by Anna Mitterling, Wildlife Cooperative Coordinator
Big doe down in CWD zone! My husband successfully harvested his first deer in our very own backyard. Talk about local meat. We found her about 200 feet away from the tree stand. James’ target practice this summer paid off, and his arrow had good placement. We gutted her, then James was able to borrow a quad from one of our fabulous new neighbors, and hang the deer in our garage.
The next day I took the deer to the check station near Dunckel and Jolly Road in East Lansing. The check station was just ten miles from our home. The whole process took less than fifteen minutes, which would have taken less time if I wasn’t so chatty. I pulled up, they removed the head, aged the teeth (she was 2.5 years old), handed me a patch, along with my lab tag for tracking the results. And that was it! The check station also has a dumpster you can dispose of your deer carcass after you remove the meat. The DNR does ask that if you are in the CWD zone, you do bring the entire body to deer check, but they only take the head. If you have antlers you want to mount, let them know, and they will work with you.
DNR is doing all they can to make deer check as smooth and simple as possible for hunters in the CWD area. They have added on a couple stations and even hired on several additional staff just for the CWD zone. For more information on deer check stations near you, locations and hours of operation, check out here.
That evening, we quartered our first deer. It wasn’t as difficult as we thought it would be. It took us about four hours, which I hear is pretty good for the first time. James had purchased a processing knife set, which we found the variety of knives very helpful. For a quick overview on how to quarter your deer, DNR has a great video here.
A couple nights later, our friends Jeff and Kim came over with their vacuum sealer, and we started grinding burger, dicing stew meat, and slicing steaks. It only took a couple hours, and we ended the night with a lot of meat in the freezer. There is just something rewarding about taking a deer from your backyard, processing it yourself, and then sitting down to enjoy some grilled tenderloins! Of course, no consumption took place until I had confirmation of a negative CWD deer.
Concerning getting testing results, I dropped the deer off on a Wednesday, late morning. I believe they pick the heads up in the mornings, so it didn’t get to the disease lab until Thursday late morning. As of Tuesday at 10:00 am, the results came in as negative. Looks like venison steaks for dinner tonight!