Klinder Processing in Carlos said it is unable to accept whole deer carcasses this fall, citing concerns about the continuing threat of COVID.

"We were one of the last lockers to make the decision not to take carcasses," said owner Jodi Niblett. "We were hoping that this would not be an issue this fall."

A story in the Echo Press' Lakes Area Outdoors publication which came out Friday, Oct. 2, quoted Niblett's business partner, Scott Klinder, as saying the locker would continue to take carcasses this fall. However, the locker changed its policy soon after that interview.

Miltona Meats had already said it would not take whole carcasses. The two Douglas County processors together take in about 1,000 deer each fall, leaving hunters to find other means of cutting up their deer at a time when some Alexandria area hunting zones are allowing them to shoot up to eight deer with the addition of an early antlerless season from Oct. 15-18 in deer permit areas 213, 214 and 215.

Each meat-processing business in Douglas County said they would continue to take venison trimming for customers.

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COVID cases have been climbing in Douglas County and three people have died of the virus since spring. Miltona Meats and Klinder Processing both said they were concerned about what would happen to the venison if one or more of their employees tested positive for COVID. They would not be able to work at the locker, and the venison could potentially be ruined since it can't hang as long as beef. Hundreds of hunters coming to their facilities could also increase the potential risk of COVID.

Hunters do have some help in learning how to cut up a deer. Lake Country Meats in Alexandria offered its first free venison cutting class recently. The class was full, said owner Tracy Cole, whose husband, Butch Cole, taught it.

They called it Deer Cutting 101 and will teach it again when someone brings them a deer carcass during bow season. Since the timing depends on the hunt, the class will be offered on short notice.

Cole advised those interested to follow its Facebook page for an announcement. They will also be putting up a video on their website, she said. Lake Country Meats also processes venison trimming.

Lakes Area Outdoors also includes tips for processing your own deer that also can be found here.