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Senior Member
821 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My taxidermist nephew was featured in the local city paper today. Link shows a couple of pics with the story. Am very proud of him and thought I'd share this with ya'll. Am his happy Aunt K.

Jersey Jays Taxidermy
"True expressions for the passionate outdoorsman"
Jason Wizner
587 Paulison Ave 551-206-2623
Clifton, NJ 07011

Taxidermist sets out to prove he's got the right stuff

Jason Wizner, 22, of Jersey Jay's Taxidermy in Clifton paints the nose of a stuffed deer to prepare it for an annual competition. (LESLIE BARBARO/Staff Photographer)

(LESLIE BARBARO/Staff Photographer)
Taxidermist ready for competition

CLIFTON -- The basement of Jason Wizner's parents' house would be normal if not for the deer head on the work table.

There's the storage area, the half-crumpled cardboard boxes, the washing machine.

It's awfully hard to ignore the deer head, though.

"From what I've heard, every taxidermist starts out in his basement," Wizner, 22, says as he pressurizes the airbrush that will color the nose of the decapitated white-tail. "So I'm doing all right."

Taxidermy may not be the grisliest profession out there, but the skinning, scraping and fleshing isn't for the faint of heart. In his three years of working to be a professional taxidermist, Wizner has bloodied his share of aprons as he mounted deer, fish and birds. And as an avid outdoorsman, the man behind Jersey Jay's Taxidermy is used to being around animal carcasses.

But the Wizner basement is free of gore. With only a few days before the Garden State Taxidermist Association's annual competition, Wizner -- airbrush in hand -- was all about finesse.

"Any taxidermist will tell you (taxidermy) is an art," Wizner says.

Slightly unshaven and clad in work boots and a T-shirt depicting a deer, Wizner is an unlikely artist. Though he enjoyed art classes in middle and high school, he never expected to pursue it professionally.

Wizner picks up a long, scalpel-like instrument and leans in toward the head. Because he is preparing the deer for competition, Wizner must spend extra time smoothing edges, adding bumps and ridges, making every effort to make the mounted head look real.

The scalpel goes in the deer's nostril. Wizner turns his head around.

"They make you pick their noses," he says, grinning.

When Wizner graduated from Clifton High School in 2004, he didn't want to go to college. An avid hunter since childhood, Wizner saw taxidermy as a way to combine work with passion. As he began working construction with his father, he spent $5,000 on books and videos in an attempt to master the taxidermy trade.

"I didn't learn anything," says Wizner.

The next year, he enrolled in the Pennsylvania Institute of Taxidermy in Ebensburg, Pa., to truly learn how to turn a corpse into a wall hanging.

"Hunters mainly bring me the head up to the shoulders," says Wizner. "I remove the antlers, take measurements and turn the ears inside out."

The scouring process continues until the pelt is completely dry, at which point the fur gets sent off to a tannery in Michigan.

When it returns, several months later, said Wizner, "It looks just like a leather coat."

Wizner tells his clients to set aside seven to 10 months before they will receive their fully mounted deer head. Summer being a slow season, Wizner has had more time to focus on his competition piece.

Wizner puts the pick aside and grabs the syringe, filling it with glue and dotting the nose with minuscule points to give it texture. His implements are laid out neatly next to the canister of screws and the assorted tools, the remnants of a regular basement.

"My dad tries sometimes to take it over," says Wizner. He moves over to add dots to each hair follicle on the eyelid. "I don't let him."

Reach Sarah Schillaci at 973-569-7164 or [email protected].

Senior Member
821 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Urban Legend said:
Good fro your nephew. I hop he does well at the competition.:D
Thanks very much. I am so proud of this young guy. Competition is today and tomorrow. I hope he does win another ribbon. :D
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