We're not claiming to be experts in the world of hunting, but we do know that the telltale sign of a good taxidermist appears when you find yourself seriously debating whether the stuffed animal you see is alive. That's the reaction that Chris Kruger strives for with every animal he preserves — from bears to bass, bison to bobcats.
Working alongside his wife, Mary, who specializes in animal rugs, Kruger considers himself an innovator in the world of taxidermy. Having practiced the art full-time since 1985, Kruger tries to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to developing more advanced techniques, creating his own materials from scratch, and capturing not just the most vivid animals but also some of their most epic moments in nature.
As you enter Kruger’s at-home studio, you’ll pass by a life-size javelina leaping into the air as a snake extends its body to sink its teeth into the poor mammal’s leg. Traces of the glossy, saliva-covered cactus that the boar had been feasting on still nestled around the grooves of his teeth. It’s details like this that set Kruger apart. If you want further testimony to his craft, you can find his mounts at the Smithsonian Institution and in sporting-goods stores around town. See a slideshow here.