WDAY: The News Leader

Published November 08, 2010, 09:59 AM

Despite drop in deer tags, meat locker business picks up

Enderlin, ND (WDAY TV) - The North Dakota Department of Game and Fish issued more than 20-thousand fewer deer tags this year compared to last year. But has that affected business for local meat lockers?

Deer tags may be scarcer, but employees at Maple Valley Meat Locker are still busy processing, wrapping, and distributing deer meat after the first weekend of the season.

Kevin Hartl (owner): "Surprisingly we've seen a 10-12% increase at this point right now. We were expecting probably a 10% decrease due to the lack of tags."

Despite slow numbers on Saturday, employees say business really picked up Sunday and estimate they've already processed between 100 and 130 deer.

Julie Kurtz (employee) "The people that have been coming in say they have been really easy to find out there"

Although tags are down, Hartl says business is up partly due to sunny skies and above average temperatures.

Hartl: "Lot of times we'll see more wild game come in right away with warmer temps because we control the temperature with at which is being processed at."

Hartl also attributes the increase to a drop in the number of local processing plants.

Hartl: "The way it's been running; now I expect it to end approximately 15% better than last year."

That kind of increase would have Maple Valley meats processing more than 400 deer by the end of the season.