Shane's stuff
Taxidermist considers himself a wildlife artist
by MAC OVERTON
Nov 17, 2013 | 1205 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mirror Photos / Mac Overton<br>
AWARD-WINNING TAXIDERMIST  Shane Davenport of Gilmer shows some of his creations at his studio. He is especially fond of the mountain lion which crouches above the fireplace. In this photo, he shows granite-etched panels and a wildcat, one of his favorite themes, on a “horn” which he made. It and he will be featured in an upcoming taxidermy magazine article.
Mirror Photos / Mac Overton
AWARD-WINNING TAXIDERMIST Shane Davenport of Gilmer shows some of his creations at his studio. He is especially fond of the mountain lion which crouches above the fireplace. In this photo, he shows granite-etched panels and a wildcat, one of his favorite themes, on a “horn” which he made. It and he will be featured in an upcoming taxidermy magazine article.
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Shane Davenport, owner and operator of Shooter’s Taxidermy of Gilmer, has been racking up the honors since he was last profiled in The Mirror in August, 2009.

His place on Ginger Road is “a work in progress.” He and his wife Terry call it Autumn Crest.

His work as a taxidermist and wildlife artist has brought him many honors at state and regional events, and he’s set his sights on winning a national award. He also was honored to be asked to accept an award on behalf of his late mentor, Brian Harness.

On a recent visit, he explained how he got into taxidermy, and his philosophies of life and career.

“After spending years of having taxidermy work done. I would get my animal back, not really happy with they way it looked. I decided 5 ½ years ago to go to taxidermy school.

Five years ago he opened his taxidermy studio.

“I am not just simply a taxidermist, I am a wildlife artist,” he said. “I try to make the animal look alive and real, just like he was in the wild. I have thousands of reference pictures of every animal you can think of.”

He does not mount any animal without using some kind of reference, no matter how many times he has mounted an animal like that.

“When I opened my shop I was determined to be the best in my area and the best that I could be,” he said. “I wanted a professional clean atmosphere that would not only be nice for the hunters, but also for their wives.

His show room is like walking into a log cabin. It even has a fireplace with a mountain lion looking down on you as you enter the front door.

“I go to competitions every year, and get judged by world-class judges,” he said. “This ensures that you are mounting the animal correctly and keeps you up to date with all the latest techniques and materials.

He goes to the Texas show “because it is the best state show,” and at least one national or world show every year, he said.

“This year I took a bobcat coming off a large horn, (which I sculpted. It was not real.)

The bobcat was on a base with granite on all four sides which Shane hand etched.

The piece was called “TheJourney.”

He said it was a memorial piece that he did in honor of his mentor, Brian Harness, who died five months earlier.

Shane said Harness was world champion in small mammals.

“He was not only my mentor, but he was a close Christian friend,” Shane said. “This year at national competition, I won two major awards with that piece, the Ivan Harvey Most Creative Award, and the Brian Harness Memorial Award for the most artistic small mammal.”

This year at the national taxidermy competition held in Baton Rouge, La., Brian Harness was inducted into the taxidermy hall of fame.

“This is this first person in over 30 years to receive this honor,” Davenport said. “I was honored and humbled that the family asked me to receive this award on Brian’s behalf. This will be one of the highlights of my entire life.

“The owner of the world show also approached me and asked if he could do a story on me and how I made that horn. It looked so real, he wants to put it in the upcoming issue of Breakthrough magazine. I also was voted Best of East Texas this year,” he said.

“This is really neat for me, because it was voted on by my customers. When my customers come out they also get to experience my little wildlife farm, for I have fallow deer and black buck antelope walking around that they can see as they drive up my driveway,” he said.

“I also have a pet kangaroo named Thumper,” he said. “We added her to our family last October.”

He said that Thumper, who now lives outdoors, was raised in the house. They had to keep diapers on her.

Davenport said it was a real experience having to change a kangaroo’s diapers.

“Don’t buy cheap disposable diapers,” he advised. “They don’t hold up when you make a cut for the tail.”

He said he also got mightily scratched giving Thumper a shower, and learned to wear good protective clothing.

Davenport is not afraid to share his Christian faith.

He has scriptures written on the floor of his workshop, and inspirational sayings on the wall.

He said when he went to his friend Brian Harness’s funeral, he expected that there would be a lot said about Harness’s success in taxidermy, “but it was all about his Christian faith. It impressed upon me that it is what you take with you when you go that matters.”

www.shooterstaxidermy.net. His phone number is 903-762-3337 ( deer).
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