As a taxidermist, Ron Werthey has mounted hundreds of deer heads over the years.
Not like this one, however.
The Waupaca resident spent the past two weeks working on the mount of the new state archery record white-tailed deer. Wautoma’s Brian Inda arrowed the deer Nov. 2, 2010 on an old Christmas tree farm near Wild Rose.
“It’s overwhelming,” said Worthey, who has mounted several specimens for Inda and his family. “There are a lot of steps you have to take to make sure it’s perfect. He’s gotten so many e-mails and phone calls about this buck. When he called me and told me about it, I just couldn’t believe it. I thought, ‘Wow, this is going to be a fun thing to do.’ He said he wanted me to mount it.”
Worthey estimated he spent about 25 hours working on the mount of the 12-pointer, which has seven points on the left side and five on its right.
“A typical mount from start to finish, you’re looking at maybe 15 to 17 hours,” he said.
Inda didn’t know it was the official state archery record until four judges scored the deer in January in Berlin. The deer’s rack measured 187 5/8 inches, three-eighths of an inch more than the previous record, shot five years ago in western Wisconsin’s Dunn County.
“I hardly did anything different that I would normally do with anyone else’s trophy mount,” Worthey said. “It took a little more time because I want it to be presentable. There’s going to be thousands of people looking at this thing at shows.”
That includes the Wisconsin Deer Classic & Hunting Expo at the Brown County Arena in Green Bay. The show will be held Friday to Sunday, Feb. 25-27.
“That’s a show that I have to take stuff to for a competition and this mount will be at (Inda’s) booth,” Worthey said. “Mine will be at a special section for the Wisconsin Taxidermists Association. We’ll see what kind of crowd it brings. I believe Green Bay will be the first show and he has countless people that he’s scheduled to do shows for this year.”
The mount should help get the word out about Worthey’s business, Action Arts Taxidermy, which he runs out of his home on Demarest Avenue.
“It’s a state record and I wanted to do it,” he said. “I’ve done countless mounts for the Indas: bear, a number of deer. I thought he’s going to promote my business, so I’m not going to charge him for the mount. It would typically be $400, but I felt like I owed him for being a returning customer over and over through many years.”
It didn’t take long for word to spread that Wisconsin’s newest record-setting deer had a temporary home in Waupaca.
“It gets out there and people say, ‘Hey, I heard you got the record buck,'” Worthey said. “Even before they knew it was a state record, the word was out: ‘You got that big deer in here that I can take a look at?’ I just had a guy in here the other day. ‘I know it’s not finished, but I just have to come over there and see what this thing looks like,’ he said. I said, ‘Come on over and take a look at it.’ They’re just amazed with the size of it and they’re excited that I got to do the mount. A lot of people say they can’t believe there’s that size of deer out there.”
Inda wasn’t the only area hunter to have success last year. Worthey said he prepared about 200 deer mounts, nearly twice as many as the previous season.
“It was a fabulous year,” he said. “A lot of hunters were getting big bucks. A lot more people were seeing a lot bigger bucks, which is great.”
Inda’s brother, Chris, found the buck’s shed horns from 2009 and Worthey mounted them onto a buck that Brian Inda also shot.
“I had to do a habitat base that they’re going to sit on at the show, so there was a lot of stuff involved,” said Worthey, who learned the art of taxidermy from his father, Ron Sr. “I’ve been doing taxidermy since I was 6 years old. My dad has done it for 42 years. I took over the business three years ago and kept the family tradition going.”
Worthey is surprised they trophy showed up in an area of the state that is heavily hunted.
“I’ve taken in a lot of deer from the 120 class to 150 or 160,” he said. “You get into the 160 class and that’s a trophy deer. I thought 160 would be about the biggest class you could get in this area.
“It’s unbelievable,” he added. “I’ve never seen anything that big in real life that came through my door. It’s very exciting to get something like this.”