The Free Press, Mankato, MN


June 29, 2014

Cross column: Where does the buck stop in your home?

Sooner or later, if you fish or hunt enough, it will happen.

You’ll be admiring that braggin’-sized fish you just boated, the spectacular plumage of the game bird, maybe the polished tines of the buck you just bagged.

And a thought will occur: This one is one for the wall. I ought to have it mounted.

You’re careful not to tear those fins, break those tail-feathers, ruin the cape with an errant slice of the knife, lest the trophy be marred.

You drop it off at the taxidermy studio, pay the deposit.

Finally, after what seems like an eternity — taxidermists all seem to work on a more leisurely production schedule than the rest of the world — the call comes and you claim your trophy.

Now comes the day of reckoning.

Odds are pretty good your decision to preserve your trophy for posterity was a unilateral one — yours.

But the decision on just where to display most likely will not be.

It’s been my experience that spouses tend not to appreciate formerly live, wild creatures as mainstream interior decor.

Certainly, there are instances where stuffed animals and fish might fit in nicely — a rustic, log cabin home comes to mind.

But otherwise, that magnificent 6x6 elk is going to look a bit out of place hanging over a favorite recliner in the average living room.

With rare exceptions, most spouses are not going to appreciate having that 12-point buck, a 42-inch northern, a 25-pound wild turkey preserved in full strut, on prominent display in their abodes.

The trophies instead tend to land in less-prominent locations.

A friend once led me to a walk-in pantry where amid the cans of vegetables and soup, a stuffed rooster pheasant lurked.

Another friend, who with his sons bagged a big bull moose during their once-in-a-lifetime Minnesota hunt, was convinced by them to have the wide-racked animal preserved in a cape mount.

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