GREAT FALLS- Hunting season is among us in Great Falls, and the race to get your animal into a wild game processing shop has been an ongoing battle for the last few years.
Joe Suden-King, has been in the wild game processing business for 34 years and said it's because of a lack of shops in Great Falls and the warm weather.
Suden-King said last year, the warm weather played a huge role in why shops were so booked. The heat was forcing hunters to get their animals in freezers right away.
"It was kind of crazy,” said Suden-King, "We made other accommodations, we did not have to turn away anybody, we got in some freezer units outside and froze the animals. We knew then that there was a need for more space for animals for the hunters."
As for previous years, Suden-King said the original House of Meats was one of the biggest wild game processing shops around town. It closed from 2015 until 2017. With only at least three other wild game processing shops in town, those places had to take in more customers meaning they were running out of space faster. This year at the House of Meats they're expanding house of meats by adding on more cooler freezer space to make more room for animals this season.
Hunters faced some pretty warm temperatures in 2018, forcing them to get their animals in a cooler as soon as possible.
Even though temperatures are cool right now, wild game processing shops said that doesn't mean things won't warm up. It's why hunters need to keep these hacks in mind, just in case they can't get their animal into a shop right away.
Get the hide off the deer because it's meant to keep the animal warm which is keeping heat in. That way cool air can come in from both sides.
"If you are bringing your animal in, in the bed of a pick-up truck, most of the time the muffler system goes right underneath the bed of the truck,” said Suden-King, "So you'll want to put either a cooler or a log underneath that animal so that the air can be circulated all around otherwise you're putting that warm animal with the hide on right next to the muffler system and there's no way to cool out the animal."
Wild game processing shops said the more someone can do out in the field by taking care of their animal, there's less of a chance it will spoil.