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Product Spotlight – Payer Eyes

Deer Eyes by Payer Eyes capture the natural color & reflective qualities of the animal’s original eyes. With flawless detail, they are produced with extreme care yielding a perfect, glossy, blemish free surface. Defined Cornea, Narrow Banded, Unbanded, or Pre-Rotated available in dark brown or medium brown color. Sizes available: 30, 32, or 34 mm base. Pricing starting at $6.95!

Live Study Pen

Quality taxidermy work begins with great references! Live animals, birds, and fish are the most accurate means of references available to the taxidermist. Our study pens contain whitetail deer, peacocks,and waterfowl. Students are able to study anatomy, up close and personal. Freshwater study aquariums are also found at our taxidermy school. Great references are vital to quality work here at the Northwest Iowa School of Taxidermy!


Advanced Taxidermy Course


Our Spring session (April-June) now offers an advanced class along with the regular curriculum. The enrollment for the Spring class will consist of only 6-8 students allowing time for the advanced instruction. The advanced portion is for individuals with previous taxidermy experience wishing to take their skill to a higher level. Although a formal education in taxidermy prior to attending is not required, applicants should possess a working knowledge of basic taxidermy techniques along with actual taxidermy experience. The advanced portion takes the student into greater depth at the competition level and offers more individualized training as the student delves into the area in which he/she most desires to expand their knowledge. This could include, but not limited to, detailed knowledge of anatomy, specialized form alteration, advanced molding and casting techniques including fiberglass and graphite reproductions, habitat construction and composition as well as advanced airbrush and painting techniques. Advanced students are not restricted to the normal specimen package but are able to choose their package according to the desired area in which they wish to excel. (The only stipulation is that the specimens selected are able to be completed in the allotted period of time.)Information on individualized business plans including a simple website, advertising cards and brochures along with state and federal regulations will be available. Some of the advanced training will be done outside the normal classroom hours. All mounts completed by the student belong and shall be retained by the student at the completion of the course.Therewill be an extra $2,000.00 charge for the advanced training. (There will be no extra charge for the students enrolled in the normal spring session but these students will benefit from the smaller classroom size and the higher level of instruction.)

Product Spotlight : Copic Sketch Markers

Introducing this week’s Product Spotlight…Copic Sketch Markers! Copic Sketch colored art markers with their Super Brushes are the perfect tools for creative fish painting and highlighting. Felt tip sketch markers paint as well as they draw. Each marker comes with two distinctive felt tips suitable for a wide array of scale tipping and highlighting applications. Inks are vibrant yet translucent allowing the scale tone to show through giving a most natural life-like highlight to your fish skin. Permanent, non-toxic, guaranteed color consistency. Compatible with lacquer as well as acrylic paint systems.

Northwest Iowa School of Taxidermy

The Northwest Iowa School of Taxidermy is now in week 7 of the 2015 winter session. School began January 5th with trophy care, skinning and prepping the deer and elk capes they would be later mounting. A total of 7 students were guided through the tedious fleshing process and learned the meaning of “thin to win”. A few holes were accidentally incurred either with a knife or the fleshing machine, but how will they ever learn to repair damaged pelts without first making a hole. Once fleshed, it was on to the tanning process and then to mounting.

With the aid of meticulous instruction and encouragement, this class has successfully mounted some of the finest whitetail, mule deer and elk mounts any beginner could ever ask for.

Then it was on to fish… Students were instructed in making a pattern of the trophy, body carving, skinning and mounting the fish. With the aid of Tom, Amber and guest instructor Jimmy Lawrence, a extremely nice assortment of perch, bass, walleye, northern and trout were mounted and are presently drying. Once dry, the students have begun setting eyes, reinforcing fins and making repairs. Next week will feature extensive airbrush training and then we paint.

Last week was bird week and students were introduced to bird taxidermy methods. Most began with pheasants: skinning, fleshing and washing. On Monday we will begin assembling their birds and posing them. Many discovered just how fragile bird skin is compared to their mammals.

Matuska Taxidermy Supply Company

Just Out!

TheNEWMatuska Taxidermy Supply catalog is loaded with over 400 new products! Check our new bear forms, mule deer, and great selection of habitat to mention a few. We are certainly far from the largest supply company, but we take great pride in bringing you only the best products available to help today’s taxidermists create customer pleasing mounts as well as award-winning masterpieces.

New for 2015

We listen to our customers and the need for a quality mule deer manikin became apparent. Rather than jumping into this endeavor with both feet and sculpting a form that people wouldn’t use, we began with a survey of several taxidermists from the western states who know what their customers want in a pose and also taxidermists who know what they want to see in a mule deer form. Something new, something attractive and something accurate; the overwhelming choice was a semi sneak with an offset shoulder. The pilot program was launched with the introduction of a beautiful 7 1/2 x 19 x 20 in a right and a left offering. The feed back on this introduction has been outstanding and these first mannikins will be followed by a 7 1/2 x 18 1/2 x 19 and a 7 1/2 x 19 1/2 x 21 also in a left and right offering in the upcoming months. Call for availability of the new sizes and give the Sage Brush Series: Mule Deer a try!



Show season began for us with our first show of the year being at the Wisconsin show in Steven’s Point, Wisconsin on February 19th. WTA always has one of the best state shows that we attend and they always make us feel welcome and support the Matuska Taxidermy Supply Company. We hope to run into you at one of the upcoming events!

Taxi-Drop Drone Delivery Service


While still in the experimental stages, not to be outdone merchants, the Matuska Taxidermy Supply Co. will soon offer the TDDDS or Taxi-Drop Drone Delivery Service to all customers within our radio frequency. Payload weights are yet to be determined, but you can be assured of the quickest delivery of your merchandise EVER OFFERED! Soon you will be able to order your deer form today and receive it yesterday. Stay tuned for more exciting news and further technical updates!

Western Regional Recap

Recently Tom and Vicki traveled to Gillette, Wyoming to represent the Matuska Taxidermy Supply Company at the Western Regionals. This show hosted taxidermist from 9 states and some really impressive work. Exceptional large life-size and gameheads made up the majority of the over 200 entries in addition to some fine fish and bird entries. The highlight of our booth seemed to be the new “Sage Brush Series” mulie manikins as well as the “Great American Bear” forms. Vicki hosted the children’s seminar and several budding wildlife artists made some really fancy artificial wood duck head key chains. Although plenty of reference was available, most leaned to a more abstract version.
The winners of the Matuska Taxidermy “Golden Eagle Competitors’ Award” was Todd Kranau from Nebraska in the Masters Division and Ross Richards from Utah in the Professional Division. This award goes to the competitor with the highest combined score with 4 mounts. Congratulations to both of these fine taxidermists.
A special thank you to all who participated in the Western Regionals and the warm hospitality we received. We cant wait to come back!

Vicki instructing the children’s seminar.

Ross Richard’s lions and a zebra winning entry.

Todd Kranau with his spectacular winning warthog.

Perfect Your Skills… Advanced Training Available Now!



Northwest Iowa School of Taxidermy offers an advanced course for students that have completed the 9-week basic course. The advanced course takes the student into more depth at the competition level in birds, fish, and mammals. The advanced course offers more one-on-one training as the student delves into the area in which he/she most desires to expand their knowledge. This would include, but not limited to, detailed knowledge on anatomy, specialized form alteration, advanced molding and casting techniques including fiberglass and graphite reproductions, habitat construction and composition, as well as advanced airbrush and painting techniques. Students are able to choose the specimen package according to the desired area in which they choose to excel. (The only stipulation is that the desired package can be completed in the allotted time frame.) A business plan according to the students needs will be covered and a plan of action executed. This could include, but not limited to, a simple website, advertisement cards and brochures, and the state and federal regulations needed to start up a business. All mounts completed by the student belong and shall be retained by the student at the completion of the course.

DATES: Dates correspond with the dates of the regular 9-week class.

COST: $8,500
Students will have extra one-on-one training throughout the 9 weeks with instructors including evening classes.

CURRICULUM/SPECIMEN: Students in the advanced course have more flexibility in choosing their specimen package according to the area in which they wish to specialize. Each package will be unique to the individual student. Examples: student can choose to mount 2 or 3 more advanced full mounts with full alterations along with elaborate base work plus a fish and bird mount, or a package that includes a fiberglass fish reproduction with advanced painting techniques along with a 2 or 3 bird display incorporating a background depicting the birds habitat along with a smaller full mount. The number of mounts, amount of alterations and the level of expertise needed will determine the students specimen package.

CLASS LENGTH/HOURS: The advanced course is a 9-week course with a minimum 360 classroom hours. The amount of hours per area (birds, fish, mammals, habitat, etc) will depend on the individual specimen package of each student.


***All other class information corresponds with the information found in our 9-week basic taxidermy class.


Call Us: 1-800-488-3256 or Email Us:

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Welcome, Winter Class of 2016

January 4th began the 2016 Winter Class at the Northwest Iowa School of Taxidermy. Week one, students were instructed and then practiced proven skinning and fleshing techniques. The secret to tanning and excellent taxidermy work begins with proper fleshing. 5 ladies and 7 men from across the country are learning just how involved being a taxidermist is. On day one they were told that in order to be a good taxidermist, they will need to learn and perfect tanning, sculpting, painting, beautifying hair and fur, art composition, business and the list goes on and on. Few other businesses encompass such a wide array of talents as does the taxidermy industry. As we enter week two, students will complete their skinning and tanning and mid-week will find them beginning fish taxidermy.


You Know You Want To…

The Northwest Iowa School of Taxidermy was founded in 1986. At that time the school was one of only 3 recognized training facilities in the United States. Since that time hundreds of schools have sprung up only to fade away some time later. The Northwest Iowa School of Taxidermy has remained the pillar of training for over 30 years and during that time, trained some of the finest taxidermist/artists in the industry. NWIST doesn’t stay at the top by accident. Taxidermy is a continually changing art/science and training methods and materials must advance also. The unique thing about the Northwest Iowa School of Taxidermy is that many of the State of the Art” materials used throughout the industry as well as advanced techniques and procedures are actually being developed at our school at all times. We are very fortunate to be associated with the Matuska Taxidermy Supply Company which is at the forefront of product development and is able to supply students and graduates with the very finest taxidermy supplies the industry has to offer.

New for 2016…
Students attending the 2016 winter and spring classes will experience some enhancements from previous classes.
Tools: Each student will receive his/her own box of tools that they will be expected to use every day. This assembly of tools is a $400.00 value of quality hand tools which they will find essential to performing day to day procedures. These tools are included in the tuition price.

Some Tools From Toolbox

Advanced Techniques: New for 2016 will be a selection of advanced specialty lectures and hands-on workshops. These classes will be in addition to the regular curriculum and will dwell on procedures in the industry that require a more advanced instruction. An example: The appearance of an animals eyes is vital to the realism and lifelike look of the mount. While each student will set eyes on 2-4 mounts during the scheduled class time this is sometimes not enough in-depth practice. One of our advanced lectures will focus on eye attitudes, lashes, teat ducts, angles, eye rotation, nictitating membranes, caruncles and much much more, thus giving toise attending a broader knowledge of eye anatomy. Others will include in-depth molding and casting and advanced reproduction fish. Advanced classes will take place in addition to class hours.

There are many taxidermy schools out there, and when choosing the right school we hope you will consider enrolling to Northwest Iowa School of Taxidermy. NWIST curriculum covers gameheads, fish, birds, mammals, habitats, molding and plastics, record keeping, business/marketing and much, much more!
Come learn taxidermy among the best, and prepare for a successful career in taxidermy! Northwest Iowa School of Taxidermy is now accepting applications for Spring Class of 2016 and Winter and Spring Classes of 2017.


Winter 2017: January 3rd – March 3rd

Spring 2017: April 3rd – June 2nd

Spots are filling up quickly, so apply today!
Call us at 1-800-488-3256 to arrange a tour.


Cecil : Our Two Cents

The killing of Cecil The Lion is unfortunate, however, there are two sides to every story. Over 15,000 Americans travel to Africa to hunt each year. This brings in hundreds of millions of dollars every year. This is essential to the economy of many African nations. When done legally, the money is put back into the conservation of these animals propagating both herd health as well as numbers. To ban big game hunting could lead to worse affects to many parties including taxidermists around the world. Taxidermists view these animals as majestic and preserve their beauty and memory for many to see for years to come. Our industry is heavily regulated and held to a lawful standard so we would hope that any taxidermist would act in the most ethical way with the preservation of these animals. These trophies are not only showcased in homes but studios, nature centers and museums to list a few. An impact on big game hunting also affects the animals themselves. Just as deer or bird hunting in the U.S. is not only for food and the sport but is a necessary conservation practice, hunting in Africa is no different. People have been hunting both large and small game since the beginning of time and has benefited all parties involved.


Check out the article below!