Hunters can donate deer to help feed the hungry through a partnership that over the past 13 years has provided food pantries across the state with 3.7 million pounds of ground venison, state wildlife officials say.
The Wisconsin Venison Donation Program and its affiliates, Hunt for the Hungry and Target Hunger, along with more than 120 participating meat processors, are ready to accept and distribute venison donated by hunters during this deer hunting season, according to Dan Hirchert, the Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist coordinating the venison program.
“There has been great interest this year from hunters who are anticipating a productive season” Hirchert said. “We need your help again this season to share the harvest and help families in need.”
In the past 13 years, hunters have donated 83,120 deer which were processed into more than 3.7 million pounds of ground venison and distributed to food pantries across the state.
Two separate programs for donation are available for hunters, one in the chronic wasting disease zone and another in the rest of the state. Be sure to view the list that applies to your area. Both lists of participating meat processors, and instructors for donating, are available on the DNR website (keyword, “Deer Donation”).
Hunters can donate a deer by following a few simple steps:
- Field dress the deer and register it at a Wisconsin DNR registration station before donating the deer.
- Call first! Contact one of the participating processors before dropping the deer off to verify the processor has space to accept your deer.
- Deer legally harvested outside the CWD zone are registered with a silver metal tag. These deer can be dropped off at a participating processor by Jan. 5, 2014.
- Deer legally harvested and sampled for CWD outside the CWD zone will be marked with a round medal medallion. Processors that will accept CWD sampled deer, in addition to regular silver tagged deer, are identified with an asterisk (*) on the Wisconsin Deer Donation 2013 poster. Not all participating processors are equipped to process CWD sampled deer.
- Deer legally harvested in the CWD zone are registered with a red metal tag. Red-tagged deer can only be donated to a processor participating in the Target Hunger program. Donated red-tagged deer are tested for CWD and only deer that test negative will be distributed to pantries.
- Donate the entire deer to receive the processing for free. (Head and/or antlers may be removed for mounting.)
- When dropping a deer off at a processor, sign the log sheet indicating your desire to donate the deer and the deer will be processed and the venison will be distributed to charitable organizations to help feed Wisconsin’s needy.
Logo courtesy Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources