After every world taxidermy and Fish Carving Championships® we receive suggestions from the participants, our staff, event leaders, and our core office group. Some are specific and others fairly comprehensive. We keep a list of these suggestions and evaluate each for consideration at the next show. Many of these changes are ultimately up to me as show chairman, but some, especially rules affecting the World Show competitions, are determined by advisors and the World Show Regulatory committee. This committee, consisting of Competition Chairman Skip Skidmore, Assistant Show Chairman Ken Edwards, and me, recently met and decided to implement the following changes for the 2017 show. Some of the changes are minor and what we call “fine tuning what we already had.” Few, if any, will have an impact on what you were planning or working on for the 2017 show, but some will affect divisions, categories, and subcategories of where your entry might need to compete. I felt it was important to show you these changes now instead of making you wade through all of the rules and regulations searching for them. It is, and will always be, the competitors’ responsibility to read, understand, and abide all rules, but since we have more changes than normal, we felt it was important to point them out individually.
Change for Master Division Entry Time
One very important change is the deadline for Master Division entries to be entered. The World Show competition has evolved into the most anticipated and attended show in the history of taxidermy competition. Fifteen to twenty years ago the Master Division, where World Titles are competed for, would attract 60 to 90 entries. In 2013 he had close to 200 entries in the Master Division and in 2015 we had a record entry number of 217! “I like it, I love it,” as the song says, but the task of getting it judged by early Thursday has put overwhelming pressure on our judges and staff. For this reason, we have decided to make 2 changes. The deadline for Master Division entries has been moved earlier to 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday so that the judging can start sooner. All other divisions will have until 3:00 P.M. Wednesday to enter. The second change will be for two judges, not three, doing the initial scoring on score sheets. Their score sheets will be averaged to determine placing in each subcategory. The final voting for those in contention for World Titles will be by 3 to 5 category judges. This will change the load on judging teams as some judges were involved in judging as many as three categories. This task will now be reduced to one or two categories.
Entry Restrictions Rule Change
A restrictive rule change that could open the door for a few competitors who wished to use hunting dogs as entries or part of their compositions has been relaxed. The rule on “Entry Restrictions” now reads like this: 11. Entry Restrictions: Management reserves the right
to restrict entries not conforming to accepted taxidermy methods, or that are, in the view of the competition management, in poor taste. It is the opinion of the WTC Regulatory Committee and management of the WTC that novelty mounts, which do not represent a true-to-life portrayal of a species (example squirrels playing cards, boxing, etc.), have no place in world-class competition. If you have an entry that is questionable according to our restrictions, please call and get a decision from our regulatory committee. Please do not put us in a position of refusing an entry. You should telephone or email Competition Chairman Skip Skidmore. (Telephone 801-422-4621.) If a piece is accepted that does not fit into traditional categories, it will go into the Professional Division in the Re-Creation category. A recent decision by the WTC Regulatory Committee decided that domestic animals such as pigs, goats, hunting dogs, etc., are acceptable as long as the entries are mounted in a natural pose for that species. Please do not enter domestic house dogs, cats, animals in traps, or game animals with such items as arrows impaled in them.
Eligible Entries for Best All-Around
A second area in the rules that may affect competitors who want to compete in the Best All-Around competition involves entries they may have in the Mixed Group categories for both the Professional and Master Divisions and for Group subcategories in the Master Division. Here is the revised Rule 4 for Best All-Around. 4. Four Categories. To be eligible for this award, you must have one designated entry in each of the four following categories: Lifesize Mammal (any size), Gamehead Shoulder Mount (any species), Bird (any species), and Fish, Reptile, or Amphibian (skin mount or reproduction, any species). Note: shellfish are not eligible for competing in this competition. Individual specimens of Mixed Group entries of the Master and Professional competitions will be allowed as specified entries for the Best
All-Around. The scores for the categories represented in the mixed group will be doubled or tripled. Example, if a lifesize bobcat and turkey were parts of a mixed group entry, the bobcat would be used as the lifesize mammal and the turkey as the bird. The final score of the mixed group would be multiplied by 2 to get the two scores for these category designations. Entering only one species of a mixed group cannot be allowed since an average score of the two components is used as the final score for the mixed group. The rules for mixed group
does not allow for a gamehead and lifesize mammal composition to compete as a mixed group since they are both mammals. For this reason, a mixed group cannot contain all four categories required to compete for Best All-Around. Group subcategories in the Master Division can also be used as a designated category entry for the Best All-Around Competition. The points would be used from the overall average of the group and cannot come from one component of the group.
Individual Work and Reproduced Parts. The third adjustment in the rules has to do with individual work in the Master Division. Rule 7 now reads like this: 7. Individual Work & Reproduced Parts: All taxidermy procedures, such as form preparation, sewing, mounting procedures, and finishing procedures, must be done entirely by the individual competitor and certified as such by his or her signature at the time of entering. Taxidermists can use tanned skins they have purchased, or have sent to a commercial fur dresser. Competitors can also use prefabricated habitat materials, but it must be emphasized that at this level of competition, it is advantageous to complete as many of the elements of the composition as possible to achieve the highest score. Exposed or viewable artificial parts of MasterDivision entries must be original and made by the competitor. Molds and casts of soft tissue areas, such as a mouth cast, including bills, feet, artificial noses, fish fins, fish heads, and reproduction blanks of fish, reptiles, and amphibians, cannot include any part of a cast made by someone else. Commercial items allowed are earliners (including earliners with inner ears reproduced), eyes, mannikins, and artificial turkey heads. At entry time, you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire concerning individual work which the judges will have to review.
Master Division Category Changes for Lifesizes and Gameheads
One of the requests we were asked to consider was making the categories for Lifesize Mammals (Categories 1 and 2) and Gameheads (Categories 4 and 5) more compatible, especially for body size and the individual sub-categories. We agreed that there was some variables there that needed better alignment. We restructured the four categories based more on weights for both categories. Here is how they will be determined in 2017.
Category 1, Medium-Small Mammals (smaller than 75 lbs. ).Note: Juvenile mammals will compete in a subcategory of comparable size. Example: a newborn whitetail deer would compete against small mammals, whereas a 2-month-old whitetail deer might compete
against medium mammals. The competition chairman will make all final decisions on which subcategory a juvenile animal would be entered.
1. Small mammals, less than 25 lbs.
2. Medium mammals, lifesize weight from 25 to 75 lbs.
3. Small mammals group Category 2, Large Mammals (larger than 75 lbs. )
4. Large mammals (long/thick hair)
5. Large mammals (short/thin hair)
6. Large mammals group Category 4, Medium-Small Gameheads (smaller than 75 lbs.) Same rules apply here for juvenile mammals, see Category 1 Note.
11. Small gameheads (based on estimated lifesize weight of 25 lbs. or less))
12. Medium gameheads (based on estimated lifesize weight of 25-75 lbs.)
13. Half-lifesize gameheads (must include front feet)
14. Gameheads, group Category 5, Large Gameheads (based on estimated lifesize weight of more than 75 lbs. or more )
15. Large gameheads (long/thick hair)
16. Large gameheads (short/thin hair)
17. Half-lifesize large gameheads (must include front feet)
18. Gameheads, group
Reproduction Antler and Horns
The final change, which I consider a major change, is with the entries of reproduction antlers and horns. In the prior rules, reproduction antlers and horns were only eligible to compete in the Professional Division. Now, I must make it clear that we have not added a new World Title for reproduction antlers and horns, but they are now allowed to compete for a Reproduction World Title with certain requirements. Here is how Category 14 now reads for Reproductions.
Category 14, Reproductions
51. Reptiles, amphibians, other
54. Miscellaneous. This includes antlers and horns. If a competitor enters an antler or horn in this Master Division category, he must include the original antler/horn that was cast for judges to have a reference of comparison. If the original is not available, the reproduction antler/horn will have to be entered in the Professional Division.
World Show rules and guidelines will be published on the WTC website in September, in our show booklet this December, and in our winter issue of BREAKTHROUGH. No changes were made in the fish carving rules or categories as of this publication date, so those published for the 2015 show can be followed.