How do you acquire your specimens?
All specimens at Prey are by-products from aviary deaths, pest control, depredation, natural/unavoidable deaths or hunted & eaten for food. (Yes, hunted. I believe hunting for food is the ultimate form of free-range). Basically, the parts of these specimens used for taxidermy would generally be discarded otherwise. That is common in the taxidermy industry, actually. These are my studio's ethics and I welcome everyone to act according to their own beliefs and respect their right to do so.
I hope this explains where I'm coming from. Like most everyone I know (especially taxidermists) I love animals- just look here and see out some of the furry friends I've helped along the way.
What is your training? Are you licensed?
I attended the Advanced Taxidermy Training Center in Montana. Additionally, I have worked under Tim Bovard at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles for several years and continue to work with them on a volunteer basis. Prey Taxidermy carries a Federal Migratory Bird Permit and several sub-permits from the institutions we work with. We strictly obey all state and federal laws concerning specimens and their preservation. You can find information on those laws here as well.
I'm trying to get into taxidermy and have a question. Can you answer it for me?
I certainly want to be supportive and answer questions. I do get a lot of emails though -- and it's hard to type when i'm usually elbows deep in dead stuff. I currently have an Instagram Live show called The Dead-Stream that I do occasionally. This is where I provide free taxidermy lessons and feature wildlife artists from all of the globe in order to foster diversity and make taxidermy more accessible to everyone.
Please check the following resources below and find an answer to your question. It's how I started out :)
My online courses: Atlas Obscura On-Demand Courses
Facebook Group: Taxidermy Mentorship
The Dead-Stream Live on Instagram & website
List of Tutorials on Taxidermy.Net
Taxidermy Manuals by Breakthrough
I also recommend seeking out volunteer opportunities at a local museum, university or nature center. These institutions always need volunteers and it's a way to get your foot in the door. Self motivation is key.
Why are your classes longer and cost more than other taxidermy workshops?
You are coming into an actual working taxidermy studio that creates pieces for major museums and nature centers all over the world. Allis Markham has a world title from the World Taxidermy Championships and her staff also have multiple awards. Bottom line: you are learning from museum taxidermists at the top of their field.
We employ at least three skilled assistants for each class who are there to provide you support at all times. You will work with quality specimens, tools and in a space that is dedicated exclusively to the craft of taxidermy. All specimens are collected under my personal ethics and we utilize the same techniques used in museums today. I can guarantee you there is no other taxidermy class like this in the world.
We also provide low-cost options for some taxidermy classes in order to promote diversity and inclusion in the field. You can see the individual class postings to sign up for one of these spots.
Can minors attend your classes?
We do allow students 14 and over to attend classes un-accompanied by an adult; make sure your child is self-sufficient and confident working in an adult-level class. Children 14 and under may attend beginner level classes with a parent present/helping if need be, sharing a specimen. We may charge for this extra seat. We do not recommend our interactive classes for children under 10 as we use scalpels and other sharp tools. Please send us an email or include a note in your purchase to let us know the age of the child and that you will be joining. We will also ask that all parents sign our parental waiver.
What other classes are you going to have?
What about private lessons?
I recommend taking a class first if you have never done taxidermy before. My day-rate for private lessons start at $1600 per day plus any specimen and materials cost. Please send me an email with what you want to learn and we can discuss.
Can I apprentice or volunteer?
I get this request a lot and I would love to take people up on it. We do not have a mentorship or apprentice program at this time. It takes a lot of work to get someone started in taxidermy and a huge time investment from me.
When we do need help, I usually pull from our student pool or take on someone who has at least some experience— even if it’s only through the internet or self-taught. The best way to get a foot in any taxidermist’s studio is to start at home with your own projects and show initiative and show them some of your pieces / efforts before you approach them.
What is your cancelation policy?
Prey has very limited class space and most classes sell out, therefore we have a very strict cancellation policy. Otherwise, we would have had a paying student in that empty spot. You can review our policies here.
Can I just come by and see the studio?
Sorry, but hours are for clients and by appointment only. My work can be very delicate at times and it's difficult if i'm interrupted. If you would like to schedule a paid tour of the space or a demonstration, email firstname.lastname@example.org to book an event. Otherwise, check out my Instagram for upcoming events and classes.
I found a hawk! Will you taxidermy it for me?
Nope. I believe in following our environmental protection laws. If you found a hawk, owl, hummingbird, native bird or other protected specimen I cannot legally mount it for you. I only have the privilege of working on protected and endangered specimens for museums, institutions and indigenous peoples with permits.
Additionally, it's a federal offense for you to even have possession of it. Put it back where you found it and back away slowly.
Really? Can you just show me how? Or do it on the down-low?
No. Go away.
So, if my pet dies, will you taxidermy it for me?
I am so sorry for your loss and I know how much the passing of a dear pet can hurt.
Please see my pet services page here: https://www.preytaxidermy.com/pages/taxidermy-pet-services
I have a photoshoot, film, show or weird project I need something for. Can I contact you?
I have collaborated with artists, filmmakers, photographers and other artists. Please send your request, timeline and budget for the project to email@example.com. Give me a little time to email back.