Los Fresnos News

Escamilla Taxidermy closes in Brownsville

Rene Escamillla talks about his 46 years as a taxidermist. Photo: Tony Vindell / LFN

By TONY VINDELL
LFN

One of the oldest businesses that specializes in stuffing game animals and wild birds and fish such as deer, sheep, ducks and geese and red drum, has shut down its operations in Brownsville.

That is Escamilla Taxidermy, a business owned by 74 year old Rene Escamilla.

He has been working in that line of business since the 1980s. Before that, Escamilla was a meat butcher at the old El Centro Foods and served three years during the Vietnam War with the U.S. Army.

Escamilla took a correspondence course and went to Phoenix, Arizona, where he enrolled in a 16-week course. After that, he began working as a full-time taxidermist working with practically any type of animal a client brings, including a giraffe.

Escamilla said he decided to call it quits so he can spend more time with family, particularly with a grand-daughter who was born with a heart condition.

He said that the last day at the shop was Friday, Oct. 23, but friends and customers can find him there from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday and Thursday until everything from the old building he has owned since day one is gone.
“I bought this building forty six years ago,” Escamilla said, “to open the shop.”

A longtime member of Brownsville’s Charro Days Association, Escamilla wished he could shake hands with the hundreds of people who trusted his work during all those years.

However, he said a lot of things have changed today and more so since the pandemic began back in March.

Escamilla said the Covid-19 virus was the nail in the coffin for his business.
“Besides,” he said, “a family is one of the most important things a person can have.”

Anyone who left a trophy or two at this shop is encouraged to stop by the shop at 101 Old Military Highway in Brownsville.

If not, Escamilla said he was given the green light by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department to dispose of the trophies as he pleases, meaning to keep, sell or give them away.

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