In North Dakota, deer gun opener is pretty much a holiday. But not everyone gets time off because it’s big business for local butchers.
“Opening weekend is pretty busy. in previous years you are looking at $250 to $290,” Butcher, Mark Haegele said.
It’s the hunting season that keeps butchers like Mark Haegele at West Dakota Meats on edge. That’s deer season.
“It’s a race to get the hide off, get them washed up and get them in the cooler,” Haegele said.
Butchers say the No. 1 rule after you catch your meat is to keep it cold as soon as possible.
Heat travels fast and can spoil your meat quick.
“It should be in the cooler, then once the deer is cooled off, we will bring it out one-by-one. We will break them down on this table and get them boxed up with the costumers name,” Haegele said.
Believe it or not, the process only takes up to 15 to 20 minutes.
“Then from there they go in the freezer where when we get some time we will pull them back out and actually start processing them,” Haegele said.
Uses for deer range from sausage to jerky to steaks, even roast and burgers. It’s a tedious process, but worth it.