Recent Studies:  Tyler HotChocolate Lalim 2011

I attended Dave’s School of Taxidermy the summer of 2011 for the eight week program with two of my buddies.  I completed three shoulder mounts, two varmints, three birds, three fish (only one painted), and a horn mount.  Dave and the Tonneson family are great people.  While working, he told us to work at our own speed and if we started to get frustrated to take a little break, which a lot of the time meant go fishing.  There were a few nice days where he let us all go fishing, at the Dam, as long as we brought back something to cook up.  The lodge is a nice place to stay.  It is fully furnished, all appliances, and is real close to the shop. All in all I had one of the most fun summers and learned something that I have always wanted to do.  It is one job I can charge however much I want for something I love to do.  I would highly recommend anybody out there who wants to become a taxidermist to attend Dave’s School of Taxidermy with Dave and Jonas.
Tyler Lalim

Recent Students: Joe Newlin March 2011

Dave asked me for a testimonial before I left, so here goes:

I could have attended any Taxidermy school in the country. I had both the time, and the resources to travel, stay somewhere, and learn. I’m certainly glad that I made the decision to spend the better part of the winter in North Dakota with Dave and Lisa. Dave has a wealth of knowledge and shares it freely. Unlike some of the other schools that I looked at, where there is a very rigid schedule of learning, Dave’s style of teaching allows each student to learn at their own pace. If you are willing to work hard, you are able to do as much “practice” as you can handle. To me, that is much better than being forced into a box, and mounting 2 deer, 1 grey fox….etc. The instruction went far beyond any of the other schools that I checked into to include molding and casting, which is a huge part of a successful taxidermy business. Being able to watch Dave not only instruct students, but do some of his own production and competition work was a HUGE bonus. I learned just about as much from watching Dave work as I did doing my own mounts!

Both Dave and Lisa were very accommodating, as I went to North Dakota to learn taxidermy and would often look up at the clock in the shop and notice that it was going on midnight with both Dave and I still busy in the shop. Long hours and lots of knowledge…come prepared to learn. Dave’s easy going attitude, willingness to teach at each student’s level, and “go the extra mile” truly fit my learning style, and I can’t imagine that you would find better instruction anywhere. I can honestly say that I not only left there with a mentor, but made some lifelong friends as well. A special thanks to Lisa for understanding when Dave was spending all of those hours in the shop with me!

The facilities are outstanding with Dave’s ample shop and the provided housing. The housing is not “luxury accommodations”, but everything that is needed is there….a place to eat, a place to sleep, wide screen cable TV, and all of the other “necessities”. And unlike any other school that I looked into, that housing was included in the price of the school! The hunting and fishing in and around Newburg is wonderful. Being a predator hunter, I was able to hunt Coyote any time I wanted, and Dave and I spent a few days on the ice collecting some specimens to work on as well.

Overall, the experience at Dave and Lisa’s will go down as one of my great adventures in life. I was provided with all of the information that I need to come home to Indiana and start a shop…I know that my learning will never stop, and I look forward to gathering the skill set that Dave has…it’s going to be a while, but can only hope that I possess half of the true talent that Dave has in practicing the art of Taxidermy.

Bottom line, if you choose to attend Dave’s School of Taxidermy, get ready to roll up your sleeves, and work hard. You won’t regret it!

Joe Newlin

Recent Students: Shannon Weflen January 2008

I don’t even know how to explain how awesome this school was. You can always tell when a guy is in it just for the money (like the guy in Montana at the first school I went to). At Dave Tonnesons school, it is more important to him that you learn what you came to learn. The bonus is, the things you learn on the side. Dave is one of those that can pretty much make something out of nothing. Dave and his family are very easy to get along with. When I left it felt like I was leaving my family. I am going into taxidermy full time and going to try and support a family doing it. So I definetely needed somebody to teach me the right way. Dave was the man. He holds nothing in. He’ll show you every single trick he knows. He shows you many different methods in doing taxidermy. I felt 100% confident to start work as soon as I left. And when you leave its not over. Because you can call Dave anytime with any question. Dont mistake his cheap tuition for cheap quality. I paid twice the amount to go to another state to learn taxidermy. A huge mistake, I’m glad I made up for it by going to Dave to learn taxidermy. I learned ten times what I learned at the other school. If you want to learn taxidermy the right way, call Dave.

Shannon Weflen
Dickinson, ND

Recent Students: Jeffrey March 2010

Dave’s School of Taxidermy was definitely the best school I could have chosen. Dave and Lisa make it very easy for me to adapt. The atmosphere is relaxed which makes you feel right at home. You will not find a better teacher than what Dave is. Dave has entered his work into competitions which has allowed him to gain a lot of valuable information that other taxidermists don’t have. I realized when I got home and looked at the work of some local taxidermist in the area, I found that the quality of work does not come close to what Dave will teach you. You will not find a better school then Dave’s School of Taxidermy.

Testimonial from Barry

Dave’s school of taxidermy was by far one of the best moves i have made thus far. The school itself was loaded with everything from helpful little tricks to help your mounts stand out from others; all the way to serious hands on, indepth speciman studies. Dave has a great talent for teaching, along with an endless supply of patience. He has a very laid back way of teaching but yet he’s always making sure that you understand the techniques he uses and why your using them. He makes a point to answer everyones questions, while including the rest of the class on the issue at task. I was very impressed with how much information he has gathered throughout his career. Information that is only learned from many hours of trial and error or experimenting with new ideas. Dave wishes to share all of this information with you to make you a better, more profitable taxidermist.

When i first started searching for taxidermy schools i was clueless. I started comparing prices first, then location and accomadations. Then i stumbled on Dave’s website and it seemed to fit my overall thinking. The price was reasonable, location was acceptable, and lodging was included. Needles to say having to leave a 3.5 year old, and a 2 year old alone with my wife was a huge factor. My wife and i discussed it and we both agreed it would be a good move. So it was a go!

I find myself looking back on everything i learned and accomplished while i was at Dave’s. I came from dabbling with taxidermy to having the confidence and education to accomplish anything i wish to attempt. I know i’m going to make the best out of the time i spent at Dave’s School of Taxidermy.

At last I would like to thank Dave and his wonderful family. It was hard being away from my family, but they welcomed me and included me like i was one of thier own. Dave your a wonderful teacher, mentor, and a world class artist in my eyes. I not only left there with confidence and knowledge for taxidermy, I left with a new lifetime friend.



Testimonial from Devon

The Tonneson’s are a very friendly family, they made me feel welcome through out my hole time in Newburg. Dave was a great teacher, he is extremely patient with all of his students. He has a true love for teaching. He likes to make class time fun and is flexible with your schedule and needs. Often times Dave would stay up late to help you work on a specimen. I was more than satisfied with the education I received. I would highly recommend Dave’s school of Taxidermy to everyone.


Chad & Devon

Recent Students: Darren Summer July 2010