Rut & Strut pre­serves wildlife

Taxi­dermy shop also pro­cesses fresh game

The Covington News - - Business - By Rachel Oswald

For Mike Schildt, new owner of Rut & Strut Taxi­dermy & Deer Pro­cess­ing, go­ing to work in the morn­ing is like play for this avid hunts­man.

“I’ve al­ways been into hunt­ing and fish­ing,” said Schildt who ac­quired the 21-year-old busi­ness in Jan­uary from its pre­vi­ous owner, Steve Bishop, who also taught him the trade. “It’s just a way for me to make a liv­ing off of some­thing I love to do. I just come out and play here.”

Pri­mar­ily in the busi­ness of mount­ing turkeys and deer, hence the name Rut & Strut, Schildt es­ti­mated that he spends be­tween 10 and 12 hours on a sin­gle shoul­der mount.

Schildt said the prepa­ra­tion process of skin­ning the an­i­mals and clean­ing and tan­ning their hides takes up most of the time. The ac­tual mount­ing process, where the hide is slipped over a pre-made Sty­ro­foam model, typ­i­cally takes only three to four hours.

Schildt said turn­around time for deer shoul­der mounts and turkey mounts is around three to four months. Dur­ing the months of hunt­ing sea­son from Septem­ber through De­cem­ber, Schildt said the turn­around time stretches into a year. He ad­vised hunters to call him to find out if he can mount their an­i­mal. Schildt said he does not mount pets.

“We get calls on a lot of things,” said Schildt, point­ing to a mounted wilde­beest from Africa as an in­di­ca­tion of the di­ver­sity of an­i­mals Rut & Strut can han­dle.

Schildt charges $350 for a deer mount. De­pend­ing on the pose de­sired by cus­tomers, turkeys are be­tween $525 and $675 he said.

Euro­pean-style mounts fea­tur­ing just the antlers and skull mounted onto a panel are $95. An antler mount is $45. Tanned hides are $95 a piece. A 50 per- cent de­posit is re­quired be­fore any work will be­gin.

“We’re go­ing to start do­ing fish,” Schildt said. “Right now I’m just do­ing them for friends to build up my skill.”

Rut & Strut also of­fers meat pro­cess­ing for your freshly killed game. Steak, ground roast, jerky and sausage can all be made on­site. De­pend­ing on the size of the deer, meat pro­cess­ing will cost be­tween $55 and $90 Schildt said.

Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

Stuffed with care: Rut & Strut Taxi­dermy & Deer Pro­cess­ing owner Mike Schildt stands among a variety of mounted an­i­mals in his busi­ness lo­ca­tion on Flat Shoals Road in Cov­ing­ton.

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