I was sitting here by my computer contemplating when I got involved in this business and how far I have come in 20+ years. I thought it would be interesting to see how some of you on here got the bug and how long you've been at it. I took a class in High School that taught it and even though it barely covered any of the correct procedures it did give us some incite into some of the aspects.I got hooked when the teacher saw I had potential, and I did a mallard and a pheasant for him. I remember I charged him 50.00 each , I was in 11 grade and I needed to obviously take a class in economics at this point.LOL I've been doing it ever since and yes I have raised my prices tremendously. Lets hear what you have to say. John
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I had hung around a couple of Taxidermy shops when I was growing up and being an avid hunter I really enjoyed watching the magic take place. Then about 10 years ago I called a local Taxidermist about mounting a pair of wood ducks and was quoted $125.00 each. I thought "for a duck?" heck I bet I can do it myself, i't can't be that hard (yea right) Looked like they were shot, stuffed, and shot again. Since then I got in pretty heavy, (course I do tend to stick to mammels) Nothing like taking that deceased lump the guy's and gal's show up with and making it look like it will jump of the wall any moment.
I got started in taxidermy because my dad ran a small tannery. When I started working for him I did more hair on tanning and just started to dabble with the idea of mounting animals. I started with small game and antler mounts. Then moved up to deer and bears. A few years ago I started doing fish and birds(I still suck at doing fish). My first customer deer shoulder mount I took the $150.00 deposit, When it was finished I gave him the mount with no more money needed. It was that bad! Had it looked good or at least better, I don't think I would have stayed involved in the taxidermy industry. But I kept at it till my mounts started to look like real animals. Then I couldn't keep people out of my shop! Joseph R Osborn (Hunter's Dream Taxidermy)
I did some duck hunting and wanted to do someting artistic with the woodies and wistlers...
And then I found out that taxidermy combines many facets of artistic activity. It is nice to work with your hands for a change if you have a desk job.
It just fits my personality, taxidermy does.... It is a hobby and dog-gone-it folks pay me for it... What a deal, dealing with customers...
Unfortunately she burst my bubble by telling me what I do is gross! Now's she's been fired and I'm heartbroken. Yeah right! LOL (See previous post if you don't have a clue to what I'm talking about)
Seriously I got started because my college fisheries degree wasn't taking me where I wanted to go (DNR job as a biologist) and I needed more education to even have a chance of getting my foot in the door. And even with a masters there was no guarantee of a job in that field. I changed majors to what was practical (business major and then RN) and although I did O.K. academically I was miserable. I couldn't relate to the stuffy materialistic business majors that had never hunted or fished in their lives, and although I almost finished my degree to be an RN I hated it. So I decided to try taxidermy as I was artisically inclined and loved the outdoors. Taxidermy seemed to be the best of the combination. I learned taxidermy while attending college to be an RN. In fact I used the college's VCR to learn how to paint fish off of videos. (Couldn't afford my own VCR)I'm completely self taught.
right Cecil? Self taught that is. ;)
I started taxidermy as a boy just 13 years old. Indians Have been preserving skins for centuries so that part came natural. even My grandmother was able to give useful advice on it. I hand wrapped small game bodies with excelsior, and twine. using coat hangers as the skeleton and have been doing it ever since for many years I did it has a hobby, I bought specimens from around the world, and started my own wildlife museum. Actually I was a veterinarian for 30 years, and used Taxidermy as a hunting fund raiser. It gave me additional income which I used for hunting trips. and was the greatest distraction from a high pressure job. If you think vet work is easy, try it some time. it eats at you. when I retired I devoted my time to doing what I liked most in life Taxidermy. my former clients brought me more work, and with them more clients. in a scant 2 years I was back to full time work. so I put on extra help so I would not have to work full time. them my sons joined me, and my son in law. Before I knew it I was a corporation again. Some retirement. but at least I like what I do.
well, i started looking for arrowheads, that lead to finding sheds that i used for flint knapping, and loving animals like i do(collecting live rattlers) i wanted a pet deer and well i dont have a ranch so the next best thing would be to have one mounted. well i called a few taxis in our area and thought, hmm, it would be better to learn and do it myself , of course the first one had issues but i got better and better and now im mounting for others. like they say, one thing lead to another, haha
My son shot his first buck when he was 14. I caped it out because I knew how, saved the antlers and told him that we would get it mounted by a taxidermist one day. Four years later, I was given a gift certificate for Cabalas. I saw in the catalog that they had a deer mounting kit and it rang a bell of a promise I made to my son. The directions were so poor that I went on line to get answers. I started with an e-bay cape before I mounted my sons deer. Found a friendly taxidermist over the phone for much needed assistance, and went on to do more mounts. I am self-taught and went two years before finding this site. In my third year I won a blue ribbon in the novice division at the MTA this past spring. Now someone well know here on this site has challenged me to get multiple blues next spring at the next show. So here I go!
God bless em! They pay for my entire way of life!
And contrary to popular belief I did not learn how to kiss by doing it to a fish. I learned it on a girl that used the fish analogy. Quit picking on me! LOL
I don't know if it would be the appropriate term, but when you are a kid i guess anything termed "chores", gives the task an undesirable angle to it. when i was a kid i didn't fully understand what my grandfather did, enjoyed the hunting/fishing end of things as any kid does. but i always wondered why my grandfather and uncles didn't have a "regular job", hell all they were ever doing was hunting /fishing,trapping,finding, skinning,salting, and mounting things, then i always wondered why they kept giving the things they mounted away to other people? sometimes they even went to farms and ranches, and they would butcher cattle,sheep,turkeys, and various oddities on site. then I would see weeks of messing with stinky hides, or alot of my chores would put me behind a meat grinder. It wasn't until i got what could really be considered a "trophy" in the eyes of these "experts", that i did my first complete mount. it turned out pretty good, looks kind of goofy now when i look back, not quite as much brisket as some of the standard now, but it seemed everytime i went back to work on it, it was a little further in progression than i remembered leaving it, "hell, the thing was mounting itself!" After that i was allowed to gradually do more when it came to mounting, but to be honest, i found it tedious and it really seemed like a pain in the butt, i remember saying to myself " I'm never going to do this for a living, it takes too long to finish anything!" so i was allowed to gradually go about doing the usual teenage thing, cars, girls, sports, and eventually a job in construction. Then I had brought someone back home for some hunting, and they were just amazed, "wow, i didn't know you knew how to do that!" It took that moment of someone else appreciating the art that made me find new appreciation for all the "forced labor" hands on that i had been exposed to, and i started working my way back to it, and am still working back to it all, and trying to learn something new everyday, because the finished mounts coming out now are so much more an art form than they used to be, and there are so many who are just amazing at it, it still blows my mind just looking at some people's work. Turns out we weren't just a bunch of "hillbillies" skinning roadkill after all!
I grew up fishing, but no hunting (I wasn't shootin bambi - haha). Well, I ended up marrying a man that "lives" to hunt and fish. He decided to try taxidermy, but with working a full time job, it left him no time to hunt and fish. I had been helping him, and one day I just took out a doe that was in the freezer as a practice cape and mounted it up. After that he quit. I ended up with the whole business.
He's now in the process of building me a bigger studio. BP
A few years ago, while fishing in our pond, my stepson caught a 22 1/2" x 18" largemouth. Well being our pond we released it. So i started calling around to every taxidermist in the phonebook, by the time I got off the phone I was so mad. Talk about arrogant people. I decided to order every catalog and video I could afford. It's been love ever since.
.02C so that I could make .02 cents, LOL