Chris Mohler, Sawyer, developed a family-business out of his passion for wildlife.
More than 20 completed deer and other Kansas wildlife mounts fill the front room of Chris Mohler's Wildlife Taxidermy and Wildgame Processing business in downtown Sawyer, but it's memories of first hunts with his children that bring the biggest smiles to his face when he talks about his passion for the outdoors.
"I've always enjoyed art, I've always enjoyed hunting and fishing," Mohler said. "But the best times are spent with my family. My oldest got their first deer this year already. That was fun."
Chris, his wife Stephanie, and their five children, ages 10 to 1 year of age, make a living out of Chris's love of Kansas wildlife. Together they operate a well-established taxidermy and deer processing facility, that can take more hours than there are in a day, or much less, especially if it is hunting season.
"The fall is our busiest time, with the deer processing we do," Mohler said. "Stephanie helps out a lot with that, but she is a good archer too, so we make time for hunting."
Other hunters who bring their deer to Sawyer for processing are essentially hiring Mohler to provide a service.
"They bring their own deer here, I process it and give them back their own meat," he said. "We don't sell it to anyone else. Everyone gets back what they brought in."
Mohler does provide field dressing services as well, so he can help save the hides for those wanting to also have their quarry mounted.
"About half that you see in the shop here are mine," he said. "But the other half, other hunters have brought in. Many of these will be picked up this fall, when they bring in another one for me to process. They come and go."
In addition to whitetail bucks with impressive racks, Mohler has bobcat, quail, pheasant and even a large half-body elk mounted in his store-front showroom at 207 S. Main in Sawyer.
"The antlers for that actually came from a Kansas elk farm," he said. "I was able to get a full cape of a bull elk from Montana and we combined those to come up with this."
The elk is not for sale, but other mounts and decorative craft items in the outdoors-type store are.
"We make a living at this," Mohler said. "I'm not a workaholic like some others are. I pace myself and work as much as I need to. I'd rather go hunting with my family, and we have church activities, regular stuff. I love that we can make a living doing what I've always loved, but my family is what's really important to me."
Since deer season opened last month, Mohler's 8-year-old daughter, Saige, shot a 10-point buck with her crossbow. His son, Micah, 10, got a 17-point buck with a muzzle-loader. Chances are, one or both of those bucks will show up on the trophy wall in the taxidermy shop. There's a lot more hunting season for Mohler and family to enjoy first, however.
Mohler can be reached at his shop in Sawyer, or by phone at (937) 974-0218 by those looking for deer processing or taxidermy services.