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Deer Season starts early

Photo by Shari Harris
The metal shed and reefer across the alley from the rear parking lot of the old MFA building comprise Nelson Deer Processing.

By Shari Harris, Publisher

Questions swirled around Licking when a metal shed and refrigerated container (reefer) were moved onto the empty lot behind Blessed Creations on Main Street. Work on electric, sewer and water commenced, in a hurry to get ready in time. The upcoming bow deer hunting season was the goal date for Nelson Deer Processing to be open.

Owner/operator Joe Nelson put in long hours getting his new business ready. And on September 15, he opened for business. Pickups can already be seen delivering deer throughout the week, and Nelson expects business to really pick up during rifle season.

Deer can be dropped off at Nelson Deer Processing seven days per week; call first and if he’s not there, he’ll arrange a time to meet you there. During rifle season, he will be at the shop daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Nelson grew up processing deer harvested by him or his family. Last deer season, he worked with his father-in-law in a deer processing business and he enjoyed the work. He knows what cuts are best used for what purpose, and everything is done boneless. A standard processing includes de-boning, slicing, grinding and vacuum sealing. Quarters can be processed, and the price list includes gutting, caping, and packaging. Summer sausage and jerky are also available.

“I let them hang at least 24 hours,” Nelson explained. “It makes the taste better.”

Having a deer processing plant in town adds to his desire to keep his business tidy. “No one wants to pull up to a place and have it smell,” Nelson said. He has a floor drain in the area where he cleans the deer, and though he will be using a dumpster to dispose of heads and bones, he can call for an extra dump of his dumpster at any time.  The Missouri Department of Conservation regulates disposal of bones and heads; they must go to landfills.

Nelson anticipates needing temporary help during rifle season and will rent a freezer trailer for more storage as needed.  The 10 a.m. opening time is designed to allow him some time to hunt a few hours as well.

Nelson hopes for future expansion, possibly processing some beef after deer season. Because of his setup, it would be for farm-kills only.

If you need a place to process your deer this season, give Nelson a call at 417-464-1648. Or stop by his shop across Green Street from My Little Cupcake. His street address is 118B South Main St., Licking. Nelson even has a Facebook page, Nelson Deer Processing LLC., where his price list and more are posted.

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