Washington Georgia, is home to 4,000 people including William Johnson, a master taxidermist, and owner of Master’s Wildlife Services. He’s called Washington, Georgia home…for years.
“It’s a nice community, crime’s low, the traffic’s not bad. It’s quiet and has some deep roots,” Johnson said.
Mr. Johnson’s ancestors first came to Washington in 1812. Some would call Mr. Johnson’s profession a little different. Walking into Master’s Wildlife Services, on the town square, you are greeted by safari animals, snakes, boars, and just about anything that runs wild outside, except skunks. “I don’t think anybody has enough money to get me to do a skunk,” Johnson said.
Mr. Johnson is certified state and nationally in all categories of taxidermy and has won more than 150 awards. He is also allowed to import and receive exotic wildlife, one of the few taxidermy businesses in Georgia given this privilege. “Currently, I have clients from Europe, Scotland, Spain, and from all over the world,” Johnson said.
After serving 12 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, Mr. Johnson sought out another career and became interested in taxidermy. “One thing lead to another. I like to fish and hunt and I saw it as an opportunity to do something for the people in the area that love hunting and it’s branched way beyond that,” Johnson said.
Mr. Johnson take great pride in his work, with some pieces taking up to 70 hours to complete, It’s a painstaking process, but he loves his work, and one of his earlier pieces still hangs in his shop today…a small bass caught by his daughter more than 20 years ago.
You’d swear you’re walking into a real African safari when you step foot in his business and he loves working on the big exotic animals and thinks of taxidermy as more than a job. “I enjoy what I do and everybody’s gotta do something. If you can get up and do something you enjoy, you’re a whole lot better off than somebody who goes to a job they hate,” Johnson said.
There’s no doubt about it, Mr. Johnson of Master’s Wildlife Services will be in Washington, on the square, ready to share a unique story or two. “It’s just an interesting way to spend the day,” he said.