FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — From bratwursts to filet mignon, Manley Meats carries the typical assortment of products found in meat markets.
However, the store has also been busy behind the scenes as a deer processor for the many hunters who have brought in deer carcasses during archery season.
Since the archery season started Oct. 1, Manley Meats has received many deer, and the company expects to receive 1,500 to 1,800 deer by the end of the season.
JJ Everett, co-owner of Manley Meats, said the company has to stop taking whole carcasses after Dec. 4 since the holiday season makes it difficult for the store to handle the high volumes of deer carcasses the store receives.
Manley Meats Explains Steps, Timeframe of Processing Deer
Even though Manley Meats only accepts deer carcasses for around two months, Everett said the company still produces high amounts of venison.
“We roughly do 8,000 to 10,000 pounds of sausage a week, and probably 8,000 pounds of snack sticks a week,” Everett said.
In total, the company produces over 40 tons of venison each season, according to Manley Meats.
Although hunters receive all the meat they give to Manley Meats for processing, hunters can also elect to have the meat donated to Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry, an organization that aims to collect game and livestock meat for hunger relief agencies.
Everett said Manley Meats distributes more than 2,000 pounds of venison each year through Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry.
Manley Meats also serves as one of 90 commercial deer processors that work with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to keep a logbook of all deer taken in for processing.
“When the hunter comes in, we have a check-in sheet, and the hunters fill it out and then the DNR keeps up on that,” Everett said.
Everett said the most common food items hunters want from their deer are summer sausage and snack sticks.