5 Reasons NOT to Start Taxidermy
Taxidermy is a hobby for most but an art-form for every person who decides to take it on. I've seen many people on chat boards, and social media ask about entering into taxidermy. First, let me say that there are many positive things about taxidermy and if nothing else it is always a conversation topic. But this post is not about the up side. Struggles are guaranteed so here's a list of 5 reasons that you shouldn't start taxidermy.
1) It Is Difficult
Taxidermy is not like painting a picture or making a gingerbread house. There are hundreds of areas that something can go wrong in the process from the hunters harvest to the mount drying. There are measurements, stitching, tanning, molding, painting, setting, adjusting, and many more things that you must account for. There are those that have a knack for it but there are just as many, if not more that put together some extremely questionable pieces. Just do google search for "bad taxidermy" and you'll see what I mean.
2) Enough Work
This all depends on how accurate your work is, how much you charge, and what geographical area you reside in. In central Illinois for example it’s fairly competitive, so for someone breaking into taxidermy it might be difficult to get enough work. Areas in Texas and Wisconsin however seem to have enough hunters to keep taxidermists busy year round, or at least enough for part-time work. Obviously the better your work is and the less you charge, chances are very good you will continue to receive more customers.
3) It Can Cost You
With almost anything these days you have to spend money to make money and that’s no different with taxidermy. On every mount you’ll need to purchase forms, hide paste, clay, eye sets, sewing thread and needles, and possibly a host of other accessories. You also will need a state taxidermy license in most states. There is also the cost of tanning which can range from $50-$100 depending on the tannery, unless you want to try and take a shot at that on your own. All said you can be into a mount up to $200 or more before you set a price for you customers. Many taxidermists offset this by getting deposits up front. According to a 2016 article from Outdoor.com, they estimate the average cost of a shoulder mount is between $350 and $450. This is just an estimate and obviously different businesses set different prices based on their own estimations.
4) Time Consuming
Taxidermy is an art form and with any art it takes time to complete a project. From the time a customer brings in an animal to you to completion of a mount could take up to a year depending on how busy you are. The tanning process can take weeks or months and the same goes with the actual mounting process, especially if you are a novice. You’ll have less time to mount them the more work you take in. The mounting process itself can take weeks with assembly, and drying.
5) Learning Curve
Some people just have a knack for certain artistic forms. Just like with singing or painting, to some those things just come naturally. There is a large learning curve for most that begin taxidermy. There are so many aspects and processes that you'll need to experience to figure out what works for you as a creator. So basically, don't expect to be an instant expert because almost no one is starting out.