Business picks up for taxidermy work

Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 9:30 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The rifle deer hunting season has officially come to an end. But, for one business, this is just the start of their season.

Wisconsin’s DNR released preliminary numbers for the 2021 nine-day hunt. The numbers show overall, the state has seen a decrease in the number of deer harvested. That means finding a buck was all luck this year, which one business counts on.

“I have nine freezers and they’re almost all full,” owner of ‘Hunts Remembered Taxidermy’ in Wausau, Brent Lerch said. His freezers are almost filled to capacity with deer hides. He said he probably has around 50 to 60 deer to stuff, most from the nine-day hunt.

“[Business has] been pretty steady, rifle season has been down a little bit from last year, but last year was a really good year too, so probably on the normal side,” Lerch said.

The numbers from the opening weekend show the biggest decrease, but the first piece of work that Lerch got was from opening night. “Seemed like there were pockets of areas where, yeah, they saw lots of deer, got something decent or whatever, and other areas, like me, I didn’t see a buck all season.”

Lerch said the number of deer he has to work on is split down the middle, half will be made into shoulder mounts, while the other will be made into European mounts.

“I love people bringing in their stuff, I love seeing what they get.” He explained that’s the best part of his job, and jokingly the worst: “The only thing I don’t like is that it affects my time to [hunt].”

Lerch said his deadline to complete all of the ‘trophies’ is by the end of May. “It’s a lot of work and wait, and work and wait, so you kind of stagger your stuff...while you got to wait for it to dry, you work on something then tomorrow it’s ready for the next type of thing.”

He explained it’s a process that has to be trusted, but one he holds near and ‘deer’ to his heart. “They say if you like what you do, you don’t work a day in your life,” he said as he giggled. “So it doesn’t feel like work.”

Lerch recommends people take in their animals as soon as they can to a taxidermist, but if it can’t be right away, he said to freeze them.

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