Hunters claim their prize, take it to the processing plant, and pick up their meat when it's ready. But some people may not know what happens between drop- off and pick-up.
Deer processing is performed by cutters like Kurt Zinski at Marquette Deer and Game Cutters. Zinski and his staff are responsible for making sure your prize buck becomes your prize dinner ingredient.
"Standard process, first of all, you go to the drop-off point, the skinning barn, where your animal is skinned, and you check in with your sheet. Eeverybody has their individual cut sheet, it's custom cut to their order," said Zinski, owner of the processing plant.
Hunters pull up to the skinning barn, and the deer is placed with the others where it is soon skinned and stored until further processing.
Making sure that the hunters get their personally hunted meat is crucial.
All deer that come in are carefully labeled throughout the entire process, and although this facility can store dozens of deer at a time, only one deer is processed at a time. This ensures that there is no mix-up.
After labeling, the process continues according to the order that was placed on the cut sheet. Different orders may require cutting utensils, grinders, or ovens. The type of order determines how long the processing takes.
"Depending on how backed up we are or if they have sausage, the smoking process is cellular--can take up to a week to 10 days--but standard cut, if we're on top of them, we can roll right through them. It's a pretty good turnaround," Zinski said.
Sausages are most popular, but orders can include steaks, chops, burgers, jerkies, and much more. The processing is typically $70 to $80, but hunters can save money by skinning the deer themselves.