Tyson's Taxidermy Collection
James Tyson started to hunt with a homemade slingshot when he was just a boy.
"The reason we used red rubber because during World War II that was all we had access to do here on the South," said hunter James Tyson.
His passion for hunting has grown into a personal collection of more than 250 animals. He's traveled all around the world on trips hunting animals.
Tyson created Tyson Steel Building Products, Inc. about 40 years ago. The custom steel building manufacturing company has come much farther than the backyard business he started with. It was in that home office that Tyson originally had his animal trophy room. But as he collected more trophies, his secretaries would walk around the office and hit their heads on the antlers.
In 1999, Tyson built his big game Trophy Room. Just past where his secretaries now walk without fear of hitting their heads, the employee offices and conference room are two double doors leading to his collection.
The giant room is filled with animals arranged in scenes so they look like they're in their natural habitat. There is a swamp scene complete with alligators, fish, opossums and frogs but just around the corner is a giant buffalo and wolf in the snow. On the other side of the room is a lion chasing a herd of zebras as an elephant watches from above.
Tyson started full mounting his animals, placing just the heads on a piece of wood, but decided to get the animals stuff by a taxidermist instead.
"It represents the species so much better than just having it stuck on a wall with its head poking out at you, looks like you just ran through a piece of sheet rock," said Tyson.
Tyson has had a few close calls while out on hunts. Once an animal broke his hand when he was a six hour horseback ride from the main road and six more hours away from the nearest doctor. And now he is walking on a broken foot from another animal. But he refused a cast because it would slow him down.
At 70-years-old his wife says it's almost time to trade his hunting rifle for a rocking chair. While Tyson admits it is harder to adjust to traveling and different climates, but he isn't ready to stop just yet.
But Tyson's memories live on long after the hunt. He can recall the details of every hunt, where it was and when, the animals, the people and the cultures. Click the video below the recount of his elephant hunt.
And Tyson wants to share his passion for hunting with others. Anyone can come visit his trophy room during the week. He often has students come on field trips and last year alone, about 2,000 came out to see the animals. And it's free! Tyson just asks to bring a non-perishable food item to be donated.