Taxidermy School

Submitted by Murr on 11/01/2002. ( )

Hello everyone I have been messing around with taxidermy for a few months now and I really like it. I love nature, hunting and fishing. MY question is do you think going to school to start your own buisness is worth it, I am about to be laid of from my job for good and I am thinking of going to school. I live in Pennsylvania and there are 3 schools here. They all range in price and length, they are from 10,000 to 25,000 and from 12 weeks to 30 weeks I am thinking of one that has a 15 week course and cost 12,000 with everthing include except room and board. Tell me what you think thanks alot Murr

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What I think is "Whats your academic record?"

This response submitted by John C on 11/01/2002. ( )

Should you decide on a school go the big route, I am familier with the owners talents and his ability to teach. What you learn is going to be reletive to your ability to learn.

You should have a good acadmic recoed before ever thinking about owning your own business.Otherwise it could take years before your business will be able to support you or your family.

You get what you pay for in education and taxidermy is not any different.

I was in the same mess to

This response submitted by Bob on 11/01/2002. ( )

About 2 years ago I was layedoff and decieded to do the same as you. I went to a school out of state, after adding up all coats, it coast about $10,ooo.oo. I also live in PA like you, and have not passed the exam after 3 trys. The school I went to did a good job training me, and it also helps that I have related skills like 20+ years airbrushing,woodworking,busness management, and a vary understanding wife. The PA test is set up so that the exam is subjective, bottem line if the exam board doesn't want you to have a licence, you dont get it. My work is as good or better then any others licesed taxadermest in PA. The board is made up of members of the PA Taxidermy Assiotion that is promoting there own agenda and protecting there long time "click" Do not go to a school out of state or set up shop close to anyone in the PA Taxidermy Assiotion you will not PASS! The PA schools will do the work for you so you will pass and they will have conection on the exam board, you just have to lie when you sign the statement that YOU did the work. Go to the P.T.A. web site and find the member list and find a town away from any member and lie and say you are going to set up shop there, get a p.o. box. Join the P.T.A you will be asked at the exam if you are a member. They will ask about your shop DO NOT tell them you are going to use your basement or garage the P.T.A. wants you to have a showroom with a reseptionest ect.. It's to late for me to do this, I have made to many people mad doing it the right way. It is the same old thing, It's not what you know it,s who you know. '

Give me a call

This response submitted by Bob on 11/01/2002. ( )

Call me I have some good info. I was in the same situation as you (724)927-6846 or E-mail I talk faster then I type.


This response submitted by Frank E. Kotula on 11/01/2002. ( )

Sorry Bob but you talking out of your A$$!
First off yes I did go to P.T.I. and mind you I did all of my work not the teachers. Yes I can say I've seen it but they are there to teach and show yo how to do it. From there you must take apart what they showed you and you do it. The school is a top notch school and I guess you decided to attend a lesser quality school, that didn't teach the right ways of doing taxidermy.
Tell use why you didn't pass the test. What were the reason on failing. The test is set up that any person can pass it as long as he follows the guide lines set up by the game commision not the PTA. I can say and agree that there are a number of licensed taxidermist in our state that maybe are not qualified to be licensed but they passed their test years ago. But with todays products there is really no reason on way anyone wether home or school taught can't pass the test. Personally it's way to easy!
LOL there are many of us so called PTA members that live near each other and we do help out each and every one of us if we can. You don't fail if a member lives near you.
And in reality it's what you know not who. I get the biggest kick when I here this. They say it's the only way you pass the test, well that's bull. I had the hardest judges critque my work and passed the first try with out a hitch. They never asked me once if I went to school or if I was self taught. They really don't care how you learned but having it done the right way is their main concern. Also I have no reseptionest and I work out of my basement. Where do you get the idea this is what the PTA wants. For some reason you were told the wrong things and have a bad taste for the state.

some advice

This response submitted by Gary Bruch on 11/02/2002. ( )

Congratulations on your new hobby/profession. I agree with John --you usually will get what you pay for. Your desire will dictate the experience you will have. Research the schools very well and also look into annual salaries and workloads of taxidermists in your area of Pa. The more homework you do the better spent your money will be. And now I will go out on a limb and say something that will make Bob scratch his head--Best wishes with your future endeavors and if I can be of any help e-mail me.
Gary Bruch---PTA member

too bad

This response submitted by Crittercoroner on 11/02/2002. ( )

Can someone please explain to me the reason for having a test to get your PA license.

Give me a break, OK. I get the idea of having to pass a quality type test but it is still subjective, aint it. I have a close friend who recently had a deer head done and it is pathetic. I've seen better mounts that only got an honorable mention in the amateur division. What is there to prevent substitions to pass your test. Dont try to tell me it doesn't happen because i know it does for a fact. Too bad i just dont care to out these guys because they actually produce better than average work.

Seems to me that there may be better ways to get some input with the DFW than to just simply fork over money to have some yahoo check your shop yearly for illigal stuff.

response to frank

This response submitted by bob on 11/02/2002. ( )

i'm not talking out my butt, how long ago did you take your test? things may be different now. i base my comments on facts. The examiners have asked at the exam. where did you go to school? i said n.w. iowa school of taxidermy, he said,"well you might have passed if you went to a scool in PA". They asked, where are you from. i told them, they said" do you know so in so, he has a shop close to you. they asked, are you a member of the P.T.A. i said no they said i should join. I asked a member of the P.T.A. who is an examiner for the PA test, what is the reason for the P.T.A., he said it was to make PA taxidermist a legit and honorable profession, and to bring it out of the basements and garages into the public eye and the PA test gives us the best taxidermist in the US. to this persons credit he also said the PA test is BS and he also said he would help me out with my taxidery. Frank, i have met all the criteria of the PA game commission, but still failed. this is what i base my ideas on. I have this all in black in white, i would like to send you copies of my exams, the game code on the test, and a copy of my appeal and the P.G.C. response. I wish you could look at my work, you would change your mind. the application to take the test even asks where your shop will be and to list your schools and related training and any organizations you belong to like the P.T.A. and N.T.A. I tried to leave it blank and it was sent back.
I'll bet the P.T.I. is a great school, i wish i had went to a school in PA because it would have prepared me to pass the test. not to be a well rounded taxidermist like the school i picked. what would you think of a school that trained students in PA that couldn't pass the PA exam. When I was in the Army we would say,"train for the mission" A school in PA would be a joke if the student couldn't pass the PA test, the mission: train to pass the PA taxidermy exam. How would the school look if they didn't pass.
frank, lets me frank lol. you even said others had the instructors do their work. i don't think you are so naieve that you think people are judged only on there merits. we are all predugiced, and make decisions based on what is good for you ,your famly and friends. Can you honestly say, that you would let someone set up shop in your area and take food out of your families mouth if you had the power to stop or delay them.
The problem is not with me or you it is the test itself and/or the way it is administered. If the examiners didn't make their living as taxidermist, judged your wook according to the game code, and they didnt know whos work it was, then i couldn't say a thing. Unless this is done there will always be two sides of this argument.

Response to Gary

This response submitted by Bob on 11/02/2002. ( )

Gary I hope you can help, They failed me on my duck last time around. they failed me becase the bird was"not symetrical"and "the head neck junction appears a bit long and the neck appears a little short" My Pheasant had the same problem but passes, go figure.
I use reference photos, studied live birds, went to school, read books, watched tapes, went to seminars, take notes and measurements, ask questions. I took my reference photos, notes and measurements and the carcass with me to the test, but they refused to look at them. they said that they want to see a flying bird next time and not two standing birds. Flying or standing is not a requirement but your option.
The only thing i haven't done is kiss butt, join the P.T.A., let the examiners intimidate me, move to a place that i wouldn't be competing with another taxidermist or out of state or pay someone off. I think the only way you can help is to tell me who and how much i need to pay someone off LOL.( bet i made someone mad, good!)
Do you live near Meadville?( Crawford Co.) I would like to pass next time around maybe there is something i'm not getting besides screwed.


This response submitted by Frank E. Kotula on 11/02/2002. ( )

Who ever that person was and I wish I would know him I would just as pissed as you are.
First off I took it 4 years ago and I keep up on the test and in reality nothing changed since then except some of the examiners. As far as a school getting you prepared for the test, yes the schools do help you out in getting ready but that doesn't mean your going to pass. Heck half my class failed and they went to PIT and the instructors did help out. That's there job, it's what we paid them to do, but not to do all of our work. So it doesn't matter that they went there no is it? Their wasn't up to par and they never made it.
Please send me any info you want I would be more than happy to help out here, Just like Gary we do help and we do go more out of our way to help fellow PTA members. Reason being it's the PTA that is trying to change the laws so that it would be better for us all.
I can honestly say that if a person set up next to me I have no choice but to let him work there. Heck my wife does hair and their four shops neat use and yet she still has a thriving business. It doesn't matter how many shops there are there is plenty of work to go around but mostly quality counts.
But this is my side and you have yours. Feel free to email me if I can help, heck send Jpegs to me and I'll be happy to help.


This response submitted by Gary Bruch on 11/03/2002. ( )

I am sorry that you are having such a difficult time with your testing and your birds in particular. I unfortunately am not in a position to offer any assistance to you concerning our feathered friends. I can however help you with anything fish related. My shop is located in Duncannon(Perry county) and if you are in the area feel free to drop by. If you are interested in relocation I have no problem with you setting up shop beside me. That would be ideal--I could more easily help you. I never worry about the competition --I just do my thing. In most cases my customer base would not be yours even if we were beside each other. Do as I did---take the criticizm you recieve and learn from it. I failed the test my first time--It made me a better taxidermist, it made me work harder. I also doubt you made anyone angry, the taxidermists I associate with have heard your position more than once and some even sympathize with it. We also realize our opinions are just that. The fact is in my case that adversity and desire made me the taxidermist that I am today. My suggestion is to "pay off" a taxidermist that can improve the skills you are lacking--wether that be better reference or an individual workshop. No that taxidermist doesn't need to be a PTA member just have good fundamentals. Take this for what it is---advice and as stated above if you need anything from me you have contact information.
Good Luck

Taxidermy classes

This response submitted by Charlie Clark on 01/14/2003. ( )

I am looking for some information on how or if there is some information on how to get some videos to learn how to be an taxidermist or an on-line class could you help?

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