Editors Blog

What’s Your Deer Processing Horror Story?

butcher a deer

If you rely on someone else to process your deer, chances are you’ve had a bad experience with deer butchering.

Bits of plastic in your ground burger? How about strands of switchgrass found mixed in your sausage? It could be the deer you dropped off but never got back. Or, possibly, it was the pack of tenderloins that weren’t included with your order.

It seems like we all have a venison processing horror story. What’s yours? Here’s mine.

by Daniel E. Schmidt, Editor

The truck’s windshield wipers could barely keep up with the steady downpour as my buddy and I drove the back roads at first light. It was a Tuesday morning, and we were on our way to the meat processor to drop off a doe he had shot the previous evening. Gun season was in full swing but the weather didn’t indicate it. Unseasonably warm weather had blanketed the area since the opener on Saturday.

I was still on an emotional high from the weekend. Barely an hour into the hunt, I had already filled my buck and doe tags. It was warm that morning, too, and we didn’t waste any time running those deer to the processor. Despite my concerns about the weather, the processor told me he’d hang my deer in his walk-in cooler ASAP.

Fast forward to Tuesday. Upon arriving at the processor, we were told to drive past the coolers and back the truck up to his barn. “The cooler’s full, but we’ll get on that one right away,” he said. Imagine my surprise when we got out of the truck, walked up to the barn and saw several dozen deer stacked on top of each other on plastic tarps across the barn floor.

Underneath that pile were my buck and doe from the previous Saturday.

I was more than disturbed. Livid would be a better term.

After helping me move my deer to the cooler, my buddy decided not to drop his deer off after all. We later drove to a grocery store, bought several bags of ice and packed it into the chest cavity of his doe. He cut his hunt short and drove home (three hours) so he could drop his deer off at a professional processor where he had done business previously.


The experience bothered me for days. When I picked up my venison the following weekend, I couldn’t help but wonder how much went to waste. I should have received more than 100 pounds of processed venison. I went home with just over two grocery bags full.

As they say, live and learn. I used to process all of my own venison. The day will soon come when I do that again. However, for now, I’m forced to take my deer to a processor. Since several bad experiences like the one mentioned above, I’ve sought out the services of a certified processing business. They not only do a professional job, they ensure I get my own venison back, and they turn around every deer within a week.

We know that many Deer & Deer Hunting fans have had similar experiences with deer processing. What’s your horror story? We want to hear it!

You can share your story by replying to this blog post below; entering your response on our free D&DH FORUM; or you can email it to me at dan.schmidt@fwmedia.com.


Venison processing tips

Are you ready to cut up your own deer? Check out this all-inclusive book on how to do it the right way.

If you have had a bad experience getting your deer processed by someone else and want to make sure it never happens again, learn how to do it yourself with the all-inclusive “Gut It, Cut It, Cook It” book from the publishers of Deer & Deer Hunting. This book includes step-by-step instructions and photos to take your deer from field to table. To order a copy today , CLICK HERE.