I started doing taxidermy about 8 years ago. I am a completely self taught taxidermist by trial and error. I have another full time job as a fly fishing outfitter in Idaho, so I doing taxidermy as a hobby and side income. It seems as though many taxidermists are in the same situation. The first bird I ever mounted was a drake Mallard. When I finished I showed my Wife and Dad, and they both looked at me like I had 10 heads. Then my Dad said, "He looks like he had a pretty rough day!" This duck was obviously NOT mounted correctly! He was not fleshed properly, so oil and grease have leached into the feathers, and overall nothing was done right! For sentimental reasons, I have hung on to this duck and I am starting to consider tearing him apart so I can reuse the body and head, but then again, maybe I shouldn't??? The most recent mount I completed was a Wood Duck that I roughly completed yesterday. I still need to do the finish work on the habitat, paint the feet, and etc. Although he is not perfect, I am happy with him. Then I looked up on the shelf and saw that old nasty first mallard sitting there, and I thought I better share my experience. I would imagine most taxidermists have similar stories, so I wanted to share mine. I love taxidermy, I love hunting, and I love birds! I hope to be able to continue this great talent for the rest of my life, and wonder what my mounts 30 years from now will compare to my most recent Wood Duck! Hopefully, they will be that much better. Please feel free to share your comments and your first vs your last mount!