Off a county gravel road on the outskirts of Eolia sits the workshop of Danny Davis, taxidermist. The showroom displays award-winning works of art; fowl, game, and fish each pose in perfect position. Fistfuls of award ribbons and trophies won at statewide and national competitions are also available for DD Taxidermy’s clients to enjoy.
Are these items on display to prove Davis to be a boastful man? Not in the least.
He explains that participation in such competitions offers him opportunities to further hone his skills. Davis speaks highly of competitors, claiming humbly that there are others so exceptionally skilled that their craftsmanship would “blow your mind.”
While still working full-time as a heavy equipment operator, Davis relied on his taxidermy skills to get him and his family through the leaner winter months. Initially, Davis used his talents when preserving the wildlife that he and his friends harvested.
With seven years’ experience under his belt, Davis began to share his services with the public. Since then he has skillfully crafted his works at the rate of at least one job a day. However, in peak months, Davis and his co-worker, James Suddarth, fairly wade through the numbers of creatures waiting to be mounted, keeping both artisans busy 10 to 12 hours a day, six days a week.
Suddarth, an avid outdoorsman, began his apprenticeship under Davis’s instruction about 10 years ago. Eager to accept Davis’s offer of showing him the ropes, Suddarth claims enthusiastically that his mentor continues to be an “excellent teacher.”
Though not many clients are privileged to observe the steps in the processes involved in taxidermy, they would most certainly marvel at the expertly meticulous work and the dedication to perfection that both Davis and Suddarth rely on. The confidence the mentor has in his protege will result in the eventual shift of the business to Suddarth, but with the duo frequently working together.
In the years ahead, both Davis and Suddarth will go on to enjoy the looks of appreciation on clients’ faces as they see work upon completion. The ethics of DD Taxidermy obviously come from the desire to continually improve both craftsmen’s talents.
And what of the earnings generated by such industrious work? Davis summed it up well when he commented, “It ain’t always about the money.”
To learn more about DD Taxidermy, phone Danny Davis (573-485-7303) or James Suddarth (636-544-7836).