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Retirement has begun
As I continue to ease into retirement, and work my way thru the backlog - I will still accept some work from previous clients.  But there will be some changes & limits.
1.  I will not be accepting any new clients for any mounts except fish replicas.  This includes antler mounts & Euro mounts. 

2. No longer be accepting more small & medium mammals(squirrels, foxes, coyotes, etc.), large full body mounts (bear, deer, sheep, etc).  I will accept small mammals only as shoulder mounts from previous clients.  

3.  I will only be accepting a maximum of 10 birds & 10 fish from previous clients for the remainder of the year.  I will only be accepting 10 more deer heads this year (2023).   Next year & thereafter - a maximum of 15 head mounts & 15 birds & 15 fish (no sturgeon) per year. 

4.  No longer accepting large game animals for shoulder mounts (elk, moose, caribou, bison, etc.)

5.  No longer accepting any sturgeon over 50", even from previous customers.  

6.  Hours - I will be open by appointment only until Dec 24.  If you show up w/o an appointment, I may not be here.
        I will be closed EVERY year from Christmas until April 1 - no drop offs. If you have an animal to pick up during that         time, I'll set up a convenient time to do that.

7.  I do NOT accept any credit cards.  All payments are cash or check.  

    I do want to take the time to thank every single client that has supported me & brought me work.  You have allowed me to make a living doing something I enjoy and I that I'm pretty good at.  Not everyone gets to do that & I appreciate your loyalty & patronage.  But I have doing taxidermy since I was 12 - that's 53 years.  I want more time to pursue some of my many other hobbies & interests while I am still able to do so.
    I would like to get to a place where I can continue to do some taxidermy in the winter months, then take the summer & fall for recreation.

𝗖𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗲𝘀 𝗔𝗿𝗲 𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗶𝗻 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟯
      I will be turning 65 this coming April, so I am moving into "semi-retirement" mode. I want to catch up on the backlog and then gradually reduce the days & hours I work in the shop.
In order to make more progress on the backlog, I have decided to close from 12-26-22 thru the end of March 2023. During this time:
I will NOT be taking in 𝗔𝗡𝗬 work unless previously arranged.
I will NOT be taking in 𝗔𝗡𝗬 sturgeon while I am closed.
I will NOT be taking 𝗔𝗡𝗬 sturgeon over 60" for mounting even after April 1. All sturgeon over 60" will be replicas ONLY.
I will NO longer be accepting new clients 𝗲𝘅𝗰𝗲𝗽𝘁 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗳𝗶𝘀𝗵 𝗿𝗲𝗽𝗹𝗶𝗰𝗮𝘀.
I will NOT be accepting full mount animals any longer, even after April 1.

      I will be open 𝙗𝙮 𝙖𝙥𝙥𝙤𝙞𝙣𝙩𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩 for pick-up of completed work. Please call & leave a message, text me (cell # below) or contact me thru FaceBook messenger to set up an appointment.

     I want to thank all the clients and friends that have allowed me to make a living doing something I enjoy, find challenging & rewarding. I have been doing taxidermy for well over 1/2 a century and now want to devote more of my time and talents to other projects and a myriad of interests.
Towards that end, I have been working with Dave Mielke to pass on the techniques and tricks I have learned over the years. He's been a quick study and has artistic talent. I will continue to help and mentor him over the next few years with the hope that he can continue to provide the same high quality work I have tried so hard to deliver to each of my clients.

       Best wishes to all for health, happiness and prosperity in the coming year.
Save this number - the business landline (582-7004) may go away soon.
Cell # (anti-spambot style)  - nine two zero - cinco cinco 1 - 0 0 cinco 6

January 10, 2022 -  New 10%  Price Increase
      Well, 2020 was NOT the year any of us expected.  And 2021 was not a lot better - new Covid variants and idiotic rules and blunders from an incompetent POTUS have resulted in the worst inflation we've seen in 50 years. 
    Now we are left with the lingering side-effects of the Covid 19 epidemic on businesses and our national economy.  I continued to work thru the entire Covid episode and suffered thru the virus myself in Oct, 2020. Many supplies took longer to get delivered, some things were out of stock, the tannery shut down briefly and then was open only on a limited basis.  Many of my suppliers had backlogs, unable to get raw materials or workers to make the products.  Lumber costs have gone thru the roof.

     Even as we come out of the restrictions, however - businesses are still dealing with many of these shortages, backlogs, increased costs and lack or workers.  In addition, new taxes, fuel cost increases, wage increases  and upcoming regulations have forced MY suppliers to raise their prices.  In normal years, I have absorbed these costs for a time and slowly increased prices to adjust to my increased costs.  These are NOT normal times. 
    My tannery has just informed me a few days ago that they will be increasing prices by about 7% across the board.  One of my major suppliers of forms and chemicals informed me yesterday that they were adding a 7% surcharge to ALL orders.  I anticipate nearly all of my suppliers will be forced to do the same.  Higher gas prices also means FedEx and UPS will be increasing their fuel surcharge, so my shipping costs, tanning costs, forms and supplies will all be increasing AT THE SAME TIME.   If you thought only "people making more than $400,000" would be paying higher taxes demanded by the new regime, then you don't have a clue how economics work in the real world.   Some one has to pay for all this "free stuff". 
    In order to operate a successful business, your income must pay for and exceed all of your costs.  Period.  Those costs include raw materials, labor, shipping, utilities, taxes and the cost of complying with regulation, among other costs( like repairs, bookkeeping, maintenance, etc.)  When those costs increase - the business owner MUST increase his/her prices or go out of business.  It's that simple - higher cost to produce a product = higher price FOR that product.  Or you shut your doors and go flip burgers for $15 an hour.
    As a result of these and other price increases & shortages and anticipated higher taxes & regulations to come - I am forced to increase prices by 10% across the board.  I don't know if this will be permanent or if it can be ended after 2024. 
I am hopeful that the rate of inflation will slow down, but I cannot count on that.  However for the foreseeable future - higher prices for everything are on the horizon.  Call it the Covid Fallout Surcharge Tax or the Biden Tax. 
    Those customers who have work in-process - will not have this additional surcharge added to your Work Order.  I will absorb the increased costs for now, but if prices increase even more - I may have to either add a surcharge or cancel your order and refund your deposit. I am sorry to have to implement this added cost, but this is the world we live in today. 
    I voted for the other guy.


MARCH 2, 2020
An Open Letter to My Customers and My Friends.
    I have learned a lot in the last few years.  I've learned a tremendous amount about a wide variety of medical procedures - open heart surgery, knee replacements, gall bladder removal, assorted scans and tests & hospice care.  I've learned about the time it takes to care for parents with Alzheimer's and dementia - a lot.  I've learned about the legal & financial issues and paperwork associated with a death.  I've learned about what's truly important in our lives and how caring for my loved ones is my top priority. And I've learned that 99.99% of my clients are wonderful, understanding people and many have gone thru some of the same difficulties I faced these past 2 1/2 years.  I appreciate your words of condolence and your continued patience more than you can imagine.
    I also learned to never say "It can't get any worse".  I think God takes that as a challenge and responds with "Oh, yeah??  Let me show you."  And so he did.
        After my parents passed away in August, my wife's mother passed away in November.  Then right after gun season, in mid-December - I got the worst stomach pain I've ever had and it got worse over several days.  A short stint in the hospital, I was diagnosed with pancreatitis and a "sludge filled" gall bladder. Two weeks later, while you were probably ringing in the New Year, I was getting my gall bladder removed.  The recovery went well & in a week, I was back to work.  The perfect way to end a year full of unexpected events, I guess. 
    All of this has led me to several decisions regarding my life and business.  If something were to happen to me, I want to make it as easy as possible for my kids & my wife to shutter the business.  It's a complicated thing - contacting clients, refunding money and returning mounts, should the worse happen. I need to lay out a plan for that eventuality. 
    I also want to be able to spend more time doing some of the other hobbies and activities I enjoy while I still can.  I am NOT closing or going out of business, more of a partial, semi-retirement.  I still enjoy doing taxidermy and will continue as long as my hands and brains still function.  But I need to wind things down to a smaller and more manageable amount of work.  I may stop taking in some items, like large full mounts - full body bear, for example.  I'm not as young as I used to be and it's getting difficult to maneuver those heavy capes on a form.  Sturgeon over 60" are also difficult to handle.  I'll decide on a critter-by-critter basis as time goes on.   I may also be reducing or changing my OPEN hours to more closely match my wife's days off so we can spend more time together. No final decisions yet - stay tuned for that. 
    I will continue to work hard and complete the work that has been brought in and that everyone has been patiently waiting for.  And, if you have brought work in before - I will continue to accept work from you or your family members as long as I am still able.  However, I will not be accepting work from any new clients, at least until I reduce the backlog to a year or less.  Many of my clients have been bringing in work for decades and they have been more understanding and patient than I could have hoped.  New clients are often impatient and that leaves them ~ and me  ~ frustrated and unhappy. 
     And while much of the worst MAY be behind me, I still have to clean out and sell my parents house in Illinois this year.   My dad also owned a small airport that will need to be sold as well.  Unfortunately, that will require some more time away from the shop this spring and summer. So I want to thank you all for your ongoing and unbelievable patience as I slog my way thru this.  I will continue to do my very best on any mounts that you have entrusted me with.  Have a good 2020.

Sept 2017 thru Sept 2019 - What the Hell Happened

Sept 21, 2017 - My wife's Rheumatic Heart disease & Surgery

Nov. 2017 - Recovery Begins

Jan.  2018 - Update on Schedule

July 2018 - Aging Parent's, Alzheimer's & Caregiver

August 2019 - Closed for the Month

Sept 21, 2017

     Some unexpected & very serious medical problems for my wife will cause my normal studio hours to be greatly affected.  I will try to be open as often as I can during my normal hours (noon - 6 pm Mon - Thur) but doctor visits, medical tests & physical therapy sessions, etc. may cause me to have to close in the middle of a day.   FOR THE NEXT FEW MONTHS - PLEASE - CALL AHEAD.  You may or may not find me working in the shop, so it would be best to call and make an appointment for pick-up or drop off.  Please call and leave a message or  you may also call my cell phone - 920-428-3691 and leave a message.  I will get back to you ASAP.  I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.

The disruptions to my work days will also NOT help me close the completion gap in the near future.  I will be working as much as I can to stay on schedule, to complete as much work as possible and handle the incoming work at the same time - but her health and recovery are at the top of my priority list.    

     While the plan below has helped slow down some of the incoming work, I still had a large amount of work come in during 2014, 2015 & 2016.  A larger number than expected of more scene mounts & complex pieces have slowed down my completion schedule.  I decided earlier this year to ONLY take in work from previous clients (spouses & family members included) during all of 2017.  So far - this has really cut the number of fish & bird mounts brought in to date. 

As I work my way thru the previous years work load, I ask for your continued patience and
I thank you for understanding.


Nov. 9, 2017

After more than a month of dealing with doctors, hospitals and tests, I am finally able to be getting back to work. My wife's surgery went well and she is recovering nicely. Thanks for everyone's support, patience and understanding.

I am returning to my normal business hours -
noon to 6 pm ~ Mon - Thurs. However, there are still a few follow-up Dr. visits that may interfere with that. Please call ahead to make sure I am open and in the shop before driving over.

I will continue to take work from previous clients (or family members) ONLY for the remainder of the year. I wish you all a safe and successful deer season and enjoy your Thanksgiving and the holidays. I know I have much to be thankful for.


January 6, 2018   

            First, let me wish any of you reading this a happy & healthy 2018.  I wish there was a magic formula for catching up on my backlog ..........but there is not.  In addition to my wife's surgery and recovery, there were several reasons my backlog got so long last year.  I don't wish to make excuses, but I feel my clients deserve to know the why I fell behind.  I had several very large full body pieces that took up a lot of time.   I also had a good number of African mounts - some complex, that required a lot of alterations & custom work.  I had a lot of badly damaged deer heads - making repairs slows me down.  All of these things kept me from completing the 2014 work until the middle of 2016..........about the time my wife's health took a turn for the worse.  A perfect shit storm, as it were.

       Right now I am just starting on the 2015 work.  There is simply no way I can catch up except by continuing to work on the pieces already in the books and reducing the amount of incoming work.  I already work 50+ hours a week and am not going to work all day, every day.  I have a "honey-do" list like most of you, as well things I need to do outside work, snow to shovel, lawn to mow, etc. etc.  

     I have all the fish & ducks from 2015 skinned & have about 1/2 of the ducks mounted and drying.  Next week, I will start mounting the fish from the first 1/2 of  2015 while the ducks dry.  I hope to start on the deer & bear from the fall of 2015 later this spring.  I wish I could give more accurate completion estimates, but I cannot.  Check the Work Schedule page - I will try and update regularly.

           This year I will turn 60 and like most "milestone" birthdays - one reflects on the time we have left and what we want to do with that time.  I enjoy what I do and plan to continue doing taxidermy as long as I am physically able.  But -  I have a great many other interests as well that I would like to pursue before I tip over.  I NEED to reduce my backlog as I approach (or even contemplate) retirement.  So I have decided to do the following:
1.  I was very successful in reducing incoming work last year by NOT accepting new clients.  I will continue to accept work ONLY from clients I have previously done work for until I complete all the work from 2015.  If I have mounted something for you before - you are always welcome to bring in your animals for mounting.  My goal is to get to under 1 year completion time for my clients.

2.  I will maintain my hours  -
Mondays ~ Thu - Noon to 6pm   ~  Fri, Sat & Eve by appointment ONLY
Please remember - as this is a 1 person business, I may have to close occasionally during posted hours for personal reasons.  And due to the large number of telemarketer calls, I am now screening all incoming phone calls.  I also cannot always stop what I am working on to pick up the phone.  Please call before driving any distance and be sure to leave a message so I can either pick-up or call you back to confirm.
3.  I am holding prices at the 2017 level and continue NOT accepting credit cards.
    I wish to sincerely thank everyone for the well-wishes for my wife's recovery and for your extraordinary patience.  I am farther behind than I ever wished to be and you are waiting longer than you expected to get your mount back.   99.9% of you have been extremely understanding and that has helped me focus on getting the work done.   Should you run out of patience and can wait no longer - please call me.  I'd rather cancel your order and let you take your mount elsewhere than have you get angry over the excessive delay.  I understand and will waive the cancellation fee for anyone.   I will refund your deposit, in full or part - depending on how much work has already been done.

Have a great year, be safe, be healthy and get out there and HAVE FUN!


  July 24, 2018
    My wife is continuing to recover and her heart is regaining some of it's strength.  She has returned to work and is dong well.  I truly appreciate all the patience and understanding you have shown me and I will continue to try and close the backlog. 

   But sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel turns out to be a train and it seems new responsibilities in my personal life have cropped up this year.  Last fall, at the same time my wife was having her surgery, my mother's Alzheimer's took a turn and she needed to be placed in a memory care facility.  This year my father's health - both physical and mental - also began deteriorating.  He was involved in 3 car accidents since last fall and hospitalized several times for that.  He was also suffering from black-outs & as a result had several bad falls and was recently diagnosed with a form of epilepsy.    My parents live about 3 hours away in IL - so I have had to make numerous trips to assist them this year.  We began the process of moving them to Oshkosh in June.  This has also been a time-consuming endeavor and it's not quite done yet.  
Unfortunately, I cannot be in 2 places at once.  Trips to Illinois and time helping my parents and getting them moved has caused me to again loose time working in the shop doing taxidermy. Finding a place, doing all the legal paperwork and making the move is a very involved process I have discovered.  As I am the closest geographically and emotionally to my parents and most of the transition has dropped in my lap.   I have chosen to put the health and safety of my parents before my work - I hope everyone can understand that.

     I will continue to work my way thru the backlog and try to get caught up.  I will continue to take work from previous clients ONLY - probably for the remainder of this year at least.  I was successful in taking in far fewer pieces in 2016 and 2017 and hope to be able to shorten the completion time within the next year or so.    If you can no longer wait, please call and I will return your mount and refund your deposit - minus any charges for work that has been done. You can continue to follow my business Facebook page updates or check in on my Work Schedule page to see where I am at.

    Once again - thank you - for your business, for your patience and for your appreciation of my work.  I have been very blessed to be able to make a living doing something I enjoy for folks that appreciate my efforts. 

   August 15, 2019

After several months of medical issues, hospitalizations, falls and declining health, my parents were reunited with God and passed away just 2 days apart.  Due to the death of both of my parents last week, I will be closed for the remainder of the month of August. I am not going out of business, I'm not retiring, I'm not sick.............that I am aware of. I will not be taking work from any new clients at this time. I will not be answering the phone and the answering machine is off.

I will be working in the shop when I can, trying to make up for some of the time lost over the last year & the past 6 weeks especially. I ask that anyone who is currently a client - please freeze any animal you want to bring in and call me in September.

Over the next few months, I will need to take time off to deal with settling the estate, disposing of the property and all the other legal ramifications that come with being the executor & PoA for my parents. This may mean some additional delays in completing your work. I understand if you do not want to wait any more - just send me an e-mail and we can arrange a time to pick up your mount and settle your Work Order.

I thank you all for your patience and understanding that nearly every single client has expressed to me over the past year+. I am not posting this to get sympathy or condolences, but to keep you informed and express my gratitude to you all for your business and your extraordinary patience.  I will be returning to work as soon as I can.

I urge you all to spend time with the ones you love while they are still on this Earth with you. There is nothing in this life that is more important than being there for the ones who love you when they need you the most.

Red Simpson


Dec. 11, 2019
If you've ever had pancreatitis - you know how painful it can be.  It's like a knife being thrust under your rib cage while Mike Tyson is giving you a gut punch.  For 4 days I tried everything to get rid of it with no success.  I finally went to the ER & was diagnosed with pancreatitis.  The treatment is simple - no food for 3 days - just pain IV fluid and pain meds.  When the pain subsides, you can start to eat broth & jello.  after about a week - you can move on to chew-able food.  Fun it was not. 
After tons of tests and numerous questions about "do I drink too much" (which I do not) - I was told my gall bladder was "sludgey" and needed to be removed.  OK - so on Dec 31, 2019 - they cut out my gall bladder.  Helluva a way to bring in 2020, but problem solved, right?  But wait - there's MORE!
March 10, 2020
        Covid had just started to be an issue when I got that old familiar pain in my gut.  Stabbing, excruciating, sharp pains.  This time I knew what it was - Pancreatitis.  4 more days of pain and starving myself at home and it still is unbearable.  It's back to the ER for some REAL pain meds.  After laying in the hospital for a couple days doing the IV & pain meds - the doctor said I had "idiopathic pancreatitis".  That means they have no frickin' clue as to what is causing my pain. 
        It occurs to me that I had started 2 new meds back in Sept of 2019 - almost 6 months ago to the day.  And my first bout with pancreatitis was almost 3 months to the day after I started the new meds.  I asked the nurse to look up side effects of the 2 meds - atorvastatin (Liptor) and Diclofenac.  Turns out the side effects were "pancreatitis & upper GI pain" for both drugs.  I asked the "hospitalist" if the drugs could be causing my pain and after reading up on both drugs - he agreed.  I got out of the hospital jast as we were going into lock-down for the China Flu. 
        I reduced my atorvastatin dosage by 1/2 and stopped taking the Diclofenac and just like that - no more gut stabbing pain.  I continue to be pancreatitis free for well over a year.

        They don't call it the "practice of medicine" for nothing, I guess.      

Jan 1, 2017 - Price Increases
Well, at some point I had to do it and unfortunately the time is here.  I have not raised my prices since 2013, and have absorbed the increased cost of paint, forms, eyes, driftwood, foam, shipping and delivery, insurance and all the un-seen costs that go into running a business.  Average prices are up about 5 - 6% overall and are effective immediately.  There are new price lists available in the studio and on-line prices are also updated.  To prevent lazy taxidermists and price shoppers from just copying my on-line prices, the list is a little hard to find, but you can access it here -    Prices for gameheads, fish, full mammals, rugs, and misc. items are available there.

The new prices for birds are located here -  

Prices for replicas have remained the same (cost + $7.50 per inch for prep & paint)  but Sturgeon replicas and composite mount prices have increased slightly.  You can see the new prices and info here -  

I hope to be able to maintain these prices for the next few years, but  if costs for materials and business operations increase, then so must the prices.  I appreciate the support and loyalty of all my clients and look forward to working with you for many more years.  Have a great 2017 and have fun afield. 


Feb. 5, 2011 - Plan to Reduce Backlog

To all my great clients that make it possible for me to make a living doing taxidermy,

I want to thank you for your patience, your appreciation of my efforts and your continued support.  Without all you folks, I might have to get a REAL job!  

Over the years I have struggled with various ways of trying to reduce the backlog of work, but without sacrificing any of quality you expect and still continuing to treat all my clients fairly. While many of you don't understand why I have such a large backlog or why I cannot seem to shorten it up - the vast majority of you are willing to wait in order to have me mount your trophy anyway.  Please keep in mind, I never wanted to have a backlog of more than 24 months of work.  And from a business sense and a customer service standpoint - it's definitely not what I want.  Ideally, I would like to be able to complete all  work within 12 months.  

There are really only 2 ways to reduce the backlog - increase output or decrease incoming work.  Over the years, I have tried several methods of reducing the volume of work, with little success.   Some taxidermists raise their prices until they reach a level where only a few can afford them.  While this does reduce the amount of work - I feel it would force many of my loyal clients to go elsewhere and end up with lesser quality work.   Some taxidermists specialize and will take only birds or only deer heads.  This also reduces the volume, but I enjoy doing a wide variety of work and I'm pretty darn good at it.  I also have a difficult time taking the "easy" mounts from a client, then turning him/her away when they want something mounted that is more difficult or less profitable.  

Other taxidermists hire unskilled helpers and then train them to work in the shop in order to increase output.  This results in a lower quality mount in almost every instance while at the same time increasing costs.  There are no corners that can be cut if the goal is the highest quality mount.  Some "farm out" or sub-contract certain types of mounts (fish and being birds being most common) in order to increase output - but this results in having very little control over the finished mount - not good for you or me.

I have tried taking work only from previous clients, but this has resulted in confusion among my established customers as well as the new ones.   Many "heard from someone" that I was not taking in ANY new work at all and rather than call me and ask - they went elsewhere and were disappointed with the results.   This was not what I wanted to achieve.  

A combination of bad economy, long backlog  and poor deer season resulted in reducing the amount of work in 2009 by a substantial amount.  That should help me shorten the completion time once I begin the 2009 work.  In order to maintain a shorter completion time, however, I am going to try a new idea that, if it succeeds, will maintain the shorter completion time AND the quality, artistry and professionalism you have come to expect.  

I have been going over my records from years past, looking at the number of each different type of mounts I have taken in over the years.  In other words, how many gameheads, how many fish, how many birds, etc. have I taken in each year.  Based on those numbers, I can determine a "cap" or maximum number of each different category of mounts I can do in a year.

This is my plan - I will accept any work from ALL clients until I have reached 50% of the CAP amount in  each category. Once I have reached this goal, I will ask clients if I have done work for them before  & accept work only from previous clients & their spouses (or those with a referral from a previous client) in that category.  I tried it last year during the deer season.  Beginning Sept. 1 -  I had a CAP (or maximum goal) of 30 gameheads for 2010 season (deer, antelope, elf, etc.).  By the time the archery season ended I had 15 heads checked in, so for the entire gun season, I only took deer in from previous clients. The end result - 31 deer heads by the end of Dec.  Any client rejected because of the cap can bring the mount in after the new year.  And I will always accept work from previous customers - it does not how much work you had me do or matter how long ago it was done.

My goal with this plan is to deliver the same high quality work with less of a wait time.  

Confucius said - a man who loves his work never truly works a day in his life.  I take great satisfaction in creating a personal work of wildlife art  for my clients and in knowing that, each time they gaze at it, they are transported back into that wonderful outdoor experience.  Thank you for making it possible & have a great 2011,



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