Simpson is expanding his workshop, Conroe Taxidermy, into the house, which is located on the same property on Clark Lane in Conroe. Simpson said the new trophy room is expected to be finished in summer 2020 and can show customers options to display their animals.
Simpson runs the workshop with his brothers, Mike and Travis. His father, also named Mike, originally opened the shop more than 50 years ago and retired several years ago.
Simpson said the shop’s customer base is a good mix between simple deer-and-duck hunters and larger, internationally minded hunters.
“If you’re supporting wildlife by buying that hunting license, we like you,” Simpson said.
Simpson said after hunters bring an animal to the workshop, a team removes, salts and cures the skins. After customers decide how they want the animal mounted, taxidermists begin crafting a lifelike replica before the animal is painted to restore any color lost during the tanning process.
“Tanning is a harsh process and ... on thin-haired animals [such as many African animals], it will pull that ... natural pigment off and we have to paint that back on,” Simpson said.
After being painted, the animal is ready to be picked up or mounted. He said the whole process can take about six months.
Although he has encountered some people who are against hunting, Simpson said many people do not realize how committed hunters are to supporting conservation, reserves and parks and preserving natural environments.
“I don’t know any hunter that doesn’t feel for the animal even when he’s harvesting the animal,” Simpson said. “They’re all animal lovers, even though they’re hunters as well. They want it to continue forever; they want that species and that environment to be viable.”