I have been reading all the posts about the NTA 100% issue and I have come away from it sorely disapointed. It seems to me that the NTA will ultimately be hurt by this policy. I am out here on the left coast where we used to have a NTA affiliated club, the Northwest Taxidermists Association. Used to. I am still an NTA member, and have been since the 80's, but I'm beginning to wonder why. I don't seriously believe that this TINY organization [face it, folks] will have enough political clout to matter if the anti's decide to eliminate our "evil" profession. Even at full strength, did we ever have even 5000 members? Would anybody hazard a guess as to how many people have been deceived into buying the anti's propaganda? They are experts at manipulating the media. All we have are facts, and that just doesn't interest the public much at all. We, as taxidermists and artists, are disadvantaged by our very natures. We enjoy the solitude of the outdoors and the introspection that leads to creativity. They enjoy rallies and big get-togethers. Trying to get a bunch of artists to agree on something is, well...the phrase "herding grasshoppers" comes to mind. For those states that have 100% NTA membership, I congradulate you. I hope there are enough of you to keep the NTA alive. I also hope, sincerely, that the NTA will re-evaluate this policy and return to the 25% level that they have had ALL ALONG. [despite all the "should-a, would-a, could-a"] I have no intentions what-so-ever of dropping my NTA membership. My reason? [I only have one] I feel that belonging to the NTA identifies me as a professional, and not a hobbiest. If I ever want to compete in a competition I will have to travel a long distance. And I don't find competition to be as enjoyable in the Master's Division, so I probably won't bother. I will sure miss the fellowship, though. It was nice when I could look forward to some of my old friends from around the country coming out HERE for a change. I guess those days are gone.
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You are right the NTA is small, because most taxidermist have not joined. With the attitudes I see here it will stay that way.
The NTA has given states a long, long time to support them. Fact is states did little to support the NTA or to push folks into joining the NTA so who can blame the NTA know for doing what state organization should have been doing all along. I love looking through the yellow pages and seeing how many taxidermist claim to be NTA members and Certified and then checking the NTA membership log and seeing most of them are not. I will do all I can to promote the NTA and the fact that certified taxidermists have PROVEN their work in a public format. It would be nice to see suppliers also support the NTA by charging an extra fee for those who are not members.
Last point, let's see, you can write off the membership fee off your federal and state taxes so actually the tax payers and Uncle Sam are paying for you to be members so what the heck is the gripe?
I do not agree with forcing folks to join, but from what I can tell the NTA is not doing that. They are just finally requiring state organizations, who have used their services and programs for years for free, to step up to the plate and start supporting them. Why wouldn't a state want to do this? I thought state purposes were or should be in line with the NTA?
What services and support has the NTA ever given to its afffiliated for free? I am asking this honestly. I can't think of much. There must be something though, aside from some political representation of possible but uncertain value. I was only treasurer for two terms in our local club, but I remember that we had to PAY to be affiliated.
When we had an NTA sanctioned show, the only members whose points counted toward the AE were those who PAID their NTA dues. Even those who were not NTA members had to be aware of the fact that we, as a state organization, held the NTA in high regard. I like to think that some of that respect rubbed off and encouraged even some of our part-timers to want to join. I remember hearing talks about the benefits of joining at many of our meetings, but it has been a while.
We in the West have been made to feel that we are too far away and unprofitable to be worth much trouble. I truly don't believe that was the intent, but nonetheless the feeling remains. The NTA just doesn't have the respect it once did. I believe that a large part of that respect was due to the attitude that our state members projected, ie: our pride in being affiliated. Remember, the NTA isn't seen much west of the Rockies so it is a vague concept to some of the local taxidermists. They can see no reason to join some eastern group.
I was going to say that the one thing the states give to the NTA is status and respect by CHOOSING to be affiliated. That is something that no amount of money can buy, but it is also something that can be lost if it isn't at least a little bit reciprocal.
The NTA's respect of state groups is very hard to demonstrate.
How to get all taxidermists to join the NTA? Take a nap and dream about it, because it sure won't happen in reality! As I said before, taxidermists just aren't the kind of people that want to go with the crowd. Why are so many unable to see that? If you try to force an independent-minded person to vote a certain way, they may very well vote with their feet! I mean "pack up and leave" if that wasn't clear enough. Why should anybody be surprised when a large percentage of our very un-conventional fellow taxidermists do exactly what could have been predicted?
I believe that the NTA has made an error with this policy. I hope it doesn't destroy itself by mis-judging the nature of the very people it is supposed to represent. Of course I realize that SOME taxidermists are going to be quite happy to "go with the flow" and do whatever they are told to without asking why. Maybe there are more of them than I think, and I am concerned for no reason. This is one of those times when I actually hope I'm wrong. Time will tell.
I would like to shed some light on the issue a small group fighting for on a certain issue.Nancy is right a small group under 5000 can not fight a large national animal rights organization head on.That's why the N.T.A. has affiliated with a group called conservation force which is headed up by John Jackson who is a very well respected lawer and past president of safari club international.This group fights hard on all fronts where hunting is under attack, such as the grizzly bear hunting ban in B.C. Canada.Now the N.T.A. gives a financial donation to this organization,the money that is used comes from the N.T.A. conservation fund which is money raised during an auction of various hunting and fishing trips that have been donated.So rest assured that your membership dues are not funding this fight,only the generous people who have donated and the people who bid for these trips.Now you take 20 small grass root organizations banning together like this all of a sudden you can have 50,000-100,000 people fighting for the same common cause.I once read an article where PETA only has around 200,000 members world wide,I was a little surprized that they did'nt have more members,but they are very organized and united in their cause.Well I have rambled long enough,I hope I may have answered any questions that people might have had .If any one wants to disscuss anything about this issue with the N.T.A. please feel free to e-mail me,and happy mother's day to all you moms out there.Rich
Sorry Dave, The fact that dues are tax deductable does NOT mean that someone else is paying them for you. It simply means that YOU are paying for them with pre-tax monies as opposed to after-tax monies. Most folks who operate their own businesses understand this, many who work for wages don't.
Too bad about the NTA going out west, but heck, they might come back sometime soon. The western shows were good shows. Uh, Dave, you CANT see where the NTA is forcing folks to join? I find that statement...amazing!
Nancy, you are way to pragmatic, you are offering to much reality for some.
I had to go get the dictionary to see if I was being insulted! 'Guess not. I just thought I'd stir the nest a little bit and see if anything flew out.
Richard's response about the co-operation of many small groups working against the "antis" has some validity, but I look at it this way:
If you have two groups trying to express their views; one with logic, reason and documentation; the other by screaming, destroying property, and generally throwing a tantrum, which group will be on the evening news? And if they both are, which image will stick longest in the mind of John Q. Public? At first glance the "antis" would seem to have the advantage when it comes to graphic images.
Now, a question: [please forgive me, I have a case of CRS] Some years ago, a number of deer were "rescued" and relocated at great expense and with dismal results. I think it may have been in Florida. If there is any film of this or any similar debacle, it would be the kind of image that would help shed some light on the reality of "animal rights" groups and their misguided efforts. Written text and facts won't cut it. Ask any ad agency.
I know there have been plenty of "antis" goof-ups, but why don't I see them graphically displayed? Maybe I have, [CRS, remember] but not often enough to outweigh the other side's view. Well, I know that advertising costs a fortune. I just have a vague feeling that the Hunting and Fishing Groups' Union [I wish!] is failing to make the kind of emotional, visual impression that people remember. That isn't meant to say that it can't be done.
I would laugh my head off to see the "antis" choking on a good dose of their own medicine!
Will it ever happen? Did I miss it? [dang!] Notorious cheapskate that I am, I would give a few bucks just to see a really graphic ad showing OUR side of the story!
The NTA is not making anyone join, I can still attend my state show and compete, I just can not gain points if I am not a member of the state and NTA. Like I said many times, I do not agree with forcing this 100% thing however, once the decision was made we should all ralley behind the NTA. I guess that is my military background, if you do not like a higher HQs decision you voice your concern but then you stand behind the decision. The whole point that is being missed is not that the NTA enjoys forcing things or wants to become this dictating body... they are looking out for our best interest and want to get more folks to join so we do have a better voice. This attitude of we are so small that we will never make a difference is exactly the mentality that destroys things. Strength in unity... what are all those against the NTA doing to promote unity? I guess my bottom line is that you do not always have to personally agree with a decision, but you should support the final decision. All this talk about the NTA... for all those oppossed, instead of just pointing out how bad the NTA decision is, come up with a better idea to get more folks involved. It is easy to criticize, much more difficult to come up with a solution. I for one applaud the NTA for seeing the need for more folks to join (I do not necessarily agree with the tactics) but because I do not have a better solution, therefore I joined without hesitation. Just my opinion
I hope I haven't somehow implied that I'm against the NTA. I "voted" by sending in my dues for about the 17th or 18th time. [CRS again]
I TOTALLY agree that the NTA needs every member it can get. My concern is that they will lose more than they gain. I have tried thinking of some better way for them to increase membership, but to no avail. From 25% to 100% is a big jump. Maybe a smaller increase would have gone over better, who knows? I absolutely don't buy the idea that the 100% figure was intended all along.
If so, the 25% figure would never have been printed.
It "weren't broke", but now it sure is fixed! [my opinion only]
It's hard to pull off being toung and cheek here, with just words. Your comments are very real and practical sounding. Like knowledge or entellegence by experience? It's refreshing an I like reading your comments.
Great hearing you on the net,
That's (tongue) as in cheek, and (intelligence) as in I aint got none.
lowering the annual cost of NTA Dues, to be no more than the state dues, ie for my state that would be $30 to each group.
How about offering an associate membership, let's say $5, you get to belong to the NTA, but you get no individual benefits.
How about joining the NTA, by purchasing a subscription to their taxidermy magazine for $20 annually. Again all you get is NTA membership and the $15 magazine, no other benefits.
Or how about becoming a NTA member for a $5 fee, because your state is an affliate. Again no benefits, just a members who supports both.
Now if you want full benefits, then you join at the $50 level. If this mandate was truley about "strength in numbers", this would certainly increase the membership rolls of the NTA, and introduce all these new members to the NTA and then get them into the door (so to speak) to then the NTA could sell themselves and their higher full benefit memberships.
But you know what Dave, this is not about numbers, or getting everyone to join, this is about money. If it were not, at least one of those suggestions (or something similiar) would have been approved at the NTA Feb board meeting. Reality was all were dismissed.
One other thing, about competing at a state show, can you compete in any state without being a member of that state, or just in your state. I thought you needed to be a member first, in order to compete. I do believe that is the way the NTA does it.
I was kidding, Jeff! You sure are right about how hard it is to sound "tongue-in-cheek" while typing. Egads! Even...ME...TYPING? I've worked my way up to two fingers now, but I stll keep forgetting where the stupid "c" is.
Anyway...pragmatic...problematic...phlegmatic...vegematic... I thought it was something like "old stick-in-the-mud" [which I wouldn't deny] but it was something about being practical. I haven't been accused of that very many times, so I had to think about it. [I'm STILL kidding!]
Now I'm entertaining myself by imagining anti-anti ad campaigns. Like the organic vegetarian farmer who has purchased some midwestern cattle land and converted it to crops, only to have his fossil-water well go dry...just as the locusts come flying over the horizon. With "Ride of the Valkyries" [?] as the soundtrack.
Practical! Ha! ROTFL! [that is from the Heritage Turkey's group: "roll-on-the-floor laughing"] When I see "lol" I think of too many possibilities, all of them funny, some probably inappropriate. [but hysterical]
My koi are mis-behavin' [uprooting the water lillies] so I tried threatening them with your name. Sorry. No luck. You get no respect at all!
Dave, if your state doesnt affiliate 100%, you dont get to use NTA scoresheets, AND your points wont count REGARDLESS of whether YOU are a member or not! Makes one wonder why they would even bother to join after thier state decides not to, or is unable to, go 100%, doesnt it?
ROTFL'ing! But I think we still have a good debate going?
Dave your good points are not the issue. This isn't the military it's civilian affairs and we don't appreciate being separated like wheat.
Frankie has spoken as the spokes-person for the NTA. He has apologized for all that it has stirred up but that this new mandate is what it is, and it's here to stay. Please correct me if I am wrong about that summary, Frankie.
Bottom line is, a lot of would be memberships will be missing. All of the disgruntled members and x- members, and state associations have been forced into this anguishing position as we awkwardly, yet faithfully have tried to explain the real situation out there and it's in pact on the NTA as a whole. Their message? Damn the torpedos, and full speed ahead.
That's fine, but to me that is simply cutting off your nose to spite your face. Show me where am I wrong. There is a lot of us supporters who love the NTA and what it has and could stand for, that are left out flapping in the breeze by the board. It's their organization; they can have the membership they want. I am fine with that, but I don't want to read about my loyalty, sincerity, or the lack there of, or any others who has a legitimate concern, to be labeled as bashing, trouble maker, or the "cause" for the decline in memberships. There has been so much constructively said about all of this and about the nature of people, states, and taxidermists, you people must be blind. Deal with it, it is what it is!
Bill you are right about the fact that points will not count. I thought I clearly stated that in my post? However, folks can still attend your state show and compete they just do not acquire the NTA points. Since these are the folks who oppose their state being 100% affiliatted it should not matter to them anyway? The rest of you, who think the NTA is a good option, will be members anyway, right? So your state can be 100% affiliated and then the folks who refuse to join the NTA just pay at the door to attend the convention and compete (they shouldn't care that they are not gaing NTA points anyway). Heck they can have an associate pass or whatever the heck the state wants to call it.
I see your folks point, really. I have spent the last 15 years serving our country to ensure our rights are not compromised. But I hold fast to my beliefs that we still should all support the NTA. If things are not going the way you want then run for office and fix them. Heck I served under Clinton while he was in office even though I strongly disagreed with a lot of his policies. There may not be a good outcome to this but I do know that pointing fingers and crying foul never solves anything... whether it is in the military or not.
Like I have said many times I do not like the 100% mandate, howeve, it is a done deal and because I personally do not have a solution, I will support the folks who are trying.
that it is OK for there to be different opinions. I am glad we are not all alike. Debate is good if it is kept in good context. I haven't read all the posts about the NTA, but what I have seen here we are doing OK. Here's hopint that we all can come to a good compromise. BOB B I think you have some great ideas and I hope the NTA doesn't become so inflexable that ideas such as yours always fall on deaf ears. Cheers
I wish I could type like I talk! I want folks to join the NTA too. But the way they are going about this stinks, anyone can see that. Because of this, they arent putting themselves into the position to succeed. Your neighboring state isnt going to go 100% either. So, once the dust settles, what are all these folks going to do, join the NTA anyway? Well no, they will be LESS inclined to do so. Thier points wont count, they wont get to use the NTA style scoresheets, maybe not even certain judges(?) so you KNOW what will happen then. Lets drop the whole mandate thing, and encourage folks to just join and try to become NTA and state friendly, and let the ball roll. On its own. Because the NTA IS a good idea.
Bill you spoke well and I did see your point. I hope this whole thing works out so that everyone benefits (State and NTA) I think basically, when you get past all the $s and legalism, that we all want the same thing for our future. That is probably why there is so much heated debate. Hope to see you out west sometime.