Ken Christensen of Cleghorn recently opened his new business called KC's Taxidermy located in the friendly community of Cleghorn. He bought the property of his current location around three years ago and replaced the old structure with is new shop. He is hosting his grand opening on Saturday, Aug. 27 from 3 to 8 p.m. Drinks and food will be served and a drawing for a pheasant mount valued at $140 will held. He is located one block west of the four way stop on Front Street in Cleghorn.
The art of taxidermy is something Christensen always had in the back of his mind since he is an avid hunter and fisherman himself. He contacted Tony Talamantes of Tony's Taxidermy in Storm Lake and convinced Talamantes to take him under his wing as an apprentice. Working part time under Talamantes on the day's he wasn't working his full time job for about a year, Christensen quickly learned the skills and art to creating one of kind works for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy.
Christensen's philosophy is to give his customer the best work he can and he does so by being completely honest with his customers. When a customer brings in their trophy animal he will inspect it for them and explain why the animal may or may not make a good trophy. In his business a trophy is not necessarily the biggest, best or rarest animal. A trophy is a matter of personal preference. It might be a child's first fish, buck, turkey, duck and so on. An eight point buck to a hunter who is only able to hunt a couple of days a year is as much a trophy as the "thirty" point buck another hunter patiently waited for years to bag. In any case, Christensen's goal is to do a great job.
Christensen offers some tips on care of trophy animals prior to bringing them to a taxidermist. He says if a person is even considering getting an animal mounted they should take the best care of the carcass they can. The better condition the specimen is in when it is brought in, the better the end results will be. Don't ever cut the throat of an animal, particularly deer. The amount of hide needed to cover a form is a lot more than a person might imagine. Get the animal frozen as quickly as possible in at least a plastic bag, then get it to a taxidermist as soon as possible.
Christensen realizes that not all animals are created equal and accidents do happen. He says he is able fix some things. For example, if a customer brings in a deer and the hide is slipping, the hide cannot be used. However, he has extra hides to use instead to complete the mount with the trophy rack. Small holes and tears can be stitched but gaping bullet wounds require the work of a magician.
He describes the work of taxidermy as being interesting and rewarding. For example, he is currently working on a coyote rug that a gentlemen harvested with a bow. As he was working on it, he found two shot gun pellets under the skin of its nose. It is rewarding when the customer is thrilled with the outcome of the hard work he puts into each project. He only gets one shot at getting each project right to a customer's satisfaction so he puts his personal best into each project.
There are many varieties of techniques, accents, and tools to make a taxidermy work of art. Even the slightest turn of an ear or bend of a wing makes all the difference in how the project will look in the end. Any taxidermist will report, when they see a project set just right they "just know it", otherwise they will make adjustments until they are satisfied.
Christensen has been married to his wife, Cindy, for the last 19 years and they have one son, Cody, who is 16 years old. He describes his business as taking baby steps. He is building his reputation and clientele slowly and when the time comes he will be able to operate his business on a full time basis. Currently, anyone interested in his work can contact Christensen at 436-2229 or 229-9238 and he will be happy to be of service.