Taxidermist are everywhere

Submitted by Randall Desormeau on 03/18/2004 at 16:39. ( )

I have been in the business for over 30 years. Full time 28 years. In 1982 Michigan started a association and competion. At that time it was great. We all needed to improve the few taxidermist that there was. Now if you want to get into the business it is pretty easy. Almost anyone can do it. Most are still part timers But there are many more. I feel that the time is here. That the full time business will disapear. It will turn into a craft or a part time job for lots of people. I use to employ at one time 4 people including myself. It has been just me for the last couple of years. I know I live in a bad area with most of the fish gone and no deer but I am not alone. A lot of other taxidermist tell me the same thing almost every city has lots of competion. I went to Florida to check out that area for mabe a movement but everyone knows a taxidermist there also. I am heading for washigton state for 2 weeks to check that area out to see if there is work there I heard that there is. I have to do something Taxidermy is all I know. I cant believe what has happened to my area. No fish or deer in the once great UP of Michigan. Nets can wipe out a big body of water and also over kill of deer so many anterlist tags given out. I would like some inpute on where a person could mabe go and do some business. I use to get tourist coming back from Canada. But they all know a Master Taxidermist back in their home town.

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Don't throw in the towel yet

This response submitted by Mike on 03/18/2004 at 17:03. ( )

There is a new initiative underway to make the entire UP a QDM area. Superior Deer Management is the group leading the effort. They are the only QDM group I've heard of that doen't insist on heavy doe harvests. Rather they are pushing for eliminating doe harvests in areas with depressed deer populations, yet they encourage doe harvest in areas with too many deer. Forcing hunters to pass up young bucks will certainly increase the number of adult bucks available. If the measure becomes law, you will likely see a increase in your deer business in a couple years. I hunt in the Central UP QDM test area and our hunting has improved dramatically over the past three years. I've managed to take four adult, trophy class bucks in the past three years, but we were practicing QDM before it became law.

Where I live in southern Michigan and also where I practice taxidermy, there actaully seems to be a shortage of qauality taxidermists. Most shops are backed up well over a year on theirr mounts.

Thanks Mike

This response submitted by Randy on 03/18/2004 at 17:47. ( )

Thanks again Mike for the kind words. My main business was fish though. I did up to around 10 tears ago around 250-350 fish per year.Also Mike have we meet? Randy

A craft yes.

This response submitted by gordon on 03/18/2004 at 19:30. ( )

More and more individuals are coming in to see my mounts and check my prices as customers, until they tell you that they are really interested in "doing taxidermy for their own use and looing around how it is done". Same old story.

Anyone can do taxidermy to some degree of execution and as a service to individuals. Some will be good, better and best at one or both. Most taxidermist here have some sideline going.?

you are ok for now

This response submitted by mike on 03/18/2004 at 19:35. ( )

as long as the mexicans dont learn it you will be ok,if they do forget it quit.they will take over believe me the mexican work force is strong in this country people just dont notice it are they just dont care.they have took construction over in n.c thats why I have been going to school for taxidermy to fill in the gaps when im sitting home and they ae working.I have been in drywall 25 yrs and out of evry 10 jobs I bid i get maybe 2.sad sad sad.but thats what its comming your answer everone is geting into it thats why in my opion we the const people are being forced in something else.

Same story here

This response submitted by Chuck on 03/18/2004 at 19:56. ( SRAN_PAF@ACCESS-K12org )

I have 15 Taxidermist in this county that I know of. I started in 1965 and there were 3 of us now there is one on every corner. And all playing the price game.
Just hang in there and do good work and plug away. Thats what I do and I keep busy. But after all the years I am at the age that I want time to hunt and fish. So don't much care to get too much work

I'm a Yooper

This response submitted by 458okie on 03/18/2004 at 21:14. ( )

I grew up in Chassell, Michigan! Great place to grow up, wonderful folks!

My Dad owns Northern Light Cottages on Portage Lake, and as a child I used to guide for Northern Pike! I thought I was fishing, but now know the cottage patrons used my knowledge of the hot spots to their advantage!

The good old upper Peninsula! I sure miss it at times! But life here in Oklahoma is good, too!

Jeff "458okie" W.

Location, location, location!

This response submitted by marty on 03/18/2004 at 21:46. ( )

Just like any profession, there are good and bad areas to be in. Although there are over 700 licensed taxidermists in Illinois (and who knows how many UN-licensed!), I live in an area where there are relatively few for the amount of people that live here. And, most are after the price shoppers too.

I almost moved near Iowa City, Iowa a few years back. Not only is that area home to Mr. Sexton and Mr. Meder, but also another 50+ licensed taxidermists within 20 miles of each other!

I do think in general that there are few more part-timers out there and more beginners attempting to get into the business. You can blame WASCO for this - lol! (Just kidding Ken). Actually, accessibility probably does have something to do with the increased numbers of taxidermists. But, I don't think the numbers have increased THAT much through the years. I believe a LOT of people THINK they want to do this. But when push comes to shove, they finally realize that it's WORK and moct move on to their next profession.

Your location Randy sounds like the obvious problem...

Hard to believe

This response submitted by Doug on 03/18/2004 at 22:07. ( )

We're talking about one of the best fish taxidermists there is...a world champion. It's hard to believe that an artist of Randy Desormeau's ability would be hard up for work. I don't have much to add here except to say that there do seem to be taxidermists everywhere....but dang few who could do a fish like he does. I agree with Marty about location. People don't want to travel long distances OR ship their trophies. Randy does(did) make excellent replicas, but look at the number of replica vendors out there too. I told my wife the other day that my hat goes off to you fellas who do this as a full time job to make a living. Having the self-discipline to be your own boss in taxidermy is beyond me. Randy, I wish you the best. I guess if I'm going to come up for a visit I'd better get my rear in gear before you're gone...EH?


This response submitted by scott on 03/18/2004 at 22:14. ( )

You are exactly right.I never gave it much thought but if Mexicans learn the trade then I could see bad things happening.I have heard of alot of taxis asking for wholesale work and many have experienced declining deer mounts.I was at one time asking for wholesale work also then got busy again.Our once trophy deer state is suffering and now that insurance companies have complained enough and they issued so many tags,our trophies are few.There will always be hunters and fisherman but if the animal numbers go down then we all see it.

What self discipline Doug?

This response submitted by Cecil on 03/18/2004 at 22:19. ( )


Randy there are parts of the country where good fish taxidermist are sorely needed. Actually I think folks that specialize in fish and are very good at it are fairly uncommon.

The part of Massachusetts I vist has very few taxidermists and the fish I saw are the pitts. No offense as I know there are some good taxidermists in Massachusetts but in the area I visited the mounts I saw were pathetic. Richard Krane up the road in New Hampshire gets $21.00 or $29.00 per inch last I heard. Don't know about Maine but that is at least as nice as the U.P. With as good as you do brook trout Randy you'd be a shoe in up there.


This response submitted by Tim on 03/18/2004 at 23:30. ( )

The mexicans are already learning the trade.Down here in Texas every fulltime shop you go into there are Mexicans doing every phase of taxidermy.We cannot [expletive deleted] about them taking over the industry if we are going to willing train them.These people are not as stupid.They know how to take a market over.Down here in Teaxs it is going to bite us in the butt sooner or later.People need to start looking at the big picture instead of the cheap and I do mean CHEAP labor.I will not hire one.

Whoa, Whoa, Whoa

This response submitted by bill on 03/18/2004 at 23:54. ( )

what on earth does the fact that they are mexican have to do with ANY of this? anyone can come on here and learn enough to get started at any time and its FREE for the taking. there is a huge difference between a mexican and an illegal immigrant, whether they be mexican, canadian, italian or whatever. now i'm sure that you WERE refering to the illegal variety, but if you re-read your post you will see it doesn't reflect that anywhere. i work with several mexican-americans and find that they are very studious and hard working with strong family values, i have even become bilingual working with these good people. i know, at least i hope, i took your post completely out of text, but going forward you should choose your words more carefully.

Accept it LOL

This response submitted by Cecil on 03/19/2004 at 00:02. ( )

By the year 2020 we will be 40 percent hispanic due to their high birth rate and our low birth rate.

Mexicans no Problem Here

This response submitted by Randy on 03/19/2004 at 07:41. ( )

But another race do have certain rights here. A native american or Indain can set a net for his own use to catch fish. It has and did get out of hand the fish are gone here. Also they can shoot 5 deer per year per person any sex any size any time and dont have to purchase a licence for anything, Also just need to have around a 16 blood line. I have Indain blood in me but did not get involved with it or my rights. We have the good and bad in all races. The main thing here is no management.............

Not bias

This response submitted by scott on 03/19/2004 at 08:27. ( )

but the Mexicans will work very hard for only $4 or $5 an hour.That is why there are so many lost jobs because alot of things are being made in Mexico not the states.Try this,as you are working or out and about,look at the labels of items you pick up or have in hand and see where they are made.Hardly anything is in the US anymore.

the first Mike

This response submitted by Mike Veine on 03/19/2004 at 09:18. ( )

I'm the first Mike who posted, not the Mexican basher.

Randall, I don't remember meeting you before, but your name sounds familiar. I am an outdoor writer and a charter captain, so I meet lots of people. Were you on Michigan Out-of-Doors TV years ago? I don't do any fish taxidermy, strictly deer heads due to my schedule. From your post, I deduced that you live in the eastern UP. I can understand your woes about a lack of business in that area these days. With gas prices predicted to soar to $3 a gallon this summer, the tourism in the UP will certainly suffer. If I specialized in fish taxidermy here's what I'd do: I'm a member of the Michigan Charter Boat Association with some 500 members. I'd contact all the captains in MCBA and solicit business through them. I've never been approached by taxidermists for fish business. Every year on my charter boat, we catch dozens if not hundreds of trophy class fish. With soaring operating expenses, charter captains are always looking for ways to make more money. Paying or bartering with captains to ship fish to you for mounting would probably generate more business than you could handle. With a little salesmanship, you could easily have 100 or more folks out there shipping you work from all over Michigan or even from other states. You could also train some of the captains that ship you lots of volume to skin the fish prior to shipment. If you do repros, then the process would be that much easier. Those captains would be like your own private sales force as they could convince their customers to get fish mounted. Most captains are willing to barter as well. If you provided a fish mount to a captain for a number of referrals, he or she could then take that mount to shows and display your work all over the region, a win-win situation. I also think an ad campaign pushing repro fish would generate plenty of work from all over the region. I just had a customer approach me last month. I cleaned a huge salmon he caught years ago and he now wanted to get the fish mounted. I referred him to Bruce Jenkins (a Michigan Taxidermist) who fishes on my charter boat from time to time. I think most folks don't even know that they can get a fish mounted that they caught years ago and if more people found out about it, they would go for it. I advertise in Woods N' Water News and that magazine with a circulation of some 100,000 generates a ton of charter business for me.

ILLEGALS are the ones

This response submitted by Tim on 03/19/2004 at 09:43. ( )

That is who Im talking about.And if you belive for one minute that they will not ruin a job market just come down to the southern part of Texas or just about anywhere in Texas for that matter and ask around.Talk to anyone who is any type of construction(framers,plumbers,roofers,insulators,electricians,rig welders,iorn workers,concrete,landscaping etc. etc.)and one day taxidermist.There M/O is to do work so cheap that they run everyone else out.Once they have monopolized,guess what,there goes the price,sky high.They start out as real people freindly but once they take a market over they become real arogant and [expletive deleted]y.No argument here Im just telling what I see and hear on a daily basis.And George wants to open the border?


This response submitted by Wally on 03/19/2004 at 11:25. ( )

Egg shells is right.... Ive lived and worked in several area's where unskilled labor took hold and they lived in a low to moderate value property,was the majority...The crime rate was moderate to high. Had my home broke into and ALL my toys were gone over night...Tools were stolen out of my van at work..A personal protection device was need on a construction site's and in the yard....Lived in a major population to a small midwestern town..
crap can come in many colors.I can hate everyone EQUALLY if I choose.... I am not predjudis twords anyone till they violate my right's and freedom.Then I deal with it, with predjudis....
Going from a federal contractor/employee for over 30 years to a taixdermist is welcome change...
Now on the other hand I really regret the fact the at AZZ wipe is bilingual!

Most illegal immigrants...

This response submitted by marty on 03/19/2004 at 11:26. ( )

...take on jobs that most others do not want.

I don't know too many folks that want to work in chicken processing plants. Where I'm at I see a lot of illegals in the Landscape businesses. Usually performing hard physical labor. Again, jobs that most Americans are not willing to put forth the effort and therefore could care less about these jobs.

I have not seen one (illegal alien) getting into the taxidermy field. Not one. Most good taxidermists wouldn't allow a beginning legal citizen to "train for free in exchange for work" because a beginner is basically worthless with no experience (check archives, this was recently covered). Now throw in the fact that most illegal aliens cannot speak English and you can easily see how SILLY this statement actually is!


This response submitted by Mark H on 03/19/2004 at 11:59. ( )

I live in Western Washington along the I5 corridor. There are 5 taxidermists within 15 miles of me with one of them just advertising this year one road over from me. He is a part-timer and undercuts pricing big time! I have not seen any of his work but have heard from other clients about his pricing.

Too funny

This response submitted by Wally on 03/19/2004 at 12:57. ( )

If ya do a good job ya got nothing to worrie bout,..I would rather have a cleint that is look for YOU,than one thats looking for a deal...
Quality will speak for itself.. We have a couple displays out and a little yellow page add.. We use the freebie sites to show work or keep client in the loop on their mounts..
being a contractor Ive gone trugh just about every type of laborer..Humm I aint seen the takeing away bit..Lazy is lazy and its like crap comes in may colors.. I learned not to pay till done..

Hang in there

This response submitted by Mike F (so called mexican basher) on 03/19/2004 at 13:29. ( )

Look Guys, I wasnt trying to start any racial problems. Mexicans are hard working people you are absolutely right. As someone said they do work for cheap there is no doubt about it. That is where the problem lies. Alot of people look at cost and not quality, the old saying is you get what you paid for. I am sure it is worse in Texas that is where i am originally from. It is just as bad here, if everyone would keep there prices competitive every thing would be alright. I am not a mexicn basher as i was called i have friends of all races. Randall it is the same here in the carolinas woods and animals homes are being destroyed so houses can go up everywhere. Just han in there buddy and good luck.


This response submitted by Wally on 03/19/2004 at 14:31. ( )

I'm just bustin'yur Ba ll s Mike...I've seen the under bid work go on ..But just as the mongs and other asian immagrants did when they got here,,, cept the asians smuggled gold into our economy ..
Well When I was visiting mexico Ive sevreal people mow'n the Turf with a knife or scissors.. This of course is only a observation..So with that in mind myself I see wher to them its ok infact a upgrade..BUT I aslo see the fact that unions have a harder time in the near future....We now have a presidential hispanic campain..I think there here to stay..........

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