Sunday, July 7, 2013

Who doesn't love long weekends? We got to see amazing taxidermy!

Ours began with a long drive to Maine. We waited until the fourth to actually do the drive, didn't want to be out with all the crazy drivers going after work. Which turned out to be a good thing because we got to see this beautiful sight on the George Washington Bridge.
We even made a liquor store run in New Hampshire for my sister. She has this thing for Kinky Vodka. The nice part of New Hampshire is no sales tax. I just might skip my meds one of these days and give it a try since everyone agreed it makes the most awesome drink with fresh strawberries.
We had work to get caught up on my old place. The most amazing part was a very dear friend of mine and her soul mate surprised us by bringing a riding mower and a brush master push mower. It cut the work in half and then some. We would have been there all day but instead we were there only 3 hours. We were very grateful since mother nature chose to honor us in Maine with ninety humid degrees. We left that in New Jersey hoping for a reprieve. No such luck.
The ride home was a long one but that was our fault. We made several detours, one of them being LL Bean. You can't go to Maine and not hit the outlet. That would be sacrilegious!
We did our son, Chris, a favor and checked out the hunting section for 22 long rifle shells. He tried finding them in Virginia and everywhere he looked was out of stock. Who would have imagined a shortage on 22 shells but apparently that is the case. The salesman in Beans told us they also have a difficult time getting them in. He had 8 boxes of 100 on hand when we arrived. He had none when we left. Probably won't last my grandson and son very long since they love target shooting.
While I was there I was surprised to see an amazing taxidermy display. If I hadn't been over there for my son I would not have known it was there.
Beautiful grizzly bear. Look how amazing he/she did the face .
Having a bear in that pose is incredible.
"The grizzly bear is a North American subspecies of the brown bear.
These awe-inspiring giants tend to be solitary animals—with the exception of females and their cubs—but at times they do congregate. Dramatic gatherings of grizzly bears can be seen at prime Alaskan fishing spots when the salmon run upstream for summer spawning. In this season, dozens of bears may gather to feast on the fish, craving fats that will sustain them through the long winter ahead.
Brown bears dig dens for winter hibernation, often holing up in a suitable-looking hillside. Females give birth during this winter rest and their offspring are often twins.
Grizzly bears are powerful, top-of-the-food-chain predators, yet much of their diet consists of nuts, berries, fruit, leaves, and roots. Bears also eat other animals, from rodents to moose.
Grizzlies are typically brown, though their fur can appear to be white-tipped, or grizzled, lending them their traditional name.
Despite their impressive size, grizzlies are quite fast and have been clocked at 30 miles (48 kilometers) an hour. They can be dangerous to humans, particularly if surprised or if humans come between a mother and her cubs.
Grizzlies once lived in much of western North America and even roamed the Great Plains. European settlement gradually eliminated the bears from much of this range, and today only about 1,000 grizzlies remain in the continental U.S., where they are protected by law. Many grizzlies still roam the wilds of Canada and Alaska, where hunters pursue them as big game trophies."
White tail deer are the most beautiful creatures.
"Well-nourished bucks begin sprouting new racks each April. Antlers can grow more than 1/2" per day.

-If temperatures drop to single digits farenheit, whitetail deer often move during the midday hours.

-The large ears of deer can rotate 180 degrees and pick up high-frequency sounds.

-The entire molting process for whitetails is gradual, taking several months to complete. From early spring to late summer, a deer's coat transforms from a ragged pelage to a solid deep auburn.

-When hunting in October, hunters will notice that the deer's coat has changed from red to grey. The change occurs quickly, often within one to two weeks.

-A whitetail's hair appears bluish-grey in winter. New hair that grew in during autumn provides whitetails with added insulation. The tips on these new hairs are dark, giving the winter hide its richer hue.

-Studies have shown that deer can smell human scent on underbrush for days after we leave the woods. Wary bucks react very negatively when they run across our scent, often becoming leery of the area for weeks afterwards.

-Bucks most often bed by laying on their right side and facing downwind, which allows them to use their eyes, ears and nose to detect danger approaching from any direction.

-Deer are quick and skillful swimmers, often taking to water when frightened. Deer can easily swim across lakes or rivers at over 10 miles per hour.

-When running, a deer takes a long stride, with its tracks spaced as much as 25 feet apart. "

This beautiful deer is an albino deer. Albino deer. Every deer hunter has heard of one or at least thought about seeing one, but what’s the deal with albino white-tailed deer? Among the questions most often asked is “what causes some whitetail deer to be albinos?
"Albino deer are white and as rare as gold. If you ever see an all-white deer in the woods, you will be very lucky. These deer, called albino whitetails, are quite rare. Only one deer in 100,000 is born this way, say biologists. Chances of seeing one in the wild are very low. It might be easier finding a rare coin or a gold nugget in a stream.
So rare are albino deer that generations of American Indians thought them to be magical. The Indians had no way of knowing that all living things have cells, and within those cells are chromosomes and genes. Genes are what make us unique.

PhotoAlbino deer have recessive genes. Both parents must carry the gene to have an albino fawn.

Another reason albino deer are so scarce is that few survive to become adults. Unlike normal fawns born tan-colored with spots that help conceal them, all-white albino deer stand out in the woods. They are easily caught and eaten by predators. Albino whitetails also have poor eyesight, which further reduces their chance of survival.

Not every white deer you see is an albino. True albino whitetails have pink eyes and light-colored hooves. Many hunters see what they think are albino deer but are actually piebald whitetails. These animals have white as well as dark patches of hair in various amounts. Piebald deer are much more common that albino deer."

 "Piebald deer-A genetic variation (defect) produces the piebald condition in white-tailed deer, not parasites or diseases. Piebald deer are colored white and brown similar to a pinto pony. Sometimes they appear almost entirely white. In addition to this coloration, many have some of the following observable conditions: bowing of the nose (Roman nose), short legs, arching spine (scoliosis), and short lower jaws. This genetic condition is rare with typically less than one percent of white-tailed deer being affected."

Beautiful Mountain Goat.
"Mountain goats are not true goats—but they are close relatives. They are more properly known as goat-antelopes. These surefooted beasts inhabit many of North America's most spectacular alpine environments. They often appear at precipitous heights, from Alaska to the U.S. Rocky Mountains, showcasing climbing abilities that leave other animals, including most humans, far below. Mountain goats have cloven hooves with two toes that spread wide to improve balance. Rough pads on the bottom of each toe provide the grip of a natural climbing shoe. Mountain goats are powerful but nimble and can jump nearly 12 feet (3.5 meters) in a single bound.

Mountain goats have distinctive beards and long, warm coats to protect them from cold temperatures and biting mountain winds. Their dazzling white coats provide good camouflage on the snowy heights. During the more moderate summer season goats shed this coat.

Female goats (called nannies) spend much of the year in herds with their young (called kids). These groups may include as many as 20 animals. Males (known as billies) usually live alone or with one or two other male goats. Both sexes boast beautiful pointed horns, and in mating season billies will sometimes use them to battle rivals for prospective mates.

In the spring, a nanny goat gives birth to one kid (sometimes two), which must be on its feet within minutes of arrival into its sparse mountain world. Mountain goats eat plants, grasses, mosses, and other alpine vegetation."

I would love having a fish tank like the one in the store.
"The rainbow trout is native only to the rivers and lakes of North America, west of the Rocky Mountains, but its value as a hard-fighting game fish and tasty meal has led to its introduction throughout the world.

Rainbow trout, also called redband trout, are gorgeous fish, with coloring and patterns that vary widely depending on habitat, age, and spawning condition. They are torpedo-shaped and generally blue-green or yellow-green in color with a pink streak along their sides, white underbelly, and small black spots on their back and fins.

They are members of the salmon family and, like their salmon cousins, can grow quite large. They average about 20 to 30 inches (51 to 76 centimeters) long and around 8 pounds (3.6 kilograms), but can grow as long as 4 feet (1.2 meters) and weigh up to 53 pounds (24 kg).

They prefer cool, clear rivers, streams, and lakes, though some will leave their freshwater homes and follow a river out to the sea. These migratory adults, called steelheads because they acquire more silvery markings, will spend several years in the ocean, but must return to the stream of their birth to spawn.

Rainbow trout survive on insects, crustaceans, and small fish. Their populations are healthy worldwide and they have no special status or protections. However, they are now considered a non-native pest species in some areas where they have been introduced."

I hope you enjoyed the pictures and the background information on the different animals. Most of us never see the animals in there native environment so it is wicked cool to be able to study their features up close.
Taxidermists are truly forgotten artists. Every animal with a vertebrae can be prepared, stuffed and mounted. Preserving animals goes back to Egyptian times where embalmed animals were found with mummies. I am in awe every time I go to a museum.
"The methods taxidermists practice have been improved over the last century, heightening taxidermy quality and lowering toxicity. The animal is first skinned in a process similar to removing the skin from a chicken prior to cooking. This can be accomplished without opening the body cavity, so the taxidermist usually does not see internal organs or blood. Depending on the type of skin, preserving chemicals are applied or the skin is tanned. It is then either mounted on a mannequin made from wood, wool and wire, or a polyurethane form. Clay is used to install glass eyes. Forms and eyes are commercially available from a number of suppliers. If not, taxidermists carve or cast their own forms.
Taxidermists seek to continually maintain their skills to ensure attractive, lifelike results. Many taxidermists in the USA use bears, though some use creatures such as snakes, birds and fish.

 Although mounting an animal has long been considered an art form, often involving months of work, not all modern taxidermists trap or hunt for prize specimens.

Taxidermy specimens can be saved for later use by freezing. The taxidermist then removes the skin, to be tanned and treated for later use. Numerous measurements are then taken of the remaining body. A traditional method that remains popular today involves retaining the original skull and leg bones of a specimen and using these as the basis to create a mannequin made primarily from wood wool (previously tow/hemp wool was used) and galvanized wire. Another method is to mold the carcass in plaster, and then make a copy of the animal using one of several methods. A final mold is then made of polyester resin and glass cloth; from which a polyurethane form is made for final production. The carcass is then removed and the mold is used to produce a cast of the animal called a 'form'. Forms can also be made by sculpting the animal first in clay. Many companies produce stock forms in various sizes. Glass eyes are then usually added to the display, and in some cases, artificial teeth, jaws, tongue, or for some birds, artificial beaks and legs can be used.
An increasingly popular trend is to freeze dry the animal. This can be done with reptiles, birds, and small mammals such as cats, large mice and some types of dogs. Freeze drying is expensive and time consuming. The equipment is expensive and requires much upkeep. Large specimens can be required to spend as long as six months in the freeze dryer, although it is the preferred technique for pets. Freeze dried animals, though, may later be susceptible to being eaten by carpet beetles.
Some taxidermy specimens do not involve a carcass at all, particularly in the case of sporting fish, such as trout and bass, for which the practice of catch and release is becoming increasingly prevalent. Instead, detailed photos and measurements are taken of the animal, and then a taxidermist creates a resin or fiberglass sculpture of the animal that can be mounted and displayed as a specimen. The actual animal is released."

Probably more than you wanted to know but to me it is fascinating.

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