Friday, October 18, 2013


 Blame it on Global Warming. A process that usually takes a couple of weeks in mid-winter, this time took days. Each season brings with it a certain amount of art work and this work always takes a different form. Last year I only shot two does. No antlers to consider. Each doe I boned, in tact, utilizing the skeletal structure as focal point. I also did a couple of blood "drag" prints by flopping the deer onto a piece of canvas nailed into the ground and pulling the length. It's not always taxidermy. As the season progresses I try to change techniques, as called for. The fact that I shot this deer so early in the season, in the middle of a warm spell, has expedited the whole process.
     Pain seems the theme. It started with the bad shot. That was Sunday evening. Then I drug one of my best friends into the mix. I knew Savage had a bad back and was in pain. It didn't seem to matter to him or I. There was no stopping us. While flies swarmed the dead buck, I stabbed the pinky of my left hand with my skinning knife,  dripping blood across the kitchen floor. I left an easy trail to follow. Then, came the leg entanglement of the rack and goring of the leg. As I removed the paper towels sopping up the blood, I noticed little butterfly images appearing. I pulled a half dozen small prints off my open wound, as I waited for Shewho to return with the bandages and hydrogen peroxide. Once again the work was finding its own form. All I had to do was recognize it.
    What with all the trauma and lack of sleep I hadn't really had time to assess the rack. It was a very wide and heavy seven pointer. The antlers had beautiful symmetry. One side lacked a brow tine. Otherwise they were perfect. He hadn't had to defend his territory yet. Nothing was broken off. Being the dominant buck, not many would have had the balls to challenge him. So, yesterday I carefully pulled the head out of the out house, into the sun, and examined it. My plan was to skin and boil the skull and make a "European mount". I could do this myself and save money. But, as I looked at this deer, it deserved more. Then I flipped back the skin. It was covered with writhing maggots. Time to decide. Off to the taxidermist.
    Mitaxidermist's shop is in Bethel. He understands my "dead mount" approach and never disappoints. He also raises whitetails in the back. It's always a show every time I go out there. I got telling him my zombie deer attack story as two monster 180 " bucks gave me the hairy eyeball. They were making me uncomfortable. Had word gotten out about their gut shot friend?  "Have they ever attacked you?" I asked, looking over my shoulder, as the bucks circled us, their giant white antlers gleaming in the sun. He told me a story of being cornered by his biggest buck, a 190 beast he kept down the road. The buck had recently killed two does with rough sex and was a little worked up, when his handler entered the pen. Mitaxidermist admitted that he wasn't taking the bristling hair and ground pawing serious enough. Luckily he carried a length of two by four. Problem was each swing was parried by the buck's massively lethal antlers. He was cornered and losing ground. The only thing that saved his life was a joint compound bucket with drilled 1" holes. He was able to stick it on the rack and run for his life.
      He also told me a story of inadvertently sitting on an elk point. "I plopped down with all my weight. I thought I was sitting on my stool. It stuck right above the hole. An inch lower and it would gone inside me. I've never known such pain. Now what do you want to do with this one?"

The theme continues.  


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home