I worked my way through college working for the Meat and Animal Science Department in various capacities. But, the most pro table venue was that of processing deer. In a good long evening I could process four deer at the rate of $25.00 per head. An income of $100.00 per day was unthinkable back in those days, so I always enjoyed the false sense of being rich for at least a few weeks out of the year.

After being married for fifty plus years, I now realize that it conjured up other false feelings. Living in a trailer house located on campus, just a few blocks from the meat lab, gave my wife an accessible view to see when the lab lights were turned off. She always made mention of the fact that this was how she knew when to expect me home. I thought she was just anxious to see me–little did I know it was all about the money.

Making the money was a bonus, but seeing the deteriorated condition of deer carcasses was enough to turn me away from venison for a good long time. Many would be brought in on the hood of a hot car, warm temperatures, and with the appearance of being eviscerated with pinking shears. As apparently audacious as this now seems, I have since come to realize this presented a potentially hazardous health risk.

Hope this has raised your awareness level of properly handling and processing venison—and may all of your hunting experiences be approached with a cautious sense of health risk, and a renewed appreciation for those involved in the sport.

"PONY TALES by" Ponty is written by Ken E. Knight, the author of the “Knightro Report”, a nationally syndicated livestock-marketing column, which is featured in the "Farm And Livestock Directory" every month.

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