Whitetail Hunting photo

The first two Pope & Young class bucks I shot went straight from my truck bed to the taxidermist. And of course those shoulder mounts went right on the wall. Of course, I was younger, single, and gainfully employed as a teacher back then. Having a pair of decent-sized heads in my house didn’t offend my sensibilities or hurt my wallet one bit.


By the time I shot my next good-sized deer I was a) married b) living in a tiny rental house, and c) had left teaching to make my living as a freelance writer. These factors created the perfect storm of taxidermy angst. My wife not only had a different view of what constituted acceptable “wall art” for our limited space, but fresh new ideas on how my now-paltry income should be spent. Not much has changed in the last 20 years, except that our home is slightly bigger.

In the last few years I have largely turned away from shoulder mounts and either European- or horn-mounted my bucks. These options are not only cheaper, they take up less space. Shari is reasonably content, our checkbook is slightly chubbier, and I still get to honor the animal.

How ’bout you? Are your walls filled with taxidermy? Do you have hard-and-fast rules about which bucks are big enough to mount? Would you bend them for an exceptional animal? Would you–as the owner of the buck pictured above–make room for a full-body mount in your home? I’m anxious to hear how you guys and gals handle the problem of bringing dead things into your home.