"Taxidermy...not a viable career field..."

Submitted by Susan on 1/25/05 at 1:05 PM. ( )

Hey guys and gals!
I need a bunch of help on this one. My Leadership/Human Resource Instructor turned down my job shadowing project for school. The subject of my chosen field of endeavor being Taxidermy/Natural Habitat Specialist. To think about what she said (about Taxidermy not qualifying to be considered as a viable Industry)'pert near makes my blood boil! Well' I wanna' show her that her high falutin' ideas can be proven wrong. She said she couldn't find ONE job opening listing ANYWHERE on her computer(She thinks she knows it ALL) for this "industry".

I'm looking for ANY job listings/possible openings you can think of concerning Taxidermy(or habitat construction). She said if I can get print-outs on 10 of these "jobs" she would allow my project to proceed.......So here I am, HELP!
P.S....SHE just got promoted to VP at my college...SEE my problem? Please help if you can...contact me at "susancrowd@aol.com"
Thanx in advanz-Susan

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Well tell your instructor she's a shining example of the

This response submitted by Cecil on 1/25/05 at 2:04 PM. ( )

"Peter Principal" with a big Duhhhhhhhh!

Most taxidermists are single proprietorships -- why would there be many job openings? But that doesn't mean it's not a viable industry. If you ask me owning your own business is the American dream. Additionally many of us in this industry are so busy we are backed up at least a year.

There ARE job openings from time to time, but due to the fact that it takes time to learn the trade, you don't just hire in off the street and become a taxidermist instantly.

Here's one that was posted recently:

Taxidermist Position in New Zealand
Submitted by THe Taxidermist Ltd on 1/6/05 at 8:06 PM. ( tjacobs@clear.net )
Taxidermist Vacancy New Zealand

We own and operate the largest taxidermy business in New Zealand. Located in Christchurch - "Gateway to Hunting in the South Pacific).

This is a unique opportunity. To work in a busy shop mounting new species of game, while earning a wage, experiencing a new culture and country, and practicing new skills and increasing your knowledge of taxidermy.

Many of the sixteen South Pacific big game species that we mount every day cannot be hunted outside this region. You will be a very experienced South Pacific big game specialist taxidermist.

We manufacture our own forms, and shave and tan all our skins in house. (On site) We are a totally self-contained operation. On the threshold of your career, working in our shop will teach you many skills that will stand you in good stead for the future.

New Zealand is an English-speaking group of islands in the South Pacific. Europeans settled here 150 years ago.

We normally work a 40-hour week, which leaves you the opportunity to explore the country and/or hunt and fish on your weekends.

Our seasons are the opposite of the States. We hunt all year round and are busy from March to July. If you wish to know more, please call or email on tjacobs.clear.net.nz. Phone **64 3 338 4266.

Visit our website. www.taxidermy.co.nz

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The Taxidermist Ltd
This response submitted by Correct email address on 1/7/05 at 8:00 PM. ( )
please email tjacobs@clear.net.nz

If you do a search on with the orange button on the left you should be able to find more openings.

BTW go up to the top of the page where it says, "Taxidermists," "Suppliers," Associations,"Conventions" etc, etc. and tell her what you see. Does it look like an industry that is "not viable?"

There's a lot of misinformation out there. I once saw a government publication that indicated there was virtually no taxidery in the private sector and most of it was in museums. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It's just the opposite.

Here we go

This response submitted by Doug Bridges on 1/25/05 at 2:05 PM. ( doug@ddtaxidermy.com )

You can use the orange search at the side. Also, look in the back of the industry trade mags, Taxidermy Today and Breakthrough. They have help wanted in there. Also, there was an artical mid last year of a very successful business owner and taxidermist that only deals with the high end clients. I just can remember the name. I am sure some of the greats on here will weigh in very soon. Cur. Get a hold of him. You can't make a carrer in taxidermy industry, my ass. Call the suppliers and find out what kind and size of business this is per year.


Gantry will toss one in for ya

This response submitted by g on 1/25/05 at 2:07 PM. ( )

Summer Position in New York
Submitted by Stephen Rogers on 4/27/01. ( stephen.rogers@home.com )
I just received notice of this position via Avecol which has a limited distribution. I would assume the positions listed below pertain only to Scientific Preparation of bird/mammal specimens as Study Skins (not listed but implied), reference skeletons(probably prepared by an on-site dermestid colony), and standard fluid preparation of bird/mammal specimens using formalin and transferring to long term storage in Ethanol, besides experience in avian anatomy. I don't know how many Taxidermists in the vicinity of the NY State Museum would be experienced in these skills but thought I would list the positions here for those that are knowledgable. There is a large amount of literature written about scientific preparation which one could read to learn the finer point of this profession.
Please remember to wear black socks if you get an interview.


Summer Position
Laboratory Technician, Bird and Mammal Lab, New York State Museum.
Two positions are open for lab technicians to prepare bird and mammal specimens for the NYS Museum. Specifically, these technicians will be preparing skulls, full skeletons, and fluid specimens from birds and mammals collected by the Department of Environmental Conservation's Toxicology lab. Experience in specimen preparation or dissection, local bird and mammal identification/taxonomy, and anatomy preferred, but not required.

To apply, send a CV or Resume to:

Roland Kays,
Curator of Birds and Mammals
NY State Museum
CEC 3140
Albany, NY 12230
rkays@mail.nysed.gov or

Joe Bopp
NY State Museum
CEC 3140,
Albany NY 12230


This response submitted by g on 1/25/05 at 2:18 PM. ( )


I'm gonna play the Devil's Advocate here...

This response submitted by marty on 1/25/05 at 2:20 PM. ( )

...and go against the grain with what the other's are saying.

I don't feel that your instructor is that far out of line. Sure there are some that are successful in this business. But percentage-wise this career has to have one of the highest failure rates.

You're not going to find too many positions available (let alone ten) looking for help with no experience. If you do, you won't be doing anything but pushing a broom for quite some time.

Plus as already mentioned nearly all of us started out on our own and built the business thru time.

Not sure of the specifics behind the project. If it's just a project I'd say go ahead and move forward. If it's a project that is a stepping stone to your career choice, then I'd say you are setting yourself up to fail. My advice would be to pursue taxidermy part time as a hobby and move forward in another field. Perhaps getting an Art degree would be a wiser choice?

Just my two cents...

Susan become a marine Biologist where the big bucks are!

This response submitted by g on 1/25/05 at 2:42 PM. ( )

yep that and singing , dancing, and acting, IF yur not in it for the money, tell your la di da VP that there is not enough colleges in the world for everybody to become a Vice President of one, heck somebody has to tip the garbage cans, shes probably a bunny hugger repulsed by the idea of taxidermy, shoot go for a degree in Mortuary Science, and then just substitute victims..LOL

Susan Email me I might be able to help.

This response submitted by mjvaden on 1/25/05 at 3:01 PM. ( mjvaden@aol.com )

I have a High school Girl woring for me in a job shadowing project for her school. Her human Resource Instructor was reluctent till she came to visit and see what taxidermy was all about. Her instructor came to visit again today and said that this was acttualy the best program she had for any of her students.

she gave you very good advice

This response submitted by Bill Yox on 1/25/05 at 3:08 PM. ( )

Thats the way it goes in life. A young person like Susan, headstrung and ready to prove the world wrong (just like she should) and out to show that advisor that she too is wrong. Well, the advisor gave you great advice, she just didnt have the best way of saying it. Susan, many of us as taxidermists were once the same headstrung type you are now. We MADE taxidermy work for us. But it wasnt without a price, trust me. Folks can tell you what they want, but very very few ever could honestly say they could compare the successes of the taxidermy field to other fields. We are, by and large, a unique group. Im not saying not to persue taxidermy, Im saying dont shoot the messenger...she really isnt all that wrong! Good luck!

What are you complaining about Bill?

This response submitted by Cecil on 1/25/05 at 4:33 PM. ( )

Maybe you're as burned out as me but it sure beats working for someone else and making them rich. LOL

Even the best jobs get old at least we're working for ourselves.

takes more than paperwork

This response submitted by Sherrie on 1/25/05 at 6:02 PM. ( )

Any career takes more than paperwork to make it work. Just because there are a lot of openings for jobs, do not make them profitable.
For example, my sister, has been in and out of school for approximately 20 years. I kid her by calling her the female "Sonny Drysdale". All of her schooling and I had always made more money than her. As a matter of fact, she never had a "job" pertaining to her field(s), going backwards, CAD designer,computer programmer, computer repairs, accounting, blah, blah, blah.........TIL she opened her own business, which started out as electrical engineering, which merged into job placements, and other things.
Just because it looks good on paper does not mean it will work. Sometimes, it is more the "charisma" (I hope that is right) of the person. How many people would thing a thing called the "TN turd bird" would make a guy a millionaire?
Ask her how many job openings there are for "turd bird makers"?
And Cecil, as I had once told another person who posted, "When you no longer enjoy what you do, find a new career." Maybe a different avenue.

You are going to have trouble convincing her...

This response submitted by The Taxidermologist on 1/25/05 at 7:39 PM. ( )

First off Susan - it would be interesting to know where you actually are. Depending on your locality, you would more than likely have trouble FINDING anyone who specializes as a Taxidermist/Natural Habitat specialist. There will be local taxidermists who might put out some habitat accoutrements with a full mammal mount, but even this is not a given. If you go to yellow pages on the net and try to find a taxidermist, say in Boston, a town of roughly 600,000 people, they DO NOT have a taxidermist in the web search. Richard C. from Mass. says there is ONE listed in the 2 inch thick yellow pages. Using the yellow pages on the web, it is amazing how few taxidermists there actually are. The town I work in, Pittsburgh, only has one in the web pages, but have roughly 6 in the 2 inch yellow pages - but there are about 60 registered taxidermists in the county. Of those MAYBE two would be knowledgable to pull off a complete diorama piece - but even then they would have to bring in specialists in artificial plants, background painting, and other extremely specialized techniques. Taxidermy, they can do, at least to commercial standards, but in theory, Museum Taxidermy with the complete package is supposed to be superior workmanship. Trouble is, Museums are hurting for money everywhere I am aware of, and when they do create a new hall of Mammals, or similar exhibit, the skimp on the actual habitat work because of the costs of superior work and lack of trained personelle.

The places producing the most habitat groups are the large taxidermy shops who are making habitat groups for businesses like Cabelas or similar commercials ventures, or for the very few wealthy individuals who create small collections of trophies they have harvested/shot. The latter category is slipping a lot from what it was 40 years ago.

There are many more jobs where taxidermy is a benificial additive to a job applicant. For example, Nature Centers, of which there are probably hundreds across the US, are always looking for someone to donate taxidermy to their center. If you could do good taxidermy, that would be a plus in getting a job at one. Stand alone museums and university museums also sometimes have field collectors, or curatorial assistants/collection managers who care for scientific collections and do prep work for the collections. Taxidermy is not that different in many aspects, except that posing is not done nor glass eyes put in.

Taxidermy is a great individual stand alone business as far as the satisfaction one can get from doing a great job. However, I would say it is not very financially profitable, and subject to the whim of the economy and to competition for the limited number of people who want taxidermy done. I would never advise someone to not go to college and skip getting a degree to go into taxidermy. I would say that most if not all of the best taxidermists I know out there have a college degree in biology, or natural resources, even pre-med degrees, and then decided to try and make a go at taxidermy. The best succeed.

My opinion would be to make taxidermy a profitable hobby, and have a real job provide retirement, health benefits, vacation and other perks. Taxidermy can provide entertainment money or extra vacation money.

I did do a search on career training. Google lists dozens of taxidermy schools where you pay a large quantity to "learn" the business, only later to find out it is a hard business to crack. These links describe needs for a career in taxidermy and are from around the world.

Good luck though.



This response submitted by JD on 1/25/05 at 8:00 PM. ( )

Taxidermy is a labor of love. If it's meant to be you'll find a way even if its your second or third or even retirement career. Follow your heart not the money! No matter what field you choose if you put in 150% and you stick with it you will florish. In time you will be well compensated for your knowledge and expertise. Of this I am certain! We all have gone through this before thinking we know better and that we have all the answers. It's part of the human experience. What you lack in life experience you make up in heart. Do taxidermy because its your wish and will bring you personal satisfaction. Don't do it to prove someone wrong. Thats the first step to barking up the wrong tree. And a hard lesson not so easily forgotten. Only you can decide if your passion to bring animals back to life will sustain you. In the mean time, listen to your human resource instructor, train for a "REAL JOB" and use the extra money you earn to finance your taxidermy. Noone says you can't have your cake and eat it too!

I would ask her to......

This response submitted by J Randall on 1/25/05 at 9:03 PM. ( )

call any or even all the Taxidermist in her area and have her ask how much she would have to pay to get her deer mounted and how backed up they are so she could get a general idea of the wait time involved.
Man what a bunch of crap! not all chosen career's can be found in the help wanted section... I'm sure she is well educated and qualified for numerous positions available in the help wanted adds but can she or any other regular person that hasn't really dedicated themselves to the art just walk in with lets say a month probationary training period and mount trophies for customers..
In my opinion Taxidermy is an art form and being a taxidermist is alot like being a musician or a writer....Not just everyone can do it. Sure people can go to school and learn how to do a few mounts but if they end up successful most likely they had the ability within themselves to begin with. I'm not putting down Taxidermy Schools what I am saying as we all know you have to be almost obsessed to get really good at this art not to mention have some level of artistic vision and ability. I bet we could all take a four year class on advanced writing and none of us could write one best seller after words. Has anyone else in here taken lessons to learn how to play the guitar or the like? If so how many of you are a professional musician? Thats why there is no Job market for taxidermist,if just anyone could learn how to do it there would be an available job opening at the local Wal-Mount store. I would have to ask her how many job openings she could find for musicians, writers ect. and then let her know just because there were more available openings for teachers doesn't mean she has the right to say what is or isn't a viable industry for everyone else.

oh well, I tried

This response submitted by Bill Yox on 1/25/05 at 9:09 PM. ( )

First off, Cecil, I wasnt complaining, just stating a valid point. Im still doing taxidermy, just being realistic about it!

Guys, that resource instructor is just doing her job. Ask her about being a wildlife artist, or a sculptor, or an illustrator...all valid and profitable carrers, and she will say the same exact thing. Its just that these are niche-type careers. These are the type of careers where a person may indeed create the demand for their services. Heck theres guys out there right now making money doing micro-carvings on the tips of toothpicks, but I doubt very much if thats becoming a career choice for the up and comers...

It never fails....

This response submitted by Al on 1/25/05 at 9:43 PM. ( nyarchery@aol.com )

There is some sound advice above but people will always read what they want. We are all in different scenero's and have different backgrounds. The truth is that surely more money could be made being a plumber! Taxidermy is a luxery item. Sure.....if you do decent work and keep your price with-in reason you will most likely get enough work to do. But thats only 1/2 of it! Overhead, and getting people to pay will always be a headache. I feel that it is harder to run a profitable taxidermy studio then it is to do a 1 st place mount.
One thing for sure the blue ones don't pay the bills! No pun intended!

GREAT Post Marty, Bill and Al

This response submitted by George on 1/25/05 at 10:40 PM. ( georoof@aol.com )

It only goes to prove that about 70% of our industry avoids the truth at all costs. Susan, these two guys gave you invaluable advice on the truth. We ARE unique, most of us Type "A" personalities, and defiant when told something can't be done. Much like you are now is what we were, but whether you believe it or not, it's much easier to continue your education than it is to go back to school down the road. Just reading the responses, I found it quite interesting that several of the people who defended your position already have college degrees. Elmer and Stephen Rogers are probably two of the most cerebral guys you could ever meet and I know that Elmer has lived one exciting and fulfilling life in other venues. They gave you some great ideas of careers that caveat with taxidermy down the road or can be stand alone if you decide later not to go that way. Listen to them before you combat your advisor. Use that information in your rebuttal and bend her thoughts toward your objective. As we say in this business, "There's more than one way to skin a cat". Good Luck.

Hi Bill

This response submitted by Todd Huffman on 1/25/05 at 11:00 PM. ( birdmanstudios@qwest.net )

Every word........... :)

Im with the one who..

This response submitted by Mark on 1/25/05 at 11:32 PM. ( mtmmvruno@lakeland.ws )

Tell you the instructor is right. I have been in taxidermy my whole career and i can tell you its always a uphill battle.Some years you do good other you struggle. its never the same from year to year. You would be hard pressed to find 10 job ads in the whole U.S. for taxidermy and as others said mostly entry level sweeper or jobs with many years of experience required. With all the lowball cutrate competition odds in favor of failure are more than likely in this industry sad but true. Find a better subject and you be far ahead of the game. keep taxidermy as a hobby and you will enjoy it much more. Good luck,Mark

I guess I have to be the oddball here again

This response submitted by Cecil on 1/26/05 at 5:53 AM. ( )

and I also have a college degree with honors in fact.

I still content all whining aside you can do quite well in this business but you have to have the umpph! You need to be task and goal driven and can't get distracted. If your work quality is very good, your prices are up there where they should be, and you are in a good area, the only limit on your income is the amount of work you can get done. So there!

I specialize in fish because I can't keep up with everything else!

Do I follow my own advice all the time? Hell no! LOL

Cecil, it took you that long to recognize you're "oddball"?

This response submitted by George on 1/26/05 at 8:21 AM. ( )

We've had THAT figured out years ago. And YOU are living proof that a taxidermist has to have subsidies from other venues. You do SELL fish, don't you? Bought books, went to school, stayed out to lunch. Geez!

I too have a BA...

This response submitted by marty on 1/26/05 at 8:41 AM. ( )

I learned a lot in college but more importantly, I had FUN! Go to school and explore some other avenues.

I started out as a Business Major, then a Geology major and finally ending up with a BA in Art and Education. Then I got a job as a Technician at an Engineering firm. Then I became a Draftsman. Then a Designer. Then Supervisor. Then back to Designer. Then Fish Taxidermist. Your H.R. Instructor probably would have trouble on a Flow Chart with that career path - lol!

My point is you're young and you will change your mind a gazillion times over the next few years. I would bet that 90% or higher of the folks out there did not end up in their initially chosen field. Heck I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up!

is it just me, or Cecil...

This response submitted by Bill Yox on 1/26/05 at 3:27 PM. ( )

I support a family with 4 kids and Im a taxidermist, so evidently taxidermy CAN do it. One of the above posts was from someone who makes a lot more money a year than you guys could possibly imagine, Im not gonna say names, but he does, and its true. So, for the final time, Im not saying it CANT. Im just saying the counseler is correct, its not the best choice for a career while standing at that crossroad.

Process of elimination...

This response submitted by marty on 1/26/05 at 3:34 PM. ( )

For the record, it ain't me making all that money. In fact, I've got Tsunami victims feeling sorry for me and sending me money! Tsunami, tsunami, tsunami. Isn't that a fun word to say? Sorta like "shrubbery", "Tabernacle" and "moist". Three (now four) of my favorite words to say (that I can publish here that is!)

Now George lets take this slowly so you understand...

This response submitted by Cecil on 1/26/05 at 3:45 PM. ( )

Go up to my post and read the header. Do you see where it says "I guess I have to be the oddball here again?" See the word that is spelled A, G, A, I, N? So how in the heck do you get from that I am just becoming aware that I am an oddball? And there's a mold for you? LOL

And you think that I have to sell fish cause the taxidermy is not going well? Now that's really funny. I do my own fish and do fish for two to three other taxidermist at my full price and you think business may be slow? God I wish I was anywhere near caught up.

As far as selling the fish there something fun about having a species of trophy fish in every pond that are harvested by hook and line. Let's see what will it be today? A few largemouth or smallmouth bass, a few 14 1/2 yellow perch, or several five to six pound browns. Gee I don't know. It's so hard to make up my mind! And then guess what? I get PAID for them! People pay me to catch fish! The last couple of days I harvested three brook trout up to 17 inches for Voyer and have taken out 18 yellow perch to 14 inches out of another pond. God it's rough!

BTW my degree is in fisheries science and it wasn't thrown away. Some of those classes have come in handy. :-)

I'll have some yellow perch this time for the NTA auction. Monsters!

If my kids came home

This response submitted by DaveT on 1/26/05 at 5:30 PM. ( )

and said they wanted to go to taxidermy school and make that their profession... well after I slapped them upside the head I would show them what RNs make and what most taxidermists make. RN school is cheaper then most taxidermy schools to boot.


I made

This response submitted by Alex on 1/26/05 at 5:40 PM. ( advancetaxidermyall@hotmail.com )

A lot of money in Taxidermy, That I can't denied, But I have seeing many Taxidermists in my area go down the hole.

I don't know what it is or why they go under, In My case I try not to take a lot of work but that is almost impossible.

In 40 years I have never being able to empty one freezer and I have several freezers.

So you ask your teacher if she makes 250,000 a year if she doesn't believe you can in taxidermy, tell her to email me and I willprovide my business tax records.
That is besides my mortgage note business, which is like a part time I do.

Education? well I can provide that also with a masters in Biochemistry and Microbiology ,which has being gathering dust for 25 years,LOL

Also asked her how many adds she sees for Artists, because this is an art and it takes years to become profficient in it.

Good luck

That's funny Dave!

This response submitted by Cecil on 1/26/05 at 6:23 PM. ( )

I came within a semester of being an RN. The bookwork and classes weren't bad at all, but I absolutely hated the clinicals! God was I bored. I found hospitals and nursing homes boring and depressing. I was already doning taxidermy at the time and went full-time into taxidermy and never looked back.

I'll never forget one nurses aid asking me, "Do you like what you do?" in a very condenscending tone in reference to taxidery. I replied, "It's better than changing bedpans like you do."


This response submitted by aLEX on 1/26/05 at 11:56 PM. ( )

Here Cecil, I didn't know we had so much in common.

So you went that route too eh?

This response submitted by Cecil on 1/27/05 at 1:53 PM. ( )

I also studied accounting at Indiana University for a year with the attitude of practicality as with the nursing. You know what I found out? Go with your heart!

Paging Dr Cecil Baird, stat

This response submitted by g on 1/27/05 at 5:09 PM. ( )

Then you should have become a cardiologist!

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