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Meat shops extra busy as more hunters head out during gun deer season

Lodi Sausage Co. & Meat Market has seen a 20 percent increase in people bringing in deer for processing.
Published: Nov. 28, 2020 at 10:13 PM CST
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COLUMBIA COUNTY, Wis. (WMTV) - More hunters took to the woods in 2020 for this year’s gun deer season. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reported hunting licenses are up over 3 percent compared to 2019. As a result, the meat industry is seeing a surge in customers coming in to have their deer processed.

“We’ve never been this busy in all department that we do,” said Mike Clark, co-owner of Lodi Sausage Co. & Meat Market.

Clark co-owns the store with his father. He said their shop has been busy all year.

“We feel very lucky to have a small business that’s doing well,” Clark said.

Gun deer season has brought a fresh wave of customers. Clark said he is processing 20 percent more deer than last year, up to 80 deer a day.

“For us, that’s probably over 100 deer more than last year,” he explained, adding, “So many different people from all other counties come here then to process that and then also maybe stop at other shops in town and things, so it does really pay off for Lodi in general.”

On top of deer, Clark and his staff are also planning more beef and hog processing, preparing for holiday order.

“As we get more deer in, we have to decide at some point, how many is too many,” Clark explained.

So far, they have been able to keep up with deer processing, even on top of an overall increase in meat sales. Clark said sales are up about 25 percent.

“During this COVID, everybody’s kind of wanting to stock their freezers, not going out as much or shopping at grocery stores as much,” he said.

Between making venison sausage after gun deer season and getting back to more beef and hog processing, Clark said their schedule is full through the end of 2021.

“We’re really starting to book for 2022 soon,” Clark explained.

NBC15 also checked in with other area meat shops. Stoddard Meat Market in Cottage Grove and The Meat Market in Baraboo both said they have not seen a major increase yet, but Johnson’s Sausage Shoppe in Rio told NBC15 they took in more deer during the first weekend of gun deer season than in all of 2019.

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