I got my skull back from Lori and Jim at New Frontier Taxidermy! They are incredible. Not only are they tanning my bear hide but they saved my skull. Saved it!
|A look into my bear’s mouth
One of the things that I did not want to tell people was that when my bear was getting cut up at the butcher’s, his skull was cut. I knew it was bad and the look on my guide’s face was a give away for how bad it may be. But, I had my bear head, hide and an extra bag with the back part of his skull in it that I took up to New Frontier Taxidermy for Lori and Jim. I lied to people when they asked me about it and hoped against hope that Lori and Jim could but it back together. I wanted a complete skull and if I could make it into the record books, that would be an added bonus.
This past weekend, I got my skull. It is together but not complete.
|Not quite the same angle but close.
They had to wrap my skull and the additional piece in cheese cloth to make sure they would be able to find all of the pieces that they needed as they fleshed it out. Jim made me promise to never have that butcher touch any animal that I kill and then assured me that if the pieces were all there, he could rebuild it. I needed it to measure 18 inches in length and width to be a record book bear.
|Check out those teeth – left side view
Are you ready for the “bad” views?
|Right side – no cheek arch
There was no arch to find and glue back on to the skull. You can also see the cut at the back of the skull where Lori and Jim reattached it to the main part of the head. No cheek arch meant that the skull was unable to be measured, which meant no record book.
|From the back
We didnt know it at the time, but the butcher had cut into the skull three times before my guide stopped him. If he hadn’t, it is clear that the skull would have been beyond repair.
Lori and Jim did an incredible job gluing the pieces back together and making sure that they got as much of it complete as they could. I asked Lori when I picked it up if she thought that it would have hit 18 inches if the arch was there. She started comparing it to other skulls on the table and guessed that mine would have measured 18 and 9/12 inches. Given that she is a taxidermist, she knows her stuff and can break it down into fractions. He would have made the record books! He is a record sized bear.
I save the deer antlers from the deer that I have shot and have a few sets mounted but I have never kept a deer skull (I might after seeing this bear) but I now have my bear skull. It is not complete but it is still impressive. I will have a bear skin rug with my bear’s face and his awesome scars, that will be seen by my friends and family for years to come. My grandkids will see and feel that bear and know the story. This skull is a prop to tell the story with. Every cut and missing piece is a part of the story of my bear hunt. And I am ok with that.
|My bear – 457lbs. Shot Oct 13, 2014