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Extreme shed hunting

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  • Extreme shed hunting

    You may recall my earlier post about training my young Lab to hunt for sheds. Guess she's got the hang of it.

    Shed hunting in the Far North requires a considerable degree of physical fitness. This pair I'm guessing weighs over fifty pounds ... I'll check ... no, only 20 lbs each.

  • #2
    Now that’s cool!
    How far apart were they?
    Is your daughter going to do something with them?

    I know of a guy who had a bull done in a full body mount, the antlers have studs embedded that fit into the head. He figures if he ever shoots a bigger one he can have those antlers fitted to the mount. Pretty cleaver idea actually.

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    • #3
      That’s a great find. Looks like she’s got it down already. So how long did it take to train her.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by fitch270 View Post
        Now that’s cool!
        How far apart were they?
        Is your daughter going to do something with them?

        I know of a guy who had a bull done in a full body mount, the antlers have studs embedded that fit into the head. He figures if he ever shoots a bigger one he can have those antlers fitted to the mount. Pretty cleaver idea actually.
        Shoulder mounts for respectable moose or elk pretty much require detachable antlers or they would never go in the door of a normal home. Full body mount would be much worse. Maybe need to remove the roof?

        Okay, I kinda BSed you guys. Obviously, Ellie couldn't pick up something like that. These sheds were found by a client who wants them mounted on a reproduction European skull. It's going to be a challenging project. I just finished cap mounting a nice 6x6 whitetail rack that a client had pretty much butchered. The antlers were separately cut from the skull and really no skull at all on one piece. Not sure what he was trying to accomplish. Jessie ordered a skull insert for shoulder mount form that had studs for sheds. The supplier sent the wrong size skull mount covers but I went ahead and completed the rest. I finally brought home my dad's old Shopsmith last year (declared it back when I emigrated in 1989). It sure was handy for this project. I built a jig on the table to clamp the antlers at the right angle and then drilled it for the studs. Worked like a charm! I will need to build a MUCH larger table and jig for the moose sheds!

        I almost always found moose sheds in pairs. Very rare to find just a single. Even the small racks are usually paired. I can understand it with the big ones. I mean 20 lbs hanging off to one side would be a real headache ... literally. The bulls just knock them off. Often I found them in open areas where they were browsing. Presumably the bull simply reached up with a hind leg and pulled kicked off the remaining antler. Curiously, elk bulls often hang onto one antler for quite a while. Theirs are heavy too but better centre of gravity being more straight up. The guy found these very close together and right one in photo was partially in water which stained the button end very dark (due to high iron content in stream I suspect). I worked on it with a steel scratcher pad and lightened it up quite a bit. The photo doesn't do this rack justice. It's a very impressive set of antlers. Unfortunately the old boy was quite the scrapper and broke off several points. Also a couple of nasty gouges and cracks.
        Last edited by Ontario Honker Hunter; 05-17-2019, 07:15 PM.

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        • #5
          You got me, but I didn't really figure she had retrieved them. Thought maybe she pointed "dead" or similar.

          Still cool. Let us know how the finished product looks.

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          • #6
            I once found a pair of medium sized moose antler sheds in Northern Alberta, within about ten feet of each other, in an open pasture.
            I thought that was a rarity.

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            • #7
              Moose would sometimes visit our haystacks during snowy winters and after finding a spot to their liking would literally bore a hole back into the hay bales. Occasionally, we would find sheds on the ground either side of the hole they had created.

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              • #8
                Here's the finished product for the whitetail that the guy cut both horns from the skull. As I recall it was locked up with another buck that had it's neck broke. That would explain the broken tips on right side. This job was a SOB. The black plastic cover, though it looks okay, is a giant pain in the butt to get a good fit. Also the skull cap with studs in it was a joke! I had to pull the screw studs and redrill and reset them. They were set way off centre. It's hard to say how accurate the orientation is because the guy didn't take a photo of the deer before taking a sawzall to it. I was guessing mostly. Perhaps the brow tines should be more vertical but then the main beams didn't seem to have the right angle. I am surprised it came out looking this good. He will have to pay the bucks for this job! He was the one who brought in the scroungy skull & rack he'd thrown in a tree four years ago. Jessie did that up Euro and it turned out very nice! Amazing no critters chewed on it. I was hoping he wouldn't pay for it so she could keep it as a sample of her work. Then he dropped this mess off. Sometimes the kid needs to learn to say no. But it was a good experience I guess. We pick up the fake skull for moose sheds today. I can see that will be a real challenge. Mostly up to Dad though as it will require a lot of work with the power tools.

                That's my whitetail rack above it. You all have seen the photo before.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Honk, I of course do not know the laws in Canada concerning taxidermy licenses. But in America, anyone who has any function in taxidermy work, mounting, taking in work or helping a fellow taxidermist, must be licensed as a regular taxidermist. You have stated doing work for your daughter on occasions, are you required to be licensed in Canada, the same as we are here in the States ? If so, and you are not, it might be prudent to keep some of your remarks to a minimum regarding your activities in this line of work. I only say this as a reminder ! And by the way, your work on the horn mount looks good, although I was never a fan in any respect of the plastic skull plate coverings !
                  Last edited by bowhunter75richard; 05-24-2019, 09:00 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bowhunter75richard View Post
                    Honk, I of course do not know the laws in Canada concerning taxidermy licenses. But in America, anyone who has any function in taxidermy work, mounting, taking in work or helping a fellow taxidermist, must be licensed as a regular taxidermist. You have stated doing work for your daughter on occasions, are you required to be licensed in Canada, the same as we are here in the States ? If so, and you are not, it might be prudent to keep some of your remarks to a minimum regarding your activities in this line of work. I only say this as a reminder ! And by the way, your work on the horn mount looks good, although I was never a fan in any respect of the plastic skull plate coverings !
                    Professional certification varies from state to state and from profession to profession. There are very few federal certifying bodies. Even commercial truck drivers who cross borders constantly are certified by the states in which they reside (although the states must meet some federal guidelines, particularly physical requirements). We have a Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons which does certification of doctors but each province also has its own college which, in the case of Ontario anyway, can actually circumvent federal certification with its own shortcuts. Very scary. Your state may have required certification for taxidermists but I pretty sure it's never been required in Montana. There are no federal or provincial regulating agencies for taxidermists in Canada. My daughter must hold an Ontario fur dealer's license in order to possess capes and furs she is processing for clients. But my residence is listed as the place of business so anything here in the shop, no matter who is working on it, is covered under her license. The only reason there is a license at all is because only Natives (Indians) are allowed to trade in wild animal parts without one. It wasn't that hard to get the license/permit (essentially fill out a simple form) but it took forever (almost a year!) to get the person who was supposed to rubber stamp it off her arse and do her job. My daughter was actually carrying on business illegally for quite a while ... but because the application was in the works she was okay. The province does provide minimal guidelines for her re how to document her inventory (copies of tags, etc.). I have added to them for her protection. She now also requires photographs of the clients with their trophies. If not anything of them in the field, she snaps a photo here. Anyone who is reluctant to get photographed with their goods is told to leave the property pronto!

                    Anyway, I'm certainly okay helping her work on this stuff. No law against it here.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by bowhunter75richard View Post
                      Honk, I of course do not know the laws in Canada concerning taxidermy licenses. But in America, anyone who has any function in taxidermy work, mounting, taking in work or helping a fellow taxidermist, must be licensed as a regular taxidermist. You have stated doing work for your daughter on occasions, are you required to be licensed in Canada, the same as we are here in the States ? If so, and you are not, it might be prudent to keep some of your remarks to a minimum regarding your activities in this line of work. I only say this as a reminder ! And by the way, your work on the horn mount looks good, although I was never a fan in any respect of the plastic skull plate coverings !
                      The plastic shell crap is what the client wants. Definitely not something we push. I prefer to use bunched velvet covering (see attached). Actually, this plastic thing was requested by client for a moose cap mount but the company sent the wrong size. The fella who brought in this butchered deer rack decided he'd go for it rather than us sending it back. She gave him a deal on it. Worked out okay but was way too much work making it fit. Client was very pleased. Daughter didn't make any big money on this job. She quoted it way too low but we had no way of knowing it would be so difficult since it's the first antler implant attempt and first time we've tried the plastic covering crap. The correct plastic shell cover for moose rack arrived today and it is even more hideous with a cheesy moose image cast into the plastic. Yuck! The faux moose Euro mount skull for the big sheds also arrived. Implanting those is not going to be an easy job either! But it will be a real showpiece if it gets done properly.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        OHH, glad to hear there is no problem in regards to license requirements for tax. in Canada. They are a real stickler here in the US within the states themselves, but even more so in the handling of migratory water fowl as that is handled by the Federal Fish & Wildlife division and is even more touchy !! I did not handle work that required that license, just due to the complexities of doing so. Mounting of horns that have been separated from their original skull plate can be a nightmare to work on, but I see you did a good job 👏!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by bowhunter75richard View Post
                          OHH, glad to hear there is no problem in regards to license requirements for tax. in Canada. They are a real stickler here in the US within the states themselves, but even more so in the handling of migratory water fowl as that is handled by the Federal Fish & Wildlife division and is even more touchy !! I did not handle work that required that license, just due to the complexities of doing so. Mounting of horns that have been separated from their original skull plate can be a nightmare to work on, but I see you did a good job 👏!
                          For migratory birds here she need only possess a federal migratory duck stamp to be legal to possess them. I can't see why the feds, here or there, would require anything more than that. Of course, keeping more than her possession limit on hand can be tricky but if she documents each specimen correctly it's not a problem. Any stuff in the freezer should always be tagged individually and she's not been very good at following that. But right now she's not handling that much inventory.

                          This makes me recall an incident a few years back when I found a signet (immature swan) laying dead in the middle of access road on my way to a pheasant hunting spot. Still warm and not a mark on him. Not until I was climbing back into the Jimmy did I figure out what happened: high tension power lines immediately overhead. I scooped the bird to see if someone might want to mount it. There was a wildlife museum in the next town and I wasn't sure if they had a signet in their display. When I got back to town I immediately contacted the state game warden to see if it was okay. He didn't know for sure and referred me to feds. The protection gal for federal refuge in Malta finally called back and informed me that, even though I didn't shoot the swan, because I didn't have a tag (they were only let out by lottery then) I was technically illegal possessing the swan. She advised that I take it back and leave it for coyotes. A nice gal who knew I was trying to do the right thing.

                          Similarly, two years ago on the same property my Opal caught a greenhead mallard that couldn't fly. The moment she brought it to hand it suddenly died for no reason. And I couldn't find a mark on it either. Since there was a bird flu scare in effect on both sides of the border, I decided the authorities better have a look at this migratory duck. But I had no state or federal waterfowl license (not for US anyway). I phoned the game warden (his cell is on my cell's call list) and he agreed. But he didn't want to risk either of us getting in a pickle so didn't want a direct hand off. "Drive west down such-and-such road till it intersects with X Creek Road. On your right will be a gas shack (pump for natural gas well). Put the duck inside the door (the maintenance companies almost always leave shacks unlocked because they are heated and an emergency shelter if needed ... which I have needed on more than one occasion)." He called back a few days later and said autopsy at Great Falls showed the duck had been shot by someone (with lead shot!!) in the back and broke it's spine. The duck couldn't use his tail rudder to get airborne. The wound also caused kidney infection which happened to take the drake out at the very moment Opal turned him over to me. Duck had been shot weeks before I arrived in Montana so I was not a suspect. He knows me too well for that anyway. An older gent my age and a born-and-raised Montanan.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by bowhunter75richard View Post
                            Mounting horns that have been separated from their original skull plate can be a nightmare to work on, but I see you did a good job 👏!
                            Johnson's Past Wax also arrived in yesterday's shipment. It's what I used to protect the old whitetail rack in the below photo. Dressed those horns with it back in 1985 and they still look great. No yellowing at all (which typically comes with varnish or urethane protection, especially oil based finishes). We wiped down the racks waiting for pickup and my muley Euro from two years ago (use a toothbrush applicator for the gnarly parts and buttons). Really dressed them up nice! Accentuates the colour and brings out the highlights without any lustre. The wax is mostly lanolin and beeswax so very environmentally friendly. Hard to find the stuff these days though. This broken rack didn't get any wax since owner had already slobbered some kind of finish on it. I took steel wool to it to knock down the gloss which helped significantly. Shiny horns look like crap. We didn't wax the skulls but I wonder if it might make them look nicer?
                            Last edited by Ontario Honker Hunter; 05-25-2019, 12:01 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by fitch270 View Post
                              Now that’s cool!
                              How far apart were they?
                              Is your daughter going to do something with them?

                              I know of a guy who had a bull done in a full body mount, the antlers have studs embedded that fit into the head Dafont Showbox Adam4adam. He figures if he ever shoots a bigger one he can have those antlers fitted to the mount. Pretty cleaver idea actually.

                              Shed hunting in the Far North requires a considerable degree of physical fitness. This pair I'm guessing weighs over fifty pounds ... I'll check ... no, only 20 lbs each.
                              Last edited by ADYLATYSA; 09-12-2019, 04:31 PM.

                              Comment

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