Michael Rohlert, owner of Darst Creek Taxidermy and Wild Game Processing, said he’s always been one in the outdoors.
Rowlert, who grew up on a farm in Luling near the San Marcos River, said the river and the wildlife around it sparked a passion that eventually turned into his taxidermy career. He started his taxidermy job in a garage while he was studying at Texas A&M University.
“I had some family [and] “Friends who send me their things and their things, and I gather them together,” said Rollert. “I didn’t know where to go, but the side money was great.”
After a friend in Montgomery told him where he could take his full-time business, Rollert opened Darst Creek—named after the West Texas Stream—in September 2017 while finishing school.
Once the initial lease expired, Rollert moved to the current store location on Keenan Cut Off Road in July 2020. The new location opened ahead of Texas deer season, which begins in the fall.
“I wanted to stay [in Montgomery]; Rollert said. “Ideally thought I would do this in West Texas [because] I thought there was nothing to catch here. But it’s a thriving place.”
Rollert said he has found many business and corporate clients who travel to West Texas to fish and send their prizes to Darst Creek. Deer and ducks are the most common, but Rollert also works with wild boars, cats, coyotes, and snakes from all over Texas.
As his business grew, Rollert found himself receiving orders from outside the country and even international clients. The key to receiving these requests, Rohlert said, is building trust.
“I don’t usually hang mounts for clients, but I went out to help this elderly couple, and we stayed there for four hours,” said Rohlert. They were bringing back memories [of their hunts]And things like that are what happens in the end.”
Customers can turn their pets into decorative stands, blanket hides, rugs, or other uses. Dust Creek can also mount skulls – which are described as “European mountains” – and Rollert’s wife makes pillows using leather.
In addition to taxidermy at Darst Creek, the company features a wild game processing facility for clients. Fajita meat is a specialty of Dart Creek, but other products include sausages, burgers, and ground meat.
Rollert said he hopes to develop meat processing into a year-round operation.
“Keep your head down, make friends and relationships, and get bigger every year,” Rowlert said. “It’s been five years, and it’s going really well.”
darst creek embalming and processing wild game
20022 Keenan Cut Off Road, Montgomery
Opening hours: Monday to Friday. 8:30am-5pm, closed from Saturday to Sunday.