Westby a perfectionist with taxidermy work [UPDATED]Published 9:48am Monday, March 19, 2012 Updated 11:50am Monday, March 19, 2012
People who contract for taxidermy work with Rob Westby of rural Dalton know they’ll receive nothing less than high-quality work.
Not only is Westby a big game hunter himself. He also learned from the best of the best when it comes to taxidermy.
Westby attended the Northwest Iowa School of Taxidermy which is part of Matuska Taxidermy, Inc. The school is recognized across the nation as one of the finest training facilities available.
“I learned a lot while being associated with the school, and Matuska Taxidermy,” said Westby.
Over the years the school in Iowa has trained hundreds of men and women from the United States, Canada and Mexico as well as several foreign countries, in the art of taxidermy.
Westby said he takes pride in his specialization of gameheads and fish. He has owned Natural Images Taxidermy, one mile north of Dalton, since 2003. Westby previously owned a custom woodworking business in Fergus Falls.
“I previously enjoyed wildlife photography, and still do,” said Westby, “so getting into taxidermy work was and still is a natural fit.”
Westby and his wife, Loreli, a pharmacist, are active game hunters themselves. They have hunted not only in the United States but also in the Canadian provinces, including Ontario, Manitoba and Newfoundland, as well as in South Africa and New Zealand.
“While hunting in these different areas, I get the experience of observing and also working on different species,” said Westby. “I gain the confidence and experience when it comes time to do taxidermy work for clients who travel abroad.”
He’s been able to do work for clients who have traveled to places such as Alaska, British Columbia, Alberta, New Zealand and South Africa, along with many western states.
“I enjoy serving people in Otter Tail County and elsewhere as a taxidermist with whitetail deer, other game species and fish and turkeys.”
Westby is proud of two first-place ribbons in the professional gamehead division with mule deer. He also received best of category professional gamehead with mule deer. In addition, he also has received other awards.
Westby said that clients can help him before he does his work. As for deer, he provides a taping and skinning service. It is important to get the deer to Westby as soon as possible.
On his Internet site, he tells people to avoid netting, fish baskets, stringers and gaffs.
“Avoid cutting the fish,” said Westby. “Take a good color photo of fish while still alive so I can duplicate the natural color. Immediately after catching fish, wrap in a clean wet towel to protect fins. Seal tightly in a plastic bag and freeze.”
Westby is an official measurer for both the Pope and Young Club and Safari Club International.
“I measure trophies for these two organizations to be entered into their record books,” he said. “It’s a little something else to offer my clients.”
Best of all, for Rob and Loreli Westby, is their residence north of Dalton, in one of the most beautiful areas of Otter Tail County.