November 23, 2020 | By: Carol Lea Spence

LEXINGTON, Ky.,  — The firearms deer hunting season is in full swing. Deer processors provide a valuable service to hunters by processing their harvested animals. Due to COVID-19, some processors in the state may find themselves with a backlog of beef to process, and as a result, they may not be accepting deer. To help alleviate any confusion, the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment is providing a list of Kentucky processors that are accepting deer.

“There were some concerns that there were processors who wouldn’t be taking deer this year and some may not be processing anything at all, so we wanted to come up with an updated list,” said Matt Springer, assistant extension professor of wildlife management in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources.

Each processor has their own system in place. Individuals should reach out to the processors prior to showing up with an animal to learn the guidelines and prices.

Springer and Gregg Rentfrow, associate extension professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences, also wanted to raise awareness of the processors that are taking part in Kentucky Hunters for the Hungry. The hunger relief program encourages hunters to harvest and donate deer to those in need. The organization pays for the processing and distributes the donated venison to food banks.

“Hunters who may have already harvested enough deer for their family, but still want to hunt or maybe have a deer damage problem on their farm or their property can continue to harvest the animals with the tags they have. They can look on our list for the deer processors that are working with the Hunters for the Hungry program and donate that animal. The processor will then take that animal and turn it into usable meat for food banks in their area,” Springer said.

Springer and Rentfrow attempted to reach all known processors in the state, which had to give their permission to be added. Some processors did not want to be included in this year’s list, because they already are at capacity. If a processor was missed, they can contact the UK Department of Forestry and Natural Resources Extension Office at Forestry.Extension@uky.edu to be added to the list at the soonest possible time.

The 2020 list of deer processors can be found at https://bit.ly/DeerProcessors.

Contact: 

Matt Springer, mattspringer@uky.edu

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