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The Worthless NTA, And Its Worthless Leadership. Plus The Calta, Etc….

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by Joe Kish, Nov 1, 2022.

  1. Joe Kish

    Joe Kish Well-Known Member

    This latest attack oh hunting rights AND free speech will not be opposed by the NTA or any other taxidermy club, like California’s, Texas’, and pretty much all the rest.

    The mission statement of the NTA reads:

    Mission Statement
    The mission of the NTA is to promote the art of taxidermy, protect the freedom to hunt, and to promote wildlife conservation.

    Of course it’s a hypocritical statement because the NTA exists for one purpose only – and that is to provide a platform to promote, enhance and foster the benefits, privileges, prestige and perks of its perpetual officers.

    - Where was the NTA when the US Wildlife Service attempted to ban the importation of game birds shot in Canada?

    - Where was the NTA when New Jersey and other states tried to ban the importation of elephant, lion, rhino, and leopard skins and parts into the US?

    They were nowhere that’s where. Why? Because there’s no money in it for the officers. You know, the officers. The ones who always seem to win the top money prizes in the competitions. Yes they have the skills to win, but how ethical is it when they write the rules, administer the rules, set the amounts of prize money, choose and hire the judges, monitor the competition room and keep score. What in heaven’s name can be fair and above board in allowing officers and board members in a competition which they completely control?

    Here’s the current issue the NTA officers and BOD hypocrites won’t touch:

    In the news from: LewRockwell.com

    Hunting Coalition Seeks Injunction Against California Law Banning Free Speech

    By F Riehl

    November 1, 2022

    The Sportsmen’s Alliance, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, and Safari Club International filed for a preliminary injunction today in their federal lawsuit against a newly passed California law to protect the free speech rights of shooting, hunting, and conservation organizations throughout the state.

    The law, created by the passage of AB 2571, which purports to prohibit the “marketing” of firearms to minors, actually goes much further by banning free speech regarding the use of firearms while hunting, shooting or engaging in competitions that might be “attractive to minors.” It’s anyone’s guess what this means.

    The Sportsmen’s Alliance was the first to alert sportsmen on AB 2571 early in the legislative session, citing the bill’s prohibition of communicating any youth firearm-related activities as the death-knell of recruitment efforts and hunter safety training statewide.

    Because the law institutes a massive $25,000 per occurrence penalty, individuals and organizations responded by putting the brakes on communicating anything about youth shooting and education programs of all types.
    James Marsico likes this.
  2. Clovis Point

    Clovis Point Active Member

    Seems to me as though it would be better addressed as two separate issues. Not saying that either is invalid (I believe you have a valid point in both cases) just that the presentation makes it come across as more like you’re saying “screw the NTA board, I hate them because I didn’t win”. Instead, if anyone gives a damn about my opinion, I would suggest taking a stance that says “board memebers should not be allowed to compete on account of the potential for conflict of interests and unfair advantage” on one hand. As well as, in a separate unrelated argument declare something along the lines of “why aren’t the NTA and other recognized trade groups doing more to protect interests such as delegating resources to promote the fight against [whatever California ban law new Jersey rights whatever whatever].

    Like I said, I believe you have 2 valid arguments… but the presentation is coming across a bit like an immature rant/attemp to dog pile one a single group and thus discrediting two valid arguments.

    just my 2¢.
    Joe Kish likes this.

  3. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Now Joe, you know that's bullshit. I never expected you to take a midnight freight train take a dirt road. This aint my first rodeo. You and I have some rancourous history with the NTA and its convention. Like many before you, you attempted exploit it. Though the NTA paid your travel expenses to the convention, a room, and paid $1250 to judge the show, you brought a catalog and hacked your forms. When I threw out your score sheets and hired another taxidermist to judge, I lost friends and was vilified. So this post still peels a few scabs.
    The NTA proved a blessing to me. In 1958 when I started, taxidermy was a closed and locked shop. I and anyone who dared as about how it was done was quickly thrown out of a shop. Recognizing this, an ordinary man, Charlie Haynes and his wife Lola changed that. Operating a small shop and selling a few supplies in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, they coined the name and spent their own money to host an organizing meeting. As it was his brainchild, he was named the first director. Yet friction began immediately. But Van Dyke and Onno VanVeen ousted Charlie. More and more money came into the coffers but the internal friction continued. When John Rinehart's demands weren't met, he took his supporters and formed the International Guild of Taxidermy (IGT). Larry Clingerman took his group to New York and formed the Empire State Taxidermy Association. Yet the NTA flourished and membership blossomed.
    At one time, the NTA had about $5 million in their assets and treasury. It invested in state issues and supporting that original charter. They dedicated all life-time memberships to dedicated, interest bearing accounts that prohibited the principals from being touched. Then Lanny Ballard showed up.
    Ballard had come across a dead hawk, but the USFWS refused to issue him a permit. He approached the NTA. They, like taxidermists to this very day, were all fired up over the issue of hawks and owls. They hired a fancy lawyer and sued the USFWS. The lawyer wasn't cheap and the NTA let emotions drive them as the case went through the courts. One of the more outspoken critics was a young guy from Louisanna, Greg Crain. The case dragged out but the NTA was gaining ground. After almost depleting its treasury, the USFWS agreed and the NTA dropped the suit. That's when the awful truth came out. The NTA had not filed a class action suit but rather an individual one for Lanny Ballard. The USFWS issued a SINGLE PERMIT FOR ONE HAWK.
    From that point, the NTA was headed to a hand-to-mouth existence. Suggestions of hiring a lobbies was laughable. Fifteen years ago a cheap lobbies was running $100,000 plus housing and transportation cost. We approached several recognized national groups. Stronger groups wanted money to add us to their rolls. Bass Pro was willing but internal strife caused by Rinehart Taxidermy Supply's misrepresentation squelched that. Safari Club International (SCI) offered but since taxidermist eat their own, support for them was less than tepid.
    About the same time, someone had the harebrained idea of mandating affiliated state organizations to join the NTA. If there was a death knell, that was it. When conventions were held, residents of the last city didn't renew while resident of the New cities joined.
    Again, dissention within the NTA led to a small group fragmenting off and forming the United Taxidermists Association (UTA).
    When the executive director, Greg Crain was fired, he filed suit against the organization and its liability insurer. The NTA was satisfied with its defense but the insurer caved. When that happened, the NTA became liable for half the lawsuit. That was money they didn't have.The interest bearing, protected funds had to be liquidated to satify their obligations.
    At our very best, the NTA had a bit over 2000 members from the 531,000 practicing taxidermists in America. Currently, we have less than half that. Yet SCI has 50, 000 members. The NRA has 5.5 million. Does anyone actually think our minute industry could ever have the impact or achieve the lofty goals of these behemoth groups?
    It's time to wake the Hell up. The Golden Age of Taxidermy has passed. Museums are passe' and have released Taxidermy staffing. At the same time, memberships to ANY organization has plummeted. As little as 10 years ago, this very forum was saturated with so many members, Ken had to expand the programs running it. Today you'll be hard pressed to find a beginner asking a real Taxidermy question. Fifteen years ago, I told Craig Lewis that forming a Taxidermy organization was a lost cause. I was rebuffed, but history bears me out. Taxidermists don't play well together. They eat their own. They have Google and YouTube. Suppliers build forms so realistic that a rank beginner can produce a quality mount with little talent and little effort. Membership is a privilege to be enjoyed by those who want it. Because you don't play well with others is not cause to slander them. If you aren't a member. You really have no standing in a discussion.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2022
  4. Clovis Point

    Clovis Point Active Member

    Oooooooooh sh*ttttttt. Gotemmmmm.
    rogerswildlife likes this.
  5. "The NTA was satisfied with its defense but the insurer caved. When that happened, the NTA became liable for half the lawsuit. That was money they didn't have. The interest bearing, protected funds had to be liquidated to satify their obligations."

    Geroge about the lawsuit what you said is not the truth. The $65,000. in the lifetime membership funds was never I REPEAT NEVER TOUCHED. When My Wife and I handed the Morgan Stanley account over to the new people running and they through me out for telling the damned truth. There was $65,000. and change in the account.

    Idont know when it was taken but it was not for the crain settlement.

    So whom ever told you that Finking lied. The records should be somewhere in the NTA. The whole board did not vote on settling that was done by two people.

    The Morgan Stanley account was also costing the NTA around $300.00 for Maintenace. There was not any proceeds from anything.

    I had recommended several times Board meeting with Dave Ramsey. But of course I was over ridden.

    While on the road to Gatlinberg just out of Knoxville Some POS. made up a facebook page and posted crap to it. All I had back the was a flip phone and I was following the NTA President.

    I was never allowed to defend my self. A fricking kangaroo ex session. Where NON BOARD MEMBERS WERE ALLOWED. THey feared the truth.

    So somewhere after the new year, and the Crain Settlement was well over is when the $65,000. disappeared.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2022
    msestak likes this.
  6. killitandfillit

    killitandfillit Member

    I admit I'm not to familiar with what you all are referring to. But it does seem suspicious that board members always seem to win the major awards. If not the board members it appears to be the folks that are hanging with the the higher ups. Just my opinion. What do I know. Go astros.
  7. Joe Kish

    Joe Kish Well-Known Member

    Very astute and a good analysis. Now that I see it from your point of view, it does resemble an immature rant/attempt....etc. I didn't want it to be too long, because many of today's readers don't know any of the back story or any of the many pieces and actions I did to give that club credibility. I have always been the NTA's nemesis because I always bested them on competitions, convention seminars and national standards and have never been given any credit from them that I can recall. My best piece on the subject which I ran on this forum just a few years back was titled, "Associations, Knock, knock, anyone home?" It's too long to run again, but I may run some quotes. I can tell you this however, the NTA leadership has more often than not, always driven out the best presidents and board members who could have given it a good direction and a good reputation rather than exploiting it for purely selfish purposes.
    Thanks for your input. I'll address some of the other responders by and by.
    James Marsico and John C like this.
  8. Kerby Ross

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

    I have judged a few state shows and a couple of the UTA shows, and your statement is totally false with those shows. When I judged with the other judges I was with, none of that bias was even discussed.

    I am not saying that it never happens.....

    But a lot of taxidermy state association board members are also great taxidermists.

    There is always a judges meeting with the association that the judges are performing their duties at. Guidance is given .... as in "judge it tough", etc..

    Fair and consistent is my goal as a judge.
  9. killitandfillit

    killitandfillit Member

    I agree with you Kerby it's not everyone and it's true that those who are deep in the organization are usually are usually excellent taxidermist.
    If clearchannel radio is giving $1000 away. Employees and their immediate family are un able to win the prize. If politicians would leave after a few terms the country would be better. If you volunteer or even get paid to head the organization maybe it's best to present your mount at a neighboring state. Where your not the head.
    Just one man's opinion. I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks that way God bless
    Joe Kish and cherrywood like this.
  10. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Ok talking about judging and issues?
    Ok its been many moons ago when I judged and during that show I had a person in the room as I was judging trying to tell me how I should do this and that for the benefit of another competitor.
    I look at the person eye to eye and calmly “ you see that door over there? Yes. It’s like this one of us is going to walk out that door so you better choose who. “ That was the last I seen that person.
    Now as for all the judges in that room was all excellent! There was no issues with anyone of them and we all have each other excellent respect. It was a very hard show to judge and like many some happy others bitching and not trying to learn lol but it was handled properly. Jmo and experience there.
  11. Joe Kish

    Joe Kish Well-Known Member

    Now George,
    Why are you changing the subject, George? Like you calling it bullshit makes it so?

    My post is about my opinion of the NTA’s historic and gross failures to practice what its by-laws states is its purpose and its historic parade of exploitive officers and boards of directors. It’s not about some diabolical Joe Kish peddling his mannikins on the NTA’s money. This is the second time you’ve panned this past event impugning my integrity with your usual smack-down acerbic wit. Ever think of telling the whole story?

    As a past NTA president, naturally you come to the defense of the NTA, but I don’t recall anything of distinction that you accomplished when you held that office – other than firing me, that is. To be fair, you may have tried, but if you ever did, said or advocated any word or deed that even remotely disturbed the status quo of the moneyed interests behind the throne, (like suppliers, for one) your chain would have been yanked too.

    Since the NTA was paying good money to hire and accommodate me as a judge and to give a 2-hour class, why didn’t you call me on the carpet and demand that I explain why some unnamed accuser/s was likely reading my scoresheets and went running to you with shock and complaint? Instead you sent a stooge with a check for $750.00 (not $1250.00) to tell me I was done, finished – no explanation and no appeal. You really showed me who was boss, eh? To hear you tell it, because of me the poor little NTA had to throw good money after bad by paying another judge.

    And why was my class not listed on the program? I was shocked when no one showed up for my prepared class at the reserved time and room after I was fired? You or someone put out the word that I was to be ignored.

    Back to the subject - Another Example of Worthlessness

    Where was the NTA and it worthless leaders when I appealed to its leaders to hear my complaint of Dan Chase pirating my copyrighted mannikins? I took my molds and his pirated forms, the physical evidence, to an NTA convention in Pittsburgh back in the 1980s as a show and tell. I was an NTA member in good standing at the time yet not one single officer or board member would even talk to me much less come by my paid-for booth to see how perfectly his forms snapped into my molds. Not one general member would talk to me either. My booth was even tucked out of the mainstream in the commercial area. It was like I had a bad case of BO or leprosy. Weren’t you an NTA member at the time George? Were you at that convention?

    I wrote an editorial appeal for support and sent it to about two dozen state association presidents asking them to run my piece in their newsletters. Only four wrote or answered my phone calls with lame excuses why they were scared s- - t-less that Chase would sue them if they did. Only Terry Ehrlich published it in Taxidermy Today but with Dan’s name and company redacted to avoid legal peril. It was I, not the NTA that initiated ending the reign of the industry’s worst ever forms pirate.

    It’s common knowledge that the NTA has always been run like any club of amateurs with constant fiscal corruption. The list is long of worthy leaders throwing up their hands and dropping out of the NTA in total frustration. The number of articles and editorials I personally have written in support of the NTA’s purposes and possibilities runs to thousands and thousands of words.

    Nevertheless, your club, the NTA has always been a great trade show and a place where they hand out ribbons and trophies like Halloween candy. There’s no longer any real prestige in winning top places at an NTA competition other than winning juicy money awards. And everything you said the NTA did and does to provide learning opportunities to boost an interested person’s learning curve is mostly true. It's also mostly redundant, what with state conventions, the World Show, today’s top quality magazines, videos, books and schools. But I will remind you that it was I who set all those wheels in motion and provided the standards and example for all following conventions and competitions through my magazine Taxidermy Review. And it was I who always gave the credit of initiating the start of that revolution/evolution to Charlie Haynes the founder of the NTA.

    So call it bullshit all you want. I’ve been given a fair hearing from responders to this post and I resent your having to cause me to waste hours of my time defending myself because of your repeated smack-downs.

    If it makes you feel better, I coulda shoulda named my post The Not So Great and Wonderful, One in A While Flawed NTA. I admit the word Worthless is pretty harsh in this instance. Not unlike much of the word choices you write.

    I’ve had my say and have been given fair treatment by all but one dim wit responder. So..... Have a nice day, George.

    Dan Chase pirate.jpg 1001.jpg
    John C, DTS 1046 and vic h like this.
  12. vic h

    vic h Active Member

    Joe, that was excellent. That is how I saw it from the first NTA convention, which I attended in Missouri at age 16 until now. I do believe the current NTA is much better.
    Now and lets hope it continues trying to to move in the right direction.
    By the way I believe if Gary Zehner were still here He would "like" your post, and he never liked anything right?

    Vic Heincker
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2022
    Joe Kish, John C and DTS 1046 like this.
  13. Joe Kish

    Joe Kish Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your supportive comments. You characterized Gary quite well. He was an outstanding critic of taxidermy work. Once when I said I thought a certain piece we were viewing at a competition was pretty darn nice work, Gary said, "It looks like a piece of shit." I was shocked but then he proceeded to point out technical and anatomical flaws I was overlooking, and he was right. Invoking his memory reminds me of the affection we held for this coarse talking but widely respected personality.
    vic h likes this.
  14. Kerby Ross

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

    In the early 1990's Arizona had a proposition to ban trapping on public lands. I know for a fact that the NTA had donated $$$$ to fight that bill. It was defeated and then two years later Arizona proposed it again and we lost. So since then, no trapping on public lands (most of Arizona has public access). So the NTA did support us back then.

    Frank E. Kotula and vic h like this.
  15. Jerry Huffaker

    Jerry Huffaker Well-Known Member

    Just another comical meaningless post by mr. Kish
    Kerby Ross likes this.
  16. Joe Kish

    Joe Kish Well-Known Member


    Why do you persist in posting your cutesy little jabs at me? Do you really think readers want to see a battle of words between us, other than your toadies, that is? Can you not see how petty and unmanly a picture you paint of yourself? You couldn’t look me in the eye when we passed at conventions, but you still aren’t shy with your snotty little jabs when you’re under cover like on this forum.

    What exactly do you gain from this juvenile behavior of yours, your pointless attempts to stain my reputation and cause me to have to address your asinine verbal ejaculations (asinine - as in stupid, showing or marked by a lack of good sense or judgment.) (Definition provided strictly for mr. Huffaker.)

    Tell us what you find comical [and] meaningless about the NTA backing the nation’s No. #1 forms pirate against me, the nation’s No. #1 innovator and motivator since the founding of the NTA? Even the NTA itself recently violated one of my copyrights twice, and with total silence to my complaint from el presidente on down to the entire board of directors.

    Please continue to show your disdain for all my personal successes, while you are profiting off my sculpting skills, eh? Hasn’t it occurred to you that I might be getting royalties off your purchases of models I created? That looks hypocritical, wouldn’t you say?

    I and numerous past presidents of the Texas Taxidermy Assoc. know exactly what’s stuck in your craw – you can’t take criticism, not even constructive criticism, same as the NTA. Go ahead, continue with your cheap little bleats like a child who’s been denied a cookie before supper. But be advised, if you persist in denigrating me for your childish sport, remember I made your friend and colleague James famous on this forum. I can also show your personal infamy.

    upload_2022-11-30_6-56-40.png [​IMG]
    Richard C and PA like this.
  17. You can trap on public lands in AZ, just have to use confinement traps
    Kerby Ross likes this.
  18. Kerby Ross

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

    Well, they banned leg hold traps.
    WLdLfeArt likes this.
  19. Yes, yes they did, which makes no sense.
  20. Richard C

    Richard C Well-Known Member

    Leg hold traps were banned in Mass many years ago. Boston and the 2 surrounding cities votes to ban them neutralized the rest of the cities in the states votes. Now those cities have a influx of coyotes and are complaining. Those well educated smart people want to sterilize the coyotes. There are photos on many phone poles with lost / missing cat and small dog posters. Many with reward offers. Poetic justice.
    There are no more ground nesting birds anymore either. The Coyotes have to eat and feed there family’s too.
    Frank E. Kotula and John C like this.