It took almost a year and over four dozen phone calls for me to get this European mount back from the taxidermist.
But considering what some of the taxidermist’s other clients went through I consider myself lucky.
It all began in October 2015.
I was invited by my friend Gordie White of Gordie White Worldwide Hunting to hunt the Dos Candados Ranch in South Texas. I took a nice size whitetail and decided to take it to a relatively new taxidermist in town. Her studio was clean and inviting and examples of her work on the wall and on the floor were classic and well done. She was very personable and friendly and told me she'd have my mount to me and under six weeks. I said that sounded great and paid her upfront. I’d almost forgotten about the mount until three months later when Gordie asked how it turned out. I told him I hadn't gotten it back yet and called the taxidermist. She didn't answer so I left a message.
A week passed with her not calling me back.
I called and left a second message.
Another week passes with no word from her so I went by her shop.
It was closed.
There were notes taped the door. The only one that was open for all to read stated, “Call me immediately!”
I wrote a note saying that I'd left two messages for her, that they went unanswered, and that I wanted to arrange the pick up of my European mount. She never responded to my note. Another month and six or seven phone calls unreturned phone calls passed. I called the Chamber of Commerce to ask for help. The lady that took my call said that the taxidermist wasn't a member of the chamber but that the chamber had received numerous phone calls complaining about her and her business practices. Left with a dead-end, I went online to see if I could find anything that would help me contact the taxidermist outside of her shop. I found her Facebook page. It had dozens of angry posts on it from customers complaining that she never returned their calls and that they wanted their animals back completed or not.
I kept looking and found her father's name on the Facebook page. I looked up his number and called him and explained my situation. He apologized profusely and said he would have his adult daughter call me immediately
She called me that evening to explain that she'd had several personal matters that had kept her from doing her job and that if I would only give her another six weeks she would have my mount to me.
That was a mistake.
Three months past with no word.
I left her several phone messages.
I went by her shop to find it no longer there.
I called her father once more.
He said he had no excuses for his daughter and would pass my info on to her as he had before.
She called me two weeks later with the same song and dance about having problems.
I said that I had given her the benefit of the doubt before but that this time I wanted my deer finished or unfinished.
She said she understood and to please give her another week to complete the job and refund my money.
I said that I would be calling the police if I didn’t hear from her in another week.
A month passed with no word from her.
I called her father again and after a month of back and forth I finally got my mount…
I got no refund.
No explanation from her.
Just the mount.
Her father apologized and said that she was an adult and free to live her life anyway she chose and that I should be happy I got my mount.
“So far as I know,” he confessed. “You’re the only one that did.”
The father went on to explain that his daughter had lost or damaged beyond repair most of the mounts she had be given to do.
What’s the lesson here?
Go with a taxidermist you know and trust!
What the worst experience you’ve ever had with a taxidermist?
Take to the forums to comment!