Wagner Hangs Taxidermy Shingle
A dream fostered since 1992 reached finality for Jesse Wagner after hanging out his business shingle. The sign on route #442 east of Opp denotes location of the taxidermy shop on grounds Wagner resided his entire life.
“For the past 10 years I’ve learned from taxidermists at Williamsport and Sweet Valley and am now state and federally accredited,” he said.
Wagner improved his worksite which began in the basement of his mobile home and is now a spacious area on the second floor of a two-bay garage.
It’s evident Wagner’s days as an avid hunter are lessening when he said, “I get out the first day then mounts begin coming in.”
Items have a nine to ten month turn around, and with hunting seasons during both spring and fall, Wagner’s kept busy. In addition to area hunting harvests, animals have been brought from British Columbia and other parts of Canada. Specimens include bear, moose, coyote and fox, with deer and fowl the most numerous requests. He’s currently working on elk horns for himself.
To give mounts a naturalistic appearance, Wagner and family scours the outdoors for bees nests, driftwood, grasses, and unusually shaped forms of trees and bark. To minimize weight, fake lava rock is used.
Driving a truck for Bi-Lo Plumbing and Heating of Montgomery is the entrepreneur’s day job, so the taxidermist has evening hours.
“Nothing leaves my shop unless I’m satisfied with it,” Wagner said.