HUNT COUNTY— A taxidermist by trade, Larry Hood has made a living giving new life to dead animals.
"It's an art," he said.
Hood will now have to draw on those talents to resurrect his shop eight miles southeast of Greenville, which burned to the ground in a four-alarm fire early Tuesday morning.
"I'm just having to look at it in a positive way to keep from crying, because I have my whole life in there," he said.
None of it was insured, and it's a total loss — including Hood's prized elk horns.
"If you've ever been elk hunting and killed a bull elk, they weigh from 800 to 1,000 pounds. And if you kill them four miles from camp, let me tell you, there’s nothing easy about it," he said. "So those were my pride and joy there."
Worse yet, the fire destroyed dozens of specimens that belonged to Hood's customers, including a well-known sports personality Larry addressed while talking to News 8.
“If you are watching this, Mr. Doug Free of the Dallas Cowboys, your horns burned up in there," he said.
But the outpouring Hood has received has been uplifting.
"I’ve got some good customers, because they are calling and checking on me," he said. "They’re not worried about their animals. They say, 'We’ll get another animal.'”
With that, Hood, who hand-built his taxidermy store 18 years ago, is ready to get back to work; this time, mounting a comeback by the next hunting season.
“I’m a survivor, and thank God nobody got hurt," he said. "I'll be back in business by October."