With the first big trophy deer just weeks away from being a reality, hunters keeping the eye on the prize will want to know how to prevserve it.
Grover Bearden, an Easley taxidermist with national and statewide credentials has some basic ideas for those needing his service.
Bearden is one of 105 taxidermists in the nation ceritified by the National Taxidermy Association. He is on the board of directors of the South Carolina Association of Taxidermists. In 13 years of taxidermy study, he has claimed numerous state awards, including Best of Show Whitetail Deer and Best All Aroud Taxidermist in thestate for four years running.
He started taxidermy 13 years ago as a hobby and that grew into part time work and work for friends.
When his corporate job was eliminated in 2010, e was left with the option of finding more work on the production line or
doing something he enjoys. “I love my work. I have been very blessed to be ableto stay busy,” he said. He is about toget into his busiest times of the year, deer season.
Ending up with a good product relies on good research, knowing and implementing details and getting the harvested animal to a controled environment quickly.
“Don’tdrive your trophy aroundall day showing it of to your buddies,” he said.” There is bacteria in the deer and if you don’t get it to a cooler or a freezer quickly, the hair may well start falling out.
As a general rule he suggests letting someone with experience skin the trophy annimal. If the deer is being used for it’s meat go ahead and skin it or get someone who knows how. “If you aren’tgoing to use the meat, say for animal like a fox, bobcat or coyote —get it to a cooler quickly and get it to the taxidermist for skining.”
That lets the taxidermist know important specific measurements to replicate the skull size, distance between the eyes, shape ofthe skull, he said. If turning over the skinning to the taxidermist is not possible, taking some measurement will be essential in getting an accurate reproductions. The meaurements include tip of the nose to front cornerofthe eye, tip of the nose to front edge of the antler bur, tip of the nose to back of the ead wher skull ends. Other detailed measurements are shown in accompanying diagrams.
Studying anatomical details of different animals i part of what helps him achieve better artistic results.He keeps books of photos of living examples of animals and uses the pictures to atch as close as he can to the subject of his work. Helooks for fine details like te setting of the eyes in a skull, the turn of a head or body posture on an animal.
Bearden owns nd operates Southland Taxidernmy Studio in Easley.