Hunters Learn to Process Deer from the Field to the Freezer

Hunters Learn to Process Deer from the Field to the Freezer

It’s already archery deer and turkey season, but October 29th is the start of firearm season for Missouri deer hunters. To prepare, dozens from all over the region met today to go over rules, regulations and tips for harvesting a deer from start to finish.

These hunters are hoping for a successful season with deer to process. Although there are limits on how many deer hunters can take, this group learns how to make the most of what they do hunt.

“A lot of people look at the processing part as something they’d rather not do but to be an ethical hunter, it’s something we should all do,” says Greg Collier with the Missouri Department of Conservation.

John Waddle has paid a processor to package the meat of deer he’s hunted but would prefer to do it himself.

“I suppose just controlling it, maybe the savings of the money, just eating it maybe that day or the next day, some people make chilli on that day,” he says.

Waddle and his son attend the Missouri Department of Conservation “Field to Freezer” program to learn how to properly process, package and store game so that it can be enjoyed later.

In Missouri, after killing a deer, a hunter has to mark the date on their permit, put a tag on the animal and “telecheck” it by 10 p.m. that day. The next steps get more complicated, experts demonstrate how they harvest deer and show good containers to store the meat in, which legally has to be done a certain way.

“Whatever packages you plan to put in the freezer have to be labeled with your name address and conservation ID number,” says Collier.

Waddle says his family has acquired a taste for venison

“The meat is such a blessing, it’s organic in nature and close by,” and he says he wants to be able to provide it for them, a feeling many hunters share.

“By processing your own game you have a sense of accomplishment, a sense of achievement, you know where your meat is coming from so to speak and you also have the financial or fiscal savings by not paying to have your game processed,” adds Collier.

A new regulation in Missouri allows hunters, trappers and anglers can carry permits in electronic format with the new MO Hunting app.