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For a brief moment in time, I thought I could handle processing found animal remains for the sake of art. I went so far as to scoop up a juvenile prairie dog from out of a gutter, with only a thin plastic bag between his sticky fur and my bare hands. I had a colony of dermestid beetles to feed, and I wanted to enjoy his lovely bones. Time would show that I didn't have the guts to deal with so many...stinky guts.

Bradley Taxidermy in Spring Texas already owns my heart for being a female taxidermist; it's a trade for which I'm sure women are very underrepresented. It takes skill, artistry, patience, and those aforementioned guts. Wild creativity is a bonus and one that shines through on her stag axis mount that is in the shape of the great state of Texas herself. It's gotten her quite a bit of attention lately.

Absolutely stunning. And while some have found it macabre, I think it's wonderful. The way these two pelts were aligned together creates a seamless piece, giving the illusion that this was one enormous stag.

I'm not sure why Texans are so obsessed with the shape of our state, but I love it too. Although she did receive one suggestion that made me laugh:

DO A GATOR HEAD IN FLORIDA SHAPE NEXT!

A Maine out of lobsters? A California from a bear? I suppose the possibilities are endless now that Bradley Taxidermy has opened the gates.

And to the haters, well, I understand not being in love with hunting, I don't care for it personally either. But this animal was likely shot humanely to thin its herd and then processed for its meat. This delightful mount is just the art that arose from that process. So unless you are a vegan, maybe think before you speak. Maybe even then, consider the animal's ultimate welfare, the environment's welfare, and thank god this animal is on a wall and not darting in front of your car late at night. There are definitely better battles to pick than this one.

13 Deadly Animals in Texas