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September 28, 2013

Taxidermist turns love of wildlife into career

By Cathy B. Koplen Contributing Writer
The Daily Star

---- — Borow’s Taxidermy is more than a workshop full of North American animals mounted in life-like poses; it is an education.

Bob Borow has been in the taxidermy business most of his life, either as a part-time interest or as a full-time career.

“I guess I was about 13 when I started doing this,” Borow said. “My daddy used to hunt small game and we would eat what he brought home, but he would always throw out the pelt, and I thought it was such a waste. I got a book and learned how to mount small animals. It just grew from there.”

Borow, a Delhi native, graduated with a biology degree and has a keen interest in the animal kingdom. In addition to mounting animals for customers, he often goes on hunting trips throughout North America and mounts what he kills. If the animal is edible, he will harvest the meat.

Borow is always learning about animal behavior. While hunting in Alaska in May, he came face-to-face with a big brown bear.

“We were tracking a pretty large boar that had gone around a point,” Borow said. “We were making our way around the point when two brown bear came around the corner headed straight toward us.”

Both bears turned at a creek that separated the men from the bears. Borow and his guide elected not to follow them, opting instead to continue looking for the bear they had been tracking.

Those who wish to hunt in Alaska must employ a certified guide to ensure hunting regulations are followed as well as for the hunter’s safety.

“When we got around the corner, the bear was right there and started coming toward us,” Borow said. “I got a clean shot right behind the shoulder and he rolled, but then he got up. I got another clean shot and rolled him again, but he got up again and ran off to the wood line.”

Borow and his guide followed the bear, but the brush was too thick to get another shot. Borow said he could hear the bear’s labored breathing. When they could no longer hear the bear breathing, they went into the woods to make sure it was dead.

Underneath the dead male bear, was a dead female brown bear.

“It was very strange to find the female under the bear,” Borow said. “What I think happened was the male was trying to kill her cubs to bring her back into heat and she was protecting the cubs.”

According to Borow, brown bear, and their inland cousin the grizzly bear, are scavengers and cannibals and therefore are not fit for human consumption. Black bears, by contrast, make good game meat.

Borow brought the bear home and mounted him upright, poised to attack.

“That is what I saw when we turned that corner,” Borow said.

In addition to professionally mounting all sorts of animals, Borow opens his show room to school children, explaining the various North American animals he has on display. Borow also helps out at SUNY Delhi in the biology department.

“They have a pretty good primate program,” Borow said.

Borow mounted two primates that came from the college after the primates had died. The pair are used for demonstrations in the SUNY Delhi biology department.

Borow’s Taxidermy is located at 14122 State Highway 28 in Delhi.