Sallie Dahmes

Date of birth: January 4, 1946
Place of birth: Louisiana 
Current location: Sparta, Georgia

Sallie Jean Dahmes began her taxidermy career as an apprentice with whitetail legend Joe Coombs before starting her own studio. In 1984 she won a World Champion whitetail deer title, and the following year she won the Carl E. Akeley Award with a teal and the Best in World Gamehead with a mule deer, becoming the first woman to win three gold Akeley medallions. 

Sallie Dahmes with her 1985 Best in World Gamehead.

In 1986, Sallie closed her studio and moved to Georgia to work for Breakthrough magazine and Wildlife Artist Supply Company. Over the next few years she sculpted a successful line of whitetail deer mannikins and waterfowl forms, wrote magazine articles, created numerous taxidermy instructional videos for professionals and amateurs, and authored several books including The Breakthrough Bird Taxidermy Manual. She also handled technical assistance for WASCO’s customers. Sallie also judged and taught seminars at the World Taxidermy Championships for many years.

In 1988, she purchased the manufacturing operation for Polytranspar Airbrush Paint and began to produce it for WASCO. Over the next five years, she expanded her business to include the videotape and dry chemical division of the company. By 1993, the rest of WASCO’s operation was acquired and she became the owner of WASCO along with her business partner, Ken Edwards.

Sallie served on the Board of Directors of the National Taxidermists Association and has always placed her desire to improve the taxidermy industry over her own personal business interests. After selling WASCO in 2011, she continues to hand-raise fawns for CWD research facilities. Nationally known to cervid experts as the “deer-whisperer”, Sallie’s deer are integral in paving the way for a cure.