Aquatic Originals Fish and Bird Taxidermy by
David Wooddell, Sr., Wildlife Artist
David and fiberglass mount of a 36-pound king salmon from the Unalakleet River. 1990
David Wooddell, Sr. is a past award-winning taxidermist, competition judge, and seminar instructor, who operated The Sportsman's Den Taxidermy Studio in Flint, (1978-1991) but left the profession in 1991 due to disenchantment with the trade as a whole.
In March of 2016, he came out of retirement to help a young local taxidermist with his birds. Unfortunately, this did not work out, and ended six weeks later.
Back in 1987 with the advent of Operation Share a Lone Star Lunker, David and his wife began Fish Clones, Etc., a company supplying the most realistic fiberglass fish reproductions available to the trade at the time. The company grew, but it was hard to find employees capable of meeting his exacting standards.
David was not immune to the trappings of the Dark Side. As his ability grew, he lost sight of his talent being a gift from God. The LORD reminded him in April of 1996 when a lightning bolt struck his shop, causing a fire from which they never recovered. Struggling to rebuild, he faced the choice of the business, or his family, and chose his family, and began his return to The LORD.
In this time, following his wife's miraculous, Divine healing of ovarian cancer, David began writing Christian Fiction, and renewed his personal relationship with The LORD.
It was then that he realized that through taxidermy competitions, he had sought man's approval, and not God's. He also saw the winning mounts in competition evolve to the point of trying to improve on what God created. This is the true standard by which a finished mount should be compared; the living specimen; not an artificially enhanced creation.
Sadly, sportsmen often reduce God's creatures to a broken mass of flesh, sometimes nearly destroying it through massive trauma wounds, or poor field care. A taxidermist who says they can fix anything is not being truthful. Many keep spare specimens to replace badly damaged specimens, or their own mistakes. This is not only unethical, but in many cases illegal.
Only The LORD can bring the dead back to life, and restore them to perfect health. We need to accept His sovereignty, and our limitations as human beings. One of our failings as men is pridefulness, and unfortunately taxidermy feeds this ego.
Sadly, taxidermy is much the same back-stabbing, cutthroat business it was in the 1960's. People take in work they never complete, often through deceptive ads and misrepresenting another's work as their own. This happened to me in Alaska with several fishing lodges we did displays for. The orders for the reproduction mounts went to whomever paid the highest commissions. Several irate clients whose work I never touched called me to complain when their mounts were not up to the standards of our display mounts. Referring them back to the lodge who re-routed their orders I am sure was interesting, but only served to stain the reputation of taxidermists, and lodge operators further.
David has forsaken the taxidermy competition circuit, and chooses to do only a limited number of artistic pieces each year. Each mount shall be a "one of" artistic creation, with none other exactly like it. His goal is to please God first by doing his best in preserving a likeness of The LORD's creation, and in the process, the customer will be happy, knowing Who set that standard.
David found his relationship with God in the outdoors, and developed a very close bond when his wife was diagnosed with stage three Ovarian Cancer in February of 2003. Through prayer, faith, and trusting in God, she was healed, and remains free of the diease 13 years now. With a miracle like that in his family, it is a small wonder that David developed the close relationship with his Creator that he enjoys. He trusts that his calling is to share The LORD through his work, with His help.
Coming Out of Retirement
We are doing a limited number of taxidermy art pieces to supplement Social Security benefits, and to fill the void in the local area for top quality bird and fish taxidermy. To go further, we provide a service to those who are not content with typical bird or fish mounts. At the time, studio space is limited, and precludes doing big game mounts, for which we will happily refer you to a REPUTABLE taxidermist to do your trophy.
As I said above several things caused me to leave the business before, foremost, saving my marriage, and family. So, for 20 years, in the course of which we sold our property for a pittance, and likewise, our remaining molds, which we paid to store, I did nothing with fiberglass reproductions, or taxidermy. Actually, we stopped doing taxidermy in 1988, except for one special customer who hosted me at his deluxe fishing lodge in Alaska twice, and it would have been three times had he not been killed. With Lynn Castle's untimely death in June 1991, we no longer did any taxidermy for anyone for 25 years. As previously stated, Only one other Alaskan lodge operator I dealt with proved to be true to his word.
That is Steve Perrins at The Perrins Rainy Pass Lodge, with whom the wife and I fished at his Deshka River operation in 1989. Steve and I remain friends today, and they are a Christian family.
Taxidermy is an art, using the preserved animal (bird or fish) skin mounted over a form, and posed to appear lifelike. The seminars that noted experts in the field taught, and through the various competitions, did improve the quality of the craft. A perfect, live specimen became the standard to try for. Where once competition was about being the best, it soon evolved into trying to improve what God created. While I was happy with coming as close as I could to what He made, at the last "World Taxidermy Championships" we attended in 1990 or 92, I heard a contestant say to another, "Wow, not even God can make one that good."
"If you try to improve on God's work," I replied, "then it is not true to nature."
The man scoffed at my opinion, and accused me of being jealous of the winning piece. Then he walked off to admire yet another entry.
So, 25 years after entering my last competition, I again tried my hand at doing a few birds and fish, after much praying, and soul searching. God and I agreed that the credit was all His to bestow, and I would enter no more competitions. I quickly learned that I did not have total recall. It came back to me, first the basics, and then the fine points I had learned from the best in the business. This process was hindered by 30-year-old airbrush paints, which proved to be better in many cases to the new formulations of the same product. They say "The devil is in the details," and indeed, the devil reared his head to hinder my finer detail work with the airbrush. Much of this was remedied by rebuilding my Pasche VL airbrushes, and some new paints.
Displaying a 31-year-old goose mount shows that if you do things right the first time, they will look just as good years from now, IF The LORD does not return. Personally, I believe we are in the last days, and that He will return soon. When He does, I am ready; are you? If you are not sure, then we need to talk.
Basic price list Our standard mount prices.
Care of Your Trophy What to do, and not to do to insure the best possible outcome in your trophy mounts.
Photo Gallery Some photos of my personal trophy mounts. Customer's mounts also designated.
Items for Sale Fiberglass fish mounts that you can buy, and we will ship to you if needed. Packing and shipping costs are extra, only reflect our actual costs.
Last updated November 18, 2016
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Send us a message or call for directionsfoxyform Flint, Texas (903)787-2890