Monday was the first day of Pennsylvania’s buck season, and business was good at Wright’s Cut-Up of Monroe Township.
Owner Dale Wright reported around 10 a.m. that about eight people already brought their deer in for processing.
About an hour later, three more deer had been dropped off, and more were expected by the end of the day.
Dale’s wife, Diane Wright, who operates the business with her husband along with sons Eric and Scott, fills out the paperwork required by the Game Commission for each deer.
Diane contends that business has been a little too good at Wright’s Cut-Up because of a number of other game processing establishments ceasing operations.
“A lot of places are closing, so we’ve been getting a bit overwhelmed,” Diane said, explaining that they were very busy during the bow and muzzle loader seasons. “We try to send people to other places, but they’ve been getting overwhelmed as well.”
Although people dropped off their deer throughout the day, none of the carcasses were processed until Tuesday. The deer are hung in a cooler, allowing them to cool down and the meat to stiffen.
“It tastes better when it is allowed to age a bit,” Dale said.
Dale and Scott were busy Monday morning, skinning one deer in a special process called ‘caping.’
Normally, the skin is cut away in sections, but in caping, it’s removed as a single piece. The reason, Dale said, is because the hunter wants the shoulders, as well as the head, mounted as a trophy.
“People want to get to the taxidermist as quickly as possible,” Dale said. “There are a lot of places that don’t give the whole hide, but we do. That way, if something is wrong with the hide, they have something to fix it.”
Tyler Weiss, of Monroe Township, brought in an eight-point buck that his father, John Weiss, shot around 8:30 a.m.
The reason John Weiss didn’t bring it in was because he immediately went out after the kill to go bear hunting.
Diane explained to Tyler that they will not be able to process the bear carcass if his father bags one.
“It’s too overwhelming,” Diane said. “We don’t have the room to store bear and deer.”
On Tuesday, the process began in which the deer carcasses are cut up and processed.
Many people will want venison steaks, which will be processed in vacuumed sealed bag. The process was introduced last year, and replaces the styrofoam plates Wright’s previously used to provide the venison.
In addition to steaks, Wright’s can also process venison in various other forms at an additional cost, including deer bologna, deer bologna with cheese, sticks, smoked kielbasa, smoked kielbasa with cheese, breakfast sausage, thin steaks, hamburger and stew meat.
Wright’s Cut-Up is the only deer processing operation in Wyoming County which participates in Hunters Sharing the Harvest.
Hunters who don’t want the meat from the kills can turn it over to Wright’s, which grinds it up into hamburger and donates it to Human Resources.
Human Resources in turn distributes it to various organizations — such as food banks — throughout Wyoming County, who then see that it is provided to people in need.
Diane estimates that this past bow season, they provided about 200 pounds of meat to Human Resources.
“All our meat stays in Wyoming County,” she added.
One lucky hunter who showed up was Ashley Keefe, of Jenningsville, who bagged a seven-point buck in Springville around 8:15 a.m.
Keefe, 28, said she has been hunting since she was 14, and that it was the first deer she has ever bagged.
Wright’s will continue processing deer carcasses through flintlock season in January.
The hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays. People should first call at 570-333-4616.