CONROE, Texas - Hunters go all over the world to find their next big safari, but many say they come to Conroe Taxidermy to make their catch their family's prized trophy.
Conroe Taxidermy says it is the second largest taxidermist in the world.
"Taxidermy is the best painting or picture you can ever have," said Barret Simpson, general manager for Conroe Taxidermy. "Every time you look at it, you can remember the actual hunt, and when you went to take it."
Simpson's family has been in the taxidermy business in Conroe for over 40 years.
Across the workshop you'll find giraffe, bears, rhinos, zebra, lions and other exotic wildlife. For a fee, Simpson said he'll even go on a safari with you or visit your family's game room.
"I'll visit with customers in their trophy room and I'll kind of interview them about what they like," said Simpson. "Do you want your bear aggressive and mean, or do you want it more passive? Do you want your lion majestic looking up there, or do you want him fighting?"
How does Conroe Taxidermy actually get exotic animals all the way from Africa to Conroe? Simpson said the transporting and shipping is simple thanks to UPS.
"Fresh crates are shipped in from Africa," said Simpson. "There will be horns and skins in here and they come straight from the airport.
Once it gets to Conroe, at the workshop the skin is cleaned, stitched up, attached to a Styrofoam mannequin, airbrushed and installed in someone's man cave, game room or museum.
Simpson said it takes two to three days to complete one piece. Anywhere from four to ten people work on one trophy, he said.
Simpson said he has seen it all.
"The most exotic I would say has to be a hippopotamus or rhinos," said Simpson. "It's rare that we mount them and they're just spectacular pieces."
As for prices, they start at $200 for antelope and can go all the way up to the millions for a full replica habitat.
Conroe Taxidermy says it does about 2,500 projects a year. They currently employ 38 people.Photos: Exotic animals at Conroe Taxidermy
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