It's been an exciting morning out in St. Charles, Missouri, what with some 800 wildlife enthusiasts in town for the 2009 World Taxidermy & Fish Carving Championships
. (View a slide show of the animals here
I just spent the past hour in the judges chambers where a panel of experts is examining hudreds of trophy mounts ranging from the benign (deer) to the outrageous (gorillas). Personally, I liked this piece featuring a turkey vulture fighting a opossum
Of course, there are even more magnificent fight scenes also on display here.
Photo: Chad Garrison
Craig Lewis assists judges as a note-taker Thursday.
"It takes profound skill to do this," notes volunteer Craig Lewis.
"The most important thing is to remove any part of the animal that
might rot, stink or get eaten by bugs
Lewis, a member of the United Taxidermy Association, flew into town on Tuesday from Washington state to assist in the judging. Like others here, he's quick to
inform that "a taxidermist is a really an artist
And what awesome artists they are. Observe these mounts below from the so-called "masters of masters" taxidermists. Want more photos? Click here
The conference, at the St. Charles Convention Center
, is open to the public tomorrow night from 6 until 10 and again Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.