Tricks of the Trade Series | Mastering Scars and Blood on an “Old Warrior”

Deer Taxidermy | Mastering Warrior Bucks with Jena Everage

Antlers aren’t the only trophy when a hunter harvests a buck. A hunter chooses to get a trophy mounted to keep the memory alive. For most hunters, especially hunters hunting mature deer, the character and uniqueness of the buck is what brings the memory back. By far the unique characteristics besides antlers on a deer will often be any scars, injuries, or unique facial features that may have helped identify the deer over the years. While they might display great character, these features can be hard for taxidermists to portray. Enter Jena Everage of Day 6 Taxidermy.

When presented with an “Old Warrior Buck” from an Indiana youth hunter, Jena agreed with the hunter that displaying the character was a must. We sat down with Jena to hear more about the deer and how she created a deer mount with so much outstanding character!

What deer form and taxidermy supplies were used to create this buck?

 (list important ones like blood, eyes, tools for scars, any other needed tools) OTS 800 series form, a pair of OTS original true eyes, OTS 360 earliners, Pro-1 glue and Pro-1 Pro-Maxx Tan and oil. Finishing supplies for scars were red and brown sharpie markers and then glossed over with spray gloss. I used green and blue acrylic paint to paint the blind eye. A Meder flehmen mouth part was used.

What was the history of the deer/hunter’ harvest that created the need to bring so much character into the deer mount? 

The young Hunter was just in the right spot at the right time and was able to make a great shot on this old buck. The young Hunter noticed all of the Bucks scars and blind eye and was very interested in keeping it all as is in the mount.

What challenges did this particular mount bring to the table? Was it daunting to the point most taxidermists would not take the project on? 

Sometimes taxidermists will take on these details and replicate them as closely as they can to what they looked like when they take the deer in. Other times they may do everything in their best effort to repair these damaged areas to make the animal look nicer/cleaner for a finished mount. For me, this all depends on what the customer decides as to how they want it. Old fighter bucks are a common occurrence among most taxidermy shops. Upon customer request, they either get a makeover or they’re finished to look like the fighter that they were.

What other techniques/tools did you use to add more character?

I chose to lay one ear back and the other slightly forward/neutral to show the scarred notch in that ear. This added even more detail and character besides the other scars.

How did you represent the blind eye in the deer mount?

I painted the blind eye the day before mounting it. Based off of some reference photos of deer in a flehmen pose. I made the eyes slightly more relaxed than I normally would in a standard pose mount. I also made the blind eye more relaxed than the other eye and added more swell around it to represent the damages done to the eye.

How did you make the wounds and scars appear fresh? 

I colored all scars with red and brown sharpies and then brushed some spray gloss over them to give them a fresh look

What in your opinion was absolutely crucial for this deer mount that many other taxidermists might not do with this type of “character mount”?

The main thing for me was just to put my best effort into the details of this mount, doing my best to capture the look and character of an old fighter buck such as this one. This was certainly not one of those deer that you make look nice, (for me at least). This was one of those deer that you wanted to keep the story of the animal with the mount.

I wouldn’t say that most other Taxidermists wouldn’t do these same details with this type of mount, like I mentioned above its usually all in customer preference as to how much of this goes back into a mount or if they prefer a nicer looking deer, these type of damages get fixed or they may even opt out for a new cape for their mount.

Check out Jena’s Day 6 Taxidermy page and the other unique deer mounts she has created here. Also be sure to check out the other “Tricks of the Trade” series pieces below!