Montana Taxidermists Association

General Rules and Guidelines

 MTA State Competition


  1.   All mounts entered in the MTA competition cannot have been entered in any previous MTA shows.

  2.   No freeze-dried entries or freeze-dried parts. (Except for turkey heads and velvet antlers.)

  3.   Protected wildlife must have all necessary permits and paperwork with the mounts at all times.

  4.   All entries must be totally done by the competitor by themselves, unassisted. An exception to this being tanning, forms,                eyes, etc.

  5.   Only paid entrants in the competition and/or their spouses can attend the seminars. A $25 individual fee or $75 for all                  seminars fee will be charged for all non-members or taxidermy vendors/exhibitors (with a pass) wanting to attend the                  seminars.

  6.   Removal of entries will not be allowed until the close of public viewing. The only exception to this will be that of extreme              weather/emergency.

  7.   The only way to enter the doors at the show will be with your nametag. Each entrant and spouse will receive a nametag                that must be worn at all times in order to get into the competition room, seminar rooms and vendor room.

  8.   There will be time allowed for grooming and arranging each entry prior to judging.

  9.   Distasteful entries will not be allowed (wounds, traps, etc.) at the discretion of the Board members.

10.   Each mount will be given a numerical score (scores necessary for winning ribbons are noted below.)

11.   You must pay the full membership and registration fees in order to be eligible for any award(s) with a cash monetary                    value, or to enter into the vendor room and/or seminar room.

12.   Must have blue ribbon score to qualify for Best of Category and MTA cash awards. (excluding taxidermist choice)

13.   The decision of the judges on each entry is final!!! Discourteous behavior toward judges or Board members will not be                  tolerated. Behavior of this kind could lead to disqualification of a competitor and a request for them to leave with their                  entries. Remember that all critiques are intended for the benefit of the taxidermist.

14.   After judging has been completed, point ribbons will be displayed and your identification card will be revealed. Plaques and          ribbons for major awards will be held and announced at the awards banquet.

15.   The number of entries allowed is unlimited.

16.   Entries in glass cases must have a removable top and sides to allow for judging. The top and sides must be removed prior          to judging and then replaced by the competitor.

17.   The Hotel staff and competition staff will do all they can to see that your mounts are secure; however, they cannot insure          them from danger or theft. All mounts entered into competition will be done so at owner’s risk.


Collective Artist Category: This category is for multiple artists who have worked on a single piece. Entry fee for this category is as follows: Individual membership & registration entry fee for first artist is $170 + collective artist entry fee $10 per artist. (Only one artist needs to fill out registration for collective artist piece.) Note that only one individual will be allowed into the seminars with this registration and all others must pay a membership fee. If there are other mounts being entered in the competition then those persons must register individually. An additional $10 mount fee applies if this entry makes the overall entry number greater than three.


Montana Best All Around:   Only Master and Professional may enter. Competitors must compete with four individual entries in three or four of the five following categories: fish, bird, life size mammal, game head, and reptile. Two entries may be of the same category; however these must be different species. You must receive at least one blue ribbon. The winner of this category will be determined by the highest accumulated score. In case of a tie the judges will make the final decision.

Matuska Competitor’s Award: The Matuska Competitor's Award will be awarded to the competitors with 4 of the highest scoring entries in the Masters or Professional Divisions.  All entries must have a 1st or 2nd place ribbon with a combination score of 350 or greater.

Montana Challenge: This is a special entry category that is a Montana specimen only, chosen annually by a blind draw of the board, using the guidelines established by the MTA.

Competing Divisions Explained: The Master, Profession, Adult Novice and Junior Novice Divisions of the MTA convention have always been a way for the competing taxidermist to enter themselves into a class of other taxidermists who are at a similar level of experience. It is a choice that each individual taxidermist can make on his/her own. In fact, it is even possible for the competitor to enter two different divisions. For example, if you are a Professional in birds and a novice in fish, it is only fair that you be allowed to enter in two different divisions. In essence, the MTA wants competitors to be able to compete in levels that will be most beneficial to their advancement in taxidermy. You cannot enter two like species in separate divisions (ie, you cannot bring two deer heads for competition and enter on in Novice and one in Professional). They must both be entered in one division. For those of you who would like a little help in deciding which division is right for you, the following is a general guideline: after receiving two Best of Category awards you must move up to the next division for that category.


Youth Novice: Pertains to novice competitors who are 17 years and younger. This division allows the judges to separate the Adult Novice from the Youth Novice competitors and tailor their score sheets accordingly.

Adult Novice: Pertains to someone who is over the age of 17 and is a beginner taxidermist and considers himself or herself to be in the early stages of learning.

Professional: Pertains to someone who is a practiced taxidermist and is capable of performing taxidermy at a business or professional level.

Master: Pertains to someone who has achieved a high level of expertise in his/her field and has the ability to consistently produce award winning work.

Scoring and Judging

All divisions in the MTA Competition will be clearly marked for the judges. This will allow the judges to better score and critique the pieces on its division. Scores for each division are as follows:


70-79   3rd Place - 80-89   2nd Place - 90-100 1st Place

Award Categories

Youth Novice, Adult Novice, Professional (Cash Awards), Masters (Cash Awards):

Best of Category, Master of Division, Fish Skin, Reptile, Reproduction, Upland Bird, Waterfowl, Game Head, Small Life Size Mammal, Large Life Size Mammal