In the previous articles regarding choosing the right taxidermist, we discussed proper business practices with turn-around times not being over a year, and we talked about quality inspection of what exactly makes for a good mount. The final item to inventory when reviewing a potential taxidermist is his continuing education.
We always hear about continuing education in various fields of work, but regardless of occupation, a true professional who cares about what they do will always be trying to improve themselves. Taxidermists are no different. There are many ways that they can get updated and educated for improvement, but the most popular and most effective way is by entering taxidermy competitions.
Every state in the U.S. has some sort of taxidermy competition available to that state’s taxidermists, and there are also a few national competitions and a world competition. It is not realistic to expect your taxidermist to compete in other states or other countries, but it is not too much to expect for them to compete at the state level.
Although they are called competitions, they are so much more. For example, they not only offer a chance for taxidermists to put their work up against their peers to be judged equally, but these competitions also offer seminars, training classes, tips and new product demonstrations. I had a friend who was a massively successful taxidermist, but he never went to competitions. I asked him why and he said he did not have time to go to them. It was no coincidence that his work never improved and after a decade of the same old routines, his work appeared out of date.
Not only does attending competitions help a taxidermist to improve, but it is a sure sign that he or she cares about what they are doing. It also means that they are more likely up to date on modern techniques and methods. This all means better quality work and that is what you are after in the first place.
Every taxidermist I ever met at competitions loved doing taxidermy. It just makes so much sense to take your prized trophy to someone who enjoys what they are doing. When someone takes pride in their craft, and does not treat it like an assembly line labor just to make money, it makes the whole taxidermy experience that much more enjoyable. And why not make spending a lot of money on a mount as enjoyable as possible?