1              The KTA Rules and Ethics Committee reserves the right to restrict from open viewing any entry deemed detrimental to the image of taxidermy.  All such entries will be removed from the competition area.

2               Participants need not be present to compete, however, they are required to pay registration and entry fees.  Entries must be picked up by the participant or the participant’s agent.  No COD’s or shipments will be accepted.  Your agent is responsible for pick-up and delivery.

 3              Number of entries is not limited.

 4.             At the time of entry, you must identify your mount as to which division, category, and special award you are competing in.

 5.              Entries in cases must have removable top and sides for judging.

 6.              Species requiring special permits must be accompanied by that permit and it should be on display at all times with that mount.

 7              All participants will sign a release form at time of entry.  This form will release the KTA from any liability to mounts entered in competition.

 8.              Mounts that receive an award or ribbon in KTA competition cannot be re-entered in another KTA competition.  Re-entries are allowed only on those mounts that did not receive a ribbon in a previous KTA competition. Mounts may then be taken to a regional or national competition or other state competition.  Mounts that receive awards at higher competitions may also be entered at the state level.

 9.              The competition area is closed to all participants during the judging process.  Only the Competition Committee may enter.

 10.         Entries must be made at posted times.  Entries must stay in the display area until posted times.  Only those mounts that must be taken for reasons of emergency and cleared with the Convention Committee or Rules and Ethics Committee may be taken out before closing times.  Mounts left after the closing of the convention will be left without supervision or liability of the KTA or its committees.

 11.         Any infraction of KTA competition rules may result in disqualification and forfeiture of any awards won by that entry. Registration and entry fees will not be refunded.

 12.         All specimens entered shall be completed by one taxidermist.  This includes all mountable specimens.   Mountable freeze dried specimens will not be judged.  Freeze dried turkey heads are allowed as well as certain parts of mountable specimens. Reproductions, including fish are allowed, but must be entered in the reproduction category.

 13.         The KTA will be as careful as possible to provide security within the means of the convention site.  The KTA, its Committees, Officers and Board of Directors will not be responsible for mounts under any circumstances.

 14.         Any mount may be ineligible for judging if in the opinion of the judge there are too many points of the judging criteria hidden from view or missing.  Example:  A duck head coming out of a hole in a tree or a squirrel head coming out of a hole in a tree will not be judged as full body mounts.

 15.         Objections to the judging must be filed with the Rules and Ethics Committee before the close of the convention.  NO EXCEPTIONS!

 16.         Fatal flaws will be disqualified from the competition and will not be eligible for awards.  Participants will get their score sheet and have the opportunity to speak with the judge.


 There are 13 categories of competition. These include: Waterfowl, Upland Game Birds, Turkeys, Fish, Reproductions, Game Heads, Closed Mouth Whitetail Deer, Open Mouth Whitetail Deer, Small Mammals, Large Mammals, Reptiles, Rugs and Novelty.

 There are 6 divisions of entry. These include: Commercial,  Youth, Amateur, Professional, Masters and Collective Artist divisions.


This division is open to all participants in the KTA competition. It is for the taxidermist who may not have time to put together a piece for another category but still enjoys competing. The commercial division is for customer mounts. It will NOT be judged with flashlights. The judge must stand five feet away from the piece. Numerical scores will not be given in this division. You will only receive a first, second, or third place. You will get a score sheet but not detailed. No certification points will be awarded for this division. There are only ribbons awarded in this division. Commercial entries are not eligible for Peoples Choice, Best of Show or Best of category awards or any other major awards but will be eligible for awards given by wildlife or outdoor organizations. There is however, a best all-around commercial award.


Open to those 15 and under.  There are only ribbons awarded in this division.  You will receive a score sheet but will not accumulate certification points and will not be eligible for People's Choice, Best of Show, Best All Around or Best of Category awards with the exception of specific awards designated for youth only.


This division is aimed at new taxidermists who have never competed in a specific category.   Judges for the Amateur Division are instructed to judge with a lesser degree of criticism. Entry fees are the same as the other divisions. There are only ribbons awarded in this division. You will receive a score sheet. Amateur Division accumulates no certification points and is not eligible for Peoples Choice, Best of Show, Best All Around or Best of Category awards with the exception of specific special awards designated for amateur only. Once you have received two blue ribbons in a specific category, you must move to the professional division.


This division is open to all KTA members and affiliates. Mounts entered in this division will receive certification points and be awarded all ribbons and trophies to which they are entitled. Once you have received two blue ribbons in a specific category, you must move to the Masters division.


This division is open to all KTA members and affiliates who wish to be critiqued at a higher level. The judging in this division is very strict. Any entrant receiving a ribbon in the Masters Division may not return to the Professional Division in that category.

Collective Artist

Any paid members of the KTA shall be eligible for the Collective Artist Division. The mount must be completed by at least two members of the KTA. There will be only one first, one second, and one third place award given.   Example: if there is only one entry in the Collective Artist Division, this entry will win a first place ribbon.  Ribbons will be given to all participants of the winning team.  There will be an additional entry fee for the mount.  Entrants may enter as many mounts as they wish.  Multiple mounts on one base will be considered one piece. and be charged only one fee.  Each entry will be judged on three criteria.  They are as follows:  30 points for craftsmanship and soundness, 30 points for anatomical accuracy and 40 points for artistic merit.  The mount will not earn certification points.  The judges decision will be final.

Out of state participants must belong to the KTA to be eligible for awards.


This is the mount in each of the 13 categories that achieves the highest point value for the category. To receive Best of Category Award, the mount must receive a blue ribbon. Awards for "Best of Category" will be plaques.


This is awarded to the mount which receives the highest number of votes cast by KTA members and affiliates registered at the convention. (1 vote per member or affiliate)


This is awarded to the mount chosen by the judges of the event from all the first place mounts to be their personal favorite this award is not necessarily given to the highest scorer. Personal appeal may be reflected in this award.


This is awarded to the taxidermist (Kentucky resident) who scores the highest point total in 3 out of 5 categories of his or her choice. When competing in this category, it is required to have at least one blue ribbon and a total score of at least 250 points combined from the 3 categories to win. Entrant must choose between birds, fish, mammals (small or large), game heads (whitetail deer or game heads), and reptiles. You cannot have a bear (large mammal) and a squirrel (small mammal) considered in the Best All Around. In addition, you cannot have a whitetail and a mule deer head considered. Rugs, novelty and reproductions are not eligible for this award. Entrant must be a and member of the KTA to be eligible. Entrant must proclaim his/her mounts at the time of entry to be considered for this award.  There will be a Best All Around Professional and a Best All Around Masters.


Must be a resident of Kentucky and a member of the KTA.  This is awarded to the highest scoring mount by a Kentucky taxidermist. 


This is awarded to the mount that scores the highest that follows these criteria: 1. Mounts must be completed without use of commercial manikins. 2. Glass eyes may be used due to the complexity of making eyes. 3. Anatomical parts such as jaw sets, tongues, etc., must be made from raw materials and not bought commercially. 4. Freeze-dried specimens may NOT be used with the exception of turkey heads. 5. Novelty mounts will not be considered for this award. 6. Breakthrough score sheets will be used for scoring. 7. This mount may also be used in the Best All Around Division if so designated. 8. Pictures documenting your process of creating your form must accompany the mount. 9. All mounts must be a skin mount.


These are awarded to mounts that receive a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place point value and will receive ribbons to equal the point value received.

From time to time, other awards may be added to the competitions. The KTA has an Awards Committee which will review and set the standards of the awards. It is the intention of the KTA and the Awards Committee to give the very best awards that the KTA can afford. It should be stated that quality of the awards depends on participation of these events and what the KTA can afford at the time of the event. Presently, the standards have been set as follows: Peoples Choice, Best Original Creation, Best of Show and Best All Around will receive trophies. Place awards will be ribbons. For Best of Category, a plaque will be awarded. All entries are eligible for the Awards from wildlife organizations (i.e.: NWTF, RMEF, DU, QDMA etc.) unless specific criteria is given by the organization. Should the wildlife organization not send a representative to choose the award, the awards will automatically become a taxidermist’s choice award. These will be voted on by competing taxidermists only.

 The above rules are based on KTA criteria.  These rules are subject to change with approval of the membership at any regularly scheduled KTA meeting. Breakthrough Magazine score sheets are used in all KTA competitions. It is the desire of KTA to run a fair competition; one in which all members benefit from the experience.  If for some reason you feel you have not been treated fairly, you have the right to take your complaint to the Rules and Ethics Committee.

Updated May 2017