Deer season is upon us in the Northland.  Archery and bowhunting seasons are currently in progress and the rifle season is about to start in both Minnesota and Wisconsin; the 2022 rifle season starts on November 5 in Minnesota - running through November 13 and it starts on November 19 in Wisconsin - running through November 27.

For many, it's at the very least a good excuse to get outside, spend some time in the woods, visit and catch up with friends and family, and have some fun. Being lucky enough to bag a deer is often just the icing on the cake.

But if you are lucky enough to get a deer this season, the next step is the processing.  And while some people are adept at processing their own venison, most people bring it somewhere to be processed for them.

But where?

Luckily, there are a wide variety of places that will process that deer into venison you can tuck away into the freezer for meals throughout the winter.

The Duluth News Tribune [paywall] publishes an annual list of processing options each year. While the type of intake meat differs from place to place (i.e. some take whole deer, others require trimmed meat, etc), each provides a local option to get that deer turned into something you and your family can eat.

You can check out that complete list, but here is a summary of places, their city location, and a phone number -- it's best to call ahead:

  • Bears Den - Saginaw:  218-591-1677
  • Brat Barn - Hermantown:  218-590-2456
  • Carlton Meat and Grocery - Carlton:  218-384-9910, 218-348-7308
  • Cole Cuts - Duluth:  218-391-1619
  • Emily Meats Your Ol' Fashioned Meat Market - Emily:  218-763-6328
  • Four Seasons Market - Cotton Park (between Coleraine and Bovey):  218-245-1669
  • Gamache and Sons Deer Processing - Esko:  218-878-1077, 218-461-2095, 218-391-3058
  • Hursh Meat Processing - Poplar:  715-364-6855, 218-393-1887
  • Kocian's Family Market - Bigfork:  218-743-3113
  • M&M Deer Processing - Aurora:  218-229-3847
  • Stokke's Meat Market - Cloquet:  218-624-9680
  • Superior Meats - Superior:  715-394-4431
  • TJ's Country Corner - Mahtowa:  218-389-6257

The list includes those places that are state licensed to process venison.  There are also probably a good number of places in the Northland that do so-called "custom work" on an individualized basis for customers; those sort of places don't need the state license.

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