January 24, 2013
By Ben OBrien
The Safari Club International Convention is the ultimate show for hunters. From the luxurious to the obscenely ornate, SCI hosts some of the most intriguing exhibits in the outdoor world.
This year's convention took over Reno, Nev., to connect outfitters and manufacturers from six continents with high-class clients looking for the ultimate adventure and the best guns money can buy. We spotted several Wesley Richards masterpieces, a Merkel double rifle in .470 Nitro worth $35,000 and even one of John Rigby & Company's guns that will bring in well over six figures, not to mention a dream Marco Polo Sheep hunt in Tajikistan.
Since the underlying theme at SCI seems to be extravagance, it stands to reason that the taxidermy on the floor would meet that qualification. That would be the understatement of the decade.
If you've never been, it's worth the trip to the SCI show just to check out the mounts. But if you can't make it, take a look at our gallery of some of the most amazing taxidermy we've ever seen.
When Lions Attack
This particular mount from Frank J. Zitz and Co.
features a stunningly realistic snarling lion that stands almost eight feet tall.
Frank J. Zitz is a life member of SCI and has been a taxidermist for over 25 years. Frank's staff has completed African dioramas for Cabela's, had placements in museums around the country and contributed to many personal trophy rooms throughout the United States.
Leopard on the Prowl
Nature's Design Taxidermy put together this African scene that features an attacking leopard in full leap with a monster warthog looking on in the foreground. The mount displays amazing attention to detail, as the rock base and undergrowth add depth and realism.
This mount, created by Collett's Wildlife Artistry
, features a Buffalo Ox that was taken in 1920 by a "Mr. Schultz" while hunting in an area known then as Tanganyika. The bull in the mount was taken in Mozambique in 1937 and measured 57 1/2", which qualified it for a high rank in Rowland Ward's book of records.
This great bongo mount was created by Jim Hartsock at Southwest Wildlife Taxidermy Art
in Scottsdale, Ariz., after hunter Steve Ahrenberg took the bull with Central African Wildlife Adventures.
The colors in the bongo hide definitely stand out among the other taxidermy that dominated the SCI show floor.
Ever wanted a monster rainbow trout wearing a saddle mounted in your living room? If you said yes, you're in luck.
Lance Marshall Boen created this beautiful six-foot trout display that was certainly turning some heads at SCI. It only sells for $16,000, which seems to be one heck of a deal.
This giant crocodile was taken by hunter Jonathan Varner with Matabeleland Taxidermy, and the mount was created by the legendary shop Animal Artistry
. The main hall at SCI was dominated by Animal Artistry, and each original piece added more detail to its subjects.
Dead and Buried
Another Animal Artistry masterpiece, this mount shows a domineering lion standing over his rotting cape buffalo kill. Onlookers were stunned when they discovered the bloody skull buried in the authentic African grass.
This crocodile, taken by Joey Adams, was another great scene from the main hall. This mount bordered the Animal Artistry booth and managed to stand out in the crowd of African wildlife.
Animal Artistry (we're sure you're noticing a theme here) created what was our favorite mount of the show. This attack scene, created from animals taken by Dr. Carlos Ramirez with Madubula Safaris, is as authentic as it gets. The breathtaking detail gives you a new look at this classic African showdown.
What Africa Has to Offer
This diorama was without a doubt the crown jewel of the SCI taxidermy displays. One of these mounts would be amazing on it's own, but together they're one of a kind.
Can you imagine how long it takes to mount a full-body bull elephant? Bravo, Animal Artistry.
Mouth Wide Open
Another mount featured in the huge diorama on the main floor was this snarling hippo. No part of this scene was an accident, careful design and planning made this piece legendary.
The personality in this cape buffalo brings every hunter back to Africa. The final piece of the main floor diorama.
Brush Country Studios
out of Texas put together this wolf mount. These guys have been around since 1985 and have quickly become one of the finest taxidermy companies in the United States, serving clients all over the world.
The Essentials Gear Box.
Our editors have hand-picked these essential pieces of gear to make you a more successful hunter when you hit the game trails this season.