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Please Give Me Your Wisdom

Discussion in 'Training' started by Eddiem0nster, Jul 15, 2020.

  1. Eddiem0nster

    Eddiem0nster New Member

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    Hello everyone,

    I am hell-bent on getting out of California and more importantly landing an upcoming Firefighter position in Anchorage, AK. I am originally from South Carolina, served six years in the navy as a rescue swimmer. First and foremost I love hunting and fishing which is why I really want to take advantage of what Alaska has to offer. Second, the firefighters up there make great money with a defined benefit retirement plan. As you may or may not know the majority of wintertime means you get around 4-5 hours of daylight for several months. This brings me to the idea of starting taxidermy as a side hobby with my own kills and eventually turning it into a side hustle during the shitty winter months. Another important thing I should point out is that my uncle is a taxidermist on the side as well and he's created pretty successful side biz. Looking at Anchorage there are a good bit of taxidermists with a few that look full-time. As with anything I consider doing I analyze it and research a lot. I don't necessarily know if I want to do fish or birds but big game sounds fun to me and that's my objective, keep it fun and do what I like. What are your thoughts on pursuing this route, the steps you would take? I've yet to talk to my uncle but before I talk to him I'd like to have done quite a bit of research myself. End game I'd like to retire and if I love it stay there in Alaska, if not probably move down to Arizona and chase those muleys post-retirement. I will forever be an outdoorsman and I can see the perks in this hobby but it doesn't hurt to ask for wisdom that is beyond me.

    Thanks for your time
     
  2. Eddiem0nster

    Eddiem0nster New Member

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    update: talked to my uncle who was all for my decision. pulled the trigger on multiple DVDs from Mackenzie taxidermy. Got one on bear rugs, grizzly, whitetail, caribou. Probably going to watch these multiple times since I got nothing but time to kill right now, unfortunately, over this lockdown bs. The next step is getting some basic supplies and finding me a hide to work with until the big move and find ways to practice. I don't have any local taxidermist around me so I might throw up some post in the local hunting facebook group and offer to do some mounts at a discount price to get something to practice on.
     

  3. joeym

    joeym Jeannette & Joey @ Dunn's Falls

    Watch the videos, practice on what specimens you can obtain, and take it one day at a time. It takes lots of repetitive practice to get it all together in taxidermy. You can always come here when you have a question.
     
  4. Eddiem0nster

    Eddiem0nster New Member

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    Thank you Mr. Murphey
     
  5. pir^2h

    pir^2h Retrievers give you the bird

    You better watch out with that discount price business. It WILL come back to bite you in the a$$ later if you go into business. Your clients will ALWAYS expect that price because they helped you get started. You are better off buying a couple skins and doing your own first.
    1. To see if you really want to pursue this profession.
    2. Those first mounts will most likely not look so great and you could end up with a bad reputation for quality before you get out of the starting gate.

    This isn't meant to discourage you. We all had to start someplace. It's just my opinions on the matter. I wish you the best of luck and success as you enter this world.

    Vic
     
  6. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Practice drawing too .. a lot. If you know your animals you will be working on well enough to understand how they look and move .. and draw them, turning out a lifelike, posed correctly mount will become second nature. Probably easier with the foam mounts available now ... but I started with wrapping my own forms. If you can do that and make your own mannequins, There won't be any pose you can't do.
     
    Eddiem0nster likes this.
  7. Eddiem0nster

    Eddiem0nster New Member

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    I think that's a great perspective. The only thing I can probably get my hands on around here is Tuna, Yellowtail. I wouldn't really say a lot of people are successful here hunting with the lion population and low deer population. I guess I could look around and see if I can find any tanneries or far-out taxidermist and see if they can help me out with a hide or two to start. I think that's invaluable information though and I'm glad you pointed that out to me so thank you.
     
  8. Eddiem0nster

    Eddiem0nster New Member

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    I didn't think about that. As far as drawing skills I'll give it a shot, haha. Probably end up drawing some monstrous-looking creatures. I'm def going to use the foam mounts, prob the entire time. It would be cool to learn how to do that considering Alaska doesn't have a single supply store in the state which equates to the high shipping cost of materials.
     
  9. Eddiem0nster

    Eddiem0nster New Member

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    As far as getting some videos on fish, I'm looking at the cold-water species of Alaska. Any advice? I'm leaning towards skin mounts due to my uncle and the profit margin.
     
  10. joeym

    joeym Jeannette & Joey @ Dunn's Falls

    Start out mounting a squirrel. They are everywhere, and are cheap to mount. Once you learn to skin, flesh and mount one, you will have the basics. On birds, do a pheasant first. For fish, a largemouth bass is a very durable fish that will not lose scales. All of these can be mounted for less than $30 in supplies each.
     
  11. Eddiem0nster

    Eddiem0nster New Member

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    I'd prob say the largemouth is a little more expensive since I'm trying to catch one myself. I went fishing all day today. Even gave a guy some worms for his grandkids, thinking ok the fish gods are going to be good to me today. I took some crawdads for the lady and she got skunked, so did I. I caught a bullfrog on with a frog, prob the most hilarious thing I've ever seen fishing. He straight stalked and swallowed my frog, haha. Might have to start with frogs haha, jk. I'm in SoCal so I'll catch a good one sooner or later, just too damn hot right now. Thanks for the advice, low investment is what I like and the bass are what I'm shooting for first.