Taxidermy is an art form. Well-preserved animal trophies can be works of art worth a great deal of money. Learning taxidermy can be rewarding, but it is not for everyone. You must have extensive knowledge about the anatomy of animals, as well as their behavior in the wild. If you respect and enjoy nature, and are not squeamish, taxidermy can be a wise career choice.
- Skill level:
Visit taxidermy shops. Explain your interest in the field, and ask plenty of questions. Request to witness a work in progress. Get an "inside" tour from a successful taxidermist. Taxidermy can be a difficult profession. You must understand the real work involved before committing your time, effort and finances to such a challenging field.
Do your homework. Study animal form drawing. Obtain books and instructional videos to learn taxidermy and animal biology. Subscribe to professional taxidermy magazines.
Find an apprenticeship. Work for a skilled taxidermist for several weeks to find out if you are suited to the career. Finding someone to accept a rookie can be difficult, but it is an important step in learning taxidermy. If necessary, offer your part-time services free.
Decide after several "hands-on" weeks if taxidermy is an appropriate career for you. If you intend to pursue this line of work, ask about extending your apprenticeship long-term.
Attend area workshops and wildlife art shows. Consider enrolling in taxidermy school, where you can learn the newest techniques. Take an active role in learning as much as you possibly can to further your study of the craft.
Determine the licensing laws for your particular area. Contact your nearest Fish, Fur and Game office for a list of legal requirements. Requirements vary by state. In many areas, filing for a license and payment of a nominal fee are all that is required.
Meet the legal requirements, obtain your license, and enjoy your new profession!
Tips and warnings
- Woodworking, molding and casting are all skills you must acquire. Consider taking wood shop and sculpting classes.
- If you are still uncomfortable working with deceased wildlife after a few weeks of internship, it is unlikely you will ever overcome feelings of squeamishness. Taxidermy may be the wrong field for you.
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