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Learning the art

Taxidermy Tips and questions about taxidermy and the art of preserving the memory of your hunt.

Learning the art

Old 04-18-2006, 06:24 PM
  #1  
Typical Buck
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: North Dakota
Posts: 959
Default Learning the art

Sorry if this has been posted a million times, but taxidermy is something that has been on my mind for quite some time now. I was just wondering, how hard is it to get into it and what are some pointers on where to learn, or if there are some books to get me into it. I would like to just start out small doing some shoulder mounts or bird mounts for friends, and if I was good at it, maybe it could become a career. I would probably not get into doing fish, since I am more of a hunter than a fisherman. Thanks.
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Old 04-18-2006, 07:19 PM
  #2  
Nontypical Buck
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,210
Default RE: Learning the art

Buck - It's become an obsession for me, so be carefull what you wish for. I attended a community college to learn the basics and then went from there. Here's a few tips - check out www.taxidermy.net and go to the forums, also check the archives, also check the suppliers links. Most suppliers will send you catalogs for FREE. Research Maninkins, WASCO, Van Dykes and McKenzies are the big guys. I use McK almost exclusively but order various prods from all. Get a few catalogs and order some videos and instructional books. Start with squirrels, theyr'e cheap , easily enough to get and are pretty tough skinned. I don't have enough space here to list most of the basic things. But I recommend videos or books on tanning, fleshing, mounting squirrels, etc. I was taught that if you can mount a squirrel, you can mount a deer, if you canmount a deer, you can mount anything. There is tons of info out there and it is easy to get discouraged, but if you can stick with it, it's alabor of love. Also look into joining your state taxidermy association, once you have decided that you really want it. They will be able to get you in touch with people that are willing to help you or at least let you watch. There are 2 really good trade magazines, Taxidermy Today and Breakthrough, for beginners I recommend TT, but it's just personal preference. I know this is more than you probably wanted to start with, but you asked. If there's anything I can help you with, let me know. Hope it helps
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Old 04-18-2006, 09:35 PM
  #3  
Typical Buck
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: North Dakota
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Default RE: Learning the art

Does anybody have any idea if there are schools in Minnesota or North Dakota? I was also wondering, how hard would it be to start out your own taxidermy shop or studio, whichever it is called. I would love to do it for a living, but was just wondering if it was something that is feasable (sp?) for a 21 year old to get started out in the business. Also, how profitable would it be, enough to live comfortably or would I just be struggling? Thanks for all the help, will probably have a million more questions for you guys..so thanks
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Old 04-19-2006, 09:56 AM
  #4  
Typical Buck
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Wall NJ
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Default RE: Learning the art

Try to read everything you can on the business then when you feel comfortably mount something simple (example: squirrel) keep mounting until your mount looks alive and your best friends under oath say so. The more you use “hands on” in this trade the better you become. Be very hard on yourself, references are very, very important, save all photos of animals and birds. Check out this site www.taxidermist.netthey have links to most of the info I have talked about. Order the breakthrough magazine.
When youfeelyoucanmount a few types of mammals then try birds. Birds are different and if you can do birds your set. When you skin out anything make a sketch and measure all the parts (limbs, circumference, length from nose to base of tail, etc) Order a Mc Kenzie catalog (1-800-279-7985) plus any other that are listed in the trade magazines. And then and only then start doing this on a part time basis, you will start to make some extra money but do not go full time until you have a large group of customers coming in all the time and spread out over 12 months. Good luck.

Rich
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Old 04-19-2006, 11:19 AM
  #5  
Typical Buck
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: North Dakota
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Default RE: Learning the art

Thats what I was thinking, I was going to try to make it a weekend thing until I get my name out there. The job that I am applying for right now is 4 days a week and I will be able to live comfortably off of that. Thanks again for all the information guys, but I gotta take off now and go take a pre-employment exam.
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Old 04-21-2006, 10:49 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 50
Default RE: Learning the art

nctaxi,

Do you still have the passion hunt? If yes, do you still have time for it? Has taxidermy replaced your interest in hunting?I asked because I thinkit would be reallycool to excel in both fields.
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Old 04-23-2006, 07:53 PM
  #7  
Nontypical Buck
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Default RE: Learning the art

Passion? It seem that's all I think about, that and taxidermy. But taxidermy cuts into your hunting time and don't let anyone tell you differently. The only reason I do taxidermy part time is because I take my kids hunting as much as I can. I am probably more passionate about hunting now more than ever. I shed hunt and look for properties alot harder, just bagged 10 more acres. I think taxidemry has heightened my passion, because now I work with deer and study deer alot more than before. But again I have to stress, I ONLY DO IT PART TIME. I don't know any full timers that hunt near what I do. They mainly save their money for trips that I can't afford. It's really a give and take, right now I turkey hunt every Sat, work Mon - Fri at my full time job, come home and do taxidermy every evening for 3-5 hrs. Right now I have a deer to finish, African skulls to bleach, an impala to mount, a zebra tosend off to rug,an otter to skin, meet with a guy about a fox, another about way too much work to discuss ( in excess of $30,000), 3 bears to get back with people on, 3 deer that are waiting on me, 2 fish that I really don't want to do, and a partidge in a pear tree. Wait that's not it. Scrap the partridge. But I am pretty busy, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.
By the way I can't say that I ever excelled in hunting, killed alot of deer but nothing I would have mounted. When I was younger I used to fish alot, lost that desire though, but now I have to spend a small fortune getting all that stuff repro'd, pike, bass, smallies, brookies, walleye, salmon, etc. And now I can't stand the smell of fish,for me fishing is just something to do when I can't hunt. I have bass in my pond over 10lbs and hardly ever fish it unless the boys want to go.
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Old 04-25-2006, 04:28 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 50
Default RE: Learning the art

NCTaxi,

You are a blessed man! Thanks for sharing yourpassion.
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