Growing up in the 1970's West of Appleton Wisconsin on a quiet Casaloma Drive, several family farms dotted the landscape and I reflect. A narrow blacktop country road bisected the rolling fields and aging mixed woods. Accented by fence lines and a meandering Mud Creek that fed through a small rock quarry led the way to where I spent countless hours coming of age and united with what I knew to be home. Family pointed me in that direction, and boy did I ever take to it.
Sentimental connections through a child's eyes made me the person I am today. Reinforcing what was near and dear to my heart and nestled in the heart of Michigan's Upper Peninsula was the Martin Family Camp. Founded by great grandparents, Joe and Bertha in the early 1900's, I internalized historical stories of lumber camps & deer seasons gone by. I learned cardinal directions, big woods navigation, and how to truly be a sportsman, woodsman, and conservation minded!
Onset of a young taxidermist was linked to a serendipitous relationship with my sixth grade teacher. At Badger School in September of 1982, I met Mr. Gast. Aside from a time-honored teacher/learner relationship, this pedagog of my youth unexpectedly turned out to be my first formal taxidermy instructor. On his "back pocket" during recess or at his desk when time permitted, I picked his brain about the craft as often as I could. In the 180 days working together, an opportunity presented itself. Mr. Gast agreed to mount my first pheasant and I was invited to an "over the shoulder" observation of bird taxidermy.
Down the road over four decades later, I remain intrigued and continue to be a lifelong learner of the craft. Through the years, my love for nature and the outdoors has grown along with my experiences and knowledge of taxidermy. I remain a student. Best practices are continually fostered through workshops, classes, online courses, trade magazines, and connections with other professional taxidermists whom I continue to admire and learn from in order to stay sharp.
State and Federally Licensed Taxidermist