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.

I need a custom commission for a movie/television/photo-shoot. Can you do it?

Hopefully! Send me an email to info@preytaxidermy.com and let me know what you need, the timeline and your budget. I cannot give you a cost without these specifics. Last minute rentals are not always possible. 

What if I want to rent an existing piece?

We have a limited rental collection currently as our business is growing. Please email info@preytaxidermy.com with any information you have (needs, date, budget) and I'll send you details of the rental pieces. 

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. I will do pet taxidermy under very specific circumstances:

1) You understand that taxidermy is a sculptural representation of the pet. I will get as close as I can, but it will never be exact. You looked at your dear pet every day and I am seeing them departed. Photos help.

2) Your pet was most likely older and/or sick when they passed. I will do my best, but I cannot fully make them look young and healthy. We must manage expectations. 

3) I typically recommend a sleeping pose. I will do other poses but it will take more time and therefore more budget. 

4) Pet taxidermy takes considerable time and skill. Expect prices for birds to start at $1,600 depending on the size/breed and mammals start at $6000. We require 75% payment upfront. I'm sorry but pricing is firm. 

If you are interested, please fill out our form here: https://www.preytaxidermy.com/pages/taxidermy-pet-services

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 License 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.

Why do many of your classes span multiple days and/or cost more than a one-day workshop?

I want students to learn the craft, as well as how to clean the specimen properly so it isn't attractive to pests. This isn't just some kitschy event; it's a class where skill building and focus are required. These classes are hard; Serious students only please. 

I employ at least one paid assistant for each class and often bring in my mentor from the Natural History Museum to co-teach. Additionally, I make sure my students are using quality tools & materials, have prime specimens collected under my ethics and utilize the same techniques we use in the museum.

I want students to receive attention and be able to absorb the taxidermy process so they can do their own projects in the future. I think my students' work speaks for itself.

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 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 :)

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. 

What other classes are you going to have?

My class schedule is currently limited as I'm working on many museum and educational commissions. Usually I'll try to keep a Birds 101 and mammal classes listed. In the meantime, check out the resources above!

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 and we hope that you don't have to use them.

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 info@preytaxidermy.com 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 tell me how? Or do it on the down-low?

No. Go away. 

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 13 and under may attend beginner level classes with a parent present/helping, sharing a specimen. We do not recommend our classes for children under 11 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 about private lessons?

I recommend taking a class first if you have never done taxidermy before. My day-rate for private lessons is $475 plus any specimen and materials cost. Please send me an email with what you want to learn and we can discuss. Again, I recommend a class for beginners. 

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. I do not need anyone to just grab coffee or sweep the floors.

When we do need help, I usually pull from our student pool or take on someone who has 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 a portfolio before you approach them. 

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 who have projects of interest to me. Please send a portfolio and your concept art to info@preytaxidermy.com, but give me a little time to email back. My rate varies as a production artist.

Thank you so much for your interest in my craft and my passion for education. 

Beast Wishes,

Allis Markham