Thursday, February 2nd, 2023
Thursday, February 2nd, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Female taxidermist says she loves her unique job


Morning Sun (Mount Pleasant)

CLARE, Mich. (AP) – Sarah Youngs’ hobby turned into her
profession, as a taxidermist for Jay’s Sporting Goods in Clare,
where on the third day of firearm deer hunting season, they
received 35 deer to be preserved.

Youngs, of Farwell, learned the art of taxidermy from her father
when she was 13 years old. Her boss, R.J. Meyers, taught her
everything else.

“My dad did it, and he taught me the basics,” she said. “It’s
something that you learn the more you do.”

Youngs, who has been with Jay’s since January 2007, said the
process to make animals look like they did when they were alive is
a long process.

“They have to be skinned at the tannery, and when we get them
back, the holes need to be sewed,” said Youngs. “The cartilage
needs to be removed from the ears, and liners put in.

“The eye settings need to be worked with clay before you sew
the animal together.”

Youngs said they tell their customers it will take from six to
nine months for their animals to be completed.

“I did a lot of art when I was in school,” Youngs said. “With
taxidermy, there’s a lot of sculpting and painting, and you have to
know the anatomy of the animal.

“It’s pretty scientific.”

Youngs said the biggest misconception about taxidermy is that
the animals are stuffed.

“When taxidermy first started, they used a straw material,”
said Youngs. “Now, we use foam mannequins.

“It’s a polyurethane foam, and you can drill it, and work with

The material works well to create the look of muscles under the
skin, she said.

“My favorite piece was an ostrich,” said Youngs. “It was the
most interesting.

“We’re supposed to be getting a giraffe to do a shoulder

Youngs said that people bring in all types of animals, some from
as far away as Africa and Asia.

“We even do house pets,” said Youngs.

She said there are a few women taxidermists, but it would be
nice to see more interested in the field.

“I drew a lot, and I was obsessed with animals,” said Youngs.
“It’s the next step from 2-D to 3-D.

“A lot of people don’t realize that this is preserving an
animal’s memory.”

She said the process is “humane.”

“I enjoy making things for people that preserves their memories
and the look on their faces when they pick them up,” she said.
“The child will always remember when he caught that fish.”


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