"It's Not for Everyone..."
Jay Eberly is an avid archery hunter and former truck driver. He changed careers to provide himself more time to hunt and spend at home.
His career is unusual and uncommon.
The beetles mate, lay eggs and die soon afterward. The eggs hatch after several days into larva, become adult beetles, mate and die. Other than eating, that is a dermestid beetle's role in life.
Dermestid beetles are very hard to raise and keep alive. The temperature and humidity must be maintained exactly and the climate must be just right. The beetles live and "work" in a darkened, specially climate-controlled room. It took Jay a long time to learn how to keep the insects alive and happy.
"I have millions of larva at a time," Eberly explains. "I put one deer or elk skull in a tank when the beetles are breeding and eating well. They'll do three skulls a day."
While most customers have the skulls of their wildlife mounted with the animals' skin stretched over them in the common style, some folks opt to have the antlers mounted directly on the bare, white skull. "That is referred to as European style," Eberly said.