Taxidermy is the next shocker. Getting a shoulder mount of that big bull is probably going to cost you somewhere between $900 and $1,000. Extra features like an open mouth or “bugling bull” are going to cost even more. If the bull you shoot is a small bull, otherwise called a “raghorn”, and you don’t want to spend that kind of money on a trophy mount, then consider a European mount. A European mount is basically the full skull, bleached, and mounted on a plaque that you can hang on your wall. These mounts usually cost between $100 and $200 depending on the taxidermist and the type of plaque and nameplate. I shot a 300” bull last year with my bow and I really wanted a shoulder mount, but I decided on a European mount for 2 reasons…first, it was way less expensive, and second, I only had an 8 foot high wall to hang it on. Shoulder mounts take up a lot of room.
Shipping your Meat Home
If you traveled by plane to your hunting destination, then you will have to arrange to have your meat and trophy shipped to your home. These items will almost always ship separately because the meat will be ready long before the trophy (shoulder mount completion can range from 4 months-2 years). My preferred taxidermist will ship your mount however you decide, but he has figured out that he can save his customers a lot of money by shipping mounts via Greyhound. Yep, on the bus. Many customers just schedule a road trip through the area and pick it up in person.
Shipping meat is REAL tricky. There are many different thoughts on the best method to get the meat home, so I am not going to say one is better than the other, but here are some things my clients do…
Some have the meat processor pack it, freeze it, and ship it to their home. This seems to be the most expensive option. I have heard of people paying between $600 and $800 to have their meat shipped cross-country. A popular option seems to be shipping your clothes and gear home via Fed-Ex, UPS, or U.S. Mail and then taking the meat back on the plane in coolers or special boxes. The costs I have heard with this method range from $175 – $350. Most of my clients drive out here with pickups or large SUV’s and bring empty coolers with them. A couple groups bring a little trailer with a generator and a chest freezer. Driving is the option that I would recommend.
Don’t forget to calculate the costs of your travel. Travel costs fluctuate so much that I am not going to put a figure together on that one. Just don’t forget to add that cost in when figuring out your budget. If driving is not an option, flying would be next most obvious choice. Outfitters will make arrangements for airport pickup, or a vehicle can be rented at the airport. Be sure it’s full-size 4×4 if you are on your own.