Game Preservation

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Kyle Handshumacher is nine years old, and has bagged his first deer. His father says this calls for something more than just deer meat.

“I've only wanted two in my lifetime, but since this is his first deer, we'll definitely mount it for him,” says Lawrence Handshumacher, father

He'll probably go to someone like Eric Dowler, who has spent the better part of a lifetime preparing deer and other animals to hang on a hunter's living room wall. Deer season, and the fall season for other forest creatures is his biggest time of the year.

“Fall turkey season, some game trapping...the next couple of months is something I'm really looking forward to. It's a matter of preserving the skins on these specimens, mounting them properly, and getting a good paint job on them,” Eric Dowler, taxidermist:

Dowler has been doing this off and on since the 1980's. During that time, he's received some unusual requests.

“At one time, I mounted someone's pet rabbit; that was a mistake. It looked OK, but it didn't have the beautiful smile, and a girl was just broken-hearted, because it didn't have that glimmer of life to it,” Dowler says.

Dowler tells us that a properly prepared animal can spend 25 years on a proud hunter's wall.