1. Welcome to Taxidermy.net, Guest!
    We have put together a brief tutorial to help you with the site, click here to access it.

Calling it quits

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by George, May 7, 2018.

  1. livbucks

    livbucks Well-Known Member

    George said he wasn't leaving the site y'all can relax. Congrats George. Find something better to do. That won't be hard.
  2. Dave Byrd

    Dave Byrd Active Member

    Enjoy your retirement, George! All the best!

  3. Steven good post , restores my faith in humanity, a tinney tiney little bit.
    Dont think my rambling was directed just at you. No sir, like i said i’m guilty as charged to. I felt like it was about to go into a famous taxnet free for all. This one just didn’t seem nessary.
    However we all know George can handle him self quite well in a literary argument.
    Ps. Thanks for not dragging out a rope. Lol
  4. landdepot

    landdepot Active Member

    I'm not into the Picasso stuff,...but art is 100% subjective. Just because I think if somebody splatters paint from 12 feet away at a big canvas in a New York city loft it is just plain goofy and the work is worthless doesn't mean someone else wont give them $10,000 for it. Happens everyday and ill never ever get it. But I don't have to,..doesn't mean it isn't art,..just not my style.

    As for the schools and teaching,..I don't think talent is ever taught..God gave it to you. I do think that it can be refined though. Even with talent practice makes you better and some instruction can be very helpful.

    We apparently have a bit in common because I also love the old tools,..I have quite a few and I have several in my gamehead room as well. I actually enjoy an occasional refinish when I have the time for the right piece. Is it art,..nope it's decoration to me. Art needs to be created by some ones hand and eye. So..if someone created that hand plane from scratch,..or made that axe/hatchet handle from scratch/ or forged the head of that axe from scratch,...then you betcha...to me its art in its purest form. I piddle with an occasional powder horn,,do a little scrim,..hang out with the flintlock crowd on occasion.
    There are folks in that arena who make some pretty nice Kentucky rifles...some are purely utilitarian...they shoot and that's it. Others have many feet of german silver wire inlayed in the stock and are exquisitely carved. In my opinion these makers are ARTISANS without question,..just like a great taxidermist.

    Do I think all taxidermist are great artist?? Heck no...but the ones that appeal to me are.....

    One of the "hidden issues" if you will in some of this discussion is I don't think a lot of taxidermist have a great understanding of their costumer base going into it. I think it can be easily overestimated the appreciation that costumers will have for the work that is done other than holding up a set of horns/antlers....especially at first. For those guys that do top shelf work I believe that the specific costumer base they are after takes a little time to build....some people do simply want the cheapest,..or a middle of the road mount.
    It is a complex topic,.artist or business man,..some are both some are neither,.... and some are only one.

    ,................but the great ones are Artisans of the highest order....at least to me George.
    George likes this.
  5. boarhunter67

    boarhunter67 Well-Known Member

    George, you've helped a lot of people over the years. The industry will lose a lot by your absence. Hope you still come on here and also post on fb.
  6. Richard C

    Richard C Well-Known Member

    You are correct. I never thought of it hamburger wise . When the bad hamburgers chef is award winning with his award burger mounts all over the wall isn't that what you think your going to get when your meal comes ? If the burger looks visually bad imagine what short cuts are on the inside .
    Last edited: May 14, 2018
  7. Landdepot,
    Im straddling the fence. I was in the gifted and talented program three years in school. Gifted hell no talented mabe. Like you said your born with or you aint. Now im talking art form in its simplest and truest of form drawing and painting. For me it was just something I could do. If you cant see it in your head you cant put it on canvas. So i dont think you can just teach art.
    Taxidermy, George is 99% right. We are just ordering parts out of a book and assembling it. Putting a puzzle together and framing it sure aint art. Just like taxidermy just a time consuming mechanism. Start here , end here, on ever single item we mount. There all done by in order steps. Very little leaway in those steps. The very people that cant be taught to draw can be taught to do the steps of taxidermy. And that dont make them an artist because they can do step 1 through step whatever .
    The only part of taxidermy is an art form is any thing that pertains to color paint. It takes an artist to get it right. Any body can slap black on a deers nose and eyes, green, white, black on fish. It takes an artist to drag out every shade of paint in a catalog, apply it and get it right.
    Habitat , not really an art. We buy artificial stuff and stick, staple, glue it on. With out even realizing it we tend to do the same thing over and over again, step by step process again. The elaborate habitat water, snow, etc. again step 1 through step whatever. Remove a step from any process and you got a cluster muck on your hands. Not so with a true art forms. Jump, skip, omit. Change of concept, change of direction so on and so on and you still can come up with a master piece, art.
    But boy do i agree 100 % with you blowing paint out of ones rectum onto a canvas aint art. Mind boggling yes but not art. Or an elephant smearing paint. Funny but not art.

    All just all an opnion, and an opinion aint art neither.
    George likes this.
  8. Rick Carter

    Rick Carter Administrator

    George, if you don't feel the door hit your @$$ on the way out it's because it got me instead. I'm right on your coat tails! Your comment was neither negative or depressing. It is all reality and truth. It is what it is. I'm about to raise prices enough to slow it way down to a crawl. I'll do a very limited volume of work for people that really appreciate it but the rest can go elsewhere. Anyone who wants to start a taxidermy business would probably be more successful opening a VHS video store.
    Ray Hatfield, KatieC, George and 4 others like this.
  9. Rick there needs to something more than a dang ( like) button. Mabey an ( Hell Yea!) button or fireworks exploding for your post!

    Best response so far!!!!!
    George and Tony Corleone like this.
  10. Kerby Ross

    Kerby Ross KSU - Class of '83; U.S. Army - Infantry (83-92)

    Richard C.
    I agree there are a few taxidermist out there that won awards and then produce commercial work that is below the standard of competition pieces. I was referring to people and taxidermists thinking that the higher quality work should be the highest priced work ..... and that is a logic flaw. GOOD business practice is to charge a higher price than what most do .... to make money .... not to think that the higher priced shoulder mount SHOULD be better than a lower priced shoulder mount .... because there SHOULD NOT be a correlation between the price of a deer head and the quality of a deer head. Treat it like a business and charge accordingly.

    And for the record, I don't give a rat's ass what my burger looks like .... I do care what it taste like. Fancy restaurants can make a burger LOOK good and charge a HIGH price .... but it tastes like toe jam. Sometimes the cheaper burgers are the BEST tasting ones. The same people that think that the fancy/expensive restaurants serve the best tasting burgers are the ones that think that the higher priced deer heads should be better than a lower one. As a taxidermist I priced my work on how I wanted to make money ..... not based on what an award winning taxidermist charges. I know my higher priced deer heads aren't as good as some lower priced taxidermists. Too many taxidermists are in that logic trap.


  11. livbucks

    livbucks Well-Known Member

    Food for thought: Should a paint job on a street rod cost more than a paint job on a 1992 Buick LeSabre? Should Joe Blow who's painting cars in his backyard garage on the downlow, using the "squirt the floor with a hose" method of dust control be charging the same as the professional shop with a $100,000 downdraft spray booth with heated cure and cool? Im not taking a side just pondering what some have said here. As a customer I would hope that taking my deer to the highest price in town would result in the highest quality money could buy. Am I wrong? Dont beat me up for asking or I'll sick George on your ass! Hahaha.
  12. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    livbucks, in my day we used both methods at the same time. You should expect quality, regardless of where you take it. Here's another way of looking at it, the shop with the large overhead, has to charge a premium and also put out a larger volume of work at a faster pace, maybe at times overlooking small details in the name of production where as the smaller guy can take the time to pay attention to the smallest of details. He takes longer and does less work but also has a smaller overhead. He should be charging close to what the big shop is but money isn't always other people's motivation. The small shop puts out quality work and is happy with what he makes from it, how can anyone fault him for that. The best, most expensive, latest up to date tools and supplies does not always guarantee quality but usually means higher cost to the customer.
  13. fish stuffer

    fish stuffer Active Member

    I'll take this one. Highest guy should give you the best job. You get what you pay for, right? Not necessarily so. There used to be 2 kinds of taxidermy, commercial and competition. In recent years a 3rd kind has emerged. Some do commercial quality work but make it look like competition quality. Even a newby will put all those bumps on a deer's nose, throw some bushes around it and,"dammit man, they are the best around." The hunters eat this chit up. The big thing in my area , is wrinkles. If a deer turns his head slightly, the sculpter put 3 wrinkles on the form. The dermy guy uses 25 lbs. of clay and puts 47 wrinkles on the deer's neck. He's the best! The hunter didn't even notice the ears are too low, comming out of the deer's neck, eyes ain't right, antlers backwards. We have some silver spoons too. Get on tv , in 2 years doing 300 deer plus other stuff. All because using somebody elses money. He does a descent enough job, but not worth what he charges, when he's dry preserving his capes and we have guys tanning and doing better looking mounts for less money.I'm not against DP, I admire those who can make it work. What I don't agree with is lying to your customers and telling them you're tanning. I don't know one dry preserve guy who actually tells his customers "hey, come over here, we dry preserve your skins." It's better than those tannig guys. That's a whole nother debate. I'm thinking of goint back to it myself. But I know deep down inside that tanning is better. If I don't want to raise price, I gotta cut somewhere, either in supply cost or labor. The real problem is the American people. They know nothing at all about it and don't seem to want to learn.You can DP, and do nice looking work, and ask high prices, if you can put in the wrinkles, rasberry noses, and add stumps and bushes. Fool everybody into thinking your the best because of your price.
    George likes this.
  14. livbucks

    livbucks Well-Known Member

    That is funny. More is better, right?
  15. Kerby Ross

    Kerby Ross KSU - Class of '83; U.S. Army - Infantry (83-92)

    **As a customer I would hope that taking my deer to the highest price in town would result in the highest quality money could buy. Am I wrong?**

    Absolutely wrong.

    The highest priced guy in town is a smart business man. His prices are based on how much $$ he wants to make..... not based on what the world champion down the road is charging.

    A lot of customers call and price shop .... without even seeing the quality of the mounts...... and they don't always chose the highest price guy thinking that the quality is higher .... they chose the lower priced guy. And some pick the highest priced guy thinking that his products will be better .... and THAT is the fool that goes to the high end restaurants thinking that their meal is better.


    George likes this.
  16. livbucks

    livbucks Well-Known Member

    Well, a customer that would pay the highest price without making sure they are getting the best quality would be the fool that's for sure. People pay more money for atmosphere at restaurants not food quality. That has become crystal clear to me over the years.
  17. Kerby Ross

    Kerby Ross KSU - Class of '83; U.S. Army - Infantry (83-92)

    fish stuffer

    **Fool everybody into thinking your the best because of your price.**

    I charge what I feel I am worth, NOT what I think my customers think I am worth, otherwise I have other things to do in life. I never tell customers that my price is based on quality. Some people call for prices and say:
    - that is too high
    - that sounds reasonable
    - and I am sure some are looking for the cheapest deal
    - and some think that the highest price = the best quality

    I don't care what logic they use.

    You can be the most talented taxidermist in the world .... but if you (not you personally) don't know how to price your work ..... well then you have fallen into that trap.


  18. fish stuffer

    fish stuffer Active Member

    I under stand the arguement that's been discussed on here for years about being a buss man. However there's more to making it or NOT making it than quality of work and price. There are many varibles. Like in real estate, 3 important things to cosider. Location, location, and location. People wont admit it, but the market can be flooded in your area, with taxidermists. Usually the ones tooting their horn are the ones who by their own ad,mission don't need the money. Anyone can raise prices when you already have a ck or working spouse.You can price yourself right out of a job. And with that said, you're right, it is a buss., you have to price high enough to make a profit or you won't be in it for long. But, some are in a backwoods area, people couldn't see their sign even if they had one, and a cust. would pass 3 shops to get to their place. Many, need to bite the bullit and jump ship before it sinks. When a cust comes to my backwoodsy house, by GPS, he not only has priceshopped around, he knows 5 other mounters personaly.Maybe, that's what George meant. If you are charging me this high price, I want it back next week and it had better be museam quality. I'll just take it to joe. Or maybe Fred, or Ralpf, Paul, or Sam. I still say, if there was just some way of educating the people.

    I recently got on "stupid book." Why, because the phone book wasn't working. It didn't take long and I realized there were 100,000 others on there doing the same thing.Then, I discovered "groups." New to me. I joined a hunting page. Some dummmass posted a "who's the best taxidermist ?" post. It was deer season so I assumed it was about a WT deer. "Who is the best in our area?" is what he ask. Here it goes, so and so, well fred done mine, some even posted pics. Joe did this one, he's the best.I finally got fed up. Even though I advertise on there, I thought , I'll settle this once and for all. I came on and told them about Gene Smith. He's in our area. Nobody ever even heard of him. When I told them who he was, some still wanted to argue that their D. P. buddy was the best.I said "dude, reread the question. Who's the best in our area?" I done a commercial for Gene, and I've never met him. I said, " If he's won best in world 3 times, never been done, I think that qualifies him as best in our area." That's doing something in my opinion. They weren't impressed at all. They still wanted to argue that their buddy was the best anywhere. People are stupid, I hate to say.
    TROPHeTRACKER and Kerby Ross like this.
  19. Kerby Ross

    Kerby Ross KSU - Class of '83; U.S. Army - Infantry (83-92)

    **They weren't impressed at all. They still wanted to argue that their buddy was the best anywhere. People are stupid, I hate to say**

    I agree with that, most customers are clueless about taxidermy. Like I said there are plenty of better taxidermist than me charging a lot less. I chose to price my work based on MY worth, not what others think of my work.

    I do get the response from prospective customers "you just lost a project" based on high price. And my response is .... NO, I lost your project, but I will be doing another project instead at my price. So I DIDN'T lose a thing.

    I also raised snakes for the reptile industry for 20 years. I produced over 8,000 baby snakes during that time. Sold them anywhere from $10 to $500 a piece.... a price that I ESTABLISHED. There were plenty of people that said I lost a sale because of the high price .... and I still sold them to someone else. I chose how to do things, not my customers.

    And I never did PayPal, I only accepted Money Orders and Cashiers Checks ... and guess what? I still sold everyone of them at my price.

    There are still taxidermists that feel that it is their goal to mount every damn deer head in the county. A one man show can only mount so many mounts in a year. Having 2 freezers full of work that can't be produced in a years time is about as unlogical as it gets. Raise your prices, take in less work ... and make more money.

    There are some shops that charge quite a bit $700-$1,000 for a deer head ..... and they are quite busy. They are doing it to make money .... not to give hunters a deal. Run it like a business.


    Last edited: May 14, 2018
    fish stuffer and 3bears like this.
  20. livbucks

    livbucks Well-Known Member

    It is a hobby type of craft. You cant deny that those that are doing it and dont need the money via either self made in another trade, spouse with great job/benefits, inheritance, lottery win...etc you name the scenario, are not in the real world of economics and skew the industry for others trying to make a go. You will never see a person that doesnt need the money out doing plumbing for enjoyment or hobby. People like doing taxidermy. for awhile anyway.
    fish stuffer likes this.