DNR encourages hunters to participate in Deer Donation Program

The DNR’s Deer Donation Program asks hunters to donate Wisconsin-harvested deer to help stock...
The DNR’s Deer Donation Program asks hunters to donate Wisconsin-harvested deer to help stock food pantries for the upcoming holiday season.(WLUC)
Published: Nov. 12, 2022 at 5:30 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is encouraging hunters to participate in their Deer Donation Program.

The DNR’s Deer Donation Program asks hunters to donate Wisconsin-harvested deer to help stock food pantries for the upcoming holiday season. The program helps support residents in need throughout the state.

According to the DNR, the department partners with meat processors to distribute thousands of pounds of donated venison to Wisconsin food pantries.

The DNR said since the program started in 2000, hunters have donated almost 100,000 deer, with more than 3.8 million pounds of venison having been distributed to Wisconsin food pantries.

“Wisconsin hunters have an important opportunity to support families in their communities during the deer season through the Venison Donation Program,” DNR Wildlife Damage Specialist Brad Koele said. “Whether you harvest an extra deer or donate the only deer you shoot, we thank all deer hunters, meat processing and nonprofit partners who help make this program a success for those in need.”

The DNR said hunters who are interested in donating a Wisconsin-harvested deer to the Deer Donation Program can follow these steps:

  • Field dress your deer. Handle the carcass with care.
  • Register your deer. You can register your deer online here. Make a note of the confirmation number you receive, and bring it when you drop off your deer.
  • Test your deer for CWD if harvested in an affected county. Some counties require testing before taking your deer to a processor. To find a CWD-sampling location near you to submit your samples, visit the DNR’s website. Test results from the DNR are usually available within two weeks.
  • Call ahead. Contact a participating processor before dropping off your deer to make sure they have space to accept it. More processors may be added later in the season, so continue to check the DNR’s website. If the deer is being tested for CWD, inform the processor at the time of the donation and give your CWD barcode number. The processor will hold the donated deer until results are known and before it is distributed to a nonprofit.
  • Drop off your deer at a participating processor.

If you’d like to support the Deer Donation Program, you can also make a monetary donation when purchasing a hunting or fishing license or a Wisconsin State Park pass.

For more information on the DNR’s Deer Donation Program, visit their website.

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