I have been interested in taxidermy for several years but have never taken the plunge. I have looked at many different books and videos for beginning taxidermists.
Which books and videos are reputable?
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I think "Whitetail Mounting Basics" by McKenzie is a good video. But...my opinion is, most videos are only really helpful if you already have some background knowledge. I paid a professional to work with me and teach me to do a shoulder mount. I have progressed from there. You have to be willing to pay for a taxidermy education just like anything else.
I started with the Northwestern School of Taxidermy. That was 22 years ago. I graduated from that and went to the Breakthrough Manuals + videos. That was a big help there and the thing that really got me too start learning was joining my state association. Although hands on will help you learn faster it is not a neccessity to becoming a good taxidermsist. A willingness to try and strive to learn more and do better is the key to success. I had no background and taught myself for the most part. I also made alot of friends in my state association and they were willing to teach me some tips also. So go for it, give it a try.
Check your local community college. Some of them offer taxidermy classes. You do the work under close supervision from a professional. Nothing is better than hands on learning. Videos are best used as reference material. The cost is also much easier to handle than most taxidermy schools and you can work at your pace, as most people learn at different rates. The taxidermist is usually top notch as most colleges continueing education programs rely on quality instruction for repeat students.