While the Elks National Veterans Service Commission began the program in 1948, the local lodge brought it back about four years ago. John Nelson, leading knight and chairman of the veterans deer hide collection effort noted if there are questions, he can be contacted at 660.541.4414.
There are 13 location sites in Northwest Missouri where the deer hides may be left in Elks Deer Hide collection boxes. Those are: the firehouse at Clearmont; Tuck Point, Ravenwood; Main Street in Graham; Consumer’s Oil, Maryville; Green Plains Grain, Hopkins; MFA, Sheridan; MFA, Grant City; MFA, Conception Jct.; Highway 136 Roadhouse, Burlington Jct.; Good Time Charlie’s, Skidmore; The Stable, Barnard; and the Elks Lodge in Maryville.
Hunters should place hides in a trash bag before depositing in the collection boxes.
Veterans desiring a pair of gloves should contact an Elks member. All costs for this project are paid for by the Elks. The scraps are turned into leather kits which are distributed to veterans in hospitals, the VA and nursing homes.
In 2018, the Maryville Elks Lodge collected over 200 hides, which was the most in the nation. The national program in 18 states collected 9,648 hides and produced nearly 3,500 pairs of gloves, valued at more than $86,000 and 41,000 craft kits with a value of nearly $250,000.
The Elks remove the fat and salt the hide down. From there it goes to Coey Tanning Company in Wartrace, TN, where it is turned into leather. The tanned leather is shipped to Yellowstone Leather Products in Idaho, where it is made into fingerless and full gloves with double palms.