HOW A LAC-SAINT-JEAN TAXIDERMY SHOP TURNED TO HOLLYWOOD FOR PANDEMIC SURVIVAL

Company in Normandin, Que., has found a way to reinvent itself

In the village of Normandin, just west of Lac Saint-Jean, the company is well known for its fur clothing and accessories, as befits a local business in a town that has a wildlife reserve just outside its civic limits.

But Bilodeau Canada’s usual business has largely dried up in the pandemic, particularly its long-standing specialty: taxidermy. The international market for stuffed wildlife has dwindled to almost nothing as international air freight has slowed, so the company has turned to a different one. Hollywood.

In the workshop that bears his name in the company’s headquarters, head taxidermist Angelo Gagnon is putting the finishing touches on an unusual project.

“I’m working for an American mini-series. In the story they’re in a pandemic and it’s a return to the earth, so they need to hunt a deer to survive. So we’ve stuffed a whole deer to make it flexible, so it looks like it was just hunted,” said the artisan, who has honed his craft for 30 years. “Then, in the following scenes there’s going to be deer meat hanging from the ceiling, so we’ve reproduced the four quarters of meat and back filets.”

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