Self-taught taxidermist wins awards

For the past couple years now, during the big game archery and gun season, whenever I get the opportunity to interview a successful hunter, I ask if the hunter intends to get their trophy mounted. If the answer is yes, I ask where. And often the reply is “West Wind” which is short for West Wind Custom Archery & Taxidermy.

There is a good reason. Owner Brian Noody does some award-winning work. Noody attended a competition on April 11-13 this year at the New York Convention & Competition held at Syracuse. He entered a triple game head mount that consisted of a Springbok, Gemsbok and Impala. At that competition, his display won a number of awards including: The best of show in the Professional Division for the Springbok, The Safari Club Adirondak/Catskill Region Big Game award for the Springbok, the Vandyke Most Original & Creative Presentation award for the trio display and the Best of Category Habitat award.

Pleased with the success of his art work, Noody entered his exhibit at the World Taxidermy & Fish Carving Championships held May 7-11 at Springfield, Ill. Noody’s Springbok took the first-place award in the professional division and his Gemsbok and Impala both took second-place honors.

Noody remarked his masterpiece took 285 hours to complete, including the frame and base that the game mounts are secured to. There is no money received directly in the awards process, but Noody explained he gains experience and knowledge during the judging process which involves almost microscopic scrutiny, from the judges who inspect with magnifying glasses for minute detail in areas like the eye lashes, nostrils and inside the ears, etc. Noody confesses that he is self taught and has been plying his “art” for close to 11 years now. He does gain tips from other professionals by attending these competitions. Noody does about 100 deer mounts annually and close to a dozen bear. If you intend to have your trophy mounted, Noody asks hunters bring the trophy in as soon as possible. Local processors know how to properly “cape out” a deer. If you do it yourself, call the shop at 672-8883, and Noody will talk you through the proper procedure. Leave at least six inches of neck meat for measurements and make sure the cape is long enough.

Greg Kowal is having his trophy done at West Wind. Kowal hooked up with Al Forbes of Bruin Outfitters for a bear hunt in Northern Ontario, at Appelo Lake Lodge, which has 76 square miles of prime area, back in late August. Kowal along with several hunters from Cherry Creek made the 12-hour drive to the town of Felix (population 2). The last 50 miles took two hours to drive through, so it’s some rugged country. There were seven guys at camp and Kowal wanted to take his bear with a bow so the guide put him over a baited tree stand that Kowal had to drive to and walk about 1/4 mile to get to his stand. The first two days Kowal didn’t see anything but he did hear a bear “clacking” its jaws so they knew one was in the area. On the third day, Kowal spotted his bear walking down a trail and the bear stood on its hind legs and easily swiped the bait, which was suspended in a tree almost as high as Greg was in his tree stand. Kowal composed himself and sent his broadhead behind the shoulder for a lethal double lung shot. Kowal called to the camp and five guys came with a four-wheeler and could barely drag the estimated 450 pound bear out and struggled to get it in the back of the truck. The bear has white markings on it’s chest which only one in 10 bears have, but usually not as bold as Greg’s bear. The owner of the camp stated that the Kowal bruin was close to 9 feet tall and was the second-largest bear ever taken from his camp and the largest taken with a bow. Kowal who is a professional pilot, is having his bear done in a full standing mount at West Wind. Five of the seven hunters were successful during this trip.


The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club will continue its non-perishable food collection “Hunters Helping the Hungry” during the Big Game hunting season. Club members are reminded to bring their canned goods to the club for donation to be distributed during the Christmas holiday season. Thanks!

Free fly-tying and fly-fishing classes have resumed on Monday evenings at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club, from 6-8 p.m. Fly tyers at all stages are invited to attend. The Monday night tyers will provide fly tying vises and all materials for anyone who would like to learn how to tie a fly or how to start fly fishing. Ken Hollander and Willie Fedrick, along with guest tyers, will provide the know how, in a safe, enjoyable facility located at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club, on Mullet Street, in Dunkirk. Note: Participants will get to keep what they tie and will receive one-on-one attention. No registration required, so just show up!

The Ellery Rod & Gun Club located on Pancake Hill Road off Dutch Hollow Road will host a “Turkey Shoot” on, Nov. 10. The event will start at 9 a.m. Breakfast will also be served from 8 a.m. until noon. Slugs and shot will be provided for slug shoots and “lucky shot” events.

On Sunday, Nov. 10, the Forestville Fire Department will offer a “Deer Hunters breakfast” of scrambled eggs, sausage, pancakes, hash browned potatoes, coffee and juice for a friendly price, from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. Proceeds will be used to purchase firefighting equipment and gear. This breakfast special will be available for take-out, or dine in, on every second Sunday of each month. You don’t have to be a deer hunter to stop in and enjoy. This deer hunter breakfast will also be available Nov. 16 Opening Day of Deer season from 4 a.m until 10 a.m..

If your club is hosting a shooting event or training course (turkey shoot, etc.), drop a line and I will be glad to place an announcement in the calendar.

Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to

Photo by Gene Pauszek- Brian Noody of West Wind Custom Archery & Taxidermy displays his award winning Game Head Mount of a (left to right) Gemsbok, Springbok and Impala.

Greg Kowal took this estimated 450 pound black bear with a bow during a hunting trip to Northern Ontario back in August.

(l to R) Dunkirk residents Jacob Kaczor and James Luder took this stringer of fish, Monday afternoon fishing the mouth of Canadaway Creek.