A lifelong passion for the outdoors, hunting and fishing, combined with a newer enthusiasm to spend more time with a young family has led a local Arbela man to launch a new enterprise in Scotland County.
Show-Me Wildlife Taxidermy Studio, LLC is the effort of Gary Cochenour and his wife Cathy. The studio is located at the couples residence on County Road 467, just off Highway 136, east of the roadside park near the Arbela four corners.
“Taxidermy is something I started out tinkering with several years ago, mostly doing my own stuff,” said Gary. “But over time it became something I started considering as a possible professional pursuit.”
Eventually that led Gary to the Kindred Spirits School of Taxidermy in Burlington, IA, were he completed the 10-week training program under the direction of JoAnn Waddell.
Waddell, who has been a taxidermist since 1993, has used her 40 years of experience to help train more than 500 taxidermy students since the school opened in 2000.
Gary said the course work was a hard-hitting, hands-on 9 to 5 experience that allowed him to learn the ins and outs of the business while mastering his skill working on a variety of wildlife.
The training culminated with the launch of Show-Me Wildlife Taxidermy Studio in 2017.
“It was something we really wanted to give a shot,” said Cathy. “We feel like it can give us the opportunity to work here close to home and spend more time with family.”
The core unit has recently expanded as the couple welcomed a daughter, Alexis along with their two-year old son Gary.
Now in its third year of business, the studio has become a full-time venture for Gary. The workshop, located across the road from the couple’s home, features plenty of examples of the young taxidermist’s work including such mounts as a timber wolf, a bear and even a zebra to go along with the more common local harvests such as largemouth bass, turkeys and white tailed deer.
“We tried to set some of these up for potential customers to view and check out the quality of Gary’s work,” said Cathy.
With archery deer season opening this week, the studio is preparing to launch into deer more for much of the next several months.
“We definitely want to be ready to serve area hunters during what really is our busiest time of year,” said Gary. “We want deer hunters to know that we offer caping services at no extra charge for our taxidermy customers. It really is important, especially during warmer weather, to get the work done quickly to insure the best quality.”
Cochenour also noted that he does his own tanning of the hides which he believes helps expedite the finished product.
“I’ve talked with other taxidermists and it can take up to four months to get hides back that are sent off for tanning,” said Gary. “By doing that work myself, that should really help me get the mounts done much faster.”
As the studio gears up for deer season 2019, Gary and Cathy indicated they will be offering the traditional shoulder mounts for just $425 while space is available.
In addition to the standard mount style, Show-Me Wildlife Taxidermy also offers the familiar European skulls mount as well as the newer hydro-dip skull mounts that places a decorative colored paint or film over the skull for a unique display option.
“We have some different options to offer, so stop by and take a look at our examples or bring your deer out after the harvest and give us a try,” said Gary.
Show-Me Wildlife Taxidermy is located at 19559 County Road 467, Arbela, MO 63432. The shop phone number is 660-945-3721 or reach them by email at email@example.com.