How to Choose a Taxidermy Mount

Taxidermy Guide

Published on
April 21, 2023 at 4:24:32 PM PDT April 21, 2023 at 4:24:32 PM PDTst, April 21, 2023 at 4:24:32 PM PDT

Keeping Your Customer Happy

Some hunters have very definite ideas when they bring an animal in how it should look. In many cases, that works just fine. But there are lots of little details that they might not have thought of yet. Or maybe you know that what they’re suggesting could make the mount look terrible with the animal they’ve got. It’s up to you as the professional to guide them on how to choose a taxidermy mount and what would look best. Here are just a few suggestions to clarify with them before they leave.

  • Where will it be in your home or shop? This will usually determine which direction they should face, which mount position would be the best, etc. It’s obviously important to consider the antler clearance for deer mounts, but this can slip past people.
  • Is there a certain feature on one side of the animal that the customer would like to showcase? For example, if one antler has a neat fork or drop tine, it should be on the outward-facing side (if the head is turned) to highlight it.
  • What kind of emotion do you want your mount to convey? As a taxidermist, you have a lot of creative power. By adjusting the ear direction, eye lids, and even the lips, you can make an animal look very relaxed and majestic or like he’s ready to brawl with a competitor.

Deer Mount Positions

As you know, different forms will make a mount look very unique. Each one has their own emotion and presence. As an example, let’s look at the various whitetail deer mount styles to see how you might explain to a customer how to choose a taxidermy mount.


The upright mount (100 series) features a deer that is, unsurprisingly, standing tall and alert. It is one of the most impressive and imposing looking mounts as it really takes up space, especially if the antlers are wide and tall. With both the ears forward, it really looks like a buck just busted you and is trying to decide if he should scurry. This makes it a good option for a truly bucket-list buck mount that is the centerpiece to your whole collection. If your customer wants this mount, make sure they have figured out the total height of the finished mount to make sure it fits in the intended space.


The semi-upright mount (400 series) pose is less dramatic and rigid than the full upright mount, as the neck is lowered slightly. It offers a more natural look for a relaxed, dominant buck mount, especially if the head is turned one way or another. Rotating one ear forward and one backward can also be a nice detail for a relaxed deer.


The semi sneak deer mount (600 series) is one of the most popular taxidermy forms out there. It is a natural-looking mount option, with the neck lowered even further from the semi-upright mount. With the ears laid back, the mount can appear like an angry dominant buck about to teach a lesson, or they can be faced forward to look like a curious buck. The OTS Eartech system uses a ball and socket joint, so the ear always stays in the correct location, but can easily be posed in any position. Because the mount is more parallel to the floor, you can fit more mounts on a wall than if they were all upright.

Sweep Sneak

The sweep sneak mount (800 series) takes the place of the traditional full sneak deer mount. It shows a stretched-out, muscular rut neck with deep shoulders. This is a great option for large Midwest deer or bucks that were in rut. The parallel neck position keeps the antlers lower for better ceiling clearance, though the deer also extends out into the room more. It resembles a buck in pursuit of a doe, so a curling lip or open mouth is a good artistic touch.


There are two different types of pedestal mounts that make great whitetail shoulder mounts. The floor pedestal mount brings it down to your level to save wall space and is very realistic looking, especially if you add other natural touches (e.g., trees, rocks, etc.). It’s also a good option if your customer only has very low ceilings. The wall pedestal mounts show the deer’s front shoulder as if they are standing more or less broadside, which is a refreshing option to add to any trophy room.

Putting it Together

After looking through the various deer mount poses above, do you see how you can help guide a customer on how to choose a taxidermy mount? It doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) be a pushy salesperson approach. Listen to what they tell you and then ask clarifying questions about the end result they’d like. If you notice something that could be a red flag, discuss it and see what they say.

As mentioned above, you can offer to flip through the OTS taxidermy supply catalog for some ideas or to show the high quality materials you’ll use to create a memorable mount for them. While most hunters don’t usually want to know all the details, all would like some assurance that you’re not going to use cheap taxidermy forms that won’t hold up over time. Depending on how much time you have, you could really go through a highly-customized mount by working together with the hunter. Hopefully you’ll have a chance to discuss how to choose a taxidermy mount with a likely customer very soon.