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Uniquely Wisconsin: Local Taxidermist

How a local taxidermist makes mounted animals look life like.

Green Bay, Wisconsin (WFR)  Hundreds of thousands of people in Wisconsin hunt.



When some sportsmen finally harvest that elusive prize buck or bear they want to display it proudly in their home.


So they have their trophy mounted  and it takes a real artist to make the animal look exactly like it did in the wild.


For 11 hours a day, every day, Jeff Champeau brings hunter's prized game animals back to life.


"I'm a taxidermist.  What a taxidermist means is taxing the skin around a form,"  explained Jeff Champeau, Owner: Nature's Way Taxidermy in Green Bay.


Jeff's love for hunting and taxidermy began early, "I was 11 when I mounted my first bird," said Jeff.



Jeff opened Nature's Way Taxidermy in 1996 and has mounted thousands of animals.


"Everything has got to look real.  All my mounts are anatomically correct," said Jeff.


That takes an artist's touch.


"When you start putting them back together, your form work, you have to be real artistic with all the veins, the muscles and the details in the right place," said Jeff.


It takes skill to take an animal's cape, mount it on a foam sculptured form and make it look real.  The process is very time consuming.


"A deer takes me 12 to 13 hours.  The two lions and Cape Buffalo took me three weeks of twelve hour days," explained Jeff.


He strives to make the animal look just as it did when his customer bagged it.


"I want that mount to last a long time.  Especially if a young kids comes in with a mount, i want it to last 30, 40,50 years for him," explained Jeff.


Jeff has hunted around the world.  Almost every animal in his studio showroom is one of his trophy's from the last 35 years.  They are Memories he cherishes, which is why he wants his work to remind others of something special in their lives.


"It's not so much the animal they shot, it's the memories that were involved in it.  How they got it, what took place and their trip going there getting the animal.  This is definitely preserving history," said Jeff.


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