Montana School of Taxidermy and Tanning 3280 Green Meadow Drive, Helena, MT 59601 - (406) 443-0022
(406) 443-0022
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Advanced Habitat
Commercial Tanning

Montana School of Taxidermy and Tanning

Advanced Habitat

You are invited to attend a new innovative course on advanced habitat techniques unlike anything available anywhere today. Many former taxidermy students have specifically requested more instruction on habitat, but until now we have been unable to offer much more than the basics. We now can provide a full course of instruction that will enable you to immediately improve the design and composition of your habitat work.


Each student will complete a minimum of 3 habitats

In this course you will learn the secrets of creating museum quality habitat using techniques and materials that will impress your clients and dramatically increase your profits. The course is divided into an appropriate mix of lecture, demonstration and hands-on application that will leave you motivated to go home and turn your new-found skills into cash. No matter what size your shop is and what part of the country you are located in, there are clients out there ready to pay for something that sets your work apart from the crowd.

During this course, you will actually make a mold of a natural rock that you will than pour and paint to produce an exact copy of the original. You will learn through actual hands-on instruction how to create a realistic rock from artificial materials. Then you will learn how to vary the mixture formulas and paint application to make any type of rock from granite to slate to glacial boulders and more.

All aspects of base design and construction will be demonstrated to include floor mounts, wall mounts, water scenes, snow and ice, building wall mounted limbs and much more. During the demonstration of the class, we will cover composition, use of negative space, color, and artistic license in designing your habitats. This is not another one of those theory based courses where you come away wondering what the instructor was talking about. You should come ready to get your hands dirty and have fun. Look at the course curriculum and you can immediately see where this class can make you a better taxidermist and increase your profits.

We expect this class to fill quickly each time it is offered, so make plans to attend now!

Course Curriculum

  1. Introduction
    1. Importance of good habitat:
      A discussion on how being able to offer your clients better, more realistic, custom habitats will give you an edge over your competitors.
    2. Increased profit from habitat:
      Proof that good habitat will not only increase your earnings, but also significantly increase your profit. There is actually much more profit in habitat than there is in taxidermy!
      Click any image to see pictures from the last Habitat Class
  2. Course Objectives
    1. Basic molding techniques:
      Demo and hands-on instruction on how to build a reusable mold to produce exact copies of real rocks to add to your habitat scenes.
    2. Materials and tools:
      A complete discussion of all tools needed to produce everything demonstrated during the course. Students will be given a comprehensive list of sources for all tools and materials.
    3. Making realistic artificial rocks:
      Demo and hands-on. Learn a simple technique to make extremely realistic rocks from readily available materials. This technique will allow you to produce rocks in any size from tiny individual stones to auditorium filling mountain scenes.
    4. Water features:
      Demonstration of various methods of creating artificial water scenes using plexiglass and resins. Also splash effects and discussion on use of real water in habitat scenes.
    5. Snow and ice:
      Demonstration of a variety of techniques to produce beautiful snow and ice scenes. All the traditional methods plus a new technique developed by Tony Ward, which will revolutionize the look of your snow scenes.
    6. Plants:
      Proper use of grasses, bushes, foliage, moss, ferns, etc. to create specific looks for the species you are mounting.
    7. Ground cover:
      No more bare dirt habitats for your clients! Learn what works for realistic ground cover, how to obtain it and how to make it stick to your bases.
    8. Constructing trees and limbs:
      Tired of looking for that perfect limb to fit your favorite manikin? Learn how to custom-build extremely realistic limbs using a combination of natural and man-made materials that will blow your competition away. This same technique has been used to make whole artificial trees for large dioramas as huge profits.
    9. Buying natural habitat:
      A comprehensive list of great sources for companies offering (often at wholesale) a huge variety of hard to find silk plants, dried natural plants, cactus, leaf stems, evergreens, etc.
    10. Use of artificial vs. natural habitat:
      Demo and hands-on. Learn when it is most appropriate to use each type of element to create your scenes.
    11. Collecting references:
      Good references are just as critical to produce good habitats as they are to producing lifelike mounts.
    12. Pricing:
      Various methods of pricing will be discussed. Everything from a basic mash scene for a duck to museum style dioramas will be covered.
    13. Marketing:
      Learn how to get clients to come to you ready to pay your price because of the unique product you can offer to enhance their mount. Also learn about the virtually untapped market of creating new, dynamic habitats for previously mounted pieces.
    14. Murals:
      Learn how to work with experienced mural artists to add a whole new dimension to your habitat scenes. One of these in your showroom will sell itself. This little known enhancement technique can add huge profits to your projects.
  3. Dealing with Clients
    1. Understanding clients' limitations:
      Discussion on learning to read clients and establish boundaries for budgets and size/space constraints unique to each client. USing this information, you can tailor your approach to each client to fit his individual needs and maximize your profits.
    2. Future planning:
      Knowing your client's future plans and hunting goals is essential to effectively plan the use of available space. During too large a project today could cost you lost profits on future work if space and money are a consideration (and they always are).
    3. Transportation and delivery:
      How to get the finished piece to the client.
    4. Installing oversized habitats:
      Anything larger than the clients door must be built in pieces and installed on site. We'll show you how.
    5. On-site visits:
      A discussion of when it is appropriate to visit the client's home before starting larger projects. We will show you how to charge for this service and make the client thank you for it. Also we teach the proper methods to measure for the big jobs, use of templates to insure habitats fit into the space intended for them, working with architects, interior designers, and much more.

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