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Many Taxidermists Should Have Sold Shoes Instead

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by George, Aug 26, 2019.

  1. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Most of you know I'm hard on taxidermists and harder on the industry as a whole. I've said for 30 years that we have to be the dumbest people on the planet right next to the clientele who use us. This is a sad story of exactly what I'm talking about. The names have been changed to protect the worthless, but the scenario is real and the person who experienced it has kept me updated all along.

    One of our net members, a young woman with a lot of potential was setting up a small shop out west. She'd learned most of what she knew from reading, asking questions here, and convention seminars. She knew she'd reached the limit of what she should gain on her own so she ventured out seeking to find someone - anyone - who could help her step her game up.

    Now these are HER WORDS and it makes my guts churn when I think of what she said. "I can't find anyone who'll teach me or take me as an apprentice. I've even looked for people I can pay, but I'm not a very pretty or a very shapely girl and every guy I've talked to just turns me away. I've seen them fall all over the pretty young women but they won't talk to me. I can't help how I look, I just want to be a better taxidermist."

    Now let's not play games. I've seen some of you Lochinvars out there. I know you're God's gift to femininity, and I'm POSITIVE that you'd have been guilty of something like this given the opportunity.

    About an hours drive away, Mike runs a shop and his work is pretty well known in the local area. She talks to him and is willing to drive and work for him just to teach her his techniques. When she gets there initially he's helpful but as she improves, he becomes an ass. He starts belittling her for what she doesn't know and if she asks him for help, it's given begrudgingly. Still, he wants her to work in the shop for a small wage as he has a huge backlog of about 400 mounts. She's eager to get started, but immediately finds that some work is off-limits. She's not allowed to MOUNT deer but she IS allowed to finish them. African work or big mammal dioramas are out as only he can do those. He doesn't even want her around when he's doing them.

    I told her early on that she should get the Hell out of there, but she told me he was her only hope of advancing as no one else would take her. It seems that Mike had made sure of that by badmouthing her to other taxidermists around. Her finishing abilities increased but she was on her own. When she asked what colors to use or how to blend them, Mike would scream at her and tell her how dumb she was for not knowing. While she worked, if customers came into the shop and showed any interest in what she was doing, Mike would come over and tell the person that her work wasn't really that good or he'd shout insults across the shop in front of the client.

    Tonight she informed me that she'd had enough and finally took my advice. She removed all of her equipment she'd taken over and left. Mike still owes her over a thousand dollars and she says she has little hope that she'll ever get paid for it.

    Now this isn't a fairytale. This played out right in front of me. This happened to one of our own and it's disgusting and pitiful. To think a taxidermist would treat another person, much less a person under his employ this way is despicable.

    Next time someone asks you for help, think about this situation. I hope you're not like Mike.
    jigginjim, antlermike and Fallenscale like this.
  2. Lance.G

    Lance.G Well-Known Member

    That’s terrible

  3. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    There you go lumping us all into the same category again. Some of us were raised correctly and would never treat anyone that way. Some of us aren't the sharpest knife in the drawer, myself included but, we do know how to treat people.
  4. Richard C

    Richard C Well-Known Member

    It's all part of being in a unprofessional profession with NO standards ! It was and is and always will be ! Read the old books of the masters around late 1800s early 1900s , nothing has changed. How many of you taxidermists have had someone ask you after you told them you were a taxidermist , "what do you do for a real job " ? How many of you are living off the wife's job and medical benefits ? Her job subsidizing taxidermy ? The minimum wage here is 17.00 a hour with bennies for dummies at McD's and other quick food places. You matching that ? I know you can't get "that price in your area " .
    How many of you said when you were young and out with the guys trying to pick up a nice date , and you told her when she asked "what do you do " , I'm a tax attorney, because it sounded like taxidermy and you didn't want to scare her away?
    Taxidermy as a business will die geographically ,starting in the liberal progressive areas , it already has !
    James Marsico likes this.
  5. byrdman

    byrdman Well-Known Member

    we need to know who "mike" is... if he doesnt pay..... I dont do much anymore but birds and a couple deer and fish here and there, but if somebody asked me for help I would be honored to teach them. I was fortunate to study with and have as friends some of the masters in Ken Asproth and the late Tom Witbeck, and also worked in the comercial shop of proffesional taxidermist Roger Tourville.To pass on my knowledge plus things learned from others is a kind of pay it forward to keep the craft alive when we are gone.
    George, magicmick and Micah Howards like this.
  6. paul mullins

    paul mullins New Member

  7. Very sad story George,I think mike was looking after mike all along,just using her.
    There's alot of ladies on this site hopefully one of them can help her.
  8. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    Very sad. "Mike" is a sorry sumb!tch.
  9. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    My son works for a sumabitch that sounds exactly like this guy. Not taxidermy, but he learned to run his business from his dad and we believe (back then) that's how many treated their employees. Now he is grooming his son to take over the business. He has always had trouble finding workers because we're in the middle of nowhere and the work is seasonal. The owner is actually best friends with my sister! They have never seen "Mr Hyde"! He and his son are running their business into the ground as now with the economy there's plenty of other jobs available that pay just as well, if not more and you don't have to deal with an a-hole!

    Teaching is not easy. It's harder to do (successfully) than most jobs that's for certain. This is why anybody considering schools or apprenticing should heavily scrutinize their "professors" along with looking at their background in teaching and the results from others (referrals). Toss in the fact that there's a LOT of people in the taxidermy business that are probably in it for a reason. Many probably don't work well with others and there's your recipe for what happened to this poor soul! Unfortunately, she hung around far too long and now is eating a grand. Which, I agree with the others - post the real name of this person. That way at least this lady can get some satisfaction that this SOB won't do this to others. Sounds like he's under-pricing with that much volume and let him run himself out of business!

    P.S. Most people don't leave jobs. They leave their bosses....
  10. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    While there may be some truth to much of what you wrote. There seems to be a movement that tends to contradict your last statement. LA would have to be at the top of the list of liberal progressive areas, would it not?
  11. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    3Bears, I think you're assuming responsibility for something I never said.
  12. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    George, I am not assuming any responsibility for anything except for not being the sharpest knife. Did you not use the example of this guy and how he treats people to make your case for how dumb we taxidermists are? Or are you referring to the poor gal that took his chit?
    Micah Howards likes this.
  13. My first thoughts are, Its a one sided story, thats highly embellished. We haven't heared Mikes embellished side of it.
    There is always two. Very different sides to every dispute,argument,fight,and employer/employee inrequards to termanation. I say that not as a taxidermist, but as being a past manager over employees.
    My next thought was any Guy thats was that much of an ASS in front of clients wouldn't be in business long at all.
    George I get your point and i know that mentallity exsits. Im just saying I think there are a few pages missing from that book.
    Who knows for certain except the two involved.
  14. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Buckfever, keep in mind that (from what I read) it doesn't seem like this guy takes on students regularly. If he is indeed belittling her in front of his customers I guarantee you some won't be back. But, with his volume and limited teaching time I suspect it will barely make a dent in his numbers. Yes, there are always two sides to every story, no doubt. But, we are in a Blue Collar profession with lots of one-person shops where you do hear about stuff like this moreso than in the (real) professional world. So, I don't doubt George's account of what happened. You seem to read into things a bit with your "embellishment" statements IMO - embellishing a bit yourself actually - ha! Plus I find more women act professionally than men in most jobs...
  15. I cant disagree with a single word you wrote, nor Georges either for that matter.
    The lady my be up for Saint Hood, never embellished in her life. We both know better than that. However, It very well may Have happened just like told through Georges second hand retail of said incident
    Im glad the court system dont EXCEPT a on one sided version and " Hear say"
    I still think there isvat least 1 page missing from the book.

    I am a little puzzled with where you think i may have embellished?

    But hey if it happened it happened, but most here doubt George when he says he saw a Bigfoot. I beleive him , wink wink!
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2019
  16. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    It was a bit tongue in cheek Buckfever. However you mentioned a couple of times "highly embellished" Which of course you, nor I don't know if it was or not. So, I was just giving you a little grief of your embellishing on the part about embellishment - ha!
  17. hey read the last paragraph i added whuke you was typing. :)
  18. I slung embellished about, because we ALL do it, especially hunting tales. Dont we ?????:D:D:D:D:D:D:D
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2019
    Micah Howards and FishArt like this.
  19. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Actually, if anything I tend to underestimate the size of my fish caught and the size of the deer (racks) I've killed!
  20. Thats ok but never never undersize your
    JOHNSON. Lol.
    FishArt likes this.