A Look Into the Art of Taxidermy - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

A Look Into the Art of Taxidermy

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Sometimes the best part of the sport of hunting, is the bragging rights that come with it and being able to showcase your "big buck" in the living room.

It took a lot of patience, time and effort to harvest that deer. And it takes just as much to hang it up for everyone to see.

Tootie De Marco owns a taxidermy shop in Shinnston. He said the art of taxidermy comes with a long list of steps, starting with the steps hunters take before bringing their deer into him.

"This is how we start a shoulder mount. They normally come in already capped out in the raw stage," De Marco said.

The first thing De Marco does is skin and tan the deer.

Then he makes cuts in the hide.

"After it was skinned, I'd have to split the lips and the nose," De Marco said.

He does the same to the mannequin mold.

"We're cutting a lip slot in the mannequin and as you see in that cape, that extra skin I left. That's where it's going to go," De Marco said.

"You have a eurothane mannequin you have already pre-fit. You basically slide it on," De Marco Said.

He said the feature hunters seem to focus on most is the antlers.

De Marco cuts out the antlers off of the carcass and fits it onto the mannequin. After that, he molds the hide around the mannequin and the antlers.

"Basically screw it on. Put your hide up," De Marco said.

Those steps seem easy and quick enough. But the details in his craft are what truly make your trophy a prize.

"Inner-nose detail. Texturing of nose when you do finish work. Eyes and the detail around the eyes," De Marco said.

De Marco uses clay to help make the model appear more life like.

"I'm trying to recreate the muscle and the meat that I removed when I skinned it out," De Marco said.

"Basically, what I would do is tuck that skin under the clay," De Marco said.

De Marco said it takes him a few months to finish roughly 80 mounts.