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Should I go to school

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by DocCIdaho, May 20, 2016.

  1. DocCIdaho

    DocCIdaho New Member

    Short story warning...I am 100% disabled through the V.A. from Iraq combat injuries and illnesses. I am not only allowed to work but encouraged to work, self employment preferred. I am trying to figure out if taxidermy is something worth considering. I do not have any physical issues that should keep me from doing the work. I can only work part time due to health issues and would need to decide when I work. Time periods where I am having problems I would need to take it easy and other times I could put in more effort and energy.

    I have thought about taxidermy for several years. I am looking for something that I could do part time, when I decide, and that I can make a small amount of money. I Dont care to get rich, my bills are covered already, I just Dont want to lose money.

    I am going insane not working and no one will hire me since I have to decide when I work based on how I'm feeling that day.

    I do have a nice insulated large workshop with a wood stove and live in an area that needs taxidermists.

    I am concerned about how stressful it is hoping that the art that you are creating will be viewed the same way by the customer? Also I'm concerned about whether or not I can walk away from a project for 2-3 days, come back and pick up where I left off?

    Please Dont hold back. Be honest. I would need to go to school and invest time and money so I truly appreciate the feedback.

    I have experience in European mounts and also caping my own animals. That is the extent of my experience.

    Thank you in advance
  2. nelsondeerfarm

    nelsondeerfarm me and THE BUCKMAN !!!

    Your best bet, in my honest opinion, check out YouTube videos on mounting ducks, fish, foxes, deer. There is a ton on there. This will give you a rough idea of the amount of work you'll be getting into. Do this before you start considering school. Schools are not a bad thing, its just better to get fimiliar with the work by watching some free videos online.
    I've been doing taxidermy 10 years, and I still learn from YouTube videos, I often watch them when I have any down time since I don't have cable tv.
    Thank you for your service to our country! Good luck in your search for employment.

  3. DocCIdaho

    DocCIdaho New Member

    Thank you for the honest reply. I have reviewed several videos and also watched a few taxidermists in person for a little while. Although I will continue to watch videos based on your suggestion it is difficult to obtain the whole picture such as his many hours a day are needed to be successful, can you work at your own pace or are you dictated by your customers, and if you turn down work in order to keep the time you invest to a level you can handle will it kill your reputation? Things like that.
  4. Duckslayr

    Duckslayr Active Member

    First of all, thank you for your service.

    The time issue would be most difficult during the hunting season. Timely processing of hides and capes must be done. You must be available to at least skin the cape off of the head and get it into the freezer when your customer calls. You also need to be able to turn, flesh and salt a cape immediately upon thawing. Freezing and thawing and freezing and thawing is inviting spoilage. You will be very slow at this task at first, but you will likely not be real busy at first either.

    To complete your mounts, you can bag it and pick up the next day. I wouldn't wait multiple days once the hide goes on, it seems like the hide paste dilutes and loses it's tack.

    As far as customers go, figure out how many you can produce in a month, and give realistic time line, not optimistic. People are fine with your turn around as long as you stick to it.

    School? It's a good way to get started IF you go to a school that has good instructors. Check out the school carefully. There are a lot out there that have no idea how to do nice work, and teach their students how to be hacks. There are droves of hacks. Concentrate on high end work and get high end prices. You can only make money with junk by being highly productive.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  5. DocCIdaho

    DocCIdaho New Member

    Thank you. That is the info I am looking for and I truly do appreciate it.
  6. SpiritOfTheWild

    SpiritOfTheWild New Member

    If you haven't used your GI Bill yet, I would definitely recommend going to a school. Check out second nature taxidermy school. There are a few others that accept the gi bill also, but I have been to their school learned a ton and had fun. Another nice thing about a school is that you will have a contact down the road to ask questions, not necassarily just the instructors, but from the other students after they're own the own. Also check into vocational rehab, but be warned, you will have to sign away or drain your GI Bill prior to using that program.
  7. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Although I have learned several tricks and techniques from Youtube videos, you get a lot of people with no clue on there posting crap and passing it off as acceptable taxidermy.

    I feel that going to sites like Taxidermy Training Unlimited and suppliers like Research Mannikins and McKenzie and ordering DVDs made by NATIONAL and WORLD CHAMPIONS is a better way to go. Doing that will help so that you can see what a good Youtube video looks like compared to a train wreck video.

    I also suggest taking classes from an instructor with an outstanding reputation. You can find out who is good by searching the archives on here.

    Classes do not make you a taxidermist. They help you to work towards being a taxidermist.

    I learned from DVDs like I mentioned above and purchasing change out heads and experimenting everything under the sun to practice eye sets, noses, ears and hide pastes. I learned from an award winning taxidermist near me. We now exchange new ideas and concepts with each other and have both benefited from all the experimentation and the constant learning of of procedures and new products.

    I wish that I would have attended a school like the ones by Troy Rose or by Wingman on here. It would have helped in that even though I had a mentor, it wasn't a schooling as such so it was more like oh, try this or look how I did this. At a school it would be, you and I are going to do this now and we will work to get it right.
  8. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    The difference between a taxidermist who has taken you under their wing and going to school is this. A taxidermist is there to do his job and make money getting his mounts done. You are there to stay out of the way and pick up on things. Unless you are employed by him, you only learn by being a fly on the wall, which is great, however, an instructors job is to teach you how to do a procedure properly and can spend the time working with you on just one procedure at a time. That is his only job at this point. He gets paid to teach you how to do it right. His job is to make you look good.

    Good instruction is more valuable than any tool in your shop. Spend several thousand on learning and then several thousand on the other tools of the trade. That's the MONETARY investment. A much greater investment you will need to make is TIME investment, putting that instruction to practice.
  9. Duckslayr

    Duckslayr Active Member

    If it were me, I'd purchase Rick Carters Whitetails A to Z, and look on here for a green deer cape that will fit a set of antlers you have laying around. Watch the dvd several times, then follow along with Rick and get your feet wet. This will give you an idea if it's something you are even interested in, and give you a leg up when you start school.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  10. DocCIdaho

    DocCIdaho New Member

    That's a great idea Jared. I have several set of deer, elk, and moose antlers around the house that I could use. This would really give me an idea of what all is involved and then if its something I enjoy and can handle then I could go to school and go from there. I like it.
  11. Duckslayr

    Duckslayr Active Member

    Just remember that you will significantly faster with practice. I was painfully slow when I first learned. It comes with time. Good luck!
  12. Steve.J

    Steve.J Member

    YES, go to school and use your GI Bill or Voc Rehab. It's a great value and you only owe it to yourself to use your benefits to better your quality of life after service.
    If nothing else you can hit the ground running after you graduate with a solid base of knowledge and a set of credentials accepted throughout the Taxidermy Industry. You also gain reach back to the school from supplies to questions throughout your career.
    So, for me it was a no brainer to go to school on the GI Bill.
  13. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    No matter what the school, you are still a beginner when you leave that school. To many are taught that they can start a business after doing 4 or 5 mounts in a class. And sadly some never doubt that and start a business, doing beginner grade work, never advancing to quality.
  14. Steve.J

    Steve.J Member

    And that answers if he should go to school or not how? What does that even mean? Are you telling him that no matter what he does he'll never be able to open his business? Really?
    I still think going to a reputable school is the way to go, especially when you can use your hard earned VA benefits and come out ahead. Yes, I guess you are right that doing 4-5 taxidermy pieces is not going to make you an expert, but the knowledge you gain in 9 weeks is invaluable and puts you way ahead versus learning it on your own for 5-10 years. Go to school.
  15. Cajun Dan

    Cajun Dan New Member

    Yes, a school can help with the learning curve, though you will always be learning something new. It's worth it especially if you can use the GI Bill/veteran's benefits. I used the GI bill and it didn't cost me anything out of pocket. If you have any questions on this, hit me up.

    Now the tricky part. I'm not sure your disability, but going to class is like having a full-time job. Taking multiple days off is not an option. I took an 8-week course and we often stayed through lunch and/or well after class hours. You might want to find a place that can do more one-on-one instruction to accommodate your situation.
  16. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Low T didn't answer that question, however, He gave the OP sound wisdom to consider before he chose to go to school. I said the same thing in my post. It'd not negative and it was very true. Nothing wrong with additional input.
  17. DocCIdaho

    DocCIdaho New Member

    Thanks for the input folks. Its nice to see everyone's opinion. I have a lot to consider especially the part about school being full time. I am not 100% sure that I could handle full time right now. That is something that I really need to consider.
  18. magicmick

    magicmick magicmick

    I don't have a choice but buy the DVDs because of where I live,no school here :( . I try to buy 2 to 3 every 3 months its a very small investment DocCLDaho and the best thing is these guys are the best of the best. IF taxidermy wasn't for me after the first DVD its only a small loss of money.
    good luck mate I hope it works out for you.
  19. Spend the money and attend Troys Roses Artistic School of Taxidermy. You will accelerate your training 10 fold. Like golf, you can spend years trying to hit that ball straight or spend the time with a pro.. I realize taxidermy is different than golf but you get the picture. You should watch as many DVDs and YouTube as you can to understand the basics. The problem with DVD's is that they really make it look easy and you cannot ask the DVD a question. Troy will show you how and then you are on your own, he will watch you and let you struggle which is how you learn. after struggling for a while he will help you out showing what you did wrong and how to fix. Then he will remove the clay and eyes and you do it again. Troy is a one-on-one class all inclusive, you stay in one of his studio bedrooms and he feeds you like a king.

    Whichever school you attend, ensure you fully investigate as there are numerous schools out there but not are are worth the money.
  20. GregJ

    GregJ Active Member

    DocCIdaho, Have you considered writing as a part time career?