From the Author
Phillips: Taxidermy enabled me to become an outdoorwriter. After I reached my lifelong goal of becoming a YMCA physical directorafter graduating college and doing a fulltime stint in the Air Force NationalGuard, I discovered that the garbage men in my town were making more per houron the back of a garbage truck than I was making with a college degree. So,when my brother Archie Phillips decided he only would mount fish, he offered methe opportunity to take-over the animal side of his taxidermy business. I knewI could make more money in taxidermy than I could at the job I currently had,(I'd worked at my brother's taxidermy business part-time throughout high schooland college), so I moved back home and let my brother continue to teach me thecraft. He'd been a taxidermist since I was 2-years old. I'd never really beeninterested in becoming a taxidermist, because I wanted to be a YMCA physicaldirector and get paid to play. But when I moved back to Birmingham, Alabama, Ibegan to really like mounting animals. Most of all, I liked and enjoyedinteracting with the customers who came into my taxidermy shop. They werealways excited and proud of the animals they'd taken, and they began to tell methe stories and the methods they'd used to take these animals. Two or threetimes a day, I'd walk across the alley to my brother's taxidermy shop wherefishermen were coming-in with the fish they'd caught. I'd hear stories abouthow they caught big bass and crappie and saltwater fish, and the techniques andtactics they'd used. So, when I got serious about writing, I had a steadysupply of stories, tips and tactics from men and women who had proven successin hunting and fishing. I started writing about a year after I got into thetaxidermy business.
Question: Why did you decide to write this book?
Phillips: Through the years, I've seen sportsmenthrowing away good byproducts from their hunting trips, because they haven'tknown they can earn money by fashioning jewelry and other things from parts ofanimals they normally will throw away. During the time I was in the taxidermybusiness, we had a couple of really-tough recessions, and my friends andneighbors needed ways to make extra money. I shared some of my tips for makingextra money with parts of animals they'd usually not use. Before long, therewas less and less being discarded of the animals they harvested. I realizedthat people might not want to become a full-time taxidermist, but they didn'tmind learning more about how to utilize the animals they hunted to make extraprofits.