MISSOURI (KFVS) - Missouri hunters have their equipment packed for the first days of firearms season this weekend and after the kill, most hunters use a business to process the food and a create a trophy.
Deer hunting has a $1 billion impact to Missouri's economy each year and owners at local meat packing and taxidermy stores are bracing to be flooded with new deer orders this weekend.
Revis Reisenbichler owns Reis Meat Processing in Pocahontas, Missouri and he is expecting to get in 200 deer this weekend alone and says they have processed about 13 hundred in a single season.
“My employees do not like this season because we work hard all the way through it because spoilage is always a factor in our business,” he said. “We pride ourselves on not having anything that is questionable. Yeah, it’s not like we can take Thanksgiving weekend off and expect the deer to still be good when we come back. We have to keep it going and keep it processed.”
Mike Goodwin owns Southeast Taxidermy in Jackson, Missouri and he gets hundreds of orders from deer firearm season and nicknames it Black Friday for his line of work.
"Monday will be crazy because all of those people will come into town and they'll bring their deer,” Goodwin said. “Sometimes it will be ten or twelve heads in a day and sometimes it will be 30 and that is just the shoulder mounts. In our business you have to jump on this stuff. There is a time table, you can't just let it sit around."
Both business owners say using the entire deer is how a hunter give back to themselves and others.
“Every one of these is a trophy to these people and they mean a lot to them,” Goodwin.
“If they don’t enjoy the meat it can go to share the harvest," Reisenbichler said. "Last year we did over 3,000 pounds of ground meat that went to the food pantries locally.”
The Missouri Department of Conservation is doing mandatory sampling for Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD, on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 10 & 11.
If you shoot a deer in Cape Girardeau, Bollinger, Madison, Perry, Saint Francois, Sainte Genevieve or Washington counties, you must first take it to one of the CWD testing sites before visiting a meat processor or taxidermist.
For a full list of the sites, click here.