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Shawn Bakken - Member Spotlight

The UTA grew from the need for unity and professionalism within the taxidermy industry.  In art, unity occurs when all of the elements combine to make a balanced, harmonious, complete whole.  The UTA creates that unity, a place for all individuals to come together for the betterment of the industry and those that support it.

It’s no coincidence that the UTA starts with You!  Be a part of the most positive new force in taxidermy.  Join the United Taxidermist Association today.  www.unitedtaxidermyassociation.com

Like a lot of part timers I worked out of my basement and when my customer base grew I eventually quit my carpentry job and went full time as well as built a 1700 sq ft studio. Now the work really began…actually the taxidermy came fairly easy to me (Thanks in BIG part to a couple of taxidermist who took me under their wing to help me out…..Jim Kimball and Brenda Duvall), but making money…. now that’s the tough part!

Early on I started attending various taxidermy shows in MN, WI, IA and even the NTA. I started volunteering my help at the MN show and was voted on to the board. After a couple years on the board I was encouraged to run for president and as of right now I am the current president of the MN Taxidermy Guild. With this position came a lot of extra work, but I have met and got to know so many people in the taxidermy industry it has been well worth it!

Aside from taxidermy I have an incredible wife whom without, none of this would have been possible, as well as three children, 5 horses, two cats, and my sidekick Jessy (my yellow lab). My hobbies include horses, hunting, and spending time with my family. My passion has become hunting in Africa….I have been there hunting three times and can’t wait to get back. Luckily my wife hunts and loves Africa as well and has joined me on two of the hunts……between the two of us we have taken 24 different animals of 19 different species.

In closing I would like to mention I am a charter member of the UTA and I would like to THANK all those that started and are volunteering their time to help the UTA continue to grow and help ALL of us taxidermists!!!!! From what I have seen the UTA’s sole purpose is to help and educate taxidermists from all over the US and the world…..again THANK YOU to those that volunteer their time to make it happen(as a state president I know how much time and effort is put forth to make sure it all get’s done).

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My name is Shawn Bakken and I am a taxidermist from the small town of Racine, MN. I was asked to do a Bio for the Artisan magazine so here goes.

My first recollection of my interest in taxidermy was way back when I was 5 or 6 years old, my father would take me with him to the now defunct Herter’s store (for those of you not familiar, this was the Cabelas of the 60s and 70s) and at the front door stood a life-size polar bear which I could stand and stare at for hours and so it began……my love and fascination for taxidermy.


Now fast forward 30 years and being unhappy with my Union carpentry job I started looking for a different career. My wife found Matuska’s taxidermy school on line and we went for a tour of his facilities. One week later I sent my deposit and in March of 2003 I completed Matuska’s full course in taxidermy and my taxidermy career began.

We Stand Together

The United Taxidermist Association is an international organization with thousands of members worldwide.  We have no boundaries.  Our vision is to unite, promote, and champion the needs of taxidermists and those that support and strengthen us where ever we are. 

May 9, 2013  |  Shawn Bakken