Over the years I’ve had many animals, birds and fish mounted by various taxidermists, with mixed results from both large companies and one-man operations. Although there are exceptions, particularly with trophies from international hunts, I have used small shops with a single taxidermist/artist for the majority of this work. Establishing a working relationship with a top-notch taxidermist that you know and trust can pay dividends, and I enjoy one such relationship with Kayce Turley, owner/operator of Arizona Game Services in Taylor, Arizona (928-587-3523). Kayce and I have become friends over the past 20+ years, occasionally sharing a duck or quail hunt. He is currently constructing an African habitat in which my full-body mount nyala bull (pictured above) will be displayed.

Personally, I like variety and often look for non-standard positions that will distinguish my mounted animals from others. A few years back at the SCI Hunters Convention, my wife and I were impressed by a custom taxidermy/wildlife art exhibit that featured wall mounts called “toiles.” Last year, standard rectangular-shaped toile forms for several African animals were licensed by originator Trophy Consultants International (TCI) to U.S. taxidermy supply company, McKenzie. After discussing the toile with Kayce, we decided to try the concept with one of the impalas I had taken in Africa, and he ordered the form. Last week he surprised me with the remarkable piece of custom wall art pictured above. Shaped like the continent, it surpasses my greatest expectations. As noted above, maintaining a relationship with a first-rate wildlife artist/preservationist can pay dividends – and after going above and beyond, this example is now manifested in truly great taxidermy!

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