By Frank Rodasky
A professional taxidermist since 1980, Brian Kalich brings knowledge and expertise to every piece he creates as an artist in nature’s medium. He calls his lifelike recreations of animals the definition of true taxidermy.
“I’ve helped to re-create what the great Creator has done,” Kalich said. “I’m trying to give glory to God by doing these things.”
Brian’s Taxidermy offers high-quality hunting trophy presentations of animals ranging from small to big game, both domestic and exotic, including fish, birds, mammals and reptiles. Special services, such as trophy restoration and repairs are available, as well as more elaborate trophy presentations that include water scenes and natural habitats.
Kalich discovered the craft of taxidermy in his early teens and taught himself through a mail-order course. In 1980, Kalich began a home-based taxidermy business. Steady business and odd-hour visits from customers hauling animals to his doorstep convinced Kalich to open his first storefront two years later in Aldine.
Over the past three decades, Brian’s Taxidermy has relocated four times and settled into its existing storefront in Tomball in 2009. The entrance of the shop is dominated by the head of an American bison, a personal trophy Kalich acquired in Missouri in 2002. Adjacent to the lobby area is a trophy showroom featuring deer, bobcats, boar and a variety of African trophies on display.
Brian’s Taxidermy serves about 500 customers each year, and a large portion of the business consists of processing deer and ducks, Kalich said. Though Kalich offers taxidermy services for most game animals at the shop, he said protected species, such as hawks or owls, are not accepted because special permits are required to possess the animals in accordance with federal law.
Kalich said the smallest animal he has ever processed is a palm-sized turtle and the largest is a 12-foot alligator. The business is at its busiest time during deer season from November until the first week of February, when Kalich receives about 100 animals each month.
Kalich said he stands out from many other taxidermy shops in the area because he offers taxidermy services for a wide variety of animals instead of specializing in a few species, such as birds, mammals, fish or African game.
“A lot of [other taxidermy business owners] don’t want to dig the fish out from under their fingernails at the end of the day,” Kalich said. “I’m old school—I’m used to work[ing].”
Kalich said he is one of the rare taxidermists in the area who offers a technique known as skin mounts, which uses a fish’s natural hide for taxidermy as opposed to a fiberglass painted replica.
Kalich said he is particularly meticulous with a customer’s first trophy and even more so if the customer is a child. Kalich believes a well-crafted trophy is a great memento of a special day in a hunter’s life.
“I’m actually preserving memories,” he said. “We’re helping capture the moment of that golden day in the field, whether it was the first deer [or the\ last time they hunted with grandpa.”
The time frame from drop-off to pickup for taxidermy creations is about six months for fish and smaller animals and about a year for larger mounts. Prices vary depending on the size and species of the animal, typically ranging from $200 to $2,000.
Kalich said taxidermy is his way of leaving an impression on the world.
“When they push dirt over me, these heads—they may be around for a hundred more years,” Kalich said.
26010 Hwy. 249, Ste. B, Tomball, 281-251-8858, www.brianstaxidermy.com, Hours: Mon.–Fri. 8:30 a.m.–6:30 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.–6 p.m., Sun. 12:30 p.m.–6 p.m.