I've PM'd people in the past on where to start, and it is a long drawn out subject to try to describe in writing, without any visual aids on where to begin. I firmly believe anyone can do bird taxidermy, but I also believe a person needs to be shown how to do it as well. May I suggest an awesome web-site with tons of experts willing to help out the novice. People like Dave Luke and Tony Finazzo. These two guys regularly visit the web-site, and they are both Master taxidermists. www.taxidermynet.com Good luck! Wings cupped, Pete
I've always had a desire to do my own birds and two years ago I decided that I was going to teach myself how to do it by trial and error. I saved as many decent birds as I could during the fall and then that winter after the season closed I started practicing. I finally got to where I needed some help so I contacted a local taxidermist and convinced him that if he would sell me some supplies and give me a few pointers on how to do ONLY MY birds, I in trade would help advertise his name. A year went by and I contacted him with another question. He then offered me a job doing the skinning and prepping of his birds. Now we share a goal of me taking over doing all his birds so he can focus on the big game animals. Although long winded of getting to a suggestion is to check with local taxidermist seeing if they need help doing grunt work and possibly pickup some pointers along the way.
After watching first hand this LONG drawn out process of mounting waterfowl, two words for new comers to "try it yourself taxidermy" NO friggen way! Ok that was three words, but you get my point!
I say leave it to the pro's, but if you still wanna try it, good luck and enjoy it! :thumbsup:
it does require a lot of time and hard work, but when you finish one that you started, it is a very rewarding experience. I guess it comes down to whats more important to a guy time or money. Taxidermist do earn every penny they charge for good mounts.
I just started my first "lesson" from my buddy. I've been hanging out in his studio for 7-8 years watching him do it all. I decided to start out with a fish, it's summer...so, off I went. It is a 2 lb. blue gill. Nice first fish to start with. It's a skin mount that I'm doing. What a chore! Getting the skin away from the flesh, getting all the flesh off the layed out skin, cleaning the inside of all the fins, the eye sockets, the skull! It's work guys. Waiting for the form to arrive. I'll let ya all know how it's going and maybe get some pic's of it up.
I have done two mallards now. The second was alot better than the first but the were both decent mounts. I did the second one for a friend of mine. He does alot more hunting then I do and he was pretty pleased with the job i did for him.
I did my first deer job on the deer I shot last season. Lots of room for improvement but wasn't a terrible mount.
Right now I'm mounting a full body jackalope with a dink rack my dad shot when I went out hunting for the first time. I think It was back in 94' so I was around 5 years old. that rack is still sittin in the garage but will be in my room on a jackrabbit pretty soon.
I ordered a starter kit on the internet at mckenzie taxidermy supply. It was a 40 dollar kit with instructions a video and all the material you need to mount the duck. It was the upland gamebird mounting kit I think. Perfect for me because I learn best by example. It may or may not work for you but I would sure recommend giving it a shot for only 40 bucks.
My only advise to someone wanting to learn to do their own birds would be "just go for it". All master bird taxidermists started somewhere and their first birds were not great. Taxidermy is a highly skilled profession that balances reference and practice to build your knowledge. Being naturally artistic will help a person along the way.
I look at it this way..... If tonight I decided to totally rebuild my car engine, I would have a huge mess on my hands as I know nothing about automobiles. I know that it would take some serious time studying and learning to do this right.
Having the right tools, learning some tricks and keeping at it will have anyone mounting good birds in time.
I have a saying at my studio with new employee's. "I can teach you how to mount a bird in 2 hours, but you have to spend the rest of your life learning to make them look real"
Don't they look like some pre-historic dug up something when they are in this stage of the work?
I know it's not perfect, but I was kinda excited about my first mount. It's MUCH harder than it looks. I repainted the first few under colors on this fish a few times before I said "to heck wity it" and moved on. The bars looked a little too dark, but after looking at 100's of images of these Blue Gill on line, they started looking better to me. Gotta start somehwhere.
I can tell you right now...I couldn't get a fish to look that good after 50 tries, much less my first try. Looks like you might have found your niche. Might not be a bad part time gig. Hey, maybe you can mount the pig in my Avitar.
Thanks for the good words of encouragement! :salude:
My next one is going to be a trout. Either going to go Roaring River State Park here in Missouri or get one from somewhere else. My buddy said they are easier to do than the Blue Gill I did. We'll see! I'll post some pics up of the in-work progress.
Nice first fish! I see you're working with a taxidermist on your fish. A little hint, Scale your trout. He may show you this, and maybe not, but I can tell you that it will look much better scaled. You will always have scale loss when doing a trout, and once sealed, they look as if they still have their original scales, and are awesomely smooth in appearance! Also go with an artificial head, just use apoxy sculpt at your head juncture. I can promise you that you'll have no grease bleed-through.
What about ducks? in my opinion they're just as easy as fish, and much more rewarding! Good luck, and welcome to the addiction! :thumbsup: Pete
I'n not sure how he does the trout, but I do know that he uses fake heads on them. He also says that they look much better. As for ducks, I've got 4 ducks, a Ross Goose and a nice Canada in his freezers. I've been bouncing around the idea of jumping into one of the ducks. He has the same belief that you do about ducks, they're easy! He hates doing fish. He's good at it, just doesn't like doing them. He has an 11 year old son that mounted his first Mallard 2 years ago, so as the old addage goes, if a 9 year old can do it!
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