Some of the most amazing taxidermy work you will ever see is on display at SCI's convention every year. Fortunately for me, this year is no exception. As I walked the aisles I stopped and talked with reps from several large-scale taxidermy operations and got a good idea of the time and cost involved in creating some of these gorgeous mounts--from breath-taking shoulder- and half-body mounts on pedestals to life-size mounts in custom-crafted habitats to multiple life-size animal mounts in entire wild game scenes. I'd say one of the better known operations is Animal Artistry out of Reno, Nev. For example, this photo of a Cape buffalo being attacked by two African lionesses would take Animal Artistry's crew over three weeks to complete, including drying and finishing time, to complete the mounts once they were in the pipeline. The cost of this display would run you a good $29,500, not including the habitat, which runs at least a couple thousand more up to whatever you want to spend, depending on, of course, your budget. Prices vary from taxidermist to taxidermist, but as with any artwork, all taxidermy isn't created equal so do your homework.
Believe it or not, this mount isn't even one of the most impressive at the show. Take a peek at Photo No. 2 and imagine paying that taxidermy bill! Check back tomorrow for more show-stoppers. Whether you prefer hunting game in North America or set your sights on faraway destinations like Africa, New Zealand or the Arctic, you'll find your next hunting adventure here and dream mount here at SCI.