• Last modified 536 days ago (Jan. 31, 2018)


Home decorating trends and fads; from designer lamps to raccoons

Staff writer

Some homeowners enjoy decorating with deep colors and different patterns. And then, there are the wild ones, or better wildlife ones, that go for the unusual, such as a raccoon eating crackerjacks or the head and neck of a giraffe to mount on the wall.

Some have trophy rooms to show off game they have hunted themselves, while others may be looking for a novelty piece that can be purchased directly for decoration purposes.

Taxidermist Cory Foth of Peabody said that people looking for novelty items can check with independent taxidermists.

“Sometimes people never return to pick up their finished piece or can’t afford it,” he said. “You can mount just about anything imaginable other than ducks or other migratory birds, because they are federally protected.”

At times, customer wishes make it difficult to balance the pride that comes with the art of taxidermy and customers walking away happy.

“Generally speaking, most customers haven’t studied animals like a professional taxidermist,” Foth said. “So when they see something they like, even if it’s not realistic, they think, ‘why not?’ It’s important to educate customers through videos, pictures, and other resources.”

Recently, Foth’s houseguests have been greeted by a large moose head as they walk through his door, killed by a customer while in Newfoundland.

For those interested in more exotic pieces for their homes, guided hunts in places like Africa are becoming more common for hunters to obtain an animal such as an African buffalo, blue wildebeest, or impala. While this process has been under a lot of scrutiny in the past, Foth said that it actually benefits all involved.

“When you take an exotic hunt to places like Africa, the animals harvested actually end up feeding many local families along with the hunters at the camp,” he said. “There is actually a lot less of the animal wasted in situations like that than many in America.”

Because of a rise in the number of people looking to impress their guests with outdoor wildlife decoration, Foth said it is important to check the validity and source of such decorations.

“Places like Bass Pro Shops will build things like chandeliers and lamps with reproduction antlers,” he said.

Auction companies such as Lolli Brothers of Macon, Missouri, purchase collections or individual pieces and sell mounts, antlers, bronzes, and related items for home décor.

Travis Hett of Marion has been doing taxidermy for about six years, and says he has played around with novelty pieces in the past just for fun.

“When I first started out, I did a whitetail deer mount with goose wings and a turkey tail on it,” he said. “I eventually dismounted it, but it was fun to play around with. I’ve had people joke about things like a squirrel riding a snake.”

When it comes to customers displaying pieces Hett has done for them, he said it’s not exactly always up to the person who has it mounted where to show off their trophies.

“Some people have a trophy room or spread finished products throughout their house,” he said. “Others struggle a little more because they have to convince their wife to let them hang it up.”

For taxidermists like Foth and Hett, who take an immense amount of pride in their work, the process provides a lot more than merely decorating a house.

“To me, it’s more about reliving memories of the hunt more than the trophy on the wall,” Hett said. “You can relive the experience that you had with family or friends, and what God has to offer.”

Last modified Jan. 31, 2018