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Here We Go!

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Sandhillshunter, Nov 28, 2020.

  1. Sandhillshunter

    Sandhillshunter New Member

    So debated long and hard about posting, but here it goes.

    So long story short, I'm looking to get out of my corporate job (that has been good to me), and move into something I want to be doing in my later years. So by that, you all can figure out I'm going about this backwards, compared to most. I'm 47. Not old, but lets say "seasoned"! I'm looking to not necessary slow down. Screw that! But to take a turn in life and enjoy what I do day in and day out. I'm not the young person with no life experiences starting out. Or that person that cannot finance this kind of endeavor. But I do have concerns that some of you may be willing to help address, based on your experiences.

    I'm blessed to have someone that I feel comfortable with locally to learn from and take classes with. I fully understand that one is not a professional after one class and that any trade takes time and experience to learn. My goal is to have my own part-time shop up and going in 2-3 years. I figure to take a game head class, then continue at home. After sometime (say 3-6 months) I would attend another class to work on my areas of need. Continuing this cycle for sometime, until I feel I am qualified to actually take in business. I also feel like the state conventions would be a benefit for me as well.

    Here are a few of my current concerns.
    1. First and foremost, is Taxidermy something one can do in their later years? Kind of a loaded question, as that depends a lot on ones health. Which for now, mine is good! But is it common for one to do Taxidermy (if the body is able) in their later years? Later years being 60-70.
    2. Ensuring each training step is working towards the final outcome. Let me explain. For my area, game heads are a must. But from a learning standpoint to ensure that my training transitions well for overall skill. Is something I am trying to figure out. For my first class and what I feel would flow well together, is focusing on game heads and trying to work in one or two coyote or coon shoulders (closed mouth). That seems like a relevant transition, that would link well together. Would you all agree?
    I'll stop and just say, I trapped and put-up fur when I was younger. Hundreds of hides each year. Mainly Coon, mink and muskrats. But some coyote and fox as well. That should give you a little insight to my experience with fur. I guess this wasn't so short, my apologizes. Any guidance on the questions is appreciated.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2020
  2. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Welcome and good luck. Now saying this and you studying under someone is great but and here’s the but. How good is he? You may like his work and he gets work in but like in this business we sell junks to Lexus and if your in between you’ll do fine. Plus how artistic are you? You can be taught a skill but not having the ability to be artistic, you’ll be more of a hack than a taxidermist. Trust me on that as I’ve helped many and can see who has the ability or not to really succeed.
    Age has no factor as you set your terms on what your ability is. Best to you

  3. Pikeonthefly

    Pikeonthefly Active Member

    I agree with Frank. I think just about anyone can be a taxidermist but how many of them have the ability to be an artist? Take a fish for example. First you have to able to skin and tan it properly. If you carve your own bodies it will take some time to perfect that craft. Once mounted it will take some time to perfect the fins/set the eyes etc. You have that perfect fish mount and here comes the worst. Now you have to paint it. There are several steps and you will excel in some and fail miserably in others. There will be times when you have a consistent run of excellent work and then one day you'll turn out the biggest trud ever. Giving up will come too easily. Work at it and you will discover on your own you either have it/have enough interest in it to keep going or you don't. I went to school and took classes for fish and game heads over 20 years ago. I kept my day job and practiced this craft after work and on weekends. Still doing it today and waiting for that one fish. Taxidermy is a stress outlet for me. Ease your way into that retirement seat and take some time to break it in. Taxidermist Larry Triplett once told me "taxidermy is great until you have to make a living at it". Give it a try and be honest with yourself before you make that leap. Also consider taking air brush and or other types of painting classes. Your going to need them. Good luck!
  4. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    Forget taxidermy classes. The will NOT help you at this point if you are serious about making it into a business. Take several business classes. They will be the most important.
    If you want to become a business, taxidermy classes are useless. Business classes are beneficial.
    If you want to do taxidermy, taxidermy classes are beneficial. BUSINESS CLASSES FIRST. TAXIDERMY CLASSES SECOND.
    TOGETHER, THEY WILL HELP YOU SUCCEED! Outstanding taxidermists fail every year because they have no business skills. Conversely bad to mediocre taxidermists succeed year after year because they are good at business.
  5. Sandhillshunter

    Sandhillshunter New Member

    Thanks for the replies everyone. I appreciate your directness, as life is to short to be any other way.

    I do have an artistic ability about me, as well as a great eye for detail. I fully understand this is a art form and that is one of the things that I have always respected about the trade. It is also what separates it from so many other trades.

    Far as being a hack. Anyone that is, has made a conscious choice to accept mediocrity. That is not me! While perfection is almost never obtainable. It can always be the expectation.

    I'm good on the business classes. I have an MBA! hahaha
    Tanglewood Taxidermy likes this.
  6. Tanglewood Taxidermy

    Tanglewood Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    It would appear that you are placing your ducks in a row and putting the horse before the cart. Very refreshing!
  7. joeym

    joeym Jeannette & Joey @ Dunn's Falls

    I'm 65 and still going strong...except for the big heavy stuff like cow hides. Start small, and work your way up. You can get a squirrel video and mount one of them in your garage...or kitchen table if your wife will let you! Do taxidermy work for the enjoyment. If you become passionate about it, then you can progress. I love shows, and looking at the incredible skills of others in the competition rooms. This makes me strive to do something different or to excel. There is a daily grind to taxidermy. If you are going to make money, and have a cash flow, you will need to accept everything. If you can't mount fish, find you a wholesale fish taxidermist...same for birds and reptiles. Don't self limit your business by saying no. I retired at 49 from my real job and took off with taxidermy. I had been part time since I was a kid. One of my son's assisted me for 7 years...but fell in lust (love) with a gal in TX and moved out there and got a job with a big taxidermy studio. Hope all this helps in some way.......joeym
    Sandhillshunter likes this.
  8. Sandhillshunter

    Sandhillshunter New Member

    I appreciate the post joeym. Yes, that is very helpful and great advise. I have been to a few state shows over the years and can see them being addictive. That's awesome about you being able to train your son and help him like that. I like hearing success stories of that nature.

    My wife is 100% onboard with this, but I'm not so sure about the kitchen thing! ;) I have a shop with heating and air, that I will convert over for taxidermy once I figure out how I would like it setup.

    Thanks again,