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NE – HUNTING – Meat lockers filled up as deer hunting season begins

Hunters may not have many places to store their deer meat this season as lockers fill up. But this may have a good side effect for small town economies. As rifle season for deer hunters starts this weekend, you might not have a spot to store the meat. Luke Meduna of Nebraska Game and Parks is a hunter himself and he said if you’re trying to do it yourself, don’t forget to keep that deer cool to avoid spoiling. “Right now we’re fairly cool so a deer can hang and cool off that way. If we get temperatures up in the 60’s and 70’s, you’re going to run into meat spoilage, so the big thing for hunters is to get that deer cooled down,” said Meduna. But Meduna said Nebraska Game and Parks did try to promote to hunters that lockers might not have space for deer. “We’ve done a little bit of promotion on letting hunters know that meat lockers are full with the impacts of Covid. The processing facilities of last spring and that flowed in and clogged everything up,” said Meduna. The Zwieners own the Ravenna Locker and Jeff Zwiener said he is booked with beef and hogs until about 2022. “We’re a little overwhelmed right now. We’ve always been busy but scheduled 16-18 months out,” said Jeff Zwiener. A similar situation for Calvin Wineland, a part-owner of American Butchers in Beaver City. “There’s such a shortage of meat processing facilities. I mean, I think for every animal we accept, we turn down about five animals,” Wineland said. Wineland said that this is a good dilemma to be in considering how important it is for small town economies to have meat lockers. “About 12-20 people added to those small economies. As opposed to a big company that comes into a Lincoln or Omaha, we’re really adding more to our communities. And it keeps those small town varieties open.”  [full article]

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