Pennsylvania deer processors overwhelmed

spectr17

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For hunters, deer plentiful, butchers are overwhelmed

The Associated Press

DUNMORE -- With plenty of deer roaming the state's forests and significantly loosened hunting laws this year, hunters have plenty of chances to bring home a deer.

Eating it might be a problem, however.

Just several days into the two-week deer season, some deer processors already are complaining that they are overwhelmed by the number of carcasses being brought in.

One butcher, Bob D'Angelo, saw 175 deer carcasses hauled into his Lackawanna County business, The Deer Place, on Monday, the season's opening day.

"We had more deer brought in the first day than we usually get the first week," said D'Angelo, 60. "Usually, we get 90 the first day. I had to refuse people. I hated to do it, but I simply couldn't process the amount of deer being brought in."

Monday marked the beginning of Pennsylvania's first combined deer season since 1906. Rather than getting two weeks to hunt antlered deer followed by three days to hunt antlerless, hunters this year have two weeks to hunt both.

More than 825,000 hunters had bought licenses as of
Nov. 15, up 5 percent from the same time last year. Game officials expected a total of about a million hunters, which is in line with other recent deer seasons.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission will not disclose figures on the total number of deer taken until after the two-week combined season ends Dec. 8.

Still, deer processors are seeing more deer than ever, indicating a possible record yield.

At a Newton Township processing shop on Tuesday, 32 gutted deer, many packed with ice, lay outside in a pen. They had been there since Monday night, the butchers unable to find time to clean the carcasses.

D'Angelo said he gave out the names of other butchers to carcass-toting hunters. Those butchers were overwhelmed, as well, and refused to take the hunters' business.

"I told people to leave their deer here at their own risk," said D'Angelo, who has been in the business for 15 years. "Spoilage is a huge concern for us."

Jake Klingel, who owns Klingel's Deer Processing in Hamilton Township, Monroe County, said that he hasn't had to turn customers away, despite seeing a two-day record delivery of deer carcasses at his business, as well.

"This is the most we've ever had on the first day," said Klingel, 68. "We have had about 120 more deer than last year at this time."
 

gizz

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I'm from PA and based on all the shots I heard the first 3 days I'd say the meat processors better get all the processing they can get this year cause next year it may be slim pickins. Before season I had 5 to 8 deer in my feeder at my house every night. Now I haven't seen any in 5 nights. Usually I see them throughout deer season...matter of fact I haven't seen a deer around my house since season started.

(Edited by gizz at 12:12 am on Dec. 1, 2001)
 

h2obobh2o

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As Gizz, I too am from Pennsylvania, and all I can say is...UNBELIEVABLE!!!!I went to a local butcher on Wednesday, and they were stacked up like firewood! This particular butcher wasn't turning anyone away, he was smart, and rented a tractor trailer with a refrigeration unit inside, and hired an additional 10 butchers for the first week of  the season, he was managing to keep up. I hope to Hell that Dr. Gary Alt knows what he is doing with "our" deer herd. I have heard mixed opinions of him, everyone says "look what he did with the bear population", and then some guys say, yeah, but look at the bear population now, there are more and more bear being plucked from the large cities, we just had a record bear kill again this year, we have too many bear here! I just keep my faith in him, because I am of the variety that thinks he knows exactly what he is doing!! Our deer herd is definately "un-balanced", and I for one wouldn't mind seeing bigger buck!! Let the little guys go,I am not a meat hunter, and I usually try to take the largest buck possible, I have never shot a deer that would score over 90- Pope and young, or B & C, but I keep trying!!All of my buck are medium sized 7-8-9 pointers. We should be seeing buck like they get in Maryland, Ohio, and I think with an antler restriction next year, in two years we will see more racked buck! Just my two cents worth!
 

spectr17

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Change in deer season, balmy weather leave carcasses piling up.

Buck or doe are game, making butchers so busy they're turning away people.

By CHRIS PARKER And BOB LAYLO Of The Morning Call

December 3, 2001


The state's first combined doe and buck season since 1906 and unusually warm weather have butchers and taxidermists under the gun.

The change has resulted in a glut of carcasses that must be kept cold or they will spoil.

“It's a double whammy because the weather is not cooperating,” said Bob Danenhower, owner of Bob's Wildlife Taxidermy in Orefield.

He said the change in hunting season caused an overabundance of work that had been spread out in past years. Business was up 25 percent over a year ago for the first week of hunting, Danenhower said.

“It's a big change real fast,” he said.

To keep pace, Danenhower and his employees have been logging 14-hour days, but he said he feels sorry for the butchers who are trying to keep up with the workload.

The balmy temperatures and lots of deer forced Plainfield Township butcher Stewart Kessler to lease two 53-foot refrigerated trailers to hold the carcasses until they can be processed.

The rifle deer season began last Monday, and hunters have brought in 900 deer so far.

“They are coming in at a pace twice what they were last year,” Kessler said. “We got about 300 the first day, that's double what it was last year.”

“It's not like there are more deer,” he said. “There are just more deer at one time.”

The refrigerated trailers Kessler leased each hold 120 deer at 32 degrees and are allowing him to accept more deer. With the hides left on, the deer will hold for about six days in the trailers.

“It's 70 degrees outside. Where are you going to take this deer?” he said. “You can't take it home and put it in your refrigerator.”

The trailers are parked about 40 yards from the plant, and getting the deer on and off the trailers is extra work. Kessler's crews are working 12-hour shifts that start at 3 a.m. His company, which employs 20 people, processes about 100 deer a day and about 1,200 a season.

“My employees are tired,” he said.

The crunch even prompted the state Game Commission to advise hunters to butcher their deer if they can't find a shop that has the time to process the animals quickly.

“Given the current weather conditions and backups occurring at butcher shops and meat processors statewide, learning what to do with a harvested deer is something more hunters should become acquainted with,” said J. Carl Graybill, director of the Game Commission's Bureau of Information and Education.

In the case of Hazleton resident John Capparell, do-it-yourself butchering brought back fond memories.

“When my dad was alive, it was part of the ritual of hunting,” Capparell said.

Capparell's son shot a deer Tuesday, and they were unable to find a butcher. So father and son worked together to skin and butcher the white and brown doe.

“A few friends had similar experiences,” Capparell said.

Dennis Hartman, who owns a butcher shop in New Tripoli, said he had to turn away customers all week. He normally takes in 80-100 deer the first day of buck season, but this year he had 125 by 5 p.m. last Monday.

“We turned lots and lots and lots of people away,” Hartman said. “We have some unhappy people, but there's nothing we can do about it.”

Hartman, who has signs posted in his shop asking people to call the Game Commission to complain, said he normally butchers 350 deer during hunting season, but in the past it was spread out over 2 weeks.

Hartman said he's been advising people to pack their deer in ice until they find someone to butcher it. He said he plans to take another 20 deer today, but only after carefully inspecting them to make sure they were kept refrigerated or are freshly killed.

“Deer are the largest carrier of E. coli,” he said. “You have to be careful handling them.”

Meanwhile, Macungie taxidermist James Gaumer hasn't seen an increase in the number of deer he's made mounts of so far this season, but he expects “a big influx this weekend.” And the warm weather will only turn up the pressure.

“We'll have to work on them a little quicker,” he said.
 

gizz

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The reason for the increased number of deer to butcher but NOT mount is the fact that we can now shoot buck and doe in the same day for 2 FULL weeks whereas before we could shoot buck for the first 2 weeks then doe afterward for 3 days. With the warm weather the deer are getting picked off at will and i'm starting to worry about the herd for years in the future.
 

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