Linda was not the first — Meet the Klineburger Brothers and Capitol Hill’s taxidermy past

A Klineburger brother hunting Marco Polo sheep in Afghanistan (Photo: The Sammamish Heritage Society)

A Klineburger brother hunting Marco Polo sheep in Afghanistan (Photo: The Sammamish Heritage Society)

Taxidermy has become a staple wall ornament of dimly lit Capitol Hill taverns. Whether bar owners know it or not, stuffing and mounting animal carcasses actually has a rich history in the neighborhood.

Seattle’s Klineburger brothers operated one of the largest custom taxidermists in the country from their Capitol Hill shop inside 12th Ave’s Ballou Wright building, today home to Juicebox and the Creature agency.

The business, first called Jonas Brothers taxidermists, was located at 1517 12th Avenue, currently owned by Hunter’s Capital.

The brothers Jonas were Hungarian immigrants that opened taxidermist shops in New York, Colorado, and in Capitol Hill. The New York shop is still open to this day. Gene, Bert, and Chris Klineburger bought the business from the Jonas family in 1954.

According to a Sammamish Review article, the Klineburgers grew the business significantly and changed the name to Klineburger Brothers taxidermists in the 1970s. They ran the business until 1981 when they moved off Capitol Hill. Prior to housing the taxidermist business, the Ballou Wright building was part of Capitol Hill’s auto-row economy, serving primarily as a parts distributor.

Hunter’s owner Michael Malone told CHS that the Klineburgers owned multiple buildings in Pike/Pine over the years, including the Northwest Film Forum building to the south and the SPD East Precinct building to the north.

In 1964, a Sports Illustrated reporter visited the Capitol Hill shop, which had outposts in Uganda and Alaska, and noted “two or three thousand wild animal pelts are strung up on long lines.” The shop also mounted sea life, including a 20,000 pound orca whale. In addition to the fiberglass taxidermy the brothers perfected, the reporter noted Jonas Brothers could “custom-make or sell mink coats, leopard (car coats, $3,450), Washington state muskrat (car coat, $295) and zebra (24-inch jacket with natural beaver shawl collar and elbow cuffs, $875). They will sell you enough zebra to cover your bar, whether it takes one skin ($75-$100) or a hundred.”

The Klineburger brothers (Photo: The Sammamish Heritage Society)

The Klineburger brothers with Texas Governor John Connally, who was injured in the JFK assassination soon after this photo was taken. (Photo: The Sammamish Heritage Society)

As avid hunters themselves, the Klineburger brothers became a trusted source for information and trip planning for hunting big game in Africa and Asia. In 1960 the brothers opened the High Lonesome Ranch in Sammamish.

While you’ll probably have to look off the Hill for any late taxidermy gifts this holiday season, Sports Illustrated offered this recommendation for hunters in a 1971 issue:

Would you ecology fans believe an elephant-skin briefcase? Also an elephant hair charm bracelet for the little woman, hung with golden heads of elephant, Cape buffalo, sable antelope, lion and greater koodoo. The briefcase goes for $96.50. Charming the little lady will cost you $235, plus a postage stamp to Klineburger, Jonas Brothers.

The Klineburgers moved off their Sammamish Ranch in 2000 and sold the “Frontier Town” property, which was quickly demolished to make room for growing developments in the area. When asked to reflect on the winter years of the family’s eclectic journey, Chris Klineburger offered the Sammamish Review this fine bit of poetry:

“The essence of life is discovering what is on the other side of the mountain …  [but] upon reaching the destination, we realize that there is no end. Distant mountains lie before us; it is time to meditate and give thanks.”

For more on the Klineburger brothers, check out this photo essay from The Sammamish Heritage Society and this article from HistoryLink.org

17 thoughts on “Linda was not the first — Meet the Klineburger Brothers and Capitol Hill’s taxidermy past

  1. What is now the East Precinct was memorable for having a huge stuffed polar bear displayed. I think of that whenever I walk by the building.

    • Hi Oldie,
      Yes. the building on 12th Ave. had fiberglas reproductions of mountain goat, and the white Dall sheep. We also had a fiberglas standing polar bear on the corner of the building.

  2. Interesting bit of history. If you look at photos well into the 1970s, the west side of the R Place bldg has a sign for Jonas Bros. Now I know who they were and what they did!

  3. CHB/Bryan,

    Wonderful bit of Capitol Hill history and great story on the Klineburger’s! One of the first buildings I bought in 1973 for our music company, at the SE corner of E Pine and Boylston was previously a Klineburger building as well. The large wood beams had wooden pegs set in them and there is still today stains in the old wood from the hanging taxidermy. Can’t imagine what it must have smelled like!
    Keep up the great work, what would we do without the CHB!!

  4. The photo of one of the Klineburgers posing with a dead Marco Polo sheep is disgusting! How anyone can be OK with shooting such a magnificent wild animal is beyond comprehension. I wish this kind of activity was just historical, but unfortunately it is still going on, all over the world.

    • Hi Calhoun,
      I suggest that you read Gamemasters of the World and see what the role of hunting has in the balance of nature and the propagation of wildlife. In the USA 74% of all conservation funds come directly or in-directly from Sportsmen. Wherever you go and enjoy viewing all wildlife (hunted or not) , give a big thanks to the Sportsmen.

  5. Great history story………This is a comment for Chris Klineburger: My father was a hunter and also a friend of your brother Bert. Is Bert still here, as I do not know your ages. I was going thru some of my fathers things and found Bert’s business card form the Boylston street address. My father wrote for Outdoor life and other journals and was doing a “Big Grizzly bear story and a bow hunt story in the 1980′s before he passed away in 1988. Thomas c. Stacer- from Olympia.was who my father was. do you remember him? I remember coming to your shop in the 1970′s when I was in HS.

    • Hi Katie—Yes I do remember the name Tom Stacer. The Klineburgers are doing well. Gene is 95, is in Issaquah in a retirement home. Bert, age 88, lives in Port Aransas, Texas living in a condo overlooking the gulf. I will be 87 this year, still have a home in North Bend where Grace and I summer, but spend most of the time wintering in Las Vegas, but seem to always be traveling or entertaining. To update a little , I am attaching a mini bio of myself. Also a speech I made last week to the Las Vegas Country Club which tells a little of our history. I did an auto biography, Gamemasters of the World, that gives the whole Klineburger story, a historical story that can only be told once in world history.
      All the original Klineburger’s wives have passed away, I guess we wore them down!

      Kind regards,

      Chris R. Klineburger

      CHRIS’ PRESENTATION –OBSESSION WITH SHEEP

      I might start out by giving praise to Nevada for their help in championing wildlife programs that have increased animals substantially. Both Reno and Las Vegas have hosted the major national and international hunter conservation conventions. These include major ones like Safari Club International as well as the Wild Sheep Foundation, which works closely with Nevada conservation clubs, including the Fraternity of the Desert Bighorn, Nevada Bighorn Unlimited, Wildlife Habitat Improvement in Nevada and others that provide on the ground and financial support for conservation efforts. The Wild Sheep Foundation also partners with the Nevada State Game Department. The projects include transplanting sheep to historic ranges in Nevada and neighboring states and putting in water sources in arid areas. The Desert Bighorn have tripled in Nevada in recent years.

      Most of the State’s wildlife agencies budgets come from hunters and fishermen, including special taxes on sporting equipment and licenses. “Nevada will receive more than 18 million dollars from the federal government for fish and wildlife conservation projects.

      Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced Tuesday that Nevada would be getting part of the 1.1 billion dollars in excise taxes collected on purchases of sporting and boating equipment.

      The tax applies to sporting firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, fishing equipment and electric boat motors.

      Jewell said the money helps fund conservation projects, creates access for recreational boaters and supports outdoor education programs for children.”

      There is a whole lot more, but effectively 74% of all conservation efforts in America are from sportsmen, directly or indirectly. However, there is a need for non-hunters to get involved in the process of conservation. If hunting slows or stops, conservation of wildlife will be un-sustainable. One simple and direct way to save wildlife is for everyone to buy a hunting and fishing license and to join one of the clubs mentioned.

      Probably like many of you, I started out in life with a very humble beginning. My 2 brothers and I grew up during the Great Depression in a small Arizona town on the Mexican border. Our father died when I was only 9 years old. I considered those lean times an excellent period of my life. The poverty taught us family values and the necessity of taking responsibilities for our own lives. Bringing an occasional rabbit or pigeon to the table was a necessity to supplement our lean menu.

      My Mom told a story about me. When I was young and we went to a friend’s home for dinner, trying to teach me manners to say thanks afterwards, after eating, Mom said, “What do you say Junior?” My answer, “MORE”! —-So even though we never went hungry, we certainly could have used more. So we kids were motivated to work hard and make something of ourselves.

      Our dad had taught us some hunting skills before he died, which soon became my number one hobby, plus I started a trap line. Brother Bert and I tried doing taxidermy on some fox and bobcat from my trap line, which were crude looking specimens, us not having the technical skills. Yet we had a fascination for taxidermy.

      Our hiking legs were developed in the straight up and down Mule Mountains where we lived. Bisbee High School, which we attended, went down in Ripley’s Believe It or Not as the only school with 4 stories, each one having a ground entrance.

      Upon graduating from high school, I got a job as hiking counselor for the YMCA summer camp at Mount Saint Helen’s in Washington.

      As we brothers matured, World War II was on us, so we all enlisted before being drafted, brother Gene in the Army and Bert and I in the Navy. I went in on what they called the “Kiddy Cruise”, which meant if you joined when 17 years old, they had to let you out when you became 21.

      After the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll, my radio-active ship was sent to a shipyard near Seattle for de-contamination. Seattle had a world-renowned taxidermy company called Jonas Brothers, where I spent all my leave on shore learning the basic skills of the art. Soon after brother Bert was out of the Navy, he went to work there as an apprentice in taxidermy.

      After the Navy, I worked my way thru the University of Arizona, having my own taxidermy studio. During this time in the late 40’s, I collected most of the southwest big game animals.

      After graduating from college, I worked for a while as an engineer for Boeing, in Seattle, working on the X and Y B52 experimental bombers. I then quit engineering and joined Bert to manage Jonas Brothers Seattle Taxidermy studios. We then purchased the Company from Guy Jonas in 1954. We built the company to be the World’s leading taxidermy business and eventually changed the name to Klineburger Taxidermy.

      It is important that you fix the late 40’s time period in your mind.— The United States had just been through World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II. —The time was effectively the beginning of sport hunting, as we know it today—a time when people had money and leisure time, as well as air travel making distant travel a reality. It was also a time when my brothers and I were involved on the ground floor of most everything that happened in sport hunting and conservation efforts, including the formation of most of the hunting related clubs. Our Seattle business was at the gateway to Alaska and Canada and an overseas port for shipping.

      We had unlimited opportunities for expansion. Our foresight and ambitious drive, motivated us to bring the hunting and outfitting fraternity closer together. We became acquainted with all those early hunting guides, especially in Alaska and Canada and the few African professional hunters and Indian Shikaris. Since our taxidermy studios received hunter’s specimens from most of them, and hearing the hunter’s stories, we knew which were the good outfitters. As a result, we became the international clearinghouse for wildlife information, and became a guide referral service. There were no hunting-booking agents at the time, so hunters would come to us to be connected with an outfitter that could satisfy their needs. We also found that outfitters needed some guidance in those early days, including mis-use of wildlife and game laws, so we began encouraging the operators to give quality services and practice fair chase.

      In an effort to reach out to outfitters, we opened a taxidermy receiving station in Anchorage that soon expanded to a large museum of Alaska animals, which also included Anchorage’s largest gift shop of Alaska Native arts & crafts and furs of every description. Soon after, we opened a similar store and display in Fairbanks and then took over a very old Eskimo Arts and Crafts store in Nome. Our Anchorage Museum was such an outstanding display that it was the only place visited, besides Elmendorf Air force Base by President Eisenhower during his official visit to Alaska. Our Seattle business, besides taxidermy, expanded to a fur manufacturing company, tannery and fur skin trading company.

      Being the only single brother with no home ties, I was the one that spent most of the time managing the Alaska operation, so I took every opportunity to collect most all the different Alaska wildlife and have the life-sized specimens mounted for the Anchorage and Fairbanks displays.

      Also in the 50’s I began spending a lot of time staying with the Eskimos in Point Hope, a remote village on the Chukchi Sea above the Arctic Circles where I hunted by dog team collecting Polar Bear and other Marine Mammals. I also spent time with the Eskimos at Savoonga hunting by skin boat for walrus and seals. Both of those early efforts were my attempt to develop a fair chase sport for Marine Mammals, and giving the Eskimos a source of income.

      The Marine Mammal programs were well accepted and flourished until the U S Fish and Wildlife Service established the poorly written Marine Mammals Act, which destroyed the livelihood and heritage of the Native Americans for good, besides doing great harm to the Balance of Nature along our shorelines and our fisheries.

      In 1962, the Klineburgers went worldwide. Long story, but Uganda, in East Africa, received its independence from Great Britain, who helped the new government start their own safari program. Needing clients, they came to Seattle to solicit our help. We responded and partnered with them to provide the first affordable safaris ever to Africa. We suddenly became travel agents, supplying the hunting clients and booking airlines and accommodations enroute, along with visas.

      It became my job to establish a taxidermy compound and forwarding station in Kampala, Uganda. While living there, I did my own self-guided safaris, exploring remote areas for the government. During that time I collected leopard, lion, Cape buffalo and all the other plains game. My company went on to partner with Tanganyika and other African countries expanding their programs. It was also here that much of our dealings were at top government levels showing them the sustainability of their wildlife.

      Our partnership in Uganda and other parts of Africa in the early 1960’s established new horizons for hunting destinations worldwide, so hunters jumped at the chance to hunt outside North America.

      Wanting to bring the hunting fraternity closer together we partnered with the Sportsmen’s Clubs of Texas to form a club, “Game Conservation International” (Game Coin), with the idea to have an International convention, which did take place in 1966 in San Antonio. Professional hunters and sportsmen worldwide attended. It was the first International convention in America by hunters, focusing on wildlife conservation.

      By the 1960’s I had collected most all the different North American wildlife, a great amount of game from Africa, besides tiger and panther from India, which was the only place in all Asia that offered hunting at the time. Of all the great adventures I had, hunting mountain animals was my greatest interest. That is for wild sheep and goats. Knowing that Asia had over 40 different species of mountain animals, while North America had only 5, my focus turned to Asia. I had an obsession with wild sheep, so I mounted a mission to develop wildlife programs throughout Asia.
      .speech I made at a Wild Sheep Foundation convention in Reno, so it is predominantly on sheep. The names of hunters mentioned will not be known to you, but well known people in the Sheep hunting crowd.

      PRESS START

      OBSESSION WITH SHEEP—DVD PRESENTATION (16 minutes)

      Now you probably wonder how a desert rat of a kid, raised in poverty, no wildlife education, or business education for that matter, could go on to be named, by his peers, as The Pioneer of Asian Hunting and Conservation.

      The hunting fraternity consists of all walks of life and my business was connected with all, from the local nimrod that spent his or her annual vacation camping out to enjoy the sport, to hierarchy and other people of notoriety. Hunting was a sport of Kings. We assisted King Mahendra and Queen Retna of Nepal on their Alaska hunt and hosted them in Seattle, resulting in my ability to open a hunting program in Nepal. Prince Abdorrezah Pahlavi, the brother of the late Shah of Iran, and one of the World’s leading hunters, was a client and close friend, for whom we trained Persian taxidermists for their Royal Museum in Tehran. He gladly allowed me to start a hunting program for foreign hunters in Iran. President Eisenhower originated the People to People Sports Program and when visiting us in Anchorage, he encouraged us to get involved. We did get very involved carrying out Sports Missions to many under-developed nations. This resulted in connections with top sport officials and heads of states.

      To mention a few hunters of notoriety, there were stars in the likes of Roy Rogers, who became a close friend and shooting companion. Other hunting friends were aces like General Tex Hill of Flying Tiger fame and General Joe Foss who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor as a war hero.

      Very many of the astronauts were devoted hunters and hunting companions of ours. There is a long list in the likes of James Lovell and Charlie Duke, who joined us in Africa and Charlie was on my team at the Wyoming Governors One Shot Antelope Hunt.

      Anyway, the hunting fraternity has a lot of depth, so I used any connections I could to get to the government levels to introduce my Sportsmen Financed Wildlife Program. The effort included the influx of hard currency by foreign hunters to help finance wildlife management and conservation programs.

      The 1960’s were the Dawn of Asia and the beginning of my efforts there. Except for a few hunting expeditions in the late 1800’s, Inner Asia was the least known part of Earth by outsiders. I read all the books of those early explorers and with topographic maps in hand, I recorded their every move and wildlife they encountered. As a result I had a very good knowledge of wildlife distribution across Asia and in many cases, more knowledge than the wildlife officials. To me, Asia was mind-boggling. The Soviet Union alone covered 11 time zones—almost halfway around the World.

      When we purchased Jonas Brothers Taxidermy in 1954, Hungarian born Guy Jonas told us if ever the Soviet Union opens to hunting, it would be the greatest hunting grounds in the World. Amazingly, 16 years later, I opened the hunting in Russia for foreigners. In the late 60’s, besides Iran we already had the Afghanistan and Mongolia programs underway. Travel to Mongolia was only thru Russia, so I spent considerable time in Moscow be-friending the wildlife and Intourist officials. Intourist was the Soviet travel agency that handled all tourism, which would also oversee hunting. One high official in Intourist, Valery Uvarov, that became a very close friend jokingly said, “I stopped answering my phone ‘Hello’, I just say “Kamchatka”!—-meaning the Kamchatka Peninsula in the far east of Russia that I had been pushing for.

      Long story short, in 1970 Valery finally got me permission to do an expedition in a number of areas in and around the Caucasus Mountains. This, incidentally included the Sochi area. But it was impossible for the Moscow Bureaucracy to determine the logistics of the expedition, so Valery authorized me to go explore various areas, hunt, and work with the respective locals to establish the criteria of each hunt and then report back to him in Moscow. Over a six-week period I hunted and worked with the various agencies to establish the hunt criteria and returned to Moscow and drew up for them the first Tariffs and Conditions for foreign hunters to the Soviet Union. I helped them set up a separate Hunting Section in Intourist, just to handle the difficulties in hunting arrangements. However, with the Socialist mindset—why do more when you get paid the same, it was difficult to get the Hunting Section to expand to new areas for different wildlife.

      All through those early years during the sluggish times dealing with the Moscow bureaucrats, I spent considerable time on my own travelling within the USSR to the Asian Republics—all those “Stans”, you know—Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and so on, visiting with all the top officials concerned with wildlife, even though there was yet no directive from Moscow authorizing hunting. That all paid off when, in the late 1980’s, Perestroika went into effect. That was Gorbachev’s plan to establish a market economy encouraging limited private ownership and profitability. At that point I had almost a free hand to establish programs for the most desirable wildlife in those Asian countries and other destinations like Kamchatka, because I was able to deal directly and on my own, and bypass the central government in Russia.

      Backing up to the early 1980’s when the Soviet Union programs were at a standstill, I concentrated my efforts on other countries like Kashmir, Turkey and China. Unlike other socialist countries like the USSR and Mongolia, the Chinese government was very complex and it took 4 years of intense negotiations to do the first hunt in 1984, which was only for forest game in Manchuria. Each year thereafter, I did maiden trips throughout China until 1988 after which time is when I spent 5 years expanding the programs in the former Soviet Union, then the CIS, Commonwealth of Independent States.

      I could go on with experiences, great challenges and wonderful camaraderie that I enjoyed if only time permitted. All in all, I spent 30 years from the early 60’s to the early 90’s developing Sportsmen Financed Wildlife Programs throughout Asia. Most of the wildlife programs in Asia that existed had the Klineburger signature on them. I personally negotiated and led most of the maiden hunting expeditions in Asia.

      I might add one more important comment relating to conservation. During all that time taking hunting parties into the most remote areas of the World, we encountered local natives that had no concern for wildlife, killing all they could. Once they saw the animals had a value as hunting specimens, along with personal rewards to them, they became game protectors instead of poachers.

      Looking back, I have asked myself, why had I spent a great deal of my life developing wildlife programs. It certainly wasn’t for financial gain as most all the costs were out of pocket. It is said that every person has a purpose in life. Perhaps my whole life had a Divine guidance. It could be that the Big Man up there knew that some of the under-developed countries needed some direction in wildlife sustainability and chose me to give a helping hand. Anyway something kept me forging ahead to help these countries to do the right thing with their wildlife.

      Anyone interested to know those extensive details of developing all those wildlife programs could do so by reading my autobiography. It is a story that could only be told once in World history. We also have a DVD, which is our extraordinary expedition into Afghanistan in the 1960’s narrated by Lowell Thomas, who would be known to some of you old-timers.

      Now you probably wonder how a desert rat of a kid, raised in poverty, no wildlife education, or business education for that matter, could go on to be named, by his peers, as The Pioneer of Asian Hunting and Conservation.

      The hunting fraternity consists of all walks of life and my business was connected with all, from the local nimrod that spent his or her annual vacation camping out to enjoy the sport, to hierarchy and other people of notoriety. Hunting was a sport of Kings. We assisted King Mahendra and Queen Retna of Nepal on their Alaska hunt and hosted them in Seattle, resulting in my ability to open a hunting program in Nepal. Prince Abdorrezah Pahlavi, the brother of the late Shah of Iran, and one of the World’s leading hunters, was a client and close friend, for whom we trained Persian taxidermists for their Royal Museum in Tehran. He gladly allowed me to start a hunting program for foreign hunters in Iran. President Eisenhower originated the People to People Sports Program and when visiting us in Anchorage, he encouraged us to get involved. We did get very involved carrying out Sports Missions to many under-developed nations. This resulted in connections with top sport officials and heads of states.

      To mention a few hunters of notoriety, there were stars in the likes of Roy Rogers, who became a close friend and shooting companion. Other hunting friends were aces like General Tex Hill of Flying Tiger fame and General Joe Foss who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor as a war hero.

      Very many of the astronauts were devoted hunters and hunting companions of ours. There is a long list in the likes of James Lovell and Charlie Duke, who joined us in Africa and Charlie was on my team at the Wyoming Governors One Shot Antelope Hunt.

      Anyway, the hunting fraternity has a lot of depth, so I used any connections I could to get to the government levels to introduce my Sportsmen Financed Wildlife Program. The effort included the influx of hard currency by foreign hunters to help finance wildlife management and conservation programs.

      The 1960’s were the Dawn of Asia and the beginning of my efforts there. Except for a few hunting expeditions in the late 1800’s, Inner Asia was the least known part of Earth by outsiders. I read all the books of those early explorers and with topographic maps in hand, I recorded their every move and wildlife they encountered. As a result I had a very good knowledge of wildlife distribution across Asia and in many cases, more knowledge than the wildlife officials. To me, Asia was mind-boggling. The Soviet Union alone covered 11 time zones—almost halfway around the World.

      When we purchased Jonas Brothers Taxidermy in 1954, Hungarian born Guy Jonas told us if ever the Soviet Union opens to hunting, it would be the greatest hunting grounds in the World. Amazingly, 16 years later, I opened the hunting in Russia for foreigners. In the late 60’s, besides Iran we already had the Afghanistan and Mongolia programs underway. Travel to Mongolia was only thru Russia, so I spent considerable time in Moscow be-friending the wildlife and Intourist officials. Intourist was the Soviet travel agency that handled all tourism, which would also oversee hunting. One high official in Intourist, Valery Uvarov, that became a very close friend jokingly said, “I stopped answering my phone ‘Hello’, I just say “Kamchatka”!—-meaning the Kamchatka Peninsula in the far east of Russia that I had been pushing for.

      Long story short, in 1970 Valery finally got me permission to do an expedition in a number of areas in and around the Caucasus Mountains. This, incidentally included the Sochi area. But it was impossible for the Moscow Bureaucracy to determine the logistics of the expedition, so Valery authorized me to go explore various areas, hunt, and work with the respective locals to establish the criteria of each hunt and then report back to him in Moscow. Over a six-week period I hunted and worked with the various agencies to establish the hunt criteria and returned to Moscow and drew up for them the first Tariffs and Conditions for foreign hunters to the Soviet Union. I helped them set up a separate Hunting Section in Intourist, just to handle the difficulties in hunting arrangements. However, with the Socialist mindset—why do more when you get paid the same, it was difficult to get the Hunting Section to expand to new areas for different wildlife.

      All through those early years during the sluggish times dealing with the Moscow bureaucrats, I spent considerable time on my own travelling within the USSR to the Asian Republics—all those “Stans”, you know—Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and so on, visiting with all the top officials concerned with wildlife, even though there was yet no directive from Moscow authorizing hunting. That all paid off when, in the late 1980’s, Perestroika went into effect. That was Gorbachev’s plan to establish a market economy encouraging limited private ownership and profitability. At that point I had almost a free hand to establish programs for the most desirable wildlife in those Asian countries and other destinations like Kamchatka, because I was able to deal directly and on my own, and bypass the central government in Russia.

      Backing up to the early 1980’s when the Soviet Union programs were at a standstill, I concentrated my efforts on other countries like Kashmir, Turkey and China. Unlike other socialist countries like the USSR and Mongolia, the Chinese government was very complex and it took 4 years of intense negotiations to do the first hunt in 1984, which was only for forest game in Manchuria. Each year thereafter, I did maiden trips throughout China until 1988 after which time is when I spent 5 years expanding the programs in the former Soviet Union, then the CIS, Commonwealth of Independent States.

      I could go on with experiences, great challenges and wonderful camaraderie that I enjoyed if only time permitted. All in all, I spent 30 years from the early 60’s to the early 90’s developing Sportsmen Financed Wildlife Programs throughout Asia. Most of the wildlife programs in Asia that existed had the Klineburger signature on them. I personally negotiated and led most of the maiden hunting expeditions in Asia.

      I might add one more important comment relating to conservation. During all that time taking hunting parties into the most remote areas of the World, we encountered local natives that had no concern for wildlife, killing all they could. Once they saw the animals had a value as hunting specimens, along with personal rewards to them, they became game protectors instead of poachers.

      Looking back, I have asked myself, why had I spent a great deal of my life developing wildlife programs. It certainly wasn’t for financial gain as most all the costs were out of pocket. It is said that every person has a purpose in life. Perhaps my whole life had a Divine guidance. It could be that the Big Man up there knew that some of the under-developed countries needed some direction in wildlife sustainability and chose me to give a helping hand. Anyway something kept me forging ahead to help these countries to do the right thing with their wildlife.

      Anyone interested to know those extensive details of developing all those wildlife programs could do so by reading my autobiography. It is a story that could only be told once in World history. We also have a DVD, which is our extraordinary expedition into Afghanistan in the 1960’s narrated by Lowell Thomas, who would be known to some of you old-timers.

  6. Dear Klineburger Taxidermy,

    I have a pair of elephants tusks that I believe were mounted by your shop some years ago and would like to determine what the weight of the base and brass caps are to calculate the actual weight of the ivory tusks. They have a numbers stamped on the tusks indicating that they were taken legally pre ban period.
    Do you have a email address that I could send a photo of my mounted tusks with base?
    I also have a collection of North American and African mounted hunting trophies that I would like to sell. If you have a source that would be interested in part or the entire collection I can email photos.

    Any information regarding the above would be appreciated.
    Curtis