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Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: mouth of the Susquehanna
Re: Anyone ever sell their catch to taxidermist?
When I was a taxidermist in PA the local WCO told me I had to have a fur dealer lisc too if I were to buy raw fur off other furtakers, and also to resell these pelts of course. He never showed me the actual law as written, but did claim to research it and sent me a letter about it. To me this is like asking a random PA cop if open carry is legal in PA. Some don't know the law, others get it mixed up, and then some actually do know. So you should do research of your own, as it sure seems like it's ok for a lisc taxidermist to buy raw animals for their own use without needing a fur buyer lisc. As for me in MD, I can aquire pelts from others w/out a fur buyer lisc. I have a taxidermy lisc. People give me critters, or use some in trade for mounting fees. I get their hunting/fur lisc info for record keeping. I have DNR cops in here who check my records now and then and they have never said a word about "given to shop by...". Now and then I buy things from other states, off taxi-net or ebay.
As to prices. First the whole animal should have as few flaws as possible. A big scar on the forehead is a big no-no. Some taxidermists are even picky as to reject the animal if you shot it in the head. Some of us like to buy in the round, some are ok if you case skin it and leave the head and feet in unskinned. If you don't know how to do it further than this, don't. Charge market price for ordinary animals when in the round. Special color animals like black coyote etc, charge more. You WILL get more for unusual animals.
When I sell taxidermy pelts, I either have them fully prepped and salt dried, or sell them tanned. I provide the 3 basic measurements which are nose to inside corner of eye before skinning, the girth at the widest on the belly, and nose to base of tail. The last 2 I do off the skinned carcass and I add .5" to nose to base of tail since I leave about that much cartilage with the nose on the skin. I split the tails, and also flesh the hides very well. I note any damages such as bullet holes, rips, skinning nicks, small rub spots, or holes from where the trap held the animal.
Things to keep in mind- treat each taxidermy grade animal as if it were a steak. Either freeze it whole ASAP or skin and prep it ASAP, keeping it cold. When freezing bigger animals whole do not ball them up tight. You can do it after its half frozen though. Do not stack fresh animals together in a pile, either in your vehicle or in the freezer. The body heat can cause decomp to start early, and can cause fur slippage later.
The following require cooling faster and more care:
-foxes- grey and red
-possum ( varys- some are so full of discusting bacteria...)
-coyote ( simply due to large body mass)
the following are a little "tougher":
-otter- if you go out of state for them
Keep in mind that even a manged or rubbed animal with it only on the rump may have a good shoulder cape.
Keep dead critters out of the sun as much as possible.