Kodiak Bones & Bugs Taxidermy

Specializing in quality dermestid beetles

The History of Taxidermy

The art of taxidermy today is used for a wide range of purposes, much like it has been for centuries. Taxidermy has been around for countless ages and dates back to ancient Egypt. The Egyptians were rather advanced in developing new techniques and other such innovations, especially considering the time period and available resources and technology.

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What Is Ethical Taxidermy?

Taxidermists often have a great love and respect for the animals that they work so hard to preserve. For this reason, many people who are interested in taxidermy are also passionate about conservation efforts and animal rights. When you hear that a specimen has been ethically sourced, this usually means that the animal died of natural causes and was not trophy hunted for sport.

Finding Ethically Sourced Specimens

There are tons of ways to acquire specimens for taxidermy without ever having to kill an animal specifically for that purpose. Using animals that have been killed on the road is one of the most common sources of specimens for ethical taxidermists. Fallen animals like deer, birds, and foxes aren’t uncommon to find in rural areas. Using roadkill for taxidermy purposes is a great sustainable practice that ensures the body won’t go to waste, and it can prevent scavenger animals from also being killed on a busy road.

Another way to ethically source specimens is to collect unused animal byproducts from farmers and hunters. This sustainable sourcing method is a great way to use and honor the entire body of an animal that has been killed for the purpose of food.

If there are wildlife preserves or rescues in your area, this could also be a good source for specimens. Often, animals will die at wildlife rescues due to natural causes, such as old age, illness, or injury. Taxidermists can ask local veterinarians or wildlife organizations about the best ways to obtain ethically sourced specimens in the area.

Who Is Practicing Ethical Taxidermy?

With eco-friendly lifestyles and sustainable practices becoming more popular, ethical taxidermy is on the rise. People who practice taxidermy in an ethical way tend to be interested in the hobby for artistic or educational purposes rather than as a way to display trophies and mounts.

The Benefits of Ethical Sourcing in Taxidermy

Ethical taxidermy is a good solution for people who are passionate about animals and conservation efforts. By obtaining specimens from sustainable sources, you ensure that the entire body of this creature can be properly used and honored. A major goal of ethical sourcing is to reduce needless waste.

Become a Better Ethical Taxidermist

To improve your taxidermy skills, it’s important to use the best tools and techniques. Dermestid beetles, which eat flesh, are a great method to use when preparing skulls. If you’re interested in trying taxidermy beetles, contact Kodiak Bones & Bugs Taxidermy today at kodiakbonesandbugs@gmail.com or 907-942-2847.

Where Do You Find Dermestid Beetles?

Dermestid beetles are prized by taxidermists for their ability to quickly and efficiently clean the flesh off of skulls and bones. If you’re interested in improving your skull-cleaning and taxidermy skills, you may want to invest in a colony of these flesh-eating beetles—but where in the world can you even find these specialized insects?

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Taxidermy Care Steps to Create the Best European Skull Mounts

Creating the best European skull mounts requires following the right taxidermy care in the field and after getting your animal home. In recent years, more and more hunters are taking the DIY approach to making their own European mounts as a fun way to enhance their hunting experiences.

Whether you want to create the mount yourself or rely on a qualified and experienced taxidermist, you still need to follow the right steps to prepare your skull mount for the best results.

Step #1: Field Dress Your Animal

If you intend to enjoy the meat from the animal, take the time to carefully field dress it to remove the “guts.” For large skull mounts like deer mounts, elk mounts, and beak skull mounts, you still want to make sure that you do not cut too far above the front legs when dressing the animal.

For smaller game animals, if you want a complete skeleton of the animal, carefully field dress it to remove the “guts,” and then place it into a plastic bag. Put the animal inside a cooler with ice.

Step #2: Remove the Skin from the Animal

You will need to carefully remove the skin from the animal, including the skull. Be careful to not jab the knife you are using into the skull, as this can damage it. Instead, make careful incisions around the neck and then slide the knife under the skin, in between the flesh, to loosen it.

Step #3: Remove the Head from the Animal

Once the skin has been removed from the animal, you will want to carefully remove the head from the animal. Once the head is removed, carefully remove the brains and the eyes.

If you are creating a skeleton of a smaller animal, then you would not remove the head, yet you would still remove the skin carefully and remove as much excess flesh as possible without damaging the bones.

Step #4: Deep Freeze the Animal

You need to preserve the animal by freezing it. You want to freeze it whether you are going to take the DIY approach or send the animal off to your taxidermist to create the skull mount or skeleton.

How to DIY a Skull Mount

Bearded hunter in a fleece shirt and hat holds his trophy.

You will need to invest in your own Dermestid beetle colony. You don’t need a large colony to clean skulls. A small colony of a few hundred beetles will work just fine. Just keep in mind that the speed of cleaning and the size of the skull will be different based on the size of your colony.

Larger colonies will clean skulls faster. If you only clean a few skulls every year, then maintaining a smaller colony is better than building a huge colony of thousands of beetles.

Once your Dermestid beetle colony is established, you just put the skull or small animal in with the beetles. The beetles will go to work at removing all the remaining flesh, fat, and any skin or hair you missed.

The best thing about using Dermestid beetles is they will not damage the bones or any delicate structures like other cleaning methods can and will do.

After the skull is cleaned, it is ready for mounting. You may want to whiten the skull using an appropriate whitener before mounting it.

To learn more about DIY skull cleaning, starting a Dermestid beetle colony, or instructions on how to ship your skull to have us clean it for you, please feel free to contact Kodiak Bones & Bugs Taxidermy at (907) 942-2847 today!

Taxidermy Care 101: How to Care for Your Animal Pre-Mount

If you plan on keeping a trophy of your animal, it is important to follow the right pre-mount taxidermy tips as soon as you bag your game. Failing to do so could result in damage to the animal so it may no longer be able to be made into a trophy mount, rug, or life-size replica.

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Which Animals Challenge Taxidermists the Most?

When it comes to preserving animals, either using traditional taxidermist methods or creating animal skulls (European mounts) and articulated skeletons, the process can present some challenges even for the most skilled taxidermists. The process of taxidermy involves preserving the animal in some form, whether that includes using its hide or skin or just its bones.

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Taxidermy Dos and Don’ts

You got your trophy buck or bass after applying your patience and skill. Now you want to display your specimen in its natural form. Mounting your specimen takes an additional level of skill, but do-it-yourself taxidermy is possible. Here are some dos and don’ts for the process, but first we’ll provide a background on what taxidermy is.

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Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Taxidermy

When most people think of taxidermy, they imagine stuffed animals or skulls. With modern taxidermy, dermestid beetles are the choice for skull cleaning. This field hasn’t been only about cleaning your trophy. It’s been the technique for studying animals, taking measurements, and cataloging species for many years. Continue reading for interesting facts about taxidermy you probably didn’t know.

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Taxidermy Skull Preparation and Skull Cleaning

The art of taxidermy to preserve a trophy you bagged while hunting requires a skilled hand and a little help from nature. The thought of preserving some part of the trophy animal you bagged appeals to many hunters of all ages. You could choose a full-body mount, head-mount, or European mount.

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The Latest in Taxidermy

Over the years, people have relied on different methods to preserve animal specimens. Harsh chemicals, boiling, composting, and other methods can damage bones. Dermestid beetles, which are relatively new in taxidermy, have become one of the most popular methods of preserving skulls and other animal bones. They are effective eaters and leave behind perfectly preserved specimens that can last without degradation.

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