This is a very interesting topic, because you will find deferent opinions all around the world. You need to remember that every taxidermy wants your work, including myself. At the end it is facts that can determine your decision. I would like to put all these facts on the table for you to see and then give my opinion about them.
Taxidermies in South Africa have a bad reputation
Like any other country one always has bad companies unfortunately in South Africa it is the same not all the taxidermies is good. But just as there are not good taxidermies just as much are there VERY GOOD taxidermies.
I have found that at least 60% of all hunters will trust there hunting outfitter or Professional hunter to recommend a taxidermy. This is a good thing but can be just as Bad- I believe that the decision should be with you as the client. If you are hunting with a very serious hunting outfitter he would recommend a very good taxidermist but I still feel that one needs to see for yourself. Do a little home work before simply accepting the recommendation. I have another article about basic tips to see if the taxidermy’s work is quality or not.
If you go and surf the internet you will read some unfortunate hunters that had a bad taxidermy experience in South Africa. Then again you will read about some hunters whom had a bad dipping and packing experience. Just as must as I hate to admit it, mistakes or rather human errors do accrue this also happens in your home country. It really is something that we as taxidermist are trying to prevent. I would like to point out the fact that a well established taxidermy in South Africa will receive 500 to 4000 trophies every year. Basically if you take a taxidermy receiving 500 trophies every year that is receiving 10 to 15 complaints, (that is a lot). It leaves the taxidermy with 485 trophies that are accepted as good work. If the taxidermy is serious about his work and reputation I can assure you something would be done to fix the problems. In my opinion I personally can’t see how a taxidermy in South Africa can survive if the taxidermy keeps receiving complaints.
If one really go and do intensive reaches you will find that the most complaints are actually on dipping and packing work.
Tanning process and the quality of the work
I have spoken to many taxidermists from the United States of America and Europe regarding taxidermy methods and the latest technologies available. I have found that in average people think that South Africa is not up to date with the latest technologies. This in actual fact is not true, we might not produce the latest products and Technologies but we can actually import them and we know how to use it.
We tan our skins with LUTAN F using the very same technique as many tanning companies in the States. We produce our own glass eyes but we also import eyes from Germany and the States. I personally use the Bio 2 range that RR Chemicals import from the Van Dykes in the States. We use ear liners and the list just goes on.
We personally interact with the African animals and can use life references and also pictures for references. My personal opinion is that we can do the same work as any other taxidermy around the world if one has the talent or the ability. I don’t feel that we are not equipped to do it. If you manage to choose the right Taxidermy in South Africa I can assure you that you will receive very competitive mounts.
Taxidermies in South Africa manage to give very good prices on taxidermy work due to the exchange rate of the Rand and Dollar also the Rand and Euro.
Let’s make a rough calculation on a normal hunting packet.
- Blue wildebeest
- Common Duiker
Dip and Pack option
|Dipping and packing||= $980|
|Import charges||= ?|
|Transportation too tannery||= ?|
|Tanning of the skins||= $780|
|Transportation from tannery to taxidermy||= ?|
|Mounting of your trophies||= $4800|
|Transport from taxidermy to you||= ?|
Taxidermy in South Africa option
|Mounting of your trophies||= $3518|
|Packing and admin||= $630|
|Import charges||= ?|
|Transport to your house||= ?|
You can safe another 50% on the exporting if you do it by see freight that will bring the grand total to $5298 and then it really starts to make sense!
NB! Please remember that these prices will defer from taxidermy to taxidermy I have just worked it out based on my own research and averages but I do advise you to make the same calculation.
Also remember that the exportation is calculated by the volumetric weight of the crate and that one can easily add another Zebra hide and even a small antelope like a Blesbok or a Klipspringer to this order and the exporting charges will stay the same.
If you are hunting as a group of friends you will also find that there are even more ways to get the trophies to you cheaper
Risks in exporting
Please visit my website to see how we pack mounted trophies it truly is safe. I have experienced some minor incidence but there was nothing that we could not get fixed and the insurance covered all the expenses.
The real risk comes when you look at the route the trophies take to get to your home. If you for example choose to dip and pack your trophies. Then your trophies will need to go to a taxidermy and get dipped and packed. After that it needs to go the customs in South Africa where nature conservation needs to check it again. How do they do it well they unpack your crate and repack it. Because one cannot see what is at the bottom of the crate if you don’t unpack it. Then it goes on the plane to your country and when it arrives customs need to check your crate again. So they have to unpack and repack your crate again. Then your crate goes to the tanning company and they need to unpack your crate and tan the skins. When your skins are tanned all the trophies are packed again and then send to your taxidermy. He then mounts it and then you get to receive your trophies. The point I want to make is to show you how many possible places there is in this process for one of your trophies to get lost. Some of these parties don’t care about your trophies and they know that one cannot trace the fault back to them. The company receiving the blame automatically becomes the taxidermist in South Africa.
Whereas if you decide to mount your trophies in South Africa you will find that the route is much saver. First your trophies needs to go to a taxidermy to get mounted and packed. Then it needs to go to customs in South Africa where Nature Conservation needs to check your crate. All your trophies are fixed to the side and one can easily look around them and see all the content of the crate. There is no need to unpack the crate and they don’t. Then it goes on the plane to your country. Customs need to check it again and again they don’t need to unpack your crate they just open the lid and then close it again. When that is all done then the crate gets transported to your house. IT JUST MAKES SENCES.
The benefits for the Hunting industry of South Africa
Choosing to mount your trophies in South Africa will surely give our economy the boost it deserves. But not only would it be good for our economy it will also help the hunting industry of South Africa to stand strong against the non hunters or rather “greenies” We need to proof that if we stop hunting in South Africa that there will be a great number of job and income losses for South Africa. Dipping and Packing is surly not helping us fighting this for example a well established dipping and packing facility will only employ 5 to 8 workers where as a taxidermy will need 18 to 60 workers. In a country that has an unemployment presentenced of 45% this is really an important fact. Taxidermy also creates a whole new section of opportunities for entrepreneurs like wood works for all the wooden products, specialist in trophy exportation, chemical production the list goes on and on. Whereas dipping and packing has none.
I really would like to see my children hunt in South Africa and I believe that you would also like to come and show them this wonderful country what a better way than to do your part in keeping hunting alive in South Africa by simply mounting your trophies here!