Escanaba taxidermist wins international competition

Jordan Beck | Daily Press Tim Gorenchan, owner of Escanaba business North Country Legends Taxidermy, stands next to a sockeye salmon he mounted. Gorenchan won Best in World, Coldwater Fish at the 2017 World Taxidermy and Fish Carving Championships for this mount.

ESCANABA — The owner of an Escanaba taxidermy business received a major honor last month. Tim Gorenchan, owner of North Country Legends Taxidermy, won Best in World, Coldwater Fish at the 2017 World Taxidermy and Fish Carving Championships for a sockeye salmon he mounted.

Gorenchan entered the World Taxidermy and Fish Carving Championships in the Master Division for the first time this year — in 2013, he had entered a mount of his in the event’s Professional Division. His entry was one of almost 500 featured at the event, which was held May 16-20 in Peoria, Ill.

While he knew his entry was a high-quality one, Gorenchan said he was careful not to get his hopes up.

“I knew I had a pretty strong piece, but you never go into a show of that magnitude expecting anything,” he said.

Gorenchan said winning an award for his taxidermy work on the international level was a memorable experience.

“It was gratifying and humbling at the same time,” he said.

Gorenchan also won the Competitor’s Award for the Master Division at the 2017 World Taxidermy and Fish Carving Championships.

According to Gorenchan, both aesthetic appeal and biological accuracy are taken into account by judges for the World Taxidermy and Fish Carving Championships. Due to the effort he put into both of these areas, it took Gorenchan a total of well over 300 hours to finish his sockeye salmon mount.

“One of the most challenging things is trying to stay focused on such small details for extended periods of time,” he said.

Gorenchan said the goal of his taxidermy is to create “snapshots” of animals’ lives.

“My … favorite part is capturing a moment in time in my (pieces),” he said.

Though he has been in the taxidermy business since 2005, Gorenchan started participating in taxidermy competitions on the state level in 2009. That year, friends of his encouraged him to enter his work into a competition put on by the Wisconsin Taxidermist Association.

Gorenchan soon found success on the state level — he was named State Champion in the Single Fish category four times in a row in the Wisconsin State Taxidermy Championships. Last spring, he entered mounts of his into the Michigan Taxidermist Association State Taxidermy Competition; his work was awarded the title of State Champion Fish in this event.

In 2016, Gorenchan participated in the National Taxidermists Association Convention and Competition. There, he won National Champion Coldwater Fish Skin Mount and the Breakthrough Best of Show Award, among other awards. As a result, Gorenchan’s work was featured on the cover of taxidermy trade journal “Breakthrough Magazine.”

“That’s a huge, huge honor, to be on there,” he said.

In the future, Gorenchan plans to move into a new, larger shop. He also plans to continue competing in taxidermy competitions, and may start getting involved with these competitions as a judge.

Gorenchan said the skills and knowledge he has gained by competing in these events have made him a better taxidermist overall.

“100 percent of the knowledge I gained is transferable to customer work,” Gorenchan said.

For more information on Gorenchan and North Country Legends Taxidermy, visit