The Spirit of Competition

The competition is many things to many people. Some people come to learn, some to prove their abilities to the public and other competitors, some to express themselves artistically, and some for the camaraderie. All these things are important aspects of our competition. With these things in mind, we have put together six different divisions each with its own goals and objectives. The summary of each category is to make the competition more clearly understood for the betterment of the WTA, its members, the judges and the viewing public.

Competition Divisions

  • Junior
  • Amateur
  • Open
  • Masters
  • Senior
  • Commercial
The Junior Division is for young people, 18 years of age and under. It is intended to promote interest in taxidermy for the next generation.
The Amateur Division is for all taxidermists from a beginner wanting to start competing to someone at the highest level who has a never competed before. If you are not quite sure of what division to get in, the Amateur is a great starting point. Competitors will get a full critique of their mount. They will be judged by WTA qualified members. Like in the Open Division, emphasis is on the specimen and not on the base work. One sided fish are allowed in this division. There are no categories. This is a multi-ribbon division (1st, 2nd, 3rd, Honorable Mention). With one (1) award given to the best amateur mount. Once a competitor has won a blue ribbon on a certain type of mount (bird, fish, mammal, gamehead, deerhead) then you are required to move to the Open Division.
The Open Division is for anyone that is interested in learning to be the best taxidermist they can be. In this division people are encouraged to learn how to mount the specimens correctly. Judging for this category is focused on the specimen(s) and their construction. Judges will be instructed NOT to consider any bases or artistic merit, when they score these entries. We do not want to discourage mounts with habitats in the Open Division, but the ribbon placement is based on the technique and skill in preparing the specimen only. If we are to learn to do the technical part of TAXIDERMY (the mounting of the specimen), and still judge fairly, we need to judge in this manner.
The Masters Division is for people who have mastered the “taxidermy” and are now moving on to creating artistic renditions. These entries will be judged at a “National” level for technique and artistry of the entire mount. Entrants to the Masters must have a base or habitat together with the specimen(s) to create an artistic piece in order to do well. We do not require members to move up to the Masters Division, but we do encourage members who do well in the Open Division, to continue learning and to move into the Masters Division. Competitors entering in the Masters Division are asked to use common sense when entering any mounts in the Open Division at the same time. Competitors will not be allowed to Load Up on their respective categories in both divisions. Anyone earning a blue ribbon in the Masters Division will not be allowed to enter the Open Division in that category in the future.
The Senior Division is for members that are at least 60 years old. Mounts will be judged by ballot by entrants in the Masters Division on a five-foot rule. There will be a single ribbon, 1st, 2nd, 3rd with a trophy awarded for 1st Place.

The commercial division is for all adults from a beginner wanting to start competing to someone at the highest level who has a nice commercial mount that would not do well in Masters Division. There are no categories with no limit on the number of entries. During judging, mounts will be judged from a hands reach away. No flashlights allowed.

Commercial Division mounts will not have their picture taken. A WTA member will judge the mounts using the WTA's half score sheets highlighting three to five problem areas. A short critique to follow (one critique per species)

Top three entries will recieve plaques (Best in Commercial Division, 1st Commercial Division Runner-up, 2nd Commercial Division Runner-up) Individual ribbons will be placed for 1st, 2nd, & 3rd. Lastly, Commercial Division mounts are not eligible for special awards.

  1. ENTRIES
    1. All competitors must be members of the WTA to compete.
    2. The entry fee for pre-registration at the Deer Classic will be $25 for the first mount and $20 for each addition mount. All membership dues must be paid prior to competition deadline.
    3. Open registration fees for the Deer Classic will be $40 for the first mount and $35 for each addition mount.
    4. Best All-Around Taxidermist is $15 additional to your mount fees.
    5. Matuska Competitors Award is $20 additional to your mount fees
    6. Junior Division entry fees are $3 per entry. Entrants under 18 years can enter in this division.
    7. Deadline: Pre-registration is one week before multi-competition. Open and Non-Resident registration will be taken at the Deer Classic. Open and Non-Resident registration will be taken on Thursday only. Pre-Registered must be accepted by deadline on Friday.
    8. NO EXCEPTIONS to competition entry registration.
    9. Mount I.D. tags must be attached to the mount. Exhibitor Receipt must be kept and shown to pick up mount at end of show.
    10. Competitors will bring mounts in through the back loading area of Patriot Center into a registration and grooming area. From there a Committee person will hang or place entry.
    11. President's Challenge is an additional $5 fee per entry.
    12. Wisconsin Avian Challenge is a $15 fee. A reference photo of the chosen species is provided.
    13. Commercial Division is a $10 entry fee.

  2. DIVISIONS AND CATEGORIES
  3. There are six (6) divisions (Junior, Senior, Amateur, Open, Masters, and Commercial).

    Amateur and Commercial Division

    There are no categories in this Division.

    Senior Division

    There are no categories in this Division. Only one entry is allowed.

    Junior and Open Division Categories

    1. (SF) Single Fish, two-sided (Skin).
    2. Artificial head and fins accepted. Can be pedestal or hang on wall.
    3. (FG) Fish Group, two-sided (Skin).
    4. Artificial head and fins accepted. Can be pedestal or hang on wall.
    5. Single Bird.
      1. (SBA) Waterfowl
      2. (SBB) Non-waterfowl
      3. (SBC) Turkeys
    6. (BG) Bird Group—2 or more birds.
    7. (WT) Whitetail Deer Head Mount. ONE allowed per competitor.
    8. Game Head
      1. (GHA) Ungulates—all hoofed animals except whitetails & pigs.
      2. (GHB) All other game heads—Includes wild pigs, carnivores, etc.
    9. Life-Size Mammal—Includes half-life-size and young of the species.
      1. (LSMA) Small Mammal—Such as a weasel, prairie dog, muskrat, rabbit, skunk, mink, ferret.
      2. (LSMB) Medium Mammal—Such as a raccoon, fox, otter, woodchuck, opossum, badger, beaver, porcupine.
      3. (LSMC) Large Mammal—Such as a wolf or larger, including hoofed animals.
    10. (MG) Mammal Group—2 or more mammals of any size.
    11. (RUGS) Rugs—All types, must be your own work.
    12. (REPT.) Reptiles—Single or group
    13. (REPRO) All reproductions.Purchased blanks allowed
      1. (REPOA) Reproduction Fish
      2. (REPOB) All other Reproductions and Recreations
    14. (FRZDRY) Freeze-dry whole
    15. (SKL) Skeletons-must be skeleton of complete body.
    16. (MA) Multiple Artist—Includes any species. More than one artist working together on a single entry.

    Masters Division

    Categories are the same as open division categories with the following exceptions:

    • Additional Categories
      1. (MXG) Mixed Group (Combination of two (2) or more categories)—this entry will have a combined score for one (1) ribbon (Excluding two (2) or more mammals, birds, fish or game heads which is considered a group)
      2. (MGH) Multiple Game heads (all Game heads including Whitetails)
      3. (OA) Original Art
    • Removed Categories
      1. (RUGS) Rugs—All types, must be your own work.
      2. (FRZDRY) Freeze-dry whole
      3. (SKL) Skeletons-must be skeleton of complete body.
    • All reproductions must be created by entrant.

    Wildlife Artistry Division

    There are no categories in this division. Single or collective artists pieces are allowed. Unlimited mounts welcome.

  4. AWARDS
    1. Judges Choice Best of Show—Best overall mount picked by all judges, can choose from any mount in the Open and Masters Division
    2. Taxidermists Choice Best of Show—Best overall mount picked by all entrants (See Schedule for Judging)
    3. Best-All-Around Taxidermist—Highest scoring group of 4 mounts (Bird, Fish, Life-size Mammal, and Game head) (For more details look in V, no.7)
    4. Matuska Competitors Award-Highest scoring group of any four (4) mounts. There will two winners, one in Open Division and one in Masters Division. A trophy donated by Matuska Supply will be presented.
    5. WASCO/Artistic Merit Award—First through third place given to most artistic mounts as chosen by judges.
    6. Habitat Award—Given to the best habitat as chosen by the judges.
    7. Wisconsin State Champion—Given to the highest scoring, first-place mount, in any Category of the Masters Division. (If there is no first place, there will be No State Champion)
    8. Best of Category—Given to the highest scoring first place mount in any category in the Open Division. (If there is no first place, there is No Best of Category)
    9. Horizon Award—Given to the highest scoring mount in the Junior Division. (In case of a tie, the judge will decide)
    10. Special Awards
      1. WTA Award of Excellence—Given to members who accumulate 21 points and at least one first place ribbon in the Masters Category. Points will be accumulated by getting one (1) point for 3rd place, two (2) points for 2nd place, and three (3) points for 1st place. When the total numbers of points are achieved, the award will be presented to the member at the awards banquet.
      2. Competitors Achievement Award—Given to members who accumulate 20 points at WTA competitions, by getting one point for every ribbon won, for a total of no more than four points per year; mounts must be entered in the Open or Masters Division at the Deer Classic or any Mini-competition; when the total number of points are achieved, the award will be presented to the member at the awards banquet.
      3. President's Challenge-Species to be chosen by the President. Winner will be chosen on overall craftsmanship and artistic merit by the judges.
      4. Wisconsin Avian Challenge-Species to be chosen by the previous winner. Winner will be chosen on anatomy and craftsmanship based on a supplied reference photo. The judge will choose a 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place winner in the bird seminar on Saturday.
      5. Wildlife Artistry Division - 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places will be chosen by competitors at the show, with 1st place receiving a trophy or plaque. Also, pay out of monies is as follows: 1st- 50%; 2nd- 30%; and 3rd- 20%.
    11. Multi-Ribbon judging—No set number of ribbons (there may be more than one first, one second, etc.).
    12. Many special awards given by conservation organizations, suppliers, etc

  5. JUDGES
    1. Judges are chosen as follows:
      1. No judge will be from WTA membership for multi-competitions.
      2. In case of emergency (if a contracted judge cannot perform his/her duties) the WTA Competition Committee and Board of Directors reserve the right to substitute two qualified WTA members to judge the specific categories. They will judge separately and the two scores will be averaged to achieve a score. They will also participate in picking other Judges Choice Awards. Judges will not be able to compete in that competition.
      3. Mini-competitions can be judged by a panel of 2 WTA members picked by the competition committee. Judges will be ineligible to enter that competition.
      4. Junior division will be judged by a WTA member.
    2. No judge is to be in the area where mounts are being placed until time of judging
    3. Judge is to plan at least 4 hours of time on Saturday to members to critique their mounts. Critiques will be held to 10 minutes maximum.
    4. Judge will wear identification. WTA will furnish a recording assistant for each judge.

  6. JUDGING CRITERIA
    1. Judges decisions are final.
    2. Judges will use WTA score sheets—using the body of the score sheet for a critique sheet and giving a ribbon placement on the bottom.
    3. Multi-Competition—judges to have a minimum of 8 hours for judging and must be done by 4:00 pm on Friday.
    4. Mini-Competition—judges must have ample time to judge exhibits during duration of meeting that day.
    5. Entries in the Open and Amateur Divisions will be judged for sound mechanics, cleanliness, symmetry, anatomy, and attention to the details of the specimen only. Judges are NOT to include the base, pedestal, etc in their ribbon placement.
    6. Entries in Masters Division will be judged on a more difficult, technical scale. These entries will also be judged on artistic composition, presentation, and exceptional craftsmanship.
    7. Best-All-Around Taxidermist—An accumulation of points will be given for the highest ribbon of each: bird, fish, life-size mammal and game head entered in Open or Masters Division. Each mount must be declared at the time of registration. Rugs, Skeletons, Freeze-dry and Multiple Artist entries are not eligible. Points will be awarded as follows: three (3) points for 1st place, two (2) points for 2nd place, one (1) point for 3rd place. One (1) bonus point will be awarded for each mount entered in the Masters Division and one (1) bonus point for each mount winning Best of Category or State Championship. A minimum of nine (9) points is required to win. In case of a tie, the judges will determine the winner.
    8. Competitors Challenge-An accumulation of points will be given for each of four entries in the Open or Masters Division. Each mount must be declared at the time of registration. Rugs, Skeletons, Freeze-dry and Multiple Artist entries are not eligible. Points will be awarded as follows: three (3) points for 1st place, two (2) points for 2nd place, one (1) point for 3rdplace. One (1) bonus point will be awarded for each mount entered in the Masters Division and one (1) bonus point for each mount winning Best of Category or State Champion. In case of a tie, the judges will determine the winner.
    9. Open Division must have at least one mount that earns a first place ribbon to award a Best of Category.
    10. Masters Division must have one mount that earns a first place ribbon to award the Wisconsin State Champion.
    11. Judges will award ribbon placements as follows: Open Division will include 1st, 2nd, 3rd and Honorable Mention. Masters will include 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Amateur Division will include 1st, 2nd, 3rd and Honorable Mention.
    12. Senior Division will be judged by ballot by the entrants in the Masters Division on the five-foot rule.
    13. Wildlife Artistry Division will be judged by all competitors in the show, on the five (5) foot rule.
    14. Junior Division will be judged by a selected WTA member. 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and Honorable Mention are awarded.

  7. GENERAL RULES
    1. No distasteful displays allowed, including arrows or traps causing distress. Large groups of the public will see WTA displays. Keep mounts in good taste. The Ethics Committee will be available if there is a question or a problem.
    2. No “For Sale” signs on mounts.
    3. All mounts must be the work of the person entering.
      1. Mounts done at a school or with another taxidermist are not allowed, unless the mount is entered in the Collective Artists Division.
    4. A mixed entry including a Bird, Fish, Life-size Mammal, or a Game Head:
      1. Open Division will be entered separately and judged in their respective categories. (Example: Otter chasing two (2) fish would be entered as one (1) Medium Life-size Mammal and one (1) Fish Group).
      2. Masters Division has a Mixed Group category. Entries will be judged collectively by their respective judges and given one ribbon placement.
    5. Removable covers will be allowed. Covers are to be removed by the owner before judging. This also means that the owner will be responsible for putting the cover back on.
    6. Base may not be more than two times the size of the mount.
    7. All hangers on entered mounts must be of good quality or they will not be hung. The Competition Committee will decide.
    8. For competition mounts, two mounts per category are allowed, unless entering the competitors challenge.
    9. Mounts in previous shows are allowed back as long as they are moved up to a higher division.
    10. Special Rules for the Wildlife Artistry Division:
      1. Judged by competitors from five (5) feet.
      2. Single or collective artists pieces allowed.
      3. Mounts in prior shows are allowed.
      4. Top three (3) winning mounts are not allowed to be entered in future shows.
      5. Mounts are eligible for special or choice awards in the show.
      6. Unlimited mounts welcome.
      7. Show judges break tie.
      8. Judges are allowed to enter (must contact competition chairperson)
      9. Competitors are allowed to advertise their business. An 8 inch by 10 in sign is allowed in this category only. Competitor is responsible for the sign.
    11. Special Rules for the Masters Division.
      1. All cast parts should be the work of the entrant
      2. Manikins should be made by the entrant, or commercial should be altered substantially.
      3. It is suggested that there be pictorial proof of alterations, casting, etc. (One or two pictures are sufficient.)
      4. All mounts should be on a base, habitat, etc. They will be judged and included in the ribbon placement. (Remember that in the Masters Division, the entrant should know how to mount the species and should concentrate on artistic presentation, etc.)
      5. Once a blue ribbon has been earned, competitors will not be allowed to enter in the Open Division in that category.
      6. All animals on the base that fall into a category, must be judged. Unless all or part are not done by the competitor. An identification card will identify what mount is not to be judged, and no credit will be given towards overall score.
    12. Special Rules for the Multiple Artists category.
      1. Mounts must be the work of more than one person.
      2. Mounts cannot be used for Best-All-Around, Competitors Achievement and Award of Excellence points.
      3. If any entrant who worked on a piece is considered Masters Division Capable, the entry will be put in the Masters Division. Competition Committee will decide.
    13. Special Rules for the Open Division.
      1. Cast parts can be purchased but credit will be given to those who make their own.
      2. Commercial manikins can be used, but credit will be given to those who significantly alter them (change in pose, etc.).
      3. It is suggested that there be pictorial proof of alterations, castings, etc. (One or two pictures are sufficient.)
      4. Bases WILL NOT count toward the ribbon placement. (Remember that the Open Division is for learning how to properly mount an animal. The judging will reflect this.)
    14. Special rules for the Senior Division.
      1. One mount per competitor.
      2. Competitor must be 60 years or older.
      3. Will be judged on a five-foot rule by entrants in the Masters Division.
    15. Birds of prey and protected birds can be entered. All Federal and State permits have to accompany the mount.
    16. Competitors Achievement and WTA Award of Excellence. If you are not an active WTA member or you have not competed in the last ten (10) years, your name and points will be taken off the list.
    17. Competition Committee will settle any disputes.

  8. MISCELLANEOUS
    1. A Habitat Award will be awarded by the judges for the best habitat entered.
    2. The Original Art Competition and Award
      1. The Original Art Competition will include both two dimensional and three dimensional artwork.
      2. All original art must be completely designed and made by the entrant. No commercial parts excepted.
      3. Original art will be judged by one or more of the Taxidermy judges.
      4. Ribbons will be awarded on each entries merit. 1st, 2nd and 3rd place ribbons. A short remarks sheet will be filled out by the judge.
      5. State Champion Original Art Award will be presented at the banquet for the judges’ choice of best original art entry.
    3. Wisconsin Avian Challenge
      1. Entry must be of the chosen species of bird and match the pose depicted in supplied reference photo.
      2. Base must be flat and no larger than 8 inches square or in diameter. Base has no bearing on final ribbon placement.
      3. All competitors must be present at the judging seminar on Saturday. Bird judge will choose a 1st, 2nd & 3rd place winner.
      4. Mounts will be registered on Thursday with the other mounts. Judging of all entries in this category will be deferred to Saturday during the bird seminar.
      5. A trophy will be awarded to the first place winner and a portion of the Avian Challenge fees will be pooled and split 50-25-25 for three winners
      6. Competitors may choose to bring his or her mount, freshly mounted or completely dry. With a wet bird, and if the competitor so chooses, he may ask for help from one of our qualified taxidermists. From there they can address the problem areas.