Deer Processors Get More Customers, Exceed Capacity Due to 2020 Hunting Boom

by Madison Miller
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The hunting boom that came from the COVID-19 pandemic has caused its own wave of difficulties.

The difficulties, specifically, are for the meat processing community. While more and more people have looked to nature activities for entertainment, hunting rates were a part of the climb. Now, an entire industry is having a hard time keeping up.

Deer Meat Processors Struggle to Keep Up

Right now, most deer hunting seasons have a good amount of time to go. Many states have hunting that lasts until February or March.

In Mississippi for example, the season is only halfway through, but the deer meat processors are gutted by how far behind they are. One business, Fork ‘N Road, is expressing just how stressful the times have been.

“We’re pretty busy usually, but we’ve had to shut down a couple times just because we can’t take anymore deer and last year we didn’t start doing that until like this time, but we’ve already shut down 5 times since the deer season started” supervisor Melanie Moore said, according to WCBI News.

Getting Meat on the Table

There is a delay in orders due to how backed up meat processors are. It may be more difficult to get your meat processed. Those in the industry recommend trying to do it yourself and placing the meat in the freezer before getting it into a meat processing facility when something opens back up.

“We’ve probably doubled what we had done at this point last November … We’ve had to stop taking in deer because of the capacity. We’re working seven days a week, long hours every day, and we still can’t keep up. From Saturday morning until noon Sunday, we had another 200 deer come in. We’ve added a cooler, and we have 500 deer hanging now waiting to be processed. It will be like that right on through February,” Nancy Lamour from Fork ‘N Road said, according to Texarkana Gazette.

In the past, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks had a deer count in place funded by the state. It was turned down for the upcoming season. There are no real accurate figures for the numbers, but the demand at meat processors is a pretty good indication.

So, while deer are in hot supply, getting it to the table could be much harder this year.

Outsider.com