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Butcher shops prepare to implement COVID-19 safety as deer season begins; here's what hunters need to know

New coronavirus safety regulations may make it harder to get your deer to a processor this season.

BARDSTOWN, Ky. — It's the eve of the weekend hunters have waited a year for and unfortunately, they won't be able to escape COVID-19's impact in the woods when they take their harvest to the butcher shop.

While it's possible to social distance for the opener of rifle deer season in both Indiana and Kentucky, the coronavirus will likely be their biggest challenger.

A popular butcher shop in Bardstown that is busy nearly every day of the year, is especially busy during the two weeks of hunting season. Boone's Butcher Shop processes nearly 1,000 deer each modern rifle season. 

On opening day, they anticipate only accepting half of their normal first day's total in an effort to implement new coronavirus safety regulations.

"I think we are as ready this year as we normally are we've put in the new precautions to try to keep our people safe, keep our customers safe and you know we're just trying to be considerate of everything that's going on while allowing people to fill their freezers," said Allison Boone Porteus with Boone's Butcher Shop.

Boone's owners urge customers to call ahead and be ready to check in their deer from outside according to the new social distancing guidelines.

"If we do decide that we've reached our limit that we don't have capacity for more", Boone Porteus said, "we'll update our website, we'll put a message on Facebook, we'll update our phone recording to let our customers know we can't take any more today. Hopefully, we don't get to that point but if we do that's how we'll let our customers know."

They also suggest hunters consider starting to process on their own instead of bringing in a whole deer.

"If you want the specialty sausages, I understand trying to make that at home can be overwhelming", she explained. "So you can bring us that boneless meet and we are  happy to take care of that for you after modern gun season."

Boone's says that if you do decide to start your own processing, get it all bagged up tight put it in the freezer. A couple of months from now try to make plans to come see them or another deer processor and have them finish the job for you.

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