BY KEVIN WOODRUFF
When Pete Waldenberger takes in a new animal to mount for his taxidermy business, his main priorities are detail and quality.
Waldenberger, who moved his business from Montgomery County to Elk Lake in Dimock Township last year, said that he considers what he does a form of art.
“I think it takes a lot of creativity to make the animals look good,” Waldenberger said. “It’s all about quality and preservation.”
His business, Pete Waldenberger Taxidermy, focuses mainly on deer, bear, coyotes and fish, which he has been mounting professionally for close to 10 years after graduating from the Pennsylvania Institute of Taxidermy.
“I like to mount anything I can relate to in my own woods,” Waldenberger said.
Waldenberger said that in addition to focusing on detail and quality, he likes to keep up on the current trends and regulations of taxidermy as the business is constantly evolving.
“I attend all the competitions,” Waldenberger said. “I don’t enter in work for the ribbons, I want the top guys in the state to rip apart my work, and tell me what I can do better.”
When he is creating a mount, Waldenberger said that he is constantly consulting reference photos to make sure that his work is as lifelike as possible.
He said he likes to keep habitats on the mount as simplistic as possible, so not to detract from the animal.
Waldenberger does the majority of his taxidermy from his shop along Elk Lake Road, but sends his hides away to be tanned at Misty Ridge Tanning in Berks County.
“I send my hides away to be tanned,” Waldenberger said. “I do that because I trust his work. He’s a one man band. I never send hides to large tanneries, because I don’t trust their quality.”
Waldenberger’s work is all about quality, and said that he will only take in as many animals as he feels that he can handle.
“I’m not the kind of taxidermist that will leave your animal sitting around for a year,” Waldenberger said. “I will turn away work.”
He also said that if he feels another taxidermist can do a better job on a specific animal, he will refer someone elsewhere.
“I feel that it’s all about the customer having the best experience,” Waldenberger said. “I treat everyone as if they were my friend.”
Waldenberger said that having knowledge of animals and anatomy plays a huge role in making a quality mount.
“Anatomy is key,” Waldenberger said. “You need to know where things belong in order for the animal to look right.”
Waldenberger said that he believes the finished product’s quality also has a lot to do with the quality of prep work, starting with skinning and tanning, all the way up to the posing of the animal.
In addition to doing mounts and habitats, Waldenberger said that he will take on some restorations.
“A lot of people won’t do them,” Waldenberger said. “But I will, if it’s reasonable.”
He said that a great deal of his time is spent trying to make sure that his work is perfect.
“There is always something about the mounts I do that bugs me, and I’m not happy until it is perfect,” Waldenberger said. “My job is really trying to recreate what God did, and make the animal look as lifelike as possible.”
For more information about Pete Waldenberger Taxidermy, give Pete a call at 278-9211.