My name is Jesse Jones and I want to tell you about my experience with Shawn. I took the Full 6 week course. I have to say, it was one of the best things I have ever done. First of all, to those who are beginners like I was, learning in a one on one setting is by far the best way to go. Shawn can work with you at your skill level and adapt his teaching to make it the best learning experience possible. I had watched hours and hours of how to videos, but had never mounted an animal when I showed up to Shawn’s shop. If he can teach me, he can teach anybody that is willing to take notes and a whole lot of pictures. I learned proper techniques of skinning, tanning, mounting, finish work, habitat, competition, and a whole lot more. You just can’t learn everything from videos!
Shawn really enjoys teaching what he knows. He does everything he can to make sure you understand what he is teaching. He will work very long hours if that’s what it takes to get everything done before you leave. He has spent a lot of time to make sure you feel at home while you are there. Shawn is very professional but also takes time to have fun. I made a lot of great friends while I was there.
When I got home, I had just three week before the Idaho competition. Using the techniques that Shawn taught me, I mounted a fox. Even though I was just a beginner, I entered it in the professional division. Shawn had told me that even if I didn’t win a ribbon, I would get a better critique from the judge. I took his advice, and I received a 1st place ribbon. I never could have done that without Shawn!
I could’ve spent less money and learned mammals, fish, and birds in the same amount of time. The things I learned are priceless and well worth the money. Even my wife agrees it was worth the money. I have had so many comments on the quality of my mounts, and word is spreading fast. Everyone I know wants to come see my animals.
I have only been home for a couple of months and already have a ton of work lined up. I even have a Scottish highlander, which I am working on right now. Shawn thanks so much for taking the time to teach me and changing my life forever. Thanks for befriending an Idahoan.
Pritchard Creek Taxidermy
I just completed Shawn Dawson’s six week taxidermy course and let me tell you what. The time and money spent on Shawn’s course was equally suited as the time and money I invested in college.
Unlike taxidermy schools, Shawn offers a one on one taxidermy course.
Shawn is very passionate and meticulous in his teachings in the art of taxidermy. With over 20 years of experience, a wall full of competition ribbons, devoted enthusiasm to the art, Shawn has earned himself the title of Master Taxidermist, Certified Judge for the National Taxidermy Association, and respect of his peers making Shawn the absolute instructor.
Shawn is very charismatic creating a relaxed, friendly, non-intimidating, but yet professional, hard working atmosphere in which he generously shares his knowledge and expertise. The commitment Shawn has towards his teachings and his student allows the student to put in as many hours as you want, after hours and on the weekends.
Shawn’s teachings come from the perspective of a competitor, perfectionist, and judge. In completing his course whether it is one week or the full five weeks you will have the knowledge, the ability, and the confidence in mounting a specimen that will win competitions.
I highly encourage anyone who is thinking about pursuing or elevating one’s ambition in the art of taxidermy to contact Shawn Dawson at Timberland Taxidermy. I personally guarantee your satisfaction… call me.
Special thanks goes out to Tom, taxidermist and assistant, who is very knowledgeable, extremely cordial, and always willing to assist in assuring the success of the student.
Shop dog Molly and little sister Emma… what can I say… can’t help but love those dogs.
Shawn, I cannot thank you enough.
Schetter Taxidermy “Mounts Unlimited”
Los Gatos, CA 95033
After retiring at 55, I signed up for a taxidermy course. Upon returning home, I found my self lacking confidence. (No instructor to fall back on.) The class instructor recommended competing at state shows to continue to improve. Good advice and it was fun. You are allowed to compete in the novice division your first two years. After that, you are in the open class and from observing the difference in quality; I thought it would be about four years before I could expect any ribbons in that division.
Shawn Dawson was the judge at the 2009 Oregon Show, which was my second and final year as a novice. My wife and I were impressed by his easy going personality and obvious knowledge of taxidermy. When we learned that he offered one on one classes back at his shop in Great Falls, Montana, my wife purchased a one week class for my birthday present. Wow, best present ever!
I drove to Shawn’s shop in March 2010; I had a great week and learned a ton. Shawn would stay as late in the evening as I wanted. My only complaint was the week went too fast!
June of 2010 brought the Northwest Regional Taxidermy show to Oregon. I mounted a black tail buck for the show with techniques I learned from Shawn. I thought, “oh great,” when I heard they had brought in a tough judge from New Mexico because it was regional competition. Imagine my surprise to find a second place ribbon on my buck. Shawn Dawson—YOU ROCK! Score sheet showed I only missed a blue ribbon by two points. Wow, I just scored a touchdown in the professional division.
Animal House Taxidermy
Coquille, Oregon 97423
I met Shawn Dawson for the first time at a taxidermy convention. I volunteered to ‘scribe.’ Not having any idea what to expect, I quietly wrote down his comments in each section as he meticulously went over each specimen. Details it is! As he looked at the general appearance standing back, under the belly of the animal, on a ladder to get closer, with flashlights and magnifying lens to see in the eyes, ears, nostrils; he went over each piece of competition for detail. Wow, I did not realize how much really goes into each piece…then to be scrutinized this thoroughly!
Shawn offers one on one class to learn mammal detail, improve skills and better techniques to improve the overall appearance of the specimen. If you have difficulty in any area, Shawn will make that part of your class. Questions…just ask. I have not been involved in the actual taxidermy work; my contribution to our business has been keeping books and financial decisions. From a business prospective, the class Shawn offers is the best investment you can make. Your return on investment is less than one year. After going to my first convention and seeing how many taxidermists do not even get ribbons, I would recommend this class for all levels of experience, novice to the professionals. At the convention, Shawn even had a class on business ideas.
Ernie retired from a plywood manufacturing plant where he was the machinist to start a new career in taxidermy. This was his second year doing taxidermy and I knew he would glean more skills with this class because he knew what gave him the most frustration.
Ernie just got back from the class.
He went there asking about eye detail, coming home learning tricks to make the job easier to finish, techniques to improve the overall appearance and the fine details that the judges look at. Anything Ernie mentioned that gave him grief, Shawn spent the time showing techniques to make it less difficult.
I cannot close without mentioning the dogs. They would bring balls to play with in the afternoon and Shawn would tell them it wasn’t time yet, so they would go back and lay down for a while. Ernie talked about that a whole lot! Ernie thinks we need a dog……………
Being completely new to taxidermy, I looked all over the internet and asked many people in the field about training and classes. I heard of Shawn Dawson’s workshop from a friend. After reading about Shawn’s workshop on his website and noticing his many awards, merit, and reputation, I decided to contact Shawn. Right from the starting gate, Shawn treated me with the utmost respect and seemed to be as excited as I was about the workshop. After talking with Shawn, I opted to take the two week head mounting course. Really!!, always and never, symmetry, uniform, and reference are just a few of the things that really stand out. I had no idea what to expect but Shawn and his staff made me feel right at home during my two weeks. Shawn made sure every thing he was teaching me was crystal clear. If I had any questions he would stop and make sure I fully understood what was being taught. What I gained from this workshop is hard to put into words. Countless years of taxidermy experience, trial and error, self-expectation, positives and negatives for each step and style, attention to detail, tricks of the trade, understanding products offered by suppliers, and how to use the tools needed for the job. Not to mention the general things outlined in the workshop description including lots of extras. I would recommend Shawn’s workshops to any level of taxidermist. If you’re just starting out or if you have been doing taxidermy for years, Shawn Dawson is all a student could ask for in a teacher. He has the ability to adapt his teaching style to suit his student. Shawn has something to offer taxidermists of all skill levels. I will never look at another head mount the same ever again. I am already starting my third head mount at home and it’s all thanks to Shawn Dawson and the guys at Timberland Taxidermy! (Sam, Steve, Bugsy, and Molly) By the way Sam, my feet are also attached to my legs!!!
Justus Hilbig and Family
After hours of searching through the internet looking at different Taxidermy Schools and reading testimonials I found the website of Timberland Taxidermy. Once I started looking through the work that Shawn Dawson had done at Timberland Taxidermy I knew that it was one that I was interested in because of the quality of work. I am currently working another full time job and could only attend the week long game head course. Shawn made everything very easy to attend from booking a hotel room to picking me up at the airport. Shawn is a great teacher and a perfectionist. He pays very close attention to little details that make a mount come to life. He and his staff make you feel very much at home and spend as much time as necessary to make sure you learn everything you need to know. There is no 8 to 5 with Shawn, he will stay as long as necessary to teach you until you are comfortable with the concept. The one on one instruction I received from Shawn for a week was worth every cent. I have received numerous compliments on my deer head I brought home. I am currently working on what I hope to be many more mounts. Thank you to Shawn Dawson for a outstanding week.
I just finished spending a week doing a one-on-one gamehead workshop with Shawn. I have been doing taxidermy for about six years before this. I had attended another school that had taught me the very basics, basically to get a “mount out the door,” and I was ready to take the next step into competition. Now, I thought that my work was “pretty good” up until I showed up in Shawn’s shop. Let’s just say that I thought I prepped a cape real well until Shawn showed me the right way, and what a difference it makes. That was just the tip of the iceberg! I learned everything from cape preparation to finish work. Not only does Shawn show you the right way to do things, he tells you why they need to be this way. I left with a more complete understanding of anatomy than I had previous to this. Shawn and his staff, (Scott, Randy…thanks guys) make you feel right at home. They are all very willing to help in a positive manner. Any question you have, they will answer. After only a few days with these guys, I was upset that I had even spent money on the other school. I left this class with a mount that I am proud to show off and the confidence to tackle any problem. Whether you are a beginner, or a veteran looking to improve your work, you should check out Shawn’s workshop, you will not be disappointed. Thanks again guys!
I have always wanted to do a taxidermy class, but didn’t think I could do it since I am a mother of a two-year-old and have a full-time job. Shawn gave me the opportunity to do the Game Head Mounting Course in one week. Everything was so well organized and set-up, that I could fit all that knowledge into one week. By the end of the week, I had my deer mounted and ready to hang on the wall, Oh…don’t forget to pay close attention on hanging it straight, as Shawn is very picky about that. Shawn is a great teacher and also a fountain of knowledge. If you are lucky, he might even share some of his personal trade secrets with you. My time and money was well worth spent. I’ve already mounted another deer and am working on my third.