Preserving animal trophies

After spending time with trap shooters and going on a hunting expedition, it's only right that I finish out the hunting process — seeing those trophies mounted on the wall.

I've been wanted to do a profile all summer but have had a lot of sources fall through, unfortunately. I jokingly told my boss one day that I was going to do a story about a taxidermist, and he, a New Yorker, said, "This isn't Missouri! There's no way you can find a taxidermist on Long Island." Turns out, he was wrong.

I met up with Rich Dunlop at his tiny shop this week, hoping there'd be blood and guts galore (after the cow slaughterhouse and the Faroe Islands, I'm immune to it now). Apparently, though, the taxidermy process is a long one. Each animal takes about nine months to process, from tanning and drying and molds and the works. November is his busiest month, since it's the beginning of dear hunting season, but since I'm leaving in a week I had to settle for mostly clean taxidermy — just putting skin on a deer head mold.

It was a good time, though, and has spurred some new project ideas in my head, which is obviously never a bad thing. This will probably be the last piece I produce for Newsday — I leave in less than a week, unfortunately, but it's been a great summer! But I'll write more about that later.

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