Antlers and Anglers Taxidermy in Billings, MT - The Most Dishonest Taxidermist Ever?
Antlers and Anglers Taxidermy is located at 2905 Grelck Lane in Billings, Montana. Unfortunately, I have had a very unpleasant experience dealing with Don Keever, the owner of Antlers and Anglers Taxidermy in Billings, Montana, for the past 21 months. In my opinion, Don Keever of Antlers and Anglers Taxidermy is possibly the most unethical business person I have ever dealt with. I want to save anyone reading this review from enduring the same unbelievably poor customer service I experienced while employing Don Keever for taxidermy services.
Let me elaborate on the reasons why you as a hunter or angler, who values his time and his money, should never use or even consider using Antlers and Anglers Taxidermy shop in Billing’s Montana. I will try and keep this concise, but bear with me.
I dropped off my largest whitetail buck to date in November of 2019 to Antlers and Anglers Taxidermy. I arrowed this buck during South Dakota’s archery season, and I had a taxidermist in South Dakota completely cape the deer and take measurements for the taxidermy form. This deer’s rack measured 141” and its neck measured 22”.
The taxidermist that took these measurements in South Dakota has been in business for over 20 years and has completed literally thousands of taxidermy pieces. I witnessed the South Dakota taxidermist take the measurements with a tailor’s tape measure, and I know they were accurate.
When I dropped my cape and skull plate off to Antlers and Anglers Taxidermy, I explicitly stated to Don Keever (the owner) that honesty and turnaround time were the most important factors I considered when selecting a taxidermist. Being new to the Billings, Montana area, I practically begged Don to be honest with me regarding his turnaround time. Don stated his average turn around time was 12 months. When I pressed him for an absolute worst case scenario, he told me 18 months. Absolute worst case scenario, these are his words. I paid Don his requested deposit of $400 on a total price of $595 for the completed mount.
The following year, in September of 2020, I arrowed a 10 point whitetail buck in Montana. Since 12 months had not elapsed, and I had no reason (yet) to doubt Don Keever’s integrity, I took this buck to Don to be mounted as well. In October of 2020, I shot a pronghorn in Montana and took that to Don to be mounted as well. I paid Don a $400 deposit for each mount, totaling $1200 for all three mounts.
Fraud: Intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value (in this case, $1200) or to surrender a legal right
In November of 2020, 12 months after I initially dropped off the first mount, I called Don for the first time to get a status update on the progress of my deer mount. Don stated that the tannery he used, which he told me is named “The Wildlife Gallery Tannery” located in Mount Pleasant, Michigan was running behind due to COVID-19 and that it would be 2 to 3 more months before my mount was completed. Prior to moving to Montana, I had been a lifelong Michigan resident, and I was actually familiar with the Wildlife Gallery Tannery.
Fast forward 3 months to February 2021, I called Don for a second time to inquire about progress on my deer mount. Don told me almost verbatim, the same story that the Wildlife Gallery Tannery had not returned 2019 capes yet and that it would be two to three more months before my mount would be completed.
Fast forward to May of 2021, a full 18 months after dropping off the first deer, I called Don for a status update, and he told me, almost verbatim the same story, that it would be 2-3 more months before my deer would be completed…close to two years after originally dropping the deer off. At this point, Don had exceeded what were in his words the worst case scenario. I informed him that I would be coming to his shop to pick up my 3 skull plates and my capes. Don stated that my initial whitetail cape from 2019 had finally came back from the tannery.
On May 6th, 2021, I traveled to Don’s shop and retrieved my 3 skull plates and one whitetail cape. The cape was labeled number 975, which was my invoice number for the deer that I had dropped off in November of 2019. My skull plate was also labeled number 975. I took the cape and skull plate to a much more reputable taxidermist on a visit back to my home state of Michigan. The Michigan taxidermist informed me that the cape I received from Don measured only 19” and it was clearly not my original cape. Not once during any of our interactions did Don ever indicate I would not receive my original cape. When I confronted him, he stated that my cape had been damaged by bugs beyond repair at the tannery. Who knows what the truth is, but two facts are certain. First, I did not receive my original cape back. Second, Don only disclosed I received a much smaller replacement cape after I called him out on it.
Don agreed to trade me a second replacement cape with a 22″ neck measurement to reflect the size of the cape I brought him originally. When I took that second cape to Michigan, the taxidermist in Michigan said the cape was extremely old and brittle to the point that it was unusable. The cape had hair slipping (i.e. falling out) around the eyes, and the Michigan taxidermist recommend that I secure another cape, because he was worried the second replacement cape I received from Don Keever at Antlers and Anglers Taxidermy would not last.
When I picked up my skull plates and cape on May 6th, 2021, I asked Don for a partial refund, because he had done no work on my initial whitetail buck other than send out my cape to the tannery. I brought the cape to him completely skinned from the taxidermist in South Dakota, and I never received that cape back as previously mentioned. On my second whitetail buck and pronghorn, Don had skinned the faces and sent the hides out for tanning. I believe Don owed me a minimum of $600-700 dollars of my $1200 deposit back, which seemed more than fair to me. Don refused to give me a single cent back. Not only did he try and pass off an inferior (smaller) cape to me, later replace that cape with a cape so old it was basically unusable, and not complete any of my work, he charged me $1200 to do that!!!
The final reason to avoid Antlers and Anglers Taxidermy and Don Keever is that Don Keever claims to be somehow affiliated with the Yellowstone County, Montana Sheriff’s Office. On several occasions, including when I requested the partial refund on May 6th, 2021, Don brought up his affiliation with the Sheriff. It is my opinion that Don was attempting to subtly intimidate me by leveraging his position of power. While I cannot prove that and this is only my opinion, that is definitely the impression I received by Don’s repeated references to his affiliation with the Sheriff’s office.
In closing, beware Don Keever and Antlers and Anglers Taxidermy located at 2905 Grelck Lane in Billings, Montana