As of last year you don't need a Taxidermy License to take in work.
Proir to last year all you needed to do was send in $5.00 and
you were concidered a licensed Taxidermist. This past summer while
attending the Gardenstate convention. I sat in on a Whitetail should
mount seminar given by Marcus Zimmerman. He was telling us that in
PA. you can't get licensed without deminstrating your abillities(sp?)
as a Taxidermist. I'm not sure on exactly how its done, But its something
like you need to win in the novice division before you can be licensed.
I feel this should be the standard throughout the US. It should mean
something when you say your a Licensed Taxidermist. Here in N.Y.
it means absolutly nothing. Two years ago i attended the Empire state
Taxidermy Convention(now known as United Taxidermist association)
and during the Membership meeting there was some talk about getting
involved with licensing Taxidermists. I haven't attended any of there
conventions since. so i don't know what the outcome was. Would like
hear some of your comments on Licensing.
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Doug, please do not take any of this personal! This subject really eats me up. If I don't have a license, does my work suck? If I find a way to get a license, is my work acceptable? Do you want NY telling you and your clients if they "make the grade"? PA has some great artists. There is also some real crapheads, too. I cannot tell you how many people contacted me for "lessons" so I could mount thier pieces to go to thier test with. In some areas, depending on who the "evaluators" were, even some very talented guys were having to take thier test two or more times. You mentioned winning novice div. first, sounds like something different to me. That sounds like how you advance in competitions to pro and master. I do not like the testing system and I'll argue it to the bitter end with anyone!!! And I'm considered to be a good taxidermist. I just think that a guy has to go and learn the art, period. "What about all the customers he cheats?" Cheats? They chose him, no one forced them. If anyone misrepresents himself in business, there are other means to settle it. I've heard so many horror stories on this, oh man. I can't type fast enough. If ANYONE, Doug or anybody wants to hear more, please call me and I'd be glad to explain. Of course there is the other issues, if we arent licensed in NY, how can they monitor our freezers and books, without a license system, theres no way of really knowing who's out there. See what I mean? If you guys wanna hear more, call me at 716 637 2450. I'm a board member for UTNY here in NY, so...
Thanks for the reply, I never looked at it that way. You made a good
point. As for the way PA handles the Licensing, I thought i heard
that they had to win in compition. But you would know better than I.
Sorry if i struck a nerve. The last thing i want is to do is
agravate the guy i'm getting tips from. Just kidding, i know you
and John B. and many others are dedicated to helping people on this
forum. And i for one am very greatful for that.
Its not a nerve struck as much as its frustrating to be so fired up about a subject but not being able to "talk" fast enough. You know, PA has some of the BEST taxidermist in the world, and one of the strongest assoc. too. But I dont care for the system, and I didnt want any PA'ers to take offense to my opinion. In fact, nobody has called me on this one but I hope they will, as I just cant go fast enough here! And you keep asking and I'll keep tipping!!!
This response submitted by John C. on 11/6/1998. ( )
I do a number of wholesale fish each year. One fish that had taken a second place in a state show in the Professional division. Was not accepted as good enough for thier licensing program. Now I did not intend for my taxidermist/client to attempt to pass the PA. testing with it, but he did and the fish was graded as unsuitable for a customer. The question I have always had about testing is, IS testing being used to control the quality of taxidermist work or the quanity of taxidermist to do the work. On my clients third attempt he was licensed with the same fish, and it was graded a a high quality commercial mount. But all of this took three years to get licensed, oh yes maybe his quality did get better but the fiish was the very same one. Go figure. John C
This response submitted by Perry Klein on 11/18/1998. ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
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PA's licensing has undergone some changes in the last couple of years. As one of the poor souls who has taken the exam more times than I can remember, before passing, I can offer my own insight. When I started as a hobbiest some 15 yrs ago, there was a licensing program, but anyone could do taxidermy for another as long as you didn't make a profit. that changed in the mid 80s. Since then, one was only allowed to mount specimens for oneself. If you were going to mount specimens for others, regardless of what you charged, you had to be licensed. To be licensed, you needed to pass an exam. It consisted of 3 parts. A written test, a hands on portion( model an ear butt on a deer mannikin, sort glass eyes by species), and lastly, you had to present 5 specimens to the exam board for review. one fish, one small mammal, one upland bird, one waterfowl and one antlered deer. I did not have the luxury(or sense) to attend school for taxidermy. I picked it up by reading books by Tinsley and Kelly. I also hung around a local shop. I will admit, I was very bitter and humbled after that first exam. Somewhere along the way I stopped listing to my "Friends" who said things looked good, and started paying attention to the examiners. I have been licensed since '92, and when I look at some of those old mounts, I cringe. They were right. But I am a better taxidermist today. I hope to be even better tomorrow. Not because I passed a test, but because I learned how to listen. Its no different that competing. I will say that the standards that they hold the testee's mounts to is less than that of the professional competition level. The ideas is to make sure there is a fair degree of competency. Sorry, Got of the subject a bit. anyway, the testing has changed in that prior to 2 years ago, if you failed one portion of the test, you failed it all. Now adays, if you pass a portion of the test, you need not take it again. Most applicants get busted on their specimens. It is not necessary to bring all 5 specimens back, only the specimens which were questionable at the previous exam. And yes Bill, the excuses for searches and such antics are present, I have dealt with them along side the PTA. I can tell you stories that will make you grin from ear to ear and say " I told you so". Ours is a system which is changing, it is not perfect, but we make mistakes, and we learn from them. I would also hope that anyone from the PTA more familiar with the exam process, please correct me if I have typed anything wrong. -- Perry
This response submitted by perry Klein on 11/18/1998. ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
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my remark about holding quality of a mount to professional competition level should be clarified. I meant to say that the mounts need not win a ribbon in the professional division.
This response submitted by mike on 1/18/1999. ( )
As a person trying to learn taxidermy, I feel that testing sucks! How are you supposed to learn if you cant legally practice on anything but your own specimans? For example, in Pa it would legally take you 5 yrs to do 5 antlered deer. Unless you have the finances to purchase capes,antlers,etc.....this is just not practical. One may be able to get efficient on birds and fish, but with all that time hunting and fishing, when would stuff? I believe that the clients will keep a good taxidermist in business, and at the same time, shut a hacksidermist down. Bottom line, if you do quality work and have a good head on your shoulders, you will make it!
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