Kindred Spirits School of Taxidermy

We help make your dreams come true!

Courses

Two week sessions, or mini-classes as we call them, can be taken one session at a time or combined together to make up extended sessions.  Open entry/open exit – take one and leave or stay as long as we have openings.  We offer 10 and 12 week courses where students can complete larger and more complicated mounts as well as dive into the business aspect of taxidermy and more advanced procedures.

Students select what THEY want to mount.  Bring your legally harvested specimens to the course or purchase ones from the school.  Please Note:  Specimens must be tagged with the owners contact information, DNR tag and/or license #, date harvested, type of animal, and CITES tag as required when you arrive to school.  KSST has a wide variety of specimens on hand and can special order specimens upon request.  If you are unclear of the law please contact us for guidance.

Three students, mounting three different animals at the same time, make for a dynamic classroom environment.  This provides a very unique opportunity to observe species specific techniques.

General Course Information (Applies to all courses offered)

  • KSST offers mini-courses in two week blocks throughout the year on a two-week rotational schedule
  • Class is conducted Monday thru Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  Students may use the shop after hours and on weekends with permission.  Breaks are taken at the student’s leisure and we usually eat lunch together.  Sometimes we cook and sometimes we order out.
  • Weekends are designated as student time.  Instruction is available upon request.
  • KSST maintains an extensive DVD library, photo albums, and copies of Breakthrough and Taxidermy Today magazines that are accessible to the student for reference.
  • Each student is provided their own work station that is fully equipped with all the general hand tools and consumable supplies required for the course.
  • KSST provides all necessary safety equipment which is required to be utilized by all students.  This includes safety glasses/goggles, protective gloves, aprons, masks, respirators, MSDS Sheets, and hearing protection.  Student’s responsibility to bring prescription safety glasses if required.
  • Each student receives a professional completion certificate suitable for framing and display in your studio if minimum standards are achieved.
  • Included in the tuition cost is a tool kit and reference material specific to the course taken.  These tools are the students to be taken home.
  • The 10 and 12 week courses come with an extended tool kit including an airbrush kit, additional instructional manuals and paint schedules.
  • A two story, three bedrooms, fully furnished house with wireless internet, washer and dryer, and cable television located right next to the school is available for students at a cost of $125 per week.  Linen provided.  Students are responsible for their own meals.  We’re dog friendly.
  • Students are responsible for purchasing forms, jaw-sets, eyes and habitat materials. This is NOT included in the tuition cost.
  • Due to the continuing shifting market and shipping costs, we can not estimate specimen or mounting supply costs on our web page.  Call us and we can give you a reasonable estimate.

Gameheads

Gameheads are among the most frequently mounted specimens in taxidermy.  Their popularity is unsurpassed among both taxidermists and sportsmen alike.  Gamehead mounts usually include the shoulders, neck and head of the specimen.  Most are mounted to be hung on a wall, but a more artistic presentation could include a pedestal mount incorporating artistic habitat displays.  Bring your own specimens or purchase them from the school.

Procedures Covered

·         Form, Eye and jaw set selection based upon size, pose and anatomical characteristics of the specimen

·         Form preparation and alterations

·         Skinning techniques based upon pose including how to turn ears, eyes and lips

·         Fleshing using scissors, ulu knife, Foredom Mini-Flesher and Quebec Table Flesher

·         Wet Tanning using acid pickle, Lutan Fn, and Liqua-Tan oil

·         Preparation of ears using the bonded ear method or ear liners

·         Installation and sculpting of eyes using eye graphs

·         Sculpting of noses and installation of nose septum

·         Installation of jaw sets (for open mouth mounts)

·         Methods to prepare antlers and horns

·         Sewing techniques

·         Airbrush painting techniques using Lacquer paints

·         Molding and casting

Goals              Students are encouraged to mount two (2) large game heads during the course.  Some mount three.

Tuition            $ 2200.00

Mammals

Learn life size taxidermy during the mammals’ course.  Anything from a playful raccoon to a stalking cougar or charging black bear.  Learn how to make a beautiful rug or a mountain man hat using a whole coyote or fox.  The choice is yours.  Bring your own specimens or purchase them from the school.  Rugs will require the purchase of fabric and batting to complete.

Procedures Covered

·         Form, Eye and jaw set selection based upon size, pose and anatomical characteristics of the specimen

·         Form preparation and alterations

·         Specimen handling and care

·         Skinning techniques based upon pose including how to turn ears, eyes, feet and lips

·         Fleshing using scissors, ulu knife, Foredom Mini-Flesher and Quebec Table Flesher

·         Wet Tanning using acid pickle, Lutan Fn, and Liqua-Tan oi

·         Preparation of ears using the bonded ear method or ear liners

·         Installation and sculpting of eyes using eye graphs

·         Sculpting of noses and installation of nose septum

·         Installation of jaw sets (for open mouth mounts)

·         Methods to prepare antlers and horns

·         Sewing techniques

·         Airbrush painting techniques using Lacquer paints

·         Habitat construction

·         Molding and casting

Goals              Students are encouraged to complete one open mouth rug, one small mammal shoulder mount and one life size mammal in a habitat scene.

Tuition            $ 2000.00

Birds

Upland game birds and waterfowl are some of Mother Nature’s most beautiful animals.  It’s hard to match the beauty of a vibrant pheasant sitting on a fireplace mantel.  Come experience the magic as the staff of Kindred Spirits guides you through this course.  Federal Migratory Bird Regulations (http://www.fws.gov/permits/faqs/FactSheetTaxidermistFront&Back.pdf) prohibit the purchase or sale of birds taken in the wild.  Birds raised on a “game farm” fall into a different category.  Individuals are not allowed to take into their possession, birds which they did not harvest without a Federal Migratory Bird Permit (http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/mbpermits/regulations/regulations.html).  Please contact the school for guidance concerning specimens.

Procedures Covered

·         Form and artificial head selection based upon size, pose and anatomical characteristics of the specimen

·         Form preparation and alterations

·         Skinning techniques based upon pose including how to turn waddles

·         Fleshing using scissors and Wire Wheel Bird Flesher

·         Real head mounts, upon request

·         Tanning using KSST recipes and Liqua-Cure

·         Installation and setting of eyes and sculpting eye rings

·         Head and Neck preparation and installation

·         Latex caulk methods and use of injectable grade epoxies

·         Fixing/replacing broken or crushed bones

·         Sewing techniques

·         Airbrush painting using Lacquer paints and techniques

Goal       Mount four (4) birds, two standing and two flying. Standing poses include habitat.  A turkey can be added into this session which will take up to three days of this class.

Tuition  $ 2000.00

Fish

Students will learn the Kindred Spirits tried and tested techniques for flexible fins, lifelike coloration based upon geographical area, open gill, and finishing.  All fish are mounted on anatomically accurate carved Styrofoam bodies.  Students are encouraged to bring good mountable specimens from their area.  If you’re unable to obtain fish to mount we can supply them at a nominal cost.

Procedures Covered

·         Form and eye selection based upon size, pose and anatomical characteristics of the specimen

·         Form preparation and alterations

·         Skinning techniques based upon pose

·         Fleshing using hand tools

·         Tanning using KSST recipes and Liqua-Cure

·         Preparation of Gills

·         Installation and sculpting of eyes

·         Fin preparation and repair

·         Gill preparation both real and artificial

·         Airbrush painting techniques

·         Finishing techniques using chalks, lacquer and latex paints

Goal       Complete 4-5 skin mounts and one fiberglass reproduction fish with habitat

Tuition  $ 2000.00

10 Week Course

The 10-Week course adds two weeks to the four, two-week mini-courses, for completion of additional or more complex mounts.

Tuition  $ 10,200.00

12 Week Course

The 12 week course gives you the whole enchilada PLUS advertising tips, marketing survey, assistance in designing a web page, design business cards, designing a pricing brochure, book keeping information, calculating costs, state and federal laws, rules and regulations, customer relations, advertising and vendor information.  This is for the person who wants a kick start into the taxidermy business.

Additional Procedures Covered

·         Advanced form alteration techniques

·         Molding and Casting

·         Making artificial driftwood, fence posts, tree bark, mushrooms, tongues, jaw sets, bird heads, bird feet

 

Tuition  $12,200.00

Advanced Course (10 weeks)

The advanced course is for students that have completed the 10 week basic course and desires to learn advanced techniques.  The intent is for the professional taxidermist to expand their base of knowledge and gain confidence. The advanced course is tailored to each student based upon what they want to learn and accomplish.  This could include competition mounts, elaborate or detailed mounts, difficult poses, challenging support attachments, replacing damaged or missing parts, advanced painting techniques, reptile taxidermy, velvet antler preservation, repairing broken tines, advanced molding and casting techniques, and advanced habitat construction.

Cost       $ 12,200               

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