Taxidermy Learning

Learn Taxidermy the Prerequisites of Being a Taxidermist

Today’s modern day millennial taxidermist have it pretty easy compared to what their forefathers went through back in the day to learn taxidermy. In today’s day and age taxidermy isn’t being learned the way it really should be learned. When someone seeks out to learn taxidermy whether it is in a taxidermy school or taxidermy seminar they will be shown a bombardment of methods to put together a taxidermy mount. Taxidermy is not just about skinning, tanning and mounting. Taxidermy is not snap together. Taxidermy is everything about anatomy.

Watching every taxidermy DVD to learn taxidermy and knowing all of the secret so called pro techniques isn’t going to make your mounts a blue ribbon if you don’t know what the hell it’s supposed to look like to begin with. Some new coming millennial taxidermists don’t study enough anatomy on the animal they are mounting.

 To be a taxidermist and learn taxidermy one should be an artist first. You should be doing concentrated studies of the anatomy of a species from bone structure to their muscle structure. Knowing and understanding the movement of their limbs, eyes and ears is also a prerequisite before ever attempting to mount the specimen. Study drawings, live photos and sculptures to get a better understanding of the animal you’re mounting.

If you are young and still in school or college and want to learn taxidermy and to one day be a taxidermist, there are things you can do now. Focus on advancing your art studies in drawing and sculpting. Know everything there is on sculpting and carving. Another key study is colors. Know everything you can on colors, mixing colors. The color wheel is your bible. Know that wheel. Your art teacher should be an expert with the wheel. Learn the wheel. Colors play a major role in taxidermy in just about everything you will mount, especially if you want to mount fish.

The second area of studies should be in biology and zoology. If you have the chance to take these classes by all means take them. They will tremendously help you. If you want to learn taxidermy these two classes are a must.

If you came into my taxidermy shop I could show you everything you would need to know about mounting deer. By the time you leave my shop, you would be mounting deer. However all you learned where techniques, my techniques. How much of the animal did you learn about and why I did do what I did? You probably learned nothing when it comes to that aspect of taxidermy.

The first homework assignment I have for you and one who wants to learn taxidermy is to buy and read African Obsessions The Life and Legacy of Carl Akeley. If you are serious of becoming a taxidermist this a must have book. Good luck.

By CJ Herring

CJ Herring has been practicing taxidermy for 22 years and resides in the hills outside of Cooperstown, New York. A crippling and disabling brain tumor took control of his life in early 2018. In 2019 CJ took a major turn for the worse and was diagnosed with Acromegaly and underwent brain tumor removal in 2020. CJ also suffers from end stage Osteoarthritis within his entire body. In 2021 CJ began his journey with total hip replacement. CJ continues to write about taxidermy and still manages the day to day operations of the Taxidermy Lab Facebook group.