Dale became involved in taxidermy in the early 1980s with the advice and encouragement from his friend and mentor, Lyle Hotis, who has a taxidermy studio in Gouverneur, New York.  He had always appreciated nature and wildlife so it was inevitable that he would choose taxidermy as a hobby that has now grown into a small business venture.  In fact, Dale’s father experimented with taxidermy when Dale was growing up in the Beaver Falls, New York area in the 1950s.

Dale started with small mammal mounts and soon began doing taxidermy for friends and relatives.  He readily admits that he struggled with those early mounts.  Lyle taught him how to make his own mannequin “bodies” for small mammals and birds.  To be successful at this particular method one must use a wire armature, excelsior and string to form a  body that is similar in size and proportion to the specimen.  The prepared and tanned animal skin is then placed over the form and sewn as necessary.  As with all taxidermy specimens, artificial eyes and ear liners are also required.  Then the animal must be posed to achieve a believable realism.  Final grooming and painting are also required for final presentation.  Dale eventually decided to utilize the urethane foam mannequins that were available for virtually all species of wildlife.  Although much more expensive they allowed for a much more accurate finished product.  Over the years he has attended various seminars and taxidermy conventions and is always ready to try a new technique to improve his art form.  Dale decided to specialize in mammal taxidermy that includes all species of small mammals, including full body mounts, game heads and rugs.  Although you will see mounted birds in his studio, Dale decided that bird taxidermy was not his area of expertise and does not do customer mounts.  He also does not attempt fish mounting which is a uniquely specialized branch of taxidermy.

As Dale’s skill improved he decided to “open shop” and do customer mounts.  The success of his business comes from his satisfied customers.  “Word of mouth” recommendations have allowed his business to thrive and grow.  He will admit, however, that his greatest satisfaction comes not from any monetary gain but from the fact that he is able to accurately and skillfully recreate the natural beauty of each specimen.  Enjoy these examples of Dale’s talent and artistry.

We have created displays in six categories, including deer, bear, small mammals, birds and miscellaneous.  The sixth category shows examples of the mounting process for a full-body whitetail deer.  In each display, click on the thumbnail to view a larger picture.  For those displays with multiple pages, clicking on other page numbers will display another set of thumbnails.



Small Mammals



The Deer Mounting Process


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