Trempealeau County helps the hungry with roadside deer

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TREMPEALEAU COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU) -- One area county says when a deer is hit by a car, the meat shouldn’t go to waste. A special program is making sure it doesn’t.

Wisconsin is known for its deer population. With so many deer in our local counties, deer versus car crashes are pretty common. Trempealeau County officials are sharing information about a fairly new program that's helping those in need.

Helping the Hungry is a program started in Trempealeau County in 2015.

Sheriff Brett Semingson says the county receives up to 400 calls each year for car versus deer crashes. "A couple years ago the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources quit contracting with counties to remove dead deer off the roadways so at that time the highway departments were just asked to pull the animals into the ditch and rot,” said Sheriff Semingson. That is until a dispatch sergeant suggested a different approach.

"Rather than letting them lay and rot...she felt that there was enough need for food in this county,” he said. Sheriff Semingson says the program serves two purposes. "We can assist those that are hungry that can use the animal plus we're doing what we can to try to keep our roads a little cleaner," he said.

So how does it work? When a deer is struck by a car and officials can confirm that it is a freshly killed animal, they head to a special call list containing names of families nearby who can use the deer to meet their hunger needs.

The Sheriff says the community response has been positive and many local families have benefited from the program. He says more than 50 deer that are struck are preserved and given to those in need each year.

The program does not run in the summer months because the heat makes it difficult to preserve deer after its hit. As temperatures cool, the department says more deer will be available to those in need.
If you'd like to be added to this year's list, contact the Trempealeau County Sheriff’s Office at 715-538-4351 or by email at tcdispatch@co.trempealeau.wi.us

Read the original version of this article at www.weau.com.