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Would Going To A School For Taxidermy Be A Good Investment?

Discussion in 'Training' started by cristomike2, May 7, 2020.

  1. cristomike2

    cristomike2 New Member

    I’m 27, and have unfortunately never been in any sort of college or any schooling outside of high school. I’ve always had a passion for this whole world of art, I love gathering bones as well n routerlogin at making wet specimens, when it’s fresh enough. Is this something that you can make a living off of? It’s literally my dream, but as always, money is an issue. I don’t want to pay for school if I’ll end up having to go back again for something else that I can make into a career, if that makes sense. I guess I’m just really trying to figure out wha t I am going to actually do wi192.168.0.1 th my life, and if this would be a smart option. ANY responses would be fantastic! As well as advice, tips, etc. Thanks for your time! Look forward to hearing from you guys.
    Last edited: May 9, 2020
  2. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    Find a shop you can do a apprenticeship at , offer to work for free even . Learn what it takes to do this . Also if you have No artistic ability this probably ain’t for you .
    Last edited: May 7, 2020
    TheReelCowboy27, TripleC and George like this.

  3. Fallenscale

    Fallenscale Well-Known Member

    I think one must consider a few things when thinking of a career and starting a business

    What are your financial goals.
    Do you have a true desire to start a business and the type of business that you're thinking of starting.
    Is there a demand for the type of business that you want to open in a location that you're living or thinking of opening the business in other words will you have customers.

    For someone to tell you if you should go to Taxidermy School ,learn on your own, find apprenticeship. we can't really make that decision we do not know you or your personality and your learning type.

    The question I would ask you do you truly have a burning desire to become a taxidermist and run a successful business.
    If the answer is yes then you have to learn your personality type how you learn best from books DVDs classroom studies or hands on and that would answer how you should start.
    drob and TripleC like this.
  4. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Take your money and go to a technical education center. Learn HVAC or electricity. Those are jobs in high demand with much less overhead and clients willing to pay immediately. As 13 point said, if you don't have talent, it really doesn't matter. This is the one business that hanging out a shingle offers absolutely no guarantee and where word of mouth can make or break you.
    jigginjim, Glenn M and joeym like this.
  5. byrdman

    byrdman Well-Known Member

    what he said....dont waste your money... having taught at two different taxidermy schools, I can tell you that most go on doing taxidermy as a hobby or side buisness and very very few ever go full time ... a majority of students already have a shop or some background in taxidermy and are looking to upgrade
  6. socalmountainman

    socalmountainman Northwestern School of Taxidermy - Class of '73

    Look around you. There are people still working even during this pandemic. Linemen, electricians, my plumber (whose been out to replace both of my damn water heaters), welders, heavy duty mechanics, RN's (my wife is covering double shifts making $160 per hour)...... those are the jobs you should be training for. They are essential. Do taxidermy as a hobby while earning a pension and company paid health insurance. You can then do it full-time after you retire like I did. Joe
    Glenn M, TripleC, pir^2h and 3 others like this.
  7. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    Listen to George and socialmountainman. I've been piddling with taxidermy for 50 years. I had a 30 year career in agricultural research. If it weren't for the retirement check, we would starve...and I do a ship load of work. People will milk you to the last drop in paying deposits and picking up completed items. I have $10,000 worth of uncollected work in my shop at any given time. I call taxidermy my "redneck 401K"!
    TripleC, George and drob like this.
  8. BrookeSFD16

    BrookeSFD16 Well-Known Member

    Before you pay for school, my advice would be to do some on your own. Taxidermy is like any other craft, plumbing, carpentry ect. You wouldn't go to school to be a carpenter if you've never run a skill saw or know how to use a speed square. I've met many people who went to Taxidermy school and 95% of them never even go on to produce a piece that makes them money.

    Taxidermy is fun to do, but it's also a luxury item for your clients. Not something they HAVE to have. It MUST be run like a business if you're going to make any money at all. It can be done, but it's not easy.

    If you are 27, and are thinking Taxidermy is going to be what supports you, I would definitely look into a trade as mentioned above.... HVAC, construction or something that's essential. You can always do Taxidermy on the side.
    George, drob and pir^2h like this.
  9. 15pt

    15pt Well-Known Member

    Right now is the perfect example of why to stay away from this industry. A mount is a luxury item and a bill is gonna get paid before a mount gets picked up. I like Joey have a surplus of over $10,000 waiting to be picked up right now. I would say the HVAC training would be the way to go. You gonna fool with taxidermy it's best to have a backup plan!
    13 point, George and pir^2h like this.
  10. pir^2h

    pir^2h Retrievers give you the bird

    These people know what they are talking about. Get a trade skill and start doing taxidermy work on the side. If and when you get a good established clientel then it will be time to decide if full time is right. I would starve around here if I depended on taxidermy to make a living. My job provids insurance (not that I need it with my age and the V. A.) for myself but I need it for my wife. I could retire any day I want to because I have a pension, and one day I will. Like you, at one time I thought about taxidermy as a career. Personally, I am glad I took the route I did. Study everything closely before you decide. Best of luck to you whatever you decide.
    13 point and George like this.
  11. TripleC

    TripleC Member

    A lot of great advice on these responses. Taxidermy aside. Running any business can be difficult for a lot of people. There is a plethora of things you must learn to be successful doing it yourself. I have seen a lot of great craftsmen and tradesmen that do exceptional work, but their business didn't succeed, because they didn't understand the actual "business" side of things. Best of luck with what ever you decide. If you venture out running a business yourself, don't forget about learning about the business side in addition to the craft and/or trade.
    Fallenscale, 3bears and drob like this.
  12. BlackBeard29

    BlackBeard29 New Member

    I just recently completed taxidermy school. I went because I have a love for this trade. I know that the likelihood of me being able to support my family doing it is low. Like everyone else said my main income is from a blue collar trade. For now this is just a hobby that may pay for itself.

    With that being said I had an incredible experience. It was a ton of fun and I think worth every penny to me. If someday I can add to my retirement or a decent side business I'll be ecstatic.

    That's just my situation I had the flexibility to do it and a solid career as a back up . Maybe I'll hit the taxidermy lottery and be able to do it full time someday. Either way I loved the school experience.

    If you have the means and flexibility and are realistic with your expectations then go for it . But everyone here is right. Income wise right now the building trades are in demand . And down the road maybe it could be a side business or more.
    Sam 10November1775 likes this.
  13. Codemad

    Codemad New Member

    Blackboard29 what school did you attend, how long, cost? Any information would be greatly appreciated.
  14. BlackBeard29

    BlackBeard29 New Member

    I attended the western PA school of taxidermy. Based in Punxsutawney PA and taught by Marc Jordan. The cost was just about 9500 for an eight week course. It was an awesome experience.
  15. Codemad

    Codemad New Member

    Great thanks for the info!!
  16. John Stewart

    John Stewart Member

    I'm a 48 year old police office and am eligible to retire in 5 years. (THANK GOD!!!) Ive wanted to do taxidermy for about 5 years now and know absolutely nothing about it. I hunt and fish but know nothing about taxidermy. However, I believe I'm anal and artistic enough to be somewhat successful. My intent was/is to start now as a hobby, gain some proficiency, build a reputation and see where it leads me. Hoping to make it successful enough to survive on after retirement. I live in Kansas and there is absolutely a market for the "luxury". I'll be honest, after reading some of these comments it makes me a little gun shy on pulling the trigger. Ive committed to attending a whitetail class with hopes of expanding into birds, fish and other areas based on how the hobby progresses. Wish me luck!
  17. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    John, don't be gun shy, just do it. You only live once.
    Fallenscale and pir^2h like this.
  18. John Stewart

    John Stewart Member

    OH I'm not. I looking forward to this new adventure. I was just a bit taken back by some people trying to get him to take an alternative career. But he's a relatively young guy.
  19. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    I sorry, but I had to chuckle at Blackboard 29's response. (Now don't go taking it personal. Its NOT directed at you.) A "school" costs you $1200 a week. Multiply that by the number of students. Which one of you taxidermists clears that kind of money the first month of your hunting season?
    I know nothing about this school but I know everything about taxidermists. Few have teaching credentials and even fewer are willing to go into history and alternate methods from the one they're comfortable with. I only heard about Harry Paulson's school in Arizona but knowing Harry, it was likely pretty inclusive. To MY knowledge, our greatest shtick on this side was Ralph and Sandy Garland's school at Piedmont Community College. When it gained popularity, Piedmont wanted a slice and demanded a full academic curriculum be added. As is typical of us, the taxidermy school withered and died.
    So I suppose that if you have this obsessive burning desire and 10 grand to blow, head for a school. As for me, I figure out how many elk, mule deer, and pronghorn hunts I could spend that cash on.
    jigginjim and socalmountainman like this.
  20. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    I said that because I started late in life on this journey as well and have been full time for just about 15 years and I can't imagine doing anything else. It's not easy by any means but well worth it, to me.
    drob, ARUsher and Fallenscale like this.