By Alan Lewis Gerstenecker
When John Hayes started studying taxidermy he didn’t think it one day would be his livelihood.
After stints with logging, working at sawmills and time in the forests, Hayes came back to what he loves, recreating wildlife art.
In 2010, he bought Dumont Taxidermy, and hasn’t given a return to the forests another thought — at least not for logging. All total, he’s been doing taxidermy for 21 years.
Like most taxidermists, his desire of preserving nature stems from his love of wildlife and game he pursued during those hunts.
“They’re really beautiful animals,” said Hayes, 37, of wolves and coyotes. “There are those who say they affect deer and elk herds. We do know that’s true in Yellowstone.”
An admitted predator hunter — pursuing coyotes and wolves — Hayes said he has found his taxidermy niche in preserving these contentious canines.
“They are about 20 percent of my business now,” Hayes said. “Things are good. We look to expand our building by about 100 percent and add another taxidermist.”
With wolf hunting still in its infancy, Hayes has provided images of wolves for the trapping class held at Asa Wood, providing wolf rugs and pelts.
For the current wolf season, through the end of the general deer and elk season, hunters in Northwest Montana have taken 32 wolves, said John Fraley, the FWP publicist in Kalispell.
Statewide, 93 wolves have been taken. This is slightly ahead of last year at the end of the general deer and elk season. The wolf-hunting season continues until March 15.
Hunters can still purchase a wolf-hunting license, but there is a 24-hour waiting period before it is valid. Wolf trapping began Sunday, Dec. 15.
Wolf trappers must purchase a furbearer-trapping license, and have completed the wolf-trapping certification course to trap wolves. The bag limit is five wolves per hunter/trapper in any combination of hunting or trapping.
That number was increased this year. More....