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Who All Is Also Processing?

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by Clovis Point, Dec 14, 2019.

  1. Before I ever even considered learning Taxidermy I always enjoyed working up (processing the meat) my deer more than hunting it. I come from a family of what you might call “hardcore meat hobbyist”... My dad started hosting an annual pig roast at our farm when he was in his mid 20s (the late 70s) that that grew to having 200-300 people show up. Now, were smoke big batches of bbq a few times a year for things like a family members wedding, church fundraisers etc. we also make our own bacon, country ham, sausage, plus working up usually atleast 4 or 5 deer a year.
    I call us hobbyist because we have never done any commercial work. But we have plenty of commercial equipment. A Bird 3334 bandsaw pulling 220v, Vacmaster, 2 cabinet smokers, an 8 foot trailer smoker, 3 gallon stuffer with electric foot controlled pump, commercial slicer, and the heaviest grinder I’ve ever seen owned by someone non professional. We’re currently collecting all the components necessary for a walk in.

    We have been approached by people who wanted to hire us to cater different events And have talked about it but what’s always stopped is the fact that we aren’t like “health department inspection” compliant. Don’t get me wrong, no one has ever gotten sick or anything we just aren’t fancy enough to meet health code laws, so doing processing has kinda always been off the table. But now that I’m mounting deer and have all that commercial grade equipment literally 6 miles up the road at Mom and Dads I just feel like it’s kind of silly for these people not to bring me the rest of the deer (and money) just seems kind of silly. On top of that someone told me that the health department rules for “providing processing as a service” were considerably less stringent than those for “retailing meat”.

    Is this true? What barriers are there and hurdles and hoops to jump through? Is it Worth it?
  2. joeym

    joeym Jeannette & Joey @ Dunn's Falls

    Talk to other processors in your area, and contact your state health department. In Mississippi, wild game processing is totally unregulated. You can commercially process on a pine stump in front of a ratty a$$ shack and be 100% legal...and many do! There is not enough time in a day for me to be a taxidermist and a processor. You will need two different crews of HIGHLY DEPENDABLE people!

  3. Yes I know a guy who does processing ,taxidermy ,and tanning,but he,s 25 young and foolish lol,seems like a way to burn your self out faster working those long days.
  4. Wildthings

    Wildthings Well-Known Member

    Around here there's more money in processing than taxidermy. Ditch the stuffing of hides and go straight to stuffing of casings!!
  5. Well my main gig is 120 or so head of black angus cattle, and every thing that it takes to keep them feed through the year (cows pasture fencing hay and silage). I started Taxidermy because it was something I could do from home, after I helped my wife get out two curtain climbers (3yo and 11 month old) into bed, and most importantly because the workload picks up right when the farm work dies down. I’m very busy on the farm from May to October but November to March/April in more flexible. This year has been my first year accepting deer from people other than family and friends. I have 14 shoulder mounts and 5 Europeans. I have a potential client who is a friend of my dads who supposedly has 5 deer he’s wanting shoulder mounted and my dad trust him at his word but I don’t count anything until it’s in my studio and I’m punching one of my numbered ear tags through the bottom of the cape.
    I already have 4 of the 14 mounted drying that I’ll be finishing at the end of this week. And all my Euros will be done this week too.

    What I’m getting at here is that no matter which course I choose I’m not going to be taking in a large number of deer. Not nearly enough to keep me busy all year round. But I don’t mind being really busy a couple months out of the year... like the previous posters young friend, while I’m not 25 (I turn 30 this month) I am still young [dumb] enough to have enough gumption to stack my plate full. I’m very much used to it growing up farming.
  6. drob

    drob Active Member

    You enjoy doing it,( no learning curve ),you have most of what you need equipment wise .Give it a try,you can always stop if it doesn't work.Just remember-If you build it they will come !
  7. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    I use to cut 1500 deer a year and make all the extras then mount 200 deer heads and 100 other assorted mounts . I had no life , then I got smart and down sized , now i only cut deer I’m going to mount , I had all the equipment to do it so I figured what the H why not . There is great money in processing that’s for sure but more money in the extras like sausage and bologna and such . I also use to get up to $8 for whole hides and then the extra capes you can get to sell is unreal , so I was making 12 to 13 thousand on those alone . The good was it’s a lot of money and it only lasted for a few months, the bad was it only lasted for a few months and you didn’t have time to hunt or sleep . Like said it’s more of a young mans game . Help can be hard to find but if you push the fact it’s extra Christmas money it helps . I went to a few grocery stores and got some meat cutters and wrappers to help also as I could only cut so many . Hope I helped some . Definitely worth it , Goodluck in your endeavor.
    Clovis Point and drob like this.
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Life Sucks.....Then comes the death roll!!!!

    Listen to all that has been said above! I describe processing as "too much money to quit.....and not enough to keep doing it"! It can burn you to the ground when it gets big! Think long and hard before you invest too much into it!
    Clovis Point likes this.
  9. Thanks everyone for the input. I’m going to call my state health department and make my decision based on what all I hear from them as far as getting my facilities to a inspect able point. If it seems too uphill then I will like just process for people I already know or I’m doing a mount for , which would likely be less than 10 a year (and that’s counting 1 or 2 of my own).
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Life Sucks.....Then comes the death roll!!!!

    As far as I know most States dont regulate processors. Some are flat out nasty but as far as I know there have not been many if any cases of food poisoning related to game processing! But with that said as far as I know we are the only processors around who are inspected and have a food production permit, but that is because we wanted it because we also sell other food products! Most should not need it!
  11. Thanks Ron