ROGERS [KFSM] - Modern gun season for deer hunting began Saturday (Nov. 8), and that means hunters are wanting to get their kill mounted on their living room wall.
Taxidermist Karen Gerhardt has been making mounts of all kinds of animals for over 20 years. She said she's busy year-around, but sees a boost in business when the deer season starts.
"Deer makes up probably the biggest percentage of what I take in," Gerhardt said.
She said once a hunter makes a kill they want to keep, they need to get the animal on ice or to a taxidermist as soon as possible. Gerhardt said the amount of time the animal can keep before getting skinned depends on the temperature outside.
"The skin on the deer will spoil, just like the meat of the deer would spoil, so it has to be kept pretty cool, you want it to be like at least 45 degrees outside for it to be outside very long," she said.
On opening day, Gerhardt said five deer came into her shop at Beaver Lake, Karen's Taxidermy. She advises hunters that if you don't know how to do the cutting and skinning, she would rather do it for you to preserve the animal.
"If I skin them out myself, then it's less repairs that I have to do from them being cut wrong," Gerhardt said.
She said she has taxidermied everything from african antelopes to grizzly bears, from deer to squirrels. She said she charges $510 for a deer mount, $14 an inch for fish, and anywhere from $600-680 for a bobcat.
Gerhardt has received national recognition for work. She won taxidermist of the year in 2012, and said the more work she does, the more perfect she wants it to be.
"When you know how to do better, you do better, and I don't care how long it takes, they're going to get the best mount that I possibly can give them," Gerhardt said.
Karen's Taxidermy is open year around. More information on her services can be found on her store's website.