From Taxidermist to Teacher: Trinity Mountain Arts

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By Dave Newton, Trinity Mountain Arts

My fascination with wildlife came from my father and his brother. Both are outdoorsman and grew up hunting and fishing the woodlands of Michigan. Their influence launched me into a pursuit for wildlife and forever etched a legacy of love for the outdoors. To this day, I passionately invest in the art of taxidermy as a way of giving back to those who share in my obsessions for field and stream.
I am a self-taught taxidermist that learned the trade in the old fashioned way – by reading. That process taught me to persevere and complete what I started. I realized many frustrations in those early years as a teenager, but the cool thing is that it gave me a great desire to succeed. I started my first side-line business mounting birds and small animals for my high school buddies. I saved enough money to buy my first truck at the age of 18.
In 1981, I started Dave’s Taxidermy on a part-time basis, working out of my garage in the evenings. The business expanded 3 times and ultimately landed a second business in Northern California under a new name -Trinity Mountain Arts. I took a sabbatical in the early 1990’s after getting sick and hurting my back – the insult to my injuries. The dust and chemicals were negatively affecting my health and so I decided to take some time off and focus on completing my college education. After graduating from Simpson University in 1995, I started a new career in teaching. I love imparting knowledge and find it a privilege to work with young people.  I, regularly, perform taxidermy demonstrations for my students, and encourage them to take up hobbies and creative endeavors.
Trinity Mountain Arts is all about the art of taxidermy, not production. I limit my work load to allow a fair turn-around time for the customer, and provide myself with lots of room for quality attention to details on each mount. In the past I have dealt with many high-end, high production pieces like: great white sharks, 15 foot Marlin, and African collections. I limit my intake of fish and only do reproduction mounts. My specialty is in game heads, life-size mounts and rugs, and birds.
For me, it is always about the ART. There are a lot of great taxidermists out there that I admire and appreciate for their attention to detail. My goal is to always be on that level of the playing field.  From taxidermist to teacher, I am a life-long learner, always looking to improve my work.  It all boils down to PASSION! That is what keeps me loving what I do every day. With that being said, I am headed for the Trinity Alps in Northern California where I will pack in 6 miles to hunt deer and bear this weekend. Shop closed; see you when I return with a great trophy!
Editor’s note: For more information on Trinity Mountain Arts, call 530-778-0537, or go to