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Butchers are busy following deer opening

TRI-COUNTY AREA--With opening day of deer season this past Saturday, Nov. 15, many hunters who were successful in their ventures are left with the task of butchering their take. While many hunters attend to the task at home, several area butchers offer deer processing to hunters during the season.

"On opening day we got 52 [deer]," said Glen Sensenig of Log City Meats in Dundee. "Throughout the season we do just about 450 deer total. That's counting bow and rifle."
Sensenig said the amount of meat one can get from a deer usually depends on where the shot is placed, adding he can turn the meat into a variety of products for customers.
"An average deer you get 30 to 50 pounds [of meat] depending on the shot and how good you are at cutting," Sensenig said. "You can have the back straps butterflied or leave them whole. The hind steaks you can have just the way they are or you can have them put into cube steaks. There is really not a lot of different options on a deer [...] unless you want hot dogs. We do quite a bit of those."
Sensenig said last year Log City Meats did between six and seven tons of hot dogs, adding it is the most popular item they sell. He said they also offer items like summer sausage, jerky, bologna, pepperoni and salami. Sensenig said the better equipment one has, the better job one can do butchering a deer.
"It depends on what type of equipment you have," Sensenig said. "You can only do such a good job if you have the right equipment, and that is what we set up for. We vacuum seal everything and not everybody has that luxury of having a vacuum sealer."
Sensenig said one of the benefits of having a deer professionally butchered is the consistency, adding it also prevents people from having to make a mess of their own table. He said it also adds the benefit of getting the deer turned into smoked meats, which is usually not done at someone's home unless they have the proper equipment to do so.
In Schuyler County, Cooley's Butcher Bay in Alpine was also busy Saturday night butchering the deer brought in from opening day. Employee Dominik Chapman said "around 50" deer were brought in that day.
"It's rather deceptive," said owner Steve Coolican. "You can take a 110 pound doe [...] and when it is all said and done a deer shot in the ribcage with no waste, you get about 35 pounds of useable meat out of that animal. About a third of what the weight would have been."
Coolican said they do a lot of specialty products at Cooley's, including seven different types of sausage, bologna, slim sticks, pepper-jack kielbasa, jerky and hot dogs. He said as far as basic cuts they offer, a deer can yield things like tenderloins, back loins, round steaks, shoulder roasts and rump roasts.
Coolican said the deer brought in during bow season are usually spread out throughout the season. For regular season, Coolican said opening day accounts for around 50 percent.
"Everything there in my facility is under inspection," Coolican said. "I also hold a full license since I do the specialty products. Everything is vacuum sealed."

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