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Thank you for your interest in the Northwest Iowa School of Taxidermy. At this time we are not taking any applications for our 2021 classes, as the winter class has been filled and we are not offering any other 2021 classes at this time. Please check our website later in the year for any possible 2022 classes that may be offered.


Tom Matuska

Testimonials from Former Students

Check out what former students have to say about Northwest Iowa School of Taxidermy!

Graduates from our taxidermy school go on to win awards and have successful careers – but don’t just take our word for it! Hear from some of them below!



“It was an absolute honor to have the opportunity to attend your school. I know myself, Karen, Tyler, and Erin enjoyed being housemates. It was very homey feeling. The school itself was outstanding. The only thing we would change would have been being able to stay a little bit longer. Amber was an absolute rockstar and was always on the go moving from student to student. And Brett brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to students with painting fish and being hands on with that aspect of taxidermy. I am very confident in myself thanks to Tom and his employees! You guys truly are family so I want to thank you for all of your hard work. I hope to see you all again. It’s been a pleasure working with you all.”

– Kella Hampel



“There is so much to be said about my decision to go to the Northwest Iowa School of Taxidermy. Ive always had a passion for the outdoors and an appreciation for wildlife arts. At 30 years old deciding to change your career can be a scary thing. I researched for years, speaking to many past students and some of the teachers themselves. Right from the start I knew I had made the best decision. I feel this program was the most balanced program that I researched. Any project I could imagine Tom and his staff were right there to make it a reality. There is no cutting corners in this program, which is a perfectionists dream. Tom will go the extra mile to make sure you have the skills you need to be successful. Northwest Iowa School of Taxidermy has paved the road to a successful career for me. The quality of mounts I did in school far exceeded my expectations and greatly surpass other taxidermy work Ive seen in my local area. My experience there goes beyond what I learned in school. Ive gained so many wonderful lifelong friends and had so many wonderful experiences. Vicki made the living situation comfortable and was always there if a problem arose. The Matuska’s are some of the most humble, hospitable and kind people I have ever met. Spirit Lake Iowa was home and will always have a piece of my heart. Thank you to the Matuska’s and staff for the amazing adventure and a new career.”

- Breanna Blankenship


“Hello from Minnesota. Well, it has been about one year since I attended your school. I would like you to know that everything is going very well for me. I have been working hard to grow my business. The training I received while attending Northwest Iowa School of Taxidermy has given me the tools to succeed in what has now become my full-time job. I am confident that without the training you provided, both in the art of taxidermy as well as proven business practices, I would still be fumbling along wondering if I was going to ever be able to make taxidermy my career. I feel so lucky to be able to get out of bed in the morning and be able to get paid to do something that I truly love doing. I also wanted to tell you and your staff, “THANK YOU!” Everyone has always been so informative when I call with questions. I really appreciate the fact that you are always willing to help and never make it seem like you are too busy.”

- Curt Markgraf

“Thanks so much for the great opportunity of learning all your tips and techniques. My work is nothing but professional, thanks to your expertise and teaching skills. This experience was truly an investment in my, as well as my family’s future. The course was only nine weeks, but the knowledge I received and brought home will not only last a lifetime, but for generations. If it wasn’t for my notes and tapes, my success would not be possible. Your staff and family are the BEST! I’ve truly enjoyed my time and experiences with them. Thanks so very much for making my lifelong dream possible and making me feel like a part of the Matuska family. God Bless!”

- Scott Herman

“My investment in the Northwest Iowa School of Taxidermy was the best decision I have made in my young life. The patience of Tom and his staff was exceptional, because with me, they NEEDED it. Even after the class ended, Tom and Vicki continued to treat me like family, and were more than happy to help me with any and all of my questions and problems. Thanks Tom, you helped pave the way to a brighter future.”

- Dane Reuter

“Two words describe Tom and his instructors at Northwest Iowa School of Taxidermy… Top Quality. That’s as simple as it is. Tom knows no other way. You learn top quality techniques in all phases of taxidermy… birds, fish, gameheads, life-size, rugs, etc.

Tom and Vicki are the best hosts and will make you feel right at home during your nine week stay in Spirit Lake. I have had a successful career, first on my own and now with Cabela’s. I owe it all to the experts at the Northwest Iowa School of Taxidermy. To me, the only taxidermy school is Northwest Iowa School of Taxidermy.

If you use Tom’s techniques and continue to strive for top quality mounts, you too will become a success at what you do. The rest is up to you. “

– Brian Hellman

“P.S. Be prepared to work hard and have fun!”

“When people ask, “Where did you learn to do this?” I proudly tell them, “Northwest Iowa School of Taxidermy.” I always let people know that if they are serious about learning taxidermy, go where I went, they will start you out right!”

– Darrin Kliment

“Hello. My name is Andres Gallo, owner and operator of Artisan Creations Taxidermy in Pine Mountain Club, California. I attended and graduated from Northwest Iowa School of Taxidermy back in 2011, and I can honestly say it has been a life-changing experience for me. After my graduation, I opened up a shop right when I got home. The techniques and skills I was taught in school have given me the ability to not only be in this business, but to stay in it and be successful as well. I enjoy all fields of taxidermy and still practice and offer all my taxidermy services to my clients. When I was searching for a school to attend, Northwest Iowa School of Taxidermy was unsurpassed. I compared it to other schools and decided this was the school for me. I knew I made the right decision once I started school and now, there is no question about it. Tom and his staff go the extra mile to make sure you learn the skills of the trade and everything you need to be a successful and reputable taxidermist. After over 2 years in the business, I still continue to learn with every mount I produce, and I know there is still more to learn. I plan to continue and extend my education in this field by taking advantage of the continuation and advanced courses offered by Northwest Iowa School of Taxidermy. Thank you, Tom Matuska and staff, for not only making it such a friendly and pleasant experience, but for giving me a new career as well. Hope to see you all soon!”

– Andres Gallo

“My very first competition and I walked away with a blue ribbon on my mountain lion and a 3rd on my elk, who would’ve thought!”

– Shawn Dawson

“Everything I have done so far, everyone has loved. That is due to what I learned in school.
No shortcuts and make it look alive.”

– Stephen Dwiatt

“Even though I talk to you every now and again when ordering or asking a question, again, thanks for never letting what I thought was good enough be good enough. I understand why now.”

– Kevin Barnhill

“I just wanted to thank you all again for giving me what I needed- superb instruction and the tools to succeed. Tom, you’re my mentor. If I ever become half as good as you, I’ll be satisfied.”

– Al Baken

“You guys are the greatest, everything you’ve taught us is paying off. My work is improving with every job, and I constantly go back to my notes.”

– Dino Hugan

“Just wanted to say hello, and let you know how things are going. Well it’s going, it’s really going! I’m on almost to the end of my 5th sales order book. Each book is 50 job tickets. I NEVER-NEVER-NEVER thought it would turn out this way so early in the business.

You deserve a lot of credit for that, thanks!”

– Bob Sabo

“I really didn’t plan on starting up right away, but I also didn’t plan on having eight deer heads, six steelhead, a bear, a mallard, and a coyote head in my freezer three weeks after getting out of school! I can’t wait to see what happens when I start to advertise.”

– Jay Lewis

“Christmas is a time for giving and saying thanks. Thanks for all that I’ve learned, and allowing me to have one of the best summers I’ve ever had. I feel as though I’ve made friends with some of the finest people a person can know. Attending your classes was truly a learning and fun experience. I can already see that your stress for perfection will pay off in the future. I’ve compared my mounts to others in my area and even though I don’t feel that I’ve reached my level of perfection, these guys are in trouble!”

– Tony Romano Jr.


The Following is an Endorsement from Former NTA President

Mark Wilson

Dear Prospective Taxidermy Student,

Please allow me to share my experiences with you regarding Tom Matuska and the Northwest Iowa School of Taxidermy.

Right now, you are probably considering all of your options, just like I was in the mid-1990’s. With all of the choices out there, it can be difficult to decide on which taxidermy school is right for you. I know this because I have been there, and fortunately I chose the Northwest Iowa School of Taxidermy.

As a graduate of the Northwest Iowa School of Taxidermy, I can state first-hand that Tom Matuska and the Northwest Iowa School of Taxidermy met and exceeded my taxidermy training expectations. The training facility was very functional, and Tom Matuska’s training in all areas of taxidermy was superior. If you want proper training to become a professional taxidermist, I would highly recommend Tom Matuska and the Northwest Iowa School of Taxidermy.

Tom Matuska is also a long time member of both the Iowa Taxidermists Association and the National Taxidermist Association. A quality taxidermy education is the foundation for a successful career as a professional taxidermist, and joining your state and national taxidermy association will solidify this foundation.

The taxidermy profession and industry has been very rewarding for me, and my profession beginning at the Northwest Iowa School of Taxidermy is a large part of this. I have remained in touch with Tom Matuska since graduating from his school and he has always been friendly and helpful. When you get to know Tom Matuska you will understand that it could not be any other way, as he is also a great guy!


Mark Wilson

Past President, National Taxidermists Association

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