The two most commonly asked questions of taxidermists are:
"How much?" and "How long?"
Quality craftsmanship and artistry has an affect on both of these questions. These pages are here to help you recognize what makes a quality mount and to aid in your selection of a taxidermist. Quality taxidermy, whether fur, fish, or fowl, requires both knowledge and time. Kits are available to anyone desiring to mount an animal, just as paint-by-number kits are on the market.
The question is, would you rather have a paint-by-number or a Terry Redlin hanging in your home? It is only natural that the knowledge and talent of an individual taxidermist would affect the price of their work. They have worked long and hard to develop their skills.
Quality is also a factor affecting how long it takes to have your work completed. Many variables are involved in determining "turn-around" time including:
- Amount of work backlog
- Whether the taxidermist is full- or part-time
- Whether there are employees or some of the work is wholesaled out to another taxidermist
- Actual time spent working on your trophy.
Remember that really good work takes longer than sloppy work. This applies to taxidermy as much as anything else. It takes time to meticulously flesh and properly tan skins. If insufficient time is allowed for drying, finishing work and paint can crack. It takes time to properly detail anatomically correct eyes, nose, and feet and do a great paint job. The old adage, "you get what you pay for" often applies to taxidermy work.
The Wisconsin Taxidermists Association strives to educate its members about taxidermy methods by bringing in nationally acclaimed taxidermists to give seminars and judge mounts at our competitions. Top awards earned at WTA competitions rank highly nationally, as some of the same mounts have earned Best All-Around Taxidermist, Most Distinguished Taxidermist, and many many other awards in world and national shows. Selecting a WTA member who is attending seminars, currently competing and earning ribbons at shows, will help assure you of getting a quality mount.
Don't be afraid to shop around for a good taxidermist. Take some time and visit different taxidermy shops. Ask questions, look around, and compare work. The best guides to good work are live animals. Bring photos of live animals and compare them to mounts you are looking at. Quality taxidermy looks good and should last a lifetime when cared for properly. Take the time to invest in a mount which you will find joy in looking at for years to come.