Taxidermy School Courses
(All classes are limited to eight students each)
Our Six Week Complete Course covers everything you need in order to open a taxidermy business and take on anything that comes through your door! Due to it’s popularity, the complete course is offered 3 times per year.
If you do not have the time or finances to attend the full six week course however, or if you wish to just concentrate on specific areas of taxidermy, you can choose one of our Specialty Courses. We offer a 2 week Gamehead Specialty Course, and a 2 week Bird and Fish Specialty Course. Our 4 week Specialty Combo is simply the two mini courses taken together. The Specialty courses are offered less often, depending upon demand (see calendar page).
For clarification on the what each of these courses include, please see full descriptions below.
Six Week Complete Taxidermy Course
240 Clock Hours – $6,295.00 (Click here for class dates)
Our six week course is a complete, well rounded class for those who wish to learn all the skills of a successful commercial taxidermist. This course includes all of the individual specialties in taxidermy (gameheads, lifesize, rugs, birds, & fish). In addition, a wide variety of habitat techniques and other topics are taught throughout the course, as outlined below.
Requirements: During the six week full course, you will mount two competition level gameheads (deer/antelope sizes), one lifesize mammal (our choice of fox, raccoon, fisher, mink, etc.), one open mouth rug (fox, coyote, raccoon, etc.), one rooster pheasant, one drake mallard, one cold water fish, one warm water fish, and one fiberglass reproduction (See photo right). You will also complete a variety of beautiful habitat bases for many of your class projects. Your completed showroom mounts, as well as your habitat bases and tools, are all yours to keep when you leave.
Topics Covered in Six Week Complete Course:
Business Set-Up and Client Interaction (8 Clock Hours): Over the years we have created various forms that make the record keeping end of our business much simpler. Our forms are very user-friendly, and do not take a lot of training, so don’t worry about spending a lot of class time learning paperwork! We also discuss very simple ways to market your business, and how to effectively compete with other established taxidermists. We cover taxidermy suppliers, as well as state & federal taxidermy licensing. You will learn the importance of effective client relations; everything from taking in work, to final customer pick-up. In order to reserve as much time as possible for your actual taxidermy training, the time you spend in this part of the course will be short but efficient. You will be amazed at the effectiveness of this small but valuable part of the course.
Taxidermy Techniques (240 Clock Hours): Topics covered here are so numerous, that we will just list the pertinent ones. We start with hide prepping (thinning, cartilage removal, etc) then move on to measuring, and mannikin preparation. The actual mounting process covers many procedures. We start with test fitting and form preparation. Then we cover many steps involved with setting eyes & ears. We teach our own award winning nasal septum procedure. And finally, you learn proper stitching, as well as additional procedures too numerous to list.
For birds, we cover the difference between skinning for flying vs standing, as well as cleaning, tumbling, tanning, the use of artificial heads, and additional mounting procedures too numerous to list.
For fish, we cover skinning, washing, tanning, mannikin carving, use of real vs. artificial heads, and lots of training on painting! We also include fiberglass reproduction training.
For all mounts, finish work is covered in detail. For every mount, airbrush painting is part of that finish work. All along the way you will have access to official taxidermy competition score sheets to make sure you stay on top of each and every item as you go. We include all of our advanced techniques, and cover the differences between commercial and competition procedures.
Habitat (20 clock hours): We take great pride in our habitat training. Our advanced habitat training, goes above & beyond the simple rocks/plants/moss materials, that are so common nowadays. Have you ever seen what was supposed to be a rock, and wondered why it didn’t look real? Have you seen rocks, snow, or icicles you thought were real, only to find out they were artificial?
Ice techniquesRealistic habitats are easy when learned correctly, so we cover the simple basics and then go a few steps further by including advanced techniques, as well as a variety of original techniques we have developed.
Tanning (2 clock hours): Students will not tan individual mammals due to time restrictions. We cover the basics of in-house tanning projects, and how they compare to commercial tanning. Tanning methods for preserving birds and fish, are different from those used for mammals. You will be tanning your own birds and fish before the actual mounting process begins.
Our Specialty Courses are offered for those with time restrictions or the desire to specialize in a particular area of taxidermy. If you would like to take BOTH of our Specialty Courses consecutively (our Specialty Combo), we will give you a $300 discount for taking them together.
Gamehead Specialty Course
2 weeks, 90 Clock Hours – $3,295.00 (Click here for class dates)
Gamehead taxidermy is the ‘bread and butter’ of any taxidermy business, so this is a great option for those of you who want to get into taxidermy but have time restrictions, or for those who simply want to concentrate on gamehead taxidermy. Gameheads alone can provide you with a profitable part time or even full time career, depending upon local hunting opportunities, and of course, your own personal motivation. A great benefit to this course, is the fact that you will be doing one of your gameheads (generally a bear) with an open mouth. This will give you the skills needed to mount open mouth rugs as well!
As with our complete six week course, the tuition for the Specialty Gamehead Course includes everything needed to complete your mounts. You will not be paying extra for specimens, forms, etc. Your only extra costs will be for travel and living expenses.
Business Set-Up and Client Interaction (8 Clock Hours): This part of the course covers exactly the same record keeping, client relations, licensing, marketing, etc, that is covered in our Six Week Complete Course.
Taxidermy Techniques (82 Clock Hours): All techniques and procedures taught will be the same standards as in the gamehead portion of our Six Week Complete Course. There are no shortcuts taken with this course. Thorough prepping, fitting, sewing, mounting, and finish work is covered in detail. And as stated above, airbrush painting is part of the finish work for every mount.
Bird & Fish Specialty Course
2 weeks, 90 Clock Hours: – $2,995.00 (Click here for class dates)
Our Bird & Fish Specialty Course will allow you to cater specifically to fishermen and bird hunters. This can be a profitable career, especially for those who live near water, as these areas tend to support great fishing and/or bird hunting. Another advantage to this course, is that you can specialize in mounts that are less bulky in both size and weight. If you have an injury for example, that restricts your ability to maneuver larger heavier objects, this course is an ideal choice.
The requirements for the 2 week Specialty Bird & Fish course are: One upland game bird of our choice, one waterfowl of our choice, and two skin mount fish of our choice. As with out other course choices, the tuition amount includes all specimens, forms, habitat materials, etc. to complete your mounts. You will not pay extra for anything that is directly related to your training. Your only extra costs will be for travel and living expenses.
Business Set-Up and Client Interaction, (8 Clock Hours): This part of the course covers exactly the same record keeping, client relations, licensing, marketing, etc, that is covered in our Six Week Complete Course.
Taxidermy Techniques & Habitat, (82 Clock Hours): For birds, we cover the difference between skinning for flying vs standing, as well as cleaning, tumbling, tanning, the use of artificial heads, and additional mounting procedures too numerous to list.
For fish, we cover skinning, washing, tanning, mannikin carving, use of real vs. artificial heads, and lots of training on airbrush painting!
Habitat training is a must in this course, as all birds and fish lend themselves beautifully to a variety of habitats! You will learn the same superior habitat techniques that are offered in our Complete Course.
For all mounts, finish work is covered in detail, and all along the way you will have access to official taxidermy competition score sheets to make sure you stay on top of each and every item as you go. We include all of our advanced techniques, and cover the differences between commercial and competition procedures.
Specialty Combo Course
The two specialty courses are scheduled consecutively for those who want to take both classes, one after the other. For those students who attend both, a $300 discount will apply IF you take both courses in the same year. See Tuition page.
As explained in our course descriptions, the six week course is still a bit more inclusive than the combination of both specialty courses. The projects included in the Six Week Complete Course that are not included in the two Specialty courses are: a lifesize mammal, an open mouth rug, and a fiberglass reproduction fish. Keep in mind though, that the Gamehead Specialty Course includes an open-mouth gamehead for one of your projects, so you will still learn the open mouth procedure.
Bottom line…. although Two weeks, or even Four weeks, will not give you the Complete training offered in our Six Week course, it will still be a great way start to your taxidermy career. And even though our Six Week Complete Course is always the most cost effective, and the most popular, we highly recommend one or both of these shorter courses for those with time restrictions or financial limitations.