Sunday Morning Questions...Part 17!

Submitted by Rick Krane on 6/18/06 at 4:47 AM. ( rmkinc1@msn.com ) 70.109.173.233

Good Sunday Morning! A good week for all I hope! Last week we had 9 new contributors and a total of 33 contributions in all. In the past several weeks many suggestions have come in recommending this or that as a way to share more knowledge with all who read or contribute here. What I have come up with is a weekly suggestion box (my email).

You can write in what you would like to read as a question or a topic you would like to see covered by our most excellent contributors. Lets see how much more we can give back to each other even more useful and beneficial information!

So with out further ado! Lets Get the morning stared to a new week with some fish/ taxidermy talk! WOW week # 17 and it still is going strong! The good people at WASCO give us the free opportunity here to share information so we can be better-informed taxidermist! So in the spirit of WASCO generosity we share freely with each other!
Well here this weeks food for thought is so have at it!

1.) When faced with the task of mounting a new species (to you of course) how do you prepare to do this from a taxidermy point of view? In other words you mount deer heads but someone brings you a rocky mountain big horn or a Sitka Black tail which you have never seem or done before how do you approach the task of doing some thing new to you?

2.) White tail ears: Bondo ears or ear liners? A Pheasant: A supplier company bird body or hand wrapped? A Blue gill: fish fill or a foam body? A Black Bear nose: real or artificial? Which way do you go and why? What are the pros and the cons for you?


3.) Tell us how you would deal with this situation. Your are new to the business and you have little to no cash flow but you must make an order to purchase supplies enough to complete the next several mounts in order to finish your work so that you can make more money to continue with your taxidermy business. What do you do or have you done to work through this? Have you ever been here before?

4.) Pets or no pets. When boo boo kitty dies and you get the big phone call would you consider doing the family pet or is that a line you won't cross in your taxidermy business? Why would you or won't you? Have you ever had this call or one like it?


5.) In the real world you have to do so many deer heads or some many fish or what ever combination of work to make $$$ dollars per year. Knowing that you can only do so much work and have to charge what you think you can get how do you change your business to make more money to give your self a better life? Do you see that in other lines of work you can grow or make more moneys by increasing your volume or prices? What do we do in taxidermy to make a better living?

6.) Do you do it all? Or do you only do a combination of taxidermy? What do you do and do not do and why?


7.) Do you sub work out to other taxidermists to accommodate your customers and how much do you expect to make percentage wise for work you don't perform your self?

8.) The last piece of taxidermy you completed did you think " I could have done a better job, I could have done this more efficiently or faster, or I could have made more money if I would have done ... What do you typically think as a taxidermist you could be doing differently?


9.) We are in a business driven by disposable income. When times get tough and the cost of every thing goes up do you change how you do business? How so?

Bonus Question
10.) If you could only mount one last thing what would be your very last species to mount and why? What is the one last thing you would like to remember as your last?

Give it a shot!

Any one who emails me personally with the answers will get a few free reference photos from my personal collection. I still want you to answer here so other can benefit form your input on this topic line.

It is all because of you and your awesome replies this has become so successful! From beginners to the seasoned pro's every one contributes and all benefit from your great experiences! Let see if I we can get more responses on the forum as well as in my email. I will give you some free fish reference photos for the asking just for contributing! As always I just think your answers are so good more and more contribute on here for all see!

My Best and have fun with this!

Rick Krane
Anglers Artistry
312 Chesterfield Rd
Hinsdale, NH 03451
603.336.7296


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Happy Fathers Day

This response submitted by Frank E Kotula on 6/18/06 at 6:41 AM. ( basswtrout@msn.com ) 72.70.198.243

1.) When faced with the task of mounting a new species (to you of course) how do you prepare to do this from a taxidermy point of view? In other words you mount deer heads but someone brings you a rocky mountain big horn or a Sitka Black tail which you have never seem or done before how do you approach the task of doing some thing new to you?

First off with any thing that is new to a person, they should get and find as much referench they can on that species. Also if they have a friend that has done this before and does the quality you expect you can ask them also for guidence.

2.) White tail ears: Bondo ears or ear liners? A Pheasant: A supplier company bird body or hand wrapped? A Blue gill: fish fill or a foam body? A Black Bear nose: real or artificial? Which way do you go and why? What are the pros and the cons for you?

What this is not fish questions? Ok
Earliners: I make my own.
Both I wrap and buy, depends how lazy I feel that day
Bluegill, I cast them but if I had to skin mount one I would carve the body.
I use the real nose on bear. No real rhyme or reason. I have done both and it doesn't make a difference for me.


3.) Tell us how you would deal with this situation. Your are new to the business and you have little to no cash flow but you must make an order to purchase supplies enough to complete the next several mounts in order to finish your work so that you can make more money to continue with your taxidermy business. What do you do or have you done to work through this? Have you ever been here before?

Who hasn't been there or done that, if not then you had a sliver spoon in your mouth. Luckyly having some credit and having a credit card I can purchase what I need. The main thing to do is after you charge all these products you must get your work done and pay off the card ASAP. You don't want to be paying high finance charges no matter what. After you pay for the items then from there you have to pay other bills and save to be able buy other supplies and start a cash flow in your business.


4.) Pets or no pets. When boo boo kitty dies and you get the big phone call would you consider doing the family pet or is that a line you won't cross in your taxidermy business? Why would you or won't you? Have you ever had this call or one like it?

Pets? Any time. I don't mind being a Funeral Director. You have to treat these clients with respect and I do generally talk them out of it.


5.) In the real world you have to do so many deer heads or some many fish or what ever combination of work to make $$$ dollars per year. Knowing that you can only do so much work and have to charge what you think you can get how do you change your business to make more money to give your self a better life? Do you see that in other lines of work you can grow or make more moneys by increasing your volume or prices? What do we do in taxidermy to make a better living?

If your does a good volume of work that is coming in that in part is good. It means you have a clientel that likes the type of work you do. From there it's time to relize what you want to do, grow or stay put and lose out. I would start by raising my prices up by 10% and go from there. What you may loose you still make up in the raise but your clientel starts to grow in a different way and you get a better higher paying clientel.

The idea here is not to play cut throat and see how cheap I can be to steal work from another taxidermist but how you can make money and live off of taxidermy plus enjoy it.

6.) Do you do it all? Or do you only do a combination of taxidermy? What do you do and do not do and why?

I do it all. I couldn't stand doing the same thing over and over each day. That for me can get very boring but that's my opinion.

7.) Do you sub work out to other taxidermists to accommodate your customers and how much do you expect to make percentage wise for work you don't perform your self?

No I don't sub anything out.

8.) The last piece of taxidermy you completed did you think " I could have done a better job, I could have done this more efficiently or faster, or I could have made more money if I would have done ... What do you typically think as a taxidermist you could be doing differently?

Right now I'm happy where I'm at but never satisfied. You must change and grow to do this start by doing shows and advertize to get a higher clientel.


9.) We are in a business driven by disposable income. When times get tough and the cost of every thing goes up do you change how you do business? How so?

I have to change with the times, other wise you fall way behind and never catch up. Your work will over take you and you become upset with everything around you. So learn to go with it, as prices go up so should you charge for your work. If you don't you will go in the whole and then loose all intrest and give up.

Bonus Question
10.) If you could only mount one last thing what would be your very last species to mount and why? What is the one last thing you would like to remember as your last?

Probally, Dang I can't say that here with out getting bleeped, so it would have to be fish. Probally a brown trout cause I like them LOL.


I'll give this a shot

This response submitted by Bill @ Hog Heaven on 6/18/06 at 7:05 AM. ( wthoghvn @ yahoo. com ) 24.59.215.89

# 1- new species: collect all the reference I can. Look in Breakthrough for any articles about the species.

# 2- deer ears: bondo, faster & just as good results
noses: real, except for hogs real looks better in my opinion & they arent hard to do.

# 3- no money ! should have deposits to cover this. Never been in this situation.

# 4- pets: yes have got this call many times. The answer is NO. I usually tell them that no taxidermist no matter how talented can bring their pet back to life & they should just remember the good times.

# 5- Time: thats what this is about. you only have so much to sell. Do what you do best & wholesale out the rest.

# 6- Just gameheads, what we are best at.

# 7- Yes, we expect to make 40% on sublet work

# 8- Im never satisfied, always trying to come up with some twist to improve in quality & speed.

# 9- When costs rise prices have to follow. You have to be a BUSINESS man first last & always.

# 10- A Boar, its what I do best, because of our live reference. I would want the last piece to be as perfect as possible.


OH ALL RIGHT! LOL

This response submitted by Cecil 64.184.41.234 on 6/18/06 at 8:05 AM. ( ) 64.184.41.53

1.) When faced with the task of mounting a new species (to you of course) how do you prepare to do this from a taxidermy point of view? In other words you mount deer heads but someone brings you a rocky mountain big horn or a Sitka Black tail which you have never seem or done before how do you approach the task of doing some thing new to you?

Reference for sure! I use reference on even fish I've done over and over again. If there is good color and the fish is fresh when the fish comes in many times I take photos.

2.) White tail ears: Bondo ears or ear liners? A Pheasant: A supplier company bird body or hand wrapped? A Blue gill: fish fill or a foam body? A Black Bear nose: real or artificial? Which way do you go and why? What are the pros and the cons for you?

When I did deer I did both. Each has it's pluses and minuses IMHO. Never had time for birds. Bluegill and all panfish half cast or quick cast method. Second choice would be carving. Wouldn't even consider using a mannikin for any panfish. They vary too much.


3.) Tell us how you would deal with this situation. Your are new to the business and you have little to no cash flow but you must make an order to purchase supplies enough to complete the next several mounts in order to finish your work so that you can make more money to continue with your taxidermy business. What do you do or have you done to work through this? Have you ever been here before?

One shouldn't be in this situation as Frank said. I no longer do work for anyone without a a 50 % deposit. No exceptions anymore. Been burned to many times! I don't care if it's Bill Gates! I do have a 30 day net with McKenzie which really helps.

4.) Pets or no pets. When boo boo kitty dies and you get the big phone call would you consider doing the family pet or is that a line you won't cross in your taxidermy business? Why would you or won't you? Have you ever had this call or one like it?

Wouldn't even consider it unless it's the pet pirahna (sp?). I've done a few of those with no problems whatsoever. As far as cats and dogs not only do I find it disgusting (IMHO) that someone would want to mount the family pet, if it doesn't look exactly like fido or Ms. Priss you are in deep dodo. At least that is what I have been told.


5.) In the real world you have to do so many deer heads or some many fish or what ever combination of work to make $$$ dollars per year. Knowing that you can only do so much work and have to charge what you think you can get how do you change your business to make more money to give your self a better life? Do you see that in other lines of work you can grow or make more moneys by increasing your volume or prices? What do we do in taxidermy to make a better living?

I've been attacked for this on here, but I believe too many depend on a knee jerk reaction of jacking up their prices from time to time. I'm all for keeping up with the cost of living but there is a limit. I believe many of us are not as efficient as we could be and should strive to become more efficient, which should also increase our profit margin. For us full timers with the freedom of time we have, it's easy to get distracted. You need to put in at least a good 10 hours a day no if, and, or butts! But remember to take breaks too -- but keep them short!

I have diversified into attempting to expolit a niche market of supplying trophy fish to taxidermists, taxidermy schools, and repica makers. It seems to be working.

6.) Do you do it all? Or do you only do a combination of taxidermy? What do you do and do not do and why?

Started specializing in fish several years ago. I find everything else boring or not enough of a challenge (to me deerheads are pretty much all the same), and I also found doing everything under the sun slowed me down. Even with fish I have turned down some of the oddball things as it just slows me down.


7.) Do you sub work out to other taxidermists to accommodate your customers and how much do you expect to make percentage wise for work you don't perform your self?

I used to sub out birds to another taxidermist that takes in fish for me (and he still does). However, he had a run in with the state law enforcement and the feds (was exonerated by a federal judge though) and they frowned on his taking in birds from other taxidermists -- so he is playing it safe right now. I just refer them to him now although he is an hour and half drive from me people don't seem to mind the drive to get top quality work.

I have 4 pick up drop off points and do fish work for five other taxidermists in the area. I DO NOT DO WHOLESALE WORK! I won't do work below what I normally get myself as to me it's self defeating. I can see though where it would work for others. I either get my full price and they get a 10 percent commission, or I mount up the fish but don't finish them (for one taxidermist although he now wants me to do the fish from start to finish at my full price) at a reduced price but I don't short myself.

8.) The last piece of taxidermy you completed did you think " I could have done a better job, I could have done this more efficiently or faster, or I could have made more money if I would have done ... What do you typically think as a taxidermist you could be doing differently?

I always do the best job I can but I'm also constantly reevaluating my performance and efficiency. I have recently been able to at least skin and preserve everthing that comes with a 50 percent deposit as not to tie up freezer space and have the skin ready to mount and hanging to make money. With panfish they are drying the next day hanging from the rafters if I received a 50 percent deposit. What's nice about keeping up with the flow this way is if I get an antsy customer, and the fish is already hanging, all I have to so is pull it down and finish. When I say, "How about if you pick it up in three days," that works good for both of us. This way you can also feel out a customer that is just pestering you and doesn't have the money or he is dead serious.


9.) We are in a business driven by disposable income. When times get tough and the cost of every thing goes up do you change how you do business? How so?

I'm running into this right now. I've never seen it this bad in the 24 years I've been in taxidermy. I also know I'm not alone at least in my area. When disposable income goes down we are the first to go. The mortgage, food, gas, etc. etc. are much more important than taxidermy. The fish can wait in their freezer. I'd rather have them keep it in their freezer anyway than to tie up mine.

I also think our business is a future economic indicator. We are the carnary in the coal mine when it comes to the economy. I've see things slow down now for several months and the economists are now finally saying we are headed for a major slow down in the economy. Frankly I'm suprised it's taken this long with the increase in fuel prices.

I would rather get another job to hold me over than lower my prices. From all the successful business folks I know that is a big NO NO in our kind of business. It's sends a message that you were overpriced in the beginning. What do I do other than find another source of income to hold me over (I've subbed school five days a week in the past during the winter) I keep expanding my area of advertisement. I have fish mounts in about 10 Bait and Tackle stores in my area and keep expanding. Nothing like the real thing hanging there to see by anglers during all the open hours. Othe than word of mouth that's the best advertisement for me. Yellow pages doesn't do much for me here. We have too many phone books and when I did advertise I could not find it cost effective. It may be different in other areas but not for me.

I also am taking advantage of the present slow down by emptying the freezers and cutting my completion time.

And I teach fish taxidermy although I am confining it now to late fall, winter, and early spring my slowest times of the year.

Bonus Question
10.) If you could only mount one last thing what would be your very last species to mount and why? What is the one last thing you would like to remember as your last?

If I was single I'd mount *** over and over again and die with a smile on my face. The hell with some fish! LOL


Welcome back to the fold Cecil

This response submitted by Rick Krane on 6/18/06 at 9:47 AM. ( rmkinc1@msn.com ) 71.255.146.161

Thank you cecil!

Rick


JL's take on things

This response submitted by JL on 6/18/06 at 10:34 AM. ( wmlures@metro2000.net ) 216.177.1.180

(1)- Reference,reference,reference, it's like that with everything we mount and especially important with a new specie.We know the basic procedure, skinning, tanning,and mounting, but REFERENCE is what will put the life back into the mount.

(2)I use both methods on deer ears,and sometimes I use bondo on a damaged ear while an earliner on the other. Mostly wrapped bodies as I can make them fit better to the actual bird skin and I can wrap it in about 10 minutes. I would carve the body.A cast nose...it eliminates shrinkage and the detail is already there.

(3) Credit card and pay it off every month.

(4) I certainly do pets $$$$$. What is the difference between doing a small dog or a fox? How about a bobcat or a tabby?What if the bobcat was a pet? I do however demand payment in full when the animal is dropped off NO EXCEPTIONS! And I explain that I can't put all the expressions back into the animal that the owner remembers.Also, at my prices, the owners have to REALY want the work done.

(5) Taxidermy is like any other business and you have to treat it as such.Grocery chains in the Northeast have in-house pharmacies,flower shops,hair stylists, etc. all designed to increase their profit. They recognize that since the customers are already there why not offer them services they go elsewhere to get.Taxidermy shops should take the same tactics to increase their profit.I manufacture wall domes and sell them through catalogs and the internet. I make and sell deer lure, bear lure, coverscents and insect repellent through distributors and the internet www.whitemountainlures.com . We butcher deer and other game during the seasons. You have to decide what you want to offer.

(6) I do it all including novelty mounts.

(7) I only sub out freezedrying.I make a better profit without the investment in a machine.

(8) The last mount was a fish and I've been experimenting with silver foil...I like the results, but I have to get better at it before I'm satisfied.

(9)I dont really change how I do business, but credit cards are used more as cash gets tight. The customer budgets his mount while I get paid right away. Make sure your prices include the bank's charge for your credit card service.

(10) I don't have any particular choice for a mount, but I would like it to be one that causes astonishment in the eyes of the viewer, especially children.


Rick, you had 25 questions there

This response submitted by George on 6/18/06 at 10:45 AM. ( georoof@aol.com ) 152.163.100.69

And I keep wondering why people need to retype them in order to answer them.

Answers: I mimmick a combination of Bill and JL. Must be an old guy thing. The only part I disagreed with Bill was on the hog noses as I still think the real ones look better on them too. Like JL, I'm a credit card person.

The last question was interesting. I hope that I never actually complete my last mount and die sometime during the process. I don't have a "favorite" so it I'd hope whatever it is, it'll be a surprise for all of us.


here goes

This response submitted by Michael Shipman on 6/18/06 at 10:49 AM. ( shipmanstaxidermy@alltel.net ) 67.141.171.164

1.) When faced with the task of mounting a new species (to you of course) how do you prepare to do this from a taxidermy point of view? In other words you mount deer heads but someone brings you a rocky mountain big horn or a Sitka Black tail which you have never seem or done before how do you approach the task of doing some thing new to you?

Find all the reference and info i can

2.) White tail ears: Bondo ears or ear liners? A Pheasant: A supplier company bird body or hand wrapped? A Blue gill: fish fill or a foam body? A Black Bear nose: real or artificial? Which way do you go and why? What are the pros and the cons for you?

ear magic, supply company, real for customer artificial for competition


3.) Tell us how you would deal with this situation. Your are new to the business and you have little to no cash flow but you must make an order to purchase supplies enough to complete the next several mounts in order to finish your work so that you can make more money to continue with your taxidermy business. What do you do or have you done to work through this? Have you ever been here before?

I used to charge everything and it is easy to get in debt. Now I always keep back a portion of deposit money for supplies in a seperate account. I keep more than I need. I use it for nothing but supplies or tanning. I have not bought supplies in two years my clients have.

4.) Pets or no pets. When boo boo kitty dies and you get the big phone call would you consider doing the family pet or is that a line you won't cross in your taxidermy business? Why would you or won't you? Have you ever had this call or one like it?

Yes I will do them. Cats I do myself dogs i send to a freeze drier.The price usually run them off.


5.) In the real world you have to do so many deer heads or some many fish or what ever combination of work to make $$$ dollars per year. Knowing that you can only do so much work and have to charge what you think you can get how do you change your business to make more money to give your self a better life? Do you see that in other lines of work you can grow or make more moneys by increasing your volume or prices? What do we do in taxidermy to make a better living?

I have raised my prices substancually in the last two years. I have also started to send everything to a tannery to help with turnaround time.

6.) Do you do it all? Or do you only do a combination of taxidermy? What do you do and do not do and why?

Pretty much everything


7.) Do you sub work out to other taxidermists to accommodate your customers and how much do you expect to make percentage wise for work you don't perform your self?

only tanning and freezing

8.) The last piece of taxidermy you completed did you think " I could have done a better job, I could have done this more efficiently or faster, or I could have made more money if I would have done ... What do you typically think as a taxidermist you could be doing differently?

I always try to think of ways to be more efficient and raise or maintain the high quality


9.) We are in a business driven by disposable income. When times get tough and the cost of every thing goes up do you change how you do business? How so?

At times i have to be more aggressive and more saving . If prices of supplies goes up I go up. After all the the customer buy's the supplies not me.

Bonus Question
10.) If you could only mount one last thing what would be your very last species to mount and why? What is the one last thing you would like to remember as your last?

I could think of a few but i wont name names


Happy Fathers Day

This response submitted by Greg Waite on 6/18/06 at 10:53 AM. ( ) 165.166.56.148

1.) When faced with the task of mounting a new species (to you of course) how do you prepare to do this from a taxidermy point of view? In other words you mount deer heads but someone brings you a rocky mountain big horn or a Sitka Black tail which you have never seem or done before how do you approach the task of doing some thing new to you?
Talk to some friends who are taxidermists and find out if they had any troubles with these. Find out the differences between regions or wild vs. game preserve animals. Get good reference and the best manikin. And then go to it.

2.) White tail ears: Bondo ears or ear liners? A Pheasant: A supplier company bird body or hand wrapped? A Blue gill: fish fill or a foam body? A Black Bear nose: real or artificial? Which way do you go and why? What are the pros and the cons for you?
Earlines - Supplier body - ditto - Artificial. I don't believe in the adhesive qualities of bondo, I've seen to many drum. Being fairly new, I've never wrapped a body, but I have mod. foam. I've done Bluegills both waus and prefer foam. Articial nose has less finish work and shrinkage.

3.) Tell us how you would deal with this situation. Your are new to the business and you have little to no cash flow but you must make an order to purchase supplies enough to complete the next several mounts in order to finish your work so that you can make more money to continue with your taxidermy business. What do you do or have you done to work through this? Have you ever been here before?
So far hasn't been a problem, I get half down or what I need to get the job done. I do taxidermy part time and have a seperate account so I only use taxidermy money for taxidermy. When I had a guttering business, I used a credit card to order all supplies and by the time the bill came I was already paid for the job. Kind of like revolving credit.

4.) Pets or no pets. When boo boo kitty dies and you get the big phone call would you consider doing the family pet or is that a line you won't cross in your taxidermy business? Why would you or won't you? Have you ever had this call or one like it?
Haven't had the call yet, but I will send it out to a freeze dry co that does handle this and mark it up from them.

5.) In the real world you have to do so many deer heads or some many fish or what ever combination of work to make $$$ dollars per year. Knowing that you can only do so much work and have to charge what you think you can get how do you change your business to make more money to give your self a better life? Do you see that in other lines of work you can grow or make more moneys by increasing your volume or prices? What do we do in taxidermy to make a better living?
Increase quality and explaining why my animals are better, let's me charge better prices. I charge more than most full timers in my area, but I am not dependant on it so for me it's easy to turn away work. Had a guy want bring me a deer last weekend, asked what I charge, then offered $75 less expecting me to come down, he left with the deer.

6.) Do you do it all? Or do you only do a combination of taxidermy? What do you do and do not do and why?
I prefer mammals, large or small. I learned how to mount fish and birds but fish stink, and haven't made the jump to birds. I stay pretty busy with just mammals.

7.) Do you sub work out to other taxidermists to accommodate your customers and how much do you expect to make percentage wise for work you don't perform your self?
I sub fish. I haven't gotten enough calls to sub ducks.

8.) The last piece of taxidermy you completed did you think " I could have done a better job, I could have done this more efficiently or faster, or I could have made more money if I would have done ... What do you typically think as a taxidermist you could be doing differently?
Efficiency. I still take too long on things. I find quality to be good but still ain't fast enough. The last mount I completed took longer because I ended up getting shingles and put me down for an extra 2 weeks but I still take too long IMHO.

9.) We are in a business driven by disposable income. When times get tough and the cost of every thing goes up do you change how you do business? How so?
The only thing I change is the price. If supplies go up, the price follows. If I didn't have enough worked into the original price, I screwed up and have to eat it. So far that hasn't happened.
Bonus Question
10.) If you could only mount one last thing what would be your very last species to mount and why? What is the one last thing you would like to remember as your last?
I would like to mount my own kudu. Go to Africa and shoot it, then mount it.


Hey George!

This response submitted by Rick Krane on 6/18/06 at 10:56 AM. ( rmkinc1@msn.com ) 71.255.146.161

You are correct and efficient! I always give more value than what is anticipated in my efforts so you thought there were ten and you get 25 LOL! Hope your enjoying the day!

Rick


From a friend In WY

This response submitted by Rick Krane on 6/18/06 at 1:15 PM. ( rmkinc1@msn.com ) 71.255.146.161

A lot of time in to these this week Mr. Krane. Ran out of fish questions did you? George is on the money you have way more than 10 here you should save them for other weeks. Be smart and worker smarter nit harder. You must be a typical taxidermist too Rick old boy. Kidding you. Tell Christoforo near Laramie, born in New Castle.68 years old Richard and not yet retired.

1.) When faced with the task of mounting a new species (to you of course) how do you prepare to do this from a taxidermy point of view? In other words you mount deer heads but someone brings you a rocky mountain big horn or a Sitka Black tail which you have never seem or done before how do you approach the task of doing some thing new to you?
Look at pictures or take a trip to the library and do some research local zoos if you have any left are a good source of study material.
2.) White tail ears: Bondo ears or ear liners? A Pheasant: A supplier company bird body or hand wrapped? A Blue gill: fish fill or a foam body? A Black Bear nose: real or artificial? Which way do you go and why? What are the pros and the cons for you?
Liners, wrapped, fill, artificial just like them. The real ones are a pain in the a**.

3.) Tell us how you would deal with this situation. Your are new to the business and you have little to no cash flow but you must make an order to purchase supplies enough to complete the next several mounts in order to finish your work so that you can make more money to continue with your taxidermy business. What do you do or have you done to work through this? Have you ever been here before? Typical taxidermist! This is what happens when you have no frick*n clue what your doing. Let them go out of business and buy all they have worth a crap for pennies on the dollar.
4.) Pets or no pets. When boo boo kitty dies and you get the big phone call would you consider doing the family pet or is that a line you won't cross in your taxidermy business? Why would you or won't you? Have you ever had this call or one like it? No pets no people.

5.) In the real world you have to do so many deer heads or some many fish or what ever combination of work to make $$$ dollars per year. Knowing that you can only do so much work and have to charge what you think you can get how do you change your business to make more money to give your self a better life? Do you see that in other lines of work you can grow or make more moneys by increasing your volume or prices? What do we do in taxidermy to make a better living? In taxidermy if I understand your question you would first deliver on what you have taken in and then get out of the business and get a real job until you can afford to be a taxidermist and charge what the others are too scared to charge. You will find that there are customers willing to pay for good work.
6.) Do you do it all? Or do you only do a combination of taxidermy? What do you do and do not do and why? All of it my boy! It says taxidermist on my business card not selective part timer.

7.) Do you sub work out to other taxidermists to accommodate your customers and how much do you expect to make percentage wise for work you don't perform your self? Just the rugs these days 5o% is what I have to get as a mark up.
8.) The last piece of taxidermy you completed did you think " I could have done a better job, I could have done this more efficiently or faster, or I could have made more money if I would have done ... What do you typically think as a taxidermist you could be doing differently? Are these question geared toward the mentally challenged Rick or what? You need to send these kids to a therapist if they can't figure it out for them selves. No more feel good questions OK.

9.) We are in a business driven by disposable income. When times get tough and the cost of every thing goes up do you change how you do business? How so? You will have tough times and good times what you need to do is deliver on what you have and charge more if the market has made you go up. There will always be those who will have taxidermy done but if you are a middle of the roader you will be washed a way in the food of the other middle of the roaders. Take the high ground and if you don't make it you at least got your asking money for your work.
Bonus Question
10.) If you could only mount one last thing what would be your very last species to mount and why? What is the one last thing you would like to remember as your last?
Male Bee Humming Bird just to say I did it.

Are you a farther Rick? Spend some time with your children today and give the fish a break.


my penny's worth

This response submitted by Mr.T on 6/18/06 at 5:01 PM. ( ) 64.31.6.252

1. Start looking for reference pictures for eye and ear position, check the archive for tips, ask a fellow mentor's advice on what different to look out for.
2. Earliners for me, bondo for odd of deformed ears. Bird body's, never have done a wrap before, replacement nose except for hogs.

3 Certainly, everyone has some junk in the closet that they can sell on e-bay, cut out renting movies, pizza delivery, pop, beer, and smokes. If you look around, you might have the money already somewhere. But if taking on work for others, 50% deposit will cover materials.
4. No, unless they would pay heavy and upfront. As fickle as emotionally made decisions are, get the money up front and plenty of it. Why not, the vet has boned them on the pet several times already.

5. Two ways to make money milking cows. Milk more cows, or get what cows you have now to give more milk. Get more customers, or get the most money out of the customers you have. To milk more cows, you will need a hired hand and more stanchions, more hay and chop. It would be better to buy heifers with the better milk producing blood lines, vs. any cow from the stock yard. A quality customer will pay for quality work. If you have low prices you will attract the low paying crowd, just like milking a cow that will only give you a quart a day vs. a cow that will give you two gallons.
6.Game heads, would like to do basic fish, and basic birds to expand the mind. I cant stand doing the little critters, the little toes curl, tiny eyes drive me nuts. I like a challenge, but I don't like getting my butt kicked, I would try new species only when it's in my favor and I can see the end results. A man's got to know his limitations.

7. Haven't subbed out yet, but would tack on 10% for a fee.
8. There is always room for improvement, but some restrictions hinder my production working out of the home. Working with what I have is always a bottle neck, it forces me to do one mount at a time. I could batch things together if I had the room. It would be easier to paint five deer at once vs. one with the changing of paints and cleaning the airbrush between colors.
9. Milk more cows.
10. I guess it had better be the last customer on the list so my wife would not have to find someone to finish it. For my last mount I would like it to be anything that a family member has harvested while hunting.


Here is mine

This response submitted by Randy on 6/19/06 at 1:01 AM. ( ) 64.13.28.187

1.) When faced with the task of mounting a new species (to you of course) how do you prepare to do this from a taxidermy point of view? In other words you mount deer heads but someone brings you a rocky mountain big horn or a Sitka Black tail which you have never seem or done before how do you approach the task of doing some thing new to you?

Make sure that it is somthing that you can handle and use lots of reference. I have a 15 ft Croc with a lifezise Impala in it's mouth jumping out of the water, to do which is new to me. It a big job but I will prevail.

2.) White tail ears: Bondo ears or ear liners? A Pheasant: A supplier company bird body or hand wrapped? A Blue gill: fish fill or a foam body? A Black Bear nose: real or artificial? Which way do you go and why? What are the pros and the cons for you?

Research Mannikins plastic earliners with laquer thinner and sawdust with bondo for adheasive. They look the best and never get drumming. I ma a clutz at bondo.

3.) Tell us how you would deal with this situation. Your are new to the business and you have little to no cash flow but you must make an order to purchase supplies enough to complete the next several mounts in order to finish your work so that you can make more money to continue with your taxidermy business. What do you do or have you done to work through this? Have you ever been here before?

Use a credit card and if your cash flow is such you need to raise your prices and get the credit card paid off.

4.) Pets or no pets. When boo boo kitty dies and you get the big phone call would you consider doing the family pet or is that a line you won't cross in your taxidermy business? Why would you or won't you? Have you ever had this call or one like it?

No, No, No. Never.

5.) In the real world you have to do so many deer heads or some many fish or what ever combination of work to make $$$ dollars per year. Knowing that you can only do so much work and have to charge what you think you can get how do you change your business to make more money to give your self a better life? Do you see that in other lines of work you can grow or make more moneys by increasing your volume or prices? What do we do in taxidermy to make a better living?

If your behind then you need to take in less work and charge more money. If your not behind and your still not making enough then that is a problem that I have never faced. I have allways had to much work and I am now finally charging a good rate and making money. Personally these guys that are charging less than $500 for a deer, I don't see how they can make it and I think it is just plain dumb? This industry is basically a hobby industry and very few, probably less than 10% of all of us are charging enough money. Just look around at the prices being charged and the net incomes that guys are making?

6.) Do you do it all? Or do you only do a combination of taxidermy? What do you do and do not do and why?

No because I do not have the time. I sub out birds and fish to someone very local. That way I have more control.

7.) Do you sub work out to other taxidermists to accommodate your customers and how much do you expect to make percentage wise for work you don't perform your self?

I try to allow the sub to make decent money that way they will do better work and if needed I can demand more. (I have not had to demand more or better quality, guess I am lucky). I try to get at least 25% but that is not enough for all the hassells.

8.) The last piece of taxidermy you completed did you think " I could have done a better job, I could have done this more efficiently or faster, or I could have made more money if I would have done ... What do you typically think as a taxidermist you could be doing differently?

More money for sure. Shop rates for plumbers, mechanics, carpenters, welders, acountants, etc. are about $40 to $90 per hour and I would bet that taxidermy shop rates are on average about $20 -$30, way to low.

9.) We are in a business driven by disposable income. When times get tough and the cost of every thing goes up do you change how you do business? How so?

Doing somthing exotic, creative and stunning, taking photos and showing it off. It impresses almost everyone and boosts business.

Bonus Question
10.) If you could only mount one last thing what would be your very last species to mount and why? What is the one last thing you would like to remember as your last?

My very own Leopard or Hippo. Been on 4 safaris and have yet to take a leopard or a hippo.


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