By Tim Kowols
As the nine-day gun deer hunting season begins, area meat processors like Konop Meats in Stangelville prepare for their busiest time of the year. Part-owner Mark Konop has not kept track of how many pounds of venison he processes into a variety of different products over the years, but knows it has been picking up steam ever since its popularity started in the 1980s. He says handling 100 customers a week for several months with their venison orders is a balancing act to make sure they keep up with their regular customers as well.
Konop recommends hunters call their butchers to schedule their processing in advance to make sure they get their harvested venison as quickly as possible. For those who want to donate their deer, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources deer donation program has provided more than 3.6 million pounds to food pantries across the state.