One of my pet peeves (Surprise, surprise) is the jerks that come on here and blurt out a question without bothering to use the features that this site provides. I.E. THE ARCHIVES. But now I'm seeing another one.
Now just how readily do you think you'd be able to find a prime mountain goat lifesized skin. Well, I know, and it's really not that easy. Hunters who take them, keep them and there aren't that many "spares" floating around. Well, last week, a person shows up offering a primed Alaskan mountain goat lifesize skin that has been fleshed and salted. Price didn't seem that unreasonable considering the scarcity, but I didn't need it and just gloated over the fact that "someone" could get a real good deal on it.
Then here comes a guy yesterday wanting a prime mountain goat lifesize skin but it must be TANNED. Now those were HIS highlights not mine. That implied that he didn't want a salted skin regardless.
Can we get real here? Now if I was in desperate need of a mountain goat hide in prime condition, I'd figure that maybe, JUST MAYBE, I could get THIS particular hide and send it out to be TANNED. (And if I'm wrong in my assumption, I revert back to my opening statement. Why didn't he bother to check the "FOR SALE" threads?)
A few years back someone coined the phrase about "snap together taxidermy". Maybe I've been walking around with blinders on and ignored that phenomonen sneaking up on the industry. I sure hope it's not and that there are still a few of you out there who enjoy taxidermy enough to learn to modify forms,repair bullet holes, repair antlers and horns, build dioramas, tan hides, or even send hides to a TANNERY.
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I see a number of posts in the wanted section from people looking for prime specimens and have responded to some of them without getting replies.One person stated "been looking all over for a pine marten but can't find one" I had five beauties in the freezer in vacuum packed bags selling for $60 each and the guy never responded. Just recently someone was looking for ruffed grouse. Again, I have a few for $20 plus shipping....no response from the email. These people don't wamt to buy anything, they're looking for a gift. Someone aught to print out a price list of what you should expect to pay for specimens of taxidermy quality.Christmas doesn't come around every day....lol. Good luck....JL
The snap together taxidermy along with the wealth of info available now does seem to make taxidermy easier to get into. I know when I look at mounts it is easy to pick the ones where time taken to study what goes into a quality mount. Most of the ones I see at the "deer classics" and other similar sport shows are poorly done (very poorly) and the nice ones are far and few between. So I think the short-cut seeking, wanna be taxidermists that have come about from the information age will only be around long enough to be a pain in the behind of the real artists. The bad thing is when you see a person with a "wall of shame whitetail" and they think it's the best. Maybe the time has come to have a catagory with photos showing the the differences between the good, the bad, and the ugly. I know this a little off-track from what George posted above, but it's all connected in the end.
What do you want people to do, use common sense now. I find it hard to believe when I read the forums, and someone wants such and such a skin or L/S hide and never look in the For Sale Cat. And it's in there. But then again, I've seen way too much, where most people want something that is totally perfect in all aspect. They don't want to do anymore than they have to. Or they seem to want to learn taxidermy, by posting the question...I found this animal on the road, it perfect in everyway. I want to mount it. Now what do I do? Or, I can't find a form to fit. Or where can I buy this, I don't want to have to purchase it through the catalogs, can I buy it somewhere else. No one want to do the book work, or go through the learning process, like most of us had to. Where this world is going is beyond me. Common sense,and patience's, isn't part of todays world. No one want to have to sit down and do the dirty work.
We all want things in live to be easy for us. And it sure is a lot easier to buy an already tanned hide versus one that still needs to be tanned. But like you said George, let's get real. If I see something I need, I really do not care whether it is fleshed or salted or tanned. I just get it. After making sure the product is in good quality of course. If that means I have to do some additional work on it, well so be it. I am a taxidermist for crying out loud and I am trained to overcome any problem. I wish more people would think that way.
It really is true... sadly. I've been thinking along the same lines for quite a while.
As a wholesale bird person, I've seen this on several occasions.. it's like you can almost open up a taxidermy shop with little or no expereice what so ever.. all you need is capital to begin with..
For instance... If want to do gameheads? I open my shop.. I have cheap labor to skin it out... I send it off to be tanned.. it comes back...I can spend the afternoon putting several of them together...
OH wait.. you want me to do a fish.. sure I can do that..
Out to the wholesaler...
Oh wait, now you want me to d a bird... sure not a problem..
Out to the wholesaler...
So forth and so on...
In a snap... I have a full service TAXIDERMY shop.. I really don't know how these places stay in business... I mean if you have to pay labor charges for skinning, and habitat..You're paying to have all your skins tanned you're paying wholeprices on everyother animal that walks through your doors that isn't a gamehead? I just don't see it...
(can we tell I'm in a bad mood this morning?)
it is the shops like that that really get under my skin... A taxidermist who cant tell the difference between a pintail and a Gadwall, yet they off bird taxidermy as a service....
Granted, it is also these places that put food on my table... but I'll be darned if they are going to get away with paying a "wholesale" price.. To me they are just like any other customer..and should pay my full price for my services.. I mean if you look it at technically.. is waterfowl wholesaleing legal? They are migratory, and the customer is paying for the taxidermy serive right? Well if I charge my wholesale client $150 for that bird, and he turns around and charges the customer $250.. then did he not just make a $100 profit on a migratory bird where he provided abosolutely NO SERVICE whatsoever? Something to think about eh...
I mean I understand a shop who is full service that is just out of this world on gameheads, and the word gets out.. and they get swamped with gameheads, and they can no longer have the time to do other aspects of the industry... but a shop who does it just so they can call themselves "Full Service"....
So to me.. it's a "snap together" taxidermy shop.
Wow, I've really rambled on and on haven't I? I need coffee now..
Have a good morning guys and thanks for letting me vent.
Hate to say it - but I think the days of skin moving are numbered. George mentioned 'snap together taxidermy' and it cant be closer to the truth. I've said it before that it's only a matter of time before we are seeing bass blank 'models' beside car models in Wal*Mart. All they need for novices to paint them is some sort of 'how to paint this fish' guide... oh wait - arent they called paint schedules? Yup - a nice repro in carboard box with a schedule in there and a lil set of acrylic paints, all with a shiny plastic window to look through to see the product inside with a lil "Made in China' stamped on the bottom. It'll happen - it's not a matter of if it's a matter of when. Furs and feathers are safe.. for now, but in the special effects industry they are developing new synthetic furs that even have the same pattern to the lay of the fur as real animals. It will take a little development before they are quite up to snuff and hold up to close scrutiny, but just like with fish repros - it will happen when the quality is high enough that the reproductions furs will be as good or better. No worn spots, no slippage, no grease leakage from those divers... The customers by and large will not pay for the quality of a real mount if a good repro is hundreds less. Heck they'll buy a poorly prepped animal that is going to rot in 8 years from the guy down the road if it means saving $100, why wouldn't they go full repro that will never rot for $99.95 from some 'nature art' centre? Or take a pair of repro antlers and stick them on a 10 dollar mounting board from Wal*Mart... just like the taxi's do it without paying $20+ an hour!
Snap together taxidermy? It's already here and picking up speed.
It is called Erector Set Taxidermy not snap together. Remember , the Erector set toy when we were kids. I know you were a poor boy in SC and all you had to play with were "lighter knots".
Quality work is quality work and who among us (the dedicated and good ones) really is doing this for simply the cash...? I see what George and the rest of you said happening and I see Raven's point about walmart style taxidermy, but I also see some really good taxidermists and some clients that want professionals around...we may become eccentric craftsmen/women or we may simply lose a lot of work to discount dollar store hacks (look at the crap on ebay), but in the end we will still have a market to those that appreciate a truly nice mount...and best of all, we will have pride in our product.. and that is the real reason we started doing this stuff.
Ethics from those that have none (those who take in mounts to practice on without telling their client or get wholesale work done and sell it as their own) is not something we can ever stop or even expect. Ethics cannot be legislated. But my hopes, and I have seen it locally here where I am, is that eventually someone's crappy work catches up with them and they in fact do me a favour, because similar to the Japanese VCR marketing plan...once everone has a cheap crappy product that they get used to having, they will in fact buy a better product the second time around...and that's where I come in. Have a great one!
Good post George. I agree with you. With some people, if it dosen't come out of a "can" they don't know what to do or how to do it. And some people can't open a can!
Good post George. I agree with you. With some people, if it dosen't come out of a "can" they don't know what to do or how to do it. And some people can't open a can!
All comes down to a new generation that's lost the main things as a human, like thinking for themselves and using ones brain and imagination to solve a problem or come up with an alternative way to get around a problem and also allot of Laziness, with the access to computers at a click of a button a wannabe can become or they think they can become a Taxidermist in 5 minutes...
It is to easy now days for anyone to get into taxidermy with the many supply company's and the many websites about like this one that taxidermist answer there questions etc for them at a click of a button, and that's fine as that's they way the world is now days, I bet if all the Taxidermist that come on here answering the questions for these wannabe's stopped, hell there would be a big drop in the number of taxidermists full stop) let them use there brain and imagination for a change and see what happens........... there may not be as many Kittsett and fastfix taxidermist about then...
You know what makes me laugh is when I have seen a newbie come on here asking questions , I mean the silliest and the simplenss of questions, they admit they know nothing about taxidermy, ........then 3 weeks later they are answer questions and giving advice how to do taxidermy..LOL guess there must be some Fast learners out there ..lol
that's my O/P anyway...
Why do we allow the supply companies that we support offer all these do it yourself kits.Isnt that like biting the hand that feeds you? Im sure they could still make it without undercutting the hard working taxidermist out there.I know walmart sells turkey tail plaques and deer plaqes but I dont know who supplys them.Its just a matter of time before "our" supply companies start cashing in on Walmart customers.
I have to laugh when I read these posts. I remember when foam forms came out. There was a bunch of guys [expletive deleted]ing that it no longer took any skill to do taxidermy. Then I remember when the Eppleys started making nictitating membranes and ears with veins. "You can just snap together a mount". Now there are pre-rotated eyes and mouth cups for just about every species. Thing is, I DON'T see any increase in the quality of work. I would say that 90% of the taxidermy work I see is poor. These snap together kits didn't help. I LOVE it when guys get one of those kits. Most of the time after they butcher that deer they thought they were going to do "cheap" they wake up. Anybody who cannot tell the difference between good and bad taxidermy is not a customer I want anyhow. Crapsidermists help my business more than anything. As far as wholesalers go, if they do good work I see no problem with sending them work. Personally, I keep the amount of work I do under control so that I don't need them.
Humm I see and understand all of your points ..Its like no one thought once the schools opened up and all the videos came out that this wouldnt be...I learned the old way wreacking things which I am sure most of you did.. But when ya have companies handing out user freindly intel whats next..Then this is I feel the greatest point..Most wholesalers are to damn cheap,,Ooo I bet that lit a few fire's?but honestly now why would anyone stand up all proud of their shop and say sure we can handle that for ya...Knowing there is a really good wholesaller out ther that will assist them in takeing in the work..Yep the client picks it up thinking their taxidermist did this fine mount.Now how many of you out there do send out ? Lets see a few post in honesty as to who does.The next question is who does wholesale work? I do..Now who wants to conform to a industry price scheduall?Where is our freedom in that? Who would like to see all the intstructional Intel taken off the market?
My feeling is if the wholesale prices from some werent so low it wouldn't be a problem..As for the KIT taxi's as Kiwi puts it hey some become taxidermist,,most realize its not that easy !
This alomst sounds like a union gathering? I vote George thenew shop stewart!
kinda like fishing lures. Good quality ones (rapala, mepps,ect.) seem to always be available, while the cheap, low quality look-a-likes only seem to be on the tackle stores shelf for a limited time. Another similarity to fishing I noticed is this, in fishing 10% of the fisherman catch 90% of the fish. In the taxidermy field it seems that about 10% of the taxidermists do 95% of the quality work. It seems no matter where I'm at where there is taxidermy on display, most of it hurts my eyes to look at it.
I agree with all the individuals who have posted on here. The newbie (as you call them) do seem to want everything handed to them. They want it in perfect codition tanned or salt dried and ready to go to the tannery. All they have to do is put it together.
I guess I go against what a few of you more experianced Taxidermist said about newbies going out and opening a Taxidermy shop. I am only 22 years old. I became interested in taxidermy 1 year and 2 months ago. I have had a Buisness Licence and a Taxidermy Licence for 5 months. I have only mounted 5 W/T Deer, 3 Wild Hogs 2 L/G Mouth Bass, a Grey Fox, and I have tanned several hides and capes. I am now in the process of mounting an Elk. Which I bought everything and is not a customers. The only animals I advertise are the ones I have done. This year I only brought in 3 deer and a few hides to tan.
I have no problem modifying a form for something. Big deal I screw up a form I buy another one out of my pocket. Thats how life goes. I got a real lesson on modifying forms from a freind of mine in Florida. He told me to come down and that he would teach me how to mount a Wild Hog. He sure did. We went out to his shop he showed me where everything was, put the ( Van Dykes) form on the mounting stand and put the cape on the work table and LEFT. Last thing he told me was you won't learn anything if I babysit ya. The only measurment on that form that was close was the e/n. The Hog weighed 425lbs and the form looked to be made for a 250lbs Hog. Needles to say I got it mounted. Since then I'm not afraid to do any modification to any form.
I have all the basic tools in my shop. Nothing fancy. I have everything I need to, to get by, I flesh, shave, and turn all my capes and hides by hand. I do not send them off. I built my own fleshing beam, and work bench. My dad built me a Mounting stand and is now in the process of building me a fleshing machine. And for those of you who want everything given to them. GET A LIFE because it won't happen. If you think you can skate through this buisness wait til you absolutly have to fix something by yourself or one of your wholesalers moves. Then what would you do ? ? ?
MichelleW / Michelle's Taxidermy
that reminds me of the old " paint by numbers " just because you finished it doesn't make you an artist,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,jim
It`s as hard has you make it....:).....There are natural artists then there is the guy who has to learn everything the hard way...I guess I am a little of both---been buying some old Taxidermy review mags off ebay lately and have really enjoyed reading them...some of the mounts in them mags look like some of the junk I see on ebay---and they were calling them great mounts back then...Taxidermy was definately more of an art back then---them old boys worked their tails off...here is a quote from Jonas advertisement off of the 1978 April issue
"The excitement, respect for nature, mysterious lure and wonder of it all...components of our drive for perfectionin taxidermy achievement.
It`s an art--transformed from pure talent and developement by experience,trial and error,occassional failure and the sweetness of success. Indeed,we`re pleased to be part of it all."
That pretty much sums it up---You old timers know the newbie has it alot easier than you did when you first started but if you would have had these manikins like we have today you would be using them too...there is still an art to it and there always will be---not to mention knowledge of the animal your working on...I learned about everything I know from right here--Yox, and several others helped me out when I first jumped in, but now I find most of my answers in the archives because GEORGE says so! I believe him! It`s all there...great thread!
I understand everything that you all have posted, but what about the person that really wants to learn. I have been calling every taxi in my area and keep getting shut down. The frustrating part is that I know that this is what I want to do and would be good at it. I have hunted 20 years, skinned and processed more deer than most, airbrush, and don't mind sweeping floors. But where do I go from here? All the videos in the world, don't teach what the hands can feel. How thin do you flesh? I have ordered all the catalogs and am working at getting the tools but... I hear all the talk about "Erector Taxidermy" and all that but how many of you are interested in teaching someone how to do quality? How many people have called and asked to just sit in and watch? Did you say yes? I am not knocking anyone but how do I learn quality if you treat me like I just asked to sleep with your daughter? It's very frustrating!
If not, you should have. I'll guarantee you that if you let other taxidermists know that you're serious about what you're doing, you'll get the help you're looking for. A person who won't join their local association is considered to be a "get rich quick" flash in the pan who'll be out of business next year. You have to pay to play here.
I have a personal policy. I invite ANYONE to my shop and I'll teach them anything they want to know that I'm capable of. I don't charge a single penny and as most of them will probably tell you, I even feed them while they're here. BUT, you have to agree to TWO STIPULATIONS. One, you'll join every professional taxidermy group available to you (i.e, state and the NTA) AND you have to swear that when you leave my shop, you'll never withhold what I've taught you from anyone who ever asks you. I learned long ago that what goes around, comes around and if I EVER catch one of my "students" shirking that responsibility, I'll cut them off forever. I don't think that's a lot to ask.
So join your state organization and join the NTA or the IGT OR BOTH. You'll find good people there willing to share and help. Promise.
George And I grew up in a different era than Most of the others here. Although I figure he has a few years on me. Cuz I can hear his fingers creak from here when he types. It was a time when the craft was not shared so openly. It was a time when all the modern innovations did not allow for push button Taxidermists. Any forms that could be had were crude at best, and it was up to the taxidermist to give the mount detail. Heck Often features for that matter. tools? Heck, you had to make, even invent most of them. How many of you here remember going to the roofers to buy flashing lead to make ear liners out of? How many remember beaming a hide for hours to thin it. Or making forms from chicken wire and paper mach`e. Today when one of the guys here finds something to make the job better or easier. one of the first things they do is post it here. there was a time when if someone found some such thing. they took the label off so no one else would know what it was. now people become offended when someone (Heaven forbid) would tell them to show some initiative. and use the search feature. those who struggled to make this profession what it is are told, now, now don't be rude. You must help others on their terms. The push button taxidermist have worked wonders with all the modern conveniences. They have learned to utilize the innovations of others to their maximum potential. they even gripe it they get a form that is not as detailed as they expect. And get upset if you tell them to show a but of craftsmanship, or creativity, and add the detail themselves. Let alone expect them to actually buy a hide that is not form ready. Well, heck I pay good money. I want the best. Yup, George. It is a whole new breed. a whole new profession. A whole new world. No matter what guys like us do or think. We are Dinosaurs headed for the museum.
Think I just heard him doing flip-flops in his grave ;-).
I really appreciate the advice and I will contact the NC Taxidermy Assoc.. You have helped me and if there is anything I can do for you in the future, please don't hesitate to contact.
What I'm hearing (and I hope I'm hearing wrong) is that if you're a newcomer to the industry, you can't possibly be as skilled because of the technology available. I've been mounting about two years now. I use the "best" forms, eyes, liners, tanning chems., etc. that I can get and feel comfortable using. I see no benefit to carving my own fish forms when I can use the forms available from carvers much better than I. Does this make me a "snap-together" taxi? Maybe so. Am I as good as Bill Yox, Joe Meder, etc.? No way. But, after just two years of experience, am I as good as they were at two years of experience? Hell, I don't know. See my point? Some of us who are new at this and have decided to delve in part-time (or even full-time) are learning, just as I'm sure everyone here wants to think they are still learning at some level. I know I'm better at the work today than I was yesterday. I hope that continues as long as I do this. But I don't think it's really fair or just to lump all newcomers in together. I'm sure I've asked some stupid questions, but I've always tried to find out on my own first. Sometimes, it's hard to find answers to things because you don't know the exact terminology.
I can say that I sincerely appreciate the help I've gotten from this site including but not limited to guys like George, John C. and Bill Yox. I try to learn all I can on my own but I'm not ashamed to say I ask for help. I do hope I can help others in the future.
Just a thought.
You did hear wrong. Not all "newcomers" are being lumped together. You've proved that by stating that you look for the answer before asking. But you have to admit there are some really stupid questions being asked that are ONLY common sense answers. If they aren't common sense answers then it SHOULD be common sense to do a little research on your own first to find the answers which are repeated repeatedly on this site. ANYBODY who is NEW to the computer only has to READ the menu to the left or all the words on their particular screen to see the word "search" or "frequently asked questions" to say "HEY! I bet I can find some information HERE!" How EASY is that? If they can't read then they don't belong on a computer let alone be allowed to do taxidermy.
To me it boils down to common sense and not being lazy. And I will be the first one to argue with you that "Yes Virginia, there IS such a thing as a stupid question".
Jim Tucker I loved the "crapsidermist"...that was good!
George? You just fixed the "dull" forums! Is there anything you can't do?! LOL