1) Our Province of Alberta has approximately 200 taxidermists, and with a taxidermy permit issued by Fish and Wildlife, may practice the art of taxidermy for monetary
2) This issued permit (see 1 above) allows taxidermists from Beginner to Highly advanced to advertise and receive orders for the taxidermy process. There is no mandatory testing requirement for skill or ability. Some taxidermists voluntarily go to seminars and competitions.
3) Individuals shopping for a taxidermist are strongly advised to visit as many shops as possible and decide which levels of quality suits your needs.
Pricing varies with different skill levels, qualities of material and tanning plus the time spent on assembling projects. One
thing that can be said is that taxidermy prices in Alberta are for the most a bargain.
Hourly rates for many other industries in Alberta run between $80.00 and $105.00 per hour but generally the hourly rate in the taxidermy industry is less (on average $65.00- $75.00 per hour)
In Alberta Deer shoulder mounts can range between $450.00 to as high as $1500.00 with the majority falling somewhere in the middle.
Taxidermists can spend anywhere from 12 hours up to 22 hours on a Deer mount. Using an average of $70.00 per hour this works out to the following:
$70.00 X 12 hours = $840.00 labour
$70.00 X 22 hours = $1540.00 labour
Add to these labour prices the material and overhead costs and it is clear to see that Taxidermy in Alberta can not be characterized as overpriced.
Many Taxidermists are working for far less than they could attain in other industries and live modest life styles only because they love their jobs.
In fact an old industry joke reads, "Mutual funds to a Taxidermist is the amount of money his or her spouse deposits to the Taxidermy business account each month."
5) Taxidermy is an Art, poorly suited to be low priced or mass produced.
a) Historical Consumer demand is very strong for Caricature and Abstract features (anatomically inaccurate taxidermy), with consumers strongly defending it as "Good", "Best" or "Great" work.
6) Many taxidermists are dependant on commercial tanneries and this fact alone creates a six to twelve month delay in orders.
7) Busy shops can be up to several years delivery on items for various reasons beyond there control. The work will come, but discuss it with your taxidermist.
a) Problems of staff suddenly quiting and labor force shortages, talented help is hard to find in a difficult industry.
b) Planning artisitic design can also cause delays.
c) Sculpting & casting special parts for projects is another delaying factor.
8) Is taxidermy expensive? Divide the price by the number of years it took to acquire the animal and by the number of years you will have it for viewing pleasure and enjoyment.
9) Taxidermists are required to record hunting licence and other permit numbers for wildlife received.
10) Hawks, Owls, Eagles and other found dead wildlife must have a Found Dead Wildlife permit available from your local Fish and Wildlife Division office, before they can be left with a taxidermist.