Jim Phillips’ collection
The antlers Phillips started gathering 45 years ago are on display – free of charge to anyone who’s interested – in a building he constructed on his two acres near Three Forks specifically to house the collection.
“It’s for anybody who wants to come and look at them,” Phillips said. “That’s its only purpose.”
Visitors to Phillips’ collection, regardless of whether they are interested in gathering antlers, seem to have a common reaction when he flips on the lights in the shop – which is 30 feet wide and 64 feet long.
“Everybody goes, ‘Oh my gosh’,” said Gene Townsend, Three Forks’ mayor, who is also Phillips’ friend and coworker at Luzenac America. “It’s just kind of a disbelief for most of the people.”
Walking through the shop feels something like walking through a combination of a forest, cemetery and art gallery.
The collection is carefully organized in the shop and in Phillips’ head: descending suns crafted with petrified wood and wooden arrowhead-like patterns provide backdrops for elk, deer, moose, caribou, and other antlers that have been arranged symmetrically according to size, color, species, and regularity. The “atypical” sets – including antlers that are mangled or grew in the wrong direction, and doe skulls with twiggy horns – run the length of the back wall. Elk racks are on the front wall. Thousands of deer antlers are stacked under long tables.
Find out more about the collection: http://antlerman.com/index.html