Local News

Hunters Depend On Taxidermists To Preserve Prey

Posted January 6, 2003

— While hunting and taxidermy is not for everyone, many believe it is part of our culture.

A prize turkey sits proudly on a filing cabinet in the downtown office of attorney John Bryant.

"That looks exactly the way it looked at the time I first saw it when I was sitting way back in the woods on the Roanoke River basin, so it's a terrific thing for people to be able to enjoy with me," Bryant said. "Not everyone enjoys it, I understand that, but they should."

Bryant said the mounted bird gives him something to remember his trip, educate others about wild turkeys and show off a prize specimen. He said he does not think of it as wasteful.

"This is not just taking a dead animal and sticking it on the wall. We happened to have had this bird for Thanksgiving lunch this year," he said.

Across town, fish, turkeys and deer wait in different states of stuff at taxidermist David Smith's shop.

"This time of the year is when we probably go to work seven days a week," Smith said.

Smith said hunters and fishermen who hire him to mount their trophies have different reasons. He said many clients feel an obligation to preserve something of the animal out of respect.

An average deer head costs about $300 to $400 to mount and takes about six months to complete.


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