I'm prety new to taxidermy and I don't know where to start. Should I approach an old pro and ask to apprentice or to be paid. Would I find more luck figuring it out for myself. I work full time and have days off so I can't go to school. Any ideas? Thanks, Drew.
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I got started by reading manuals and watching videos. Then I got one of those kits to mount a deer head and I got a lot of info from people on this site. The rest has been trial and error (more error)and what ever degree of artistic ability the good Lord gave me. It's not rocket science but there are "tricks of the trade" you'll pick up as you go. Remember there's often more than one way of doing a task so keep your ears open, check the options and pick the one that works for you. Bottom line is taxidermy is part skill, part art. You'll learn the skill part as you go. The art part you just gotta have in you.
with Hogger, research buy videos and books then try a few mounts on your own. Do not invest a ton of money till you see if you've got the art in you. Your local taxidermist who is doing it for a living may not be so willing to teach you for fear that you will take business, at least that was my experience. Also many people reccomend squirrel for a first mount but I would not, they are small and hard to work with, in my opinion if you can mount a squirrel and have it come out looking real and lifelike then you can mount anything. I would tell you to start with something like a raccoon shoulder mount.
Drew I am also fairly new at taxidermy. Until about 3 years ago, I had never seen an actual Mount up close. let alone done one. I was placed with a family that did taxidermy. I mean the entire family. at first I thought it was sick. But rapidly became fascinated with it. when I asked about it I was told that no one had time to play nurse maid to me in the shop. I was given access to a computer, and shown this website. I was told that every thing I needed to know was behind the famous orange button. for 2 years I came here every spare minute I had and read the archives. As time went on I found I knew exactly what the guys were talking about around the shop. at that point I spent more time just watching the guys work. Brian T. took a liking to me, and explained a lot as he worked. Brian B. would show me the tricks he knew. But John never had time for me. so I still lack in the fish painting department. One day I just got a form, and cape, and went at it. All I did was copy what I had seen. But remember before I came here, I had never been close to an animal, or mount. I think Don is right. Although mounting a squirrel may be the easiest thing to acquire. and the most economical. It is also one of the most difficult to make look truly alive. there are many valuable things that can be learned wile at the same time achieving a good degree of success. Although not as inexpensive as a squirrel. Bobcat, raccoon, fox, and coyote shoulder mounts offer great learning possibilities wile at the same time not extremely difficult. Then pedestals can stimulate your imagination and creativity. The next progression then would be full body small mammals.
One thing I might add. as you scour the archives. and request the insight in open forum. where your foul weather gear. and a bullet proof vest. cuz things can get messy at times. always remember you are reading a written word. there are hundreds of personalities here. and no time to evaluate someone's reaction in mid paragraph to gather a feal for their sentiments, or intention. what you may think offensive. The righter may think reasonable in a mature exchange. so take what you can from this site. And do not let it consume you.
Just My feelings. Brian
Please get yourself some good magizines like Breakthrough and Taxidermy Today to help you along, you can get back issues as well so i recommend you get what you can, good luck this is a great buisness and a great website.
Thanks for the time and thought you all put into your answers. A little insight will take me a long way. Best of luck to all and thanks for writing.