living) to date. It made a beautiful European mount. That was last bow season, and this year I was blessed with two non-trophy bucks. Looking at that mount takes me back to that moment of gushing euphoria when I found the carcass and realized I just bagged a 12-point 180ish pound deer.

      If I could afford to travel to exotic locales to bag something large (or dangerous)I would. The adventure, adrenaline rush, and comfortable feeling of exotic digestion would make a life-long memory. As of right now, I’ll remain content with the annual whitetail hunt and my attempts at shooting a coyote. Maybe someday I’ll be able to put in for a black bear tag, or head south for hogs? Until then, it deer, rabbits, squirrels, and attempts at predators.

  12. Realistically, there is no different between “trophy” hunting and “meat” hunting. I have trophies, but none of the animals I’ve killed have gone to waste, and I have found that to be the case with the so-called “trophy” hunters I know personally. Most recently, the big whitetails we hunted for episodes of the show this season provided a really nice Christmas dinner for a lot of down on their luck Mexican immigrants in South Texas. I figured they needed the protein more than I did. The European mount will hang in my new video studio.

    One funny story…last summer I bought a new sofa for my office. The owner of the company, whom we have bought a lot of furniture from, helped with the delivery himself. When he walked into my office, he immediately started gushing about my zebra rug, how spectacular it was and how his company used to sell zebra rugs but could never get the quality that I had on my floor. “How on EARTH,” he continued, “did you source a magnificent rug like that?” I said 300 Win Mag at about 150 yards. He said, “Oh my God! I can’t be here!” and rushed out of the room. I wondered if he thought his zebra rugs became rugs by committing suicide. Besides, my “rug” became chili before he became a rug! The chili was really great…

    Michael B

    • I would guess that the ones he sold were faux Zebra.

      Next time you see him, ask. If he says that’s the case, shake your head slowly and proceed to explain, in the most serious voice you can muster, that the Faux Zebra is critically endangered. Push this kind of thing far enough (past ludicrous) while maintaining a very serious and somber demeanor and 90% of people will fall for it and then you can really have fun with it.

      It’s a hoot.

  13. I think taxidermy is interesting to look at for the most part, however I personally don’t understand the drive to go and kill something you can’t eat, such as the lioness pictured here. I’m not saying it should be illegal, I simply don’t understand the attraction to it, and honestly looking at that mount makes me a little uncomfortable even knowing the cubs died of natural causes. That being said it’s a nice mount, and I think I even looked at his house maybe 15-20 years ago as a teenager when my parents were looking at houses, if so he does great work. Honestly part of the reason that lioness bothers me is because it is presented so beautifully in a warm moment… if it was posed leaping off a ledge mouth agape I’d be more comfortable with it being killed… and it’s all just a mental issue. Obviously this isn’t a snapshot of when it was shot, so it makes no actual difference. I’d imagine that’ll look beautiful in some museum somewhere.

  14. Hunting for food,
    Hunting for trophy.
    The animals end up equally dead. Not utilizing the carcass as completely as possible would be wasteful. I hate waste. Munch and mount…….

    • Agreed… I feel like in keeping the mount, in most cases, you are respecting the animal’s natural beauty. Heck, native Americans used the pelts and skins and antlers…even made hats out of them.

  15. A partner in a law firm had a bunch of trophies in his office (12-15 maybe, including a frickin’ baboon!) and his secretary had instructions to shut the door if we were walking a client or potential client around for a look-see. (That baboon was creepy- it looked more human than some people I’ve met.)

  16. I have a white polymer deer centered on our wall over the tv in the living room from Faux White Taxidermy. Does that count?

    I don’t hunt currently unless you count my way against the field mice and occasionally taking care of a nuisance animal or critter needing to be put down after a tangle with one of our dogs. I’ve been considering hunting more for the sake of clean meat, and really that is the only reason I would. Same thing with fishing. Its only fun to me if I actually plan to eat some of them. Otherwise, I’m just content to paddle along the river or lake and leave the fish be.

  17. This may explode some brains, but I am a teacher and I have three taxidermy items in my classroom, including a mounted badger that sits on a shelf above my head, There’s also a 12 button rattlesnake skin mounted on barn wood, and a whole display of coyote calls. (Public school)

  18. Nope. Not interested. I head-shoot most animals that I hunt. How nasty would that be?

    I used to have a squirrel cape mounted with little antlers added when I was a youngster.

    Thought it was funny as all get out. Got ratty and I threw it out about 30 years ago.

    If I were to have something stuffed – it would probably be an armadillo or a cotton mouth. I killed more of them than anything else.

  19. I might buy an already (long ago) mounted head or two to make my new house a little bit creepier. I am building the house out of insulated concrete forms and ferrocement. I am detailing it to look like a very modest and old little witches cottage when in reality it will sort of be a prepper bunker.

  20. I have a few deer mounts . Sure I enjoy the meat and that’s a big draw , but frankly with lic. , gear, and all the time it’s pound for pound the most expensive meat most will ever eat .

    Killing deer by bow and gun is pretty easy, so I like to challenge myself by hunting older bucks, they’re more alert , much more cautious , mostly nocturnal ,which means I don’t get one each year . When I do he may go,on the wall though .

    I always take a couple doe to fill the freezer , the real ” hunting” starts when I pursue an older buck .

  21. I’ve only hunted once [so far], and I do have the boar’s head mounted in my room. But I did also eat a majority of the meat, and I generally agree with the sentiment expressed above that hunting solely for the trophy seems like a needless waste of life. Though I would note that there are “trophy hunt” expeditions wherein the meat of the killed animal is used locally for sustenance. I would just suggest you look into it before going on such a trip, I guess. I was offered the opportunity to hunt some coyote about a year ago, but after being told that I would not be “allowed” to even attempt to eat the meat [what, I’ve never eaten a dog before and it would be an interesting experience] nor would I be “allowed” to keep the pelts for my own use, I decided not to go. I have nothing against killing something you’re going to use, but something like that seemed like a useless waste of life. They weren’t a threat to local ranchers or anything, even. Totally without purpose to hunt them there.

    All that said, hunting in general is something I’m very much interested in doing more in the future, time and resources permitting. Hopefully this year.

  22. Caption: “it just didn’t seem right to break up the family”

    Trophies made a lot more sense before photography, when the only way to show a memory of a hunt to someone else was vocal, written, or through extremely expensive artwork. Taxidermy was a very cheap way to get a better rendering of an animal than a sculpture could produce (well sometimes, case in point that horrible lion thing in Sweden)

    Nowadays, I see them as neat trinkets, but objects that take up a ton of space and can be extremely off-putting if not done right (easy to clutter a room with, easy for a taxidermist to give one the Uncanny Valley treatment, easy for them to deteriorate over time, easy for them to smell), and are generally more trouble than they’re worth. But folks seem to really enjoy the things over a photograph of the animal/kill in a nice frame.

    “See…my…Vest! See my vest, made from real, gorilla-chest, see these loafers, made from gophers…”

  23. Overall, though, the biggest threat to lions, and I’d venture most animals, is habitat loss. Just general environmental destruction that comes from ranching and farming, resource extraction, or the expansion of human populations and their footprint. No one’s really voiced this perspective here, and the conversation has gone in a different direction, but I run into people all the time who are turned off and offended by trophy hunting, really the killing of non-meat animals, but who don’t want to hear it when it comes to conservation efforts that may affect people’s livelihoods or involve Big Brother regulations.


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