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Is Taxidermy Really Worth It?

By Brodie SwisherSeptember 5, 202212 Comments

I was recently talking with a group of bowhunting friends when the conversation turned to Tom Miranda and the recent sale of his castle-like home in Florida. Miranda has recently been posting photos of his friends and family removing his vast display of trophy mounts from the wall. No big deal, right? 

Well, if you know anything about Tom Miranda, you know the man has an insane amount of trophy mounts on the wall, as well as a collection of full-body mounts that’ll rival most any hunter. Heck, one photo even shows the crew removing his elephant head from the wall, a mount that weighs in just shy of 300 pounds. The story begs the question, how many mounts is too many? And is taxidermy even really worth it? We’ll answer these questions, and more, below.

Too Many Mounts?
Is there such thing as too many mounts? Tom Miranda's trophy collection seems to say, no.

How Many Mounts is Too Many?

How many mounts is too many mounts? That’s not unlike the mystery of the beard. How many whiskers does it take to make a beard? It’s a question you just can’t answer. When it comes to mounts, it’s all a matter of opinion. Some hunters love a wall full of mounts, while others prefer a simple and less cluttered display on the walls of their home. 

I’m honestly not a fan of a wall that’s completely covered in mounts. I personally don’t like the look of a wall so full of shoulder mounts that you couldn’t squeeze another one in place. It’s cool for Bass Pro Shops, museums, or traveling whitetail displays, but I don’t want it in my house. To me, it’s a cluttered look and a little overwhelming. A buddy of mine killed a big 5×5 bull several years back and hung the shoulder mount in his small living room. You literally had to dodge and duck to get by the mount when walking across the room. He was proud of his bull. I get it. But there is a time when you have to say, enough is enough. 

I also think a wall full of mounts tends to take away from an individual mount. One mount gets lost in the sea of other mounts. A giant buck can easily appear smaller when it’s stuck in the middle of 20 other mounts. Everybody’s got their opinion, but for me personally, I think less is more when it comes to a more attractive, clean and classy look for the wall. 

(Authors note – It’s easy for me to say that less is more when considering the number of big bucks I’ve killed over years – definitely less than more.)  

Should You Mount Your Next Trophy?

“Do you think I should get it mounted?” 

You’ve probably been asked this question a number of times over the years from a buddy that just killed an average-sized buck. It’s always a tough question to answer. You feel obligated to be honest, but at the same time, you don’t want to hurt your buddy’s feelings. To respond with, “Nah, I wouldn’t mount that buck!” is surely going to deflate your buddy’s excitement.

The best response is likely the most obvious – it’s up to the one that just notched the tag. 

Only the shooter (and quite likely his wife) can decide on whether or not a deer should mounted. But it’s also important to keep in mind why, or why not, have a deer mounted. What is your motive?  Are you needing more home decor? Are you wanting to preserve the memory of the hunt? Is it simply bragging rights to hold over your buddies and guests?

Taxidermy work is very expensive these days. You need to seriously consider why you want the mount on the wall and whether or not it’s truly worth it. 

Too Many Mounts?
Few and far between, or wall to wall, top to bottom? How do you like your mounts displayed? Photo: Joe Davis

Is Taxidermy Really Worth It?

I was visiting family near Memphis, Tennessee several years ago when we drove past a Salvation Army store. What caught my eye was the number of junk sitting out on the curb that had undoubtedly been tossed out after hours in a drive-by dumping. But something else caught my son’s eye. “Hey, look at that deer mount!” he said. I immediately hit the brakes. 

My wife made ugly threats trying to sway me from turning around, but I whipped a U-turn nonetheless. She was telling the kids to stay in the car as I barked orders for them to jump out and grab the deer from the pile of junk in the parking lot. For a moment the kids sat stunned, unsure what to do. But with a confident nod, I smiled and said, “Son, do what you need to do.” My oldest boy quickly jumped from the car, grabbed the buck by the horns and tossed it into the back of the car and jumped back in. “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure,” my youngest son said as we sped off.

As we traveled down the road that day, we talked about how our treasures and trophies change with time. At one point, that buck was somebody’s prize possession. With great excitement, they hauled that dead buck to the taxidermist and shelled out hundreds of dollars for the taxidermist to bring it back to life. 

With great pride, that hunter hung the buck on the wall to enjoy for many years. But sadly, the day came when that prize possession was hauled to the dump. Why? Death? Divorce? It really doesn’t matter. The bottom line is, the day came when nobody cared about the deer mount anymore. 

And that’s the thing every hunter needs to consider when contemplating whether or not taxidermy is really worth it. Countless family members have been left with a house full of taxidermy to have to deal with after a family member/hunter had died. It’s no easy chore. The mounts aren’t worth much, and they’re often harder to get rid of than you might think. And that’s why they are often hauled to the pawn shop or local dump. 

Is taxidermy really worth it? At the end of the day, you the hunter are the only one that truly cares about your deer mount. Your wife and kids may be proud for you, but chances are they really don’t care about your mount. Consider the cost. Is it a true trophy, or just more junk to haul to the dump when you’re gone? 

Too Many Mounts?
The Salvation Army buck found dumped in a parking lot.

Things to Consider Before Mounting Your Next Trophy

Here’s a few things to consider before you shell out the big bucks to mount your next – big buck.

  • Is it bigger than your last buck?
  • Do you have the space for it at home? 
  • Why do you want it mounted? 
  • What will it cost to have mounted? 
  • Let the emotional high from the hunt come down before you make the decision to have the buck mounted. 
  • Consider a euro mount for a clean, classy look that never goes out of style and isn’t a dust magnet like a shoulder mount.
  • Does your family appreciate your trophy mounts? 
  • What will come of all your mounts when you’re gone?
  • Check out this article when trying to decide: https://www.bowhunting.com/bowhunt101/should-i-get-my-buck-mounted/

Best of luck this season as you pursue your greatest trophies. Will you get them mounted this season? 

Comment below, and let us know your thoughts on how many mounts is too many. 

Brodie Swisher
Brodie Swisher is a world champion game caller, outdoor writer, seminar speaker and Editor for Bowhunting.com. Brodie and his family live in the Kentucky Lake area of west Tennessee.
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