Archive for Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Stuffing in extra learning

Baker students take on the art of taxidermy in three-week interterm course

January 15, 2008


— Taxidermy, the art of preparing, stuffing and mounting the skins of animals, is back as an interterm course at Baker University.

"I don't recall how many times, but I think I've taught it five or six times during interterm," said Roger Boyd, senior professor of biology.

Before the three-week class ends Friday, Boyd's students will have stuffed and mounted deer, bobcats, coyotes, raccoons, opossums, jackrabbits, eastern cottontails, pheasants, quail, ducks, Canada geese, minks and a fox. Boyd said they also would work on a great-horned owl, barred owl and a red-tailed hawk - three protected species donated by a game warden after they were killed.

Of all of the species his class is working with, Boyd said, pheasants are the easiest for students to manipulate.

"They are like chickens in that they have very tough skin," Boyd said. "They are easy to skin out and they don't usually have a lot of fat on them. They look really good when they are done."

Ducks, on the other hand, have a high fat content, which increases the level of difficulty. Regardless, one student is eager to work on his duck.

"I think if I learn how to do those pretty well, I could do that in my spare time because I go duck hunting a lot," said Kyle Ruona, a junior from Baldwin City. "I also think the mink would be kind of cool. It's something different."

Freshman Whitney Preston feels a sense of accomplishment during the class.

"I'm learning new things all of the time," said Preston, one of two women in the class. She said her options for an interterm class were limited, so she and a friend decided to try taxidermy.

"It was a little strange for us to be the only girls at first, but we kind of expected it," Preston said. "It just isn't a class that would appeal to many girls. We've gotten some weird looks on people's faces when we they ask what interterm we're in and we tell them we're in taxidermy. : We get all kinds of responses from people who think we're lying to looks of disgust."

- Jimmy Gillispie, Baldwin City Signal reporter, can be reached at (785) 594-7080.


Wilbur_Nether 9 years, 11 months ago

madmike wrote "Lounger is probable a vegan."

And madmike cares why?

lounger 9 years, 11 months ago

I remember walking in cabela's and seeing stuffed bears and then promptly walking straight back out! I guess it has its uses in museums but I have NO use for people mounting dead animals on their walls. Usually means you are trying to compinsate for a lack of "man parts"!

terrapin2 9 years, 11 months ago

You don't have to be a vegan or a vegetarian to have a hard time understanding why someone would want the head of a beautiful, dead animal stuffed on their wall. I eat meat, but think it is very selfish to put a "trophy" on the wall. I'm pretty sure no one ate what was left of the bear at Cabella's.

Wilbur_Nether 9 years, 11 months ago

The second sentence appears to contradict the first.

BIG_JO 9 years, 11 months ago

Okay, first off, for all of u who think taxidermy is stupid, cruel, and disgusting, well u can all shut the hell up! Taxidermy is one hell of trade to learn and to be able to understand. Maybe all of u people who think it is stupid should come to one of the classes one day and just see how hard it is, how interesting it is at the same time, and see just how much work us students are putting in. So until I see some of u whining, sorry-asses in the classroom to justify ur standpoint, shut the hell up, go kill some animals, eat some meat, and get a nice trophy to put on ur wall!!! PETA... People for Eating Tasty Animals!!!

BIG_JO 9 years, 11 months ago

Another point is that by preserving these animals, that one day may become extinct, latter generations will be able to see endangered animals up close. For example there is a whopping crane in the class room that came from Fort Hays over 100 years ago. The average person would be lucky to get within 1/4 mile of these endangered birds, but because some one stuffed one when they were plentiful we are able to get up close and appriciate it. So maybe instead of sitting around and complaining about us preserving animals that the cities are pushing out of there habitat you shoulde get up and stop urban expanstion so you don't have to go to a mussem to see a pheasant or deer 100 years from now because there is no more habbitat for them.

Wilbur_Nether 9 years, 11 months ago

One stuffs toy animals, BIG_JO. One preserves real animals.

ndmoderate 9 years, 11 months ago

"a whopping crane"

Apparently it was a rather large crane.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.